“Family Darwinism” blames individual families for structural failure, ignores economic conditions & social inequalities
Social institutions have taken oven many functions once performed by families & weakened parents’ authority
Globalization and the changes it produces in the economy and the workplace have transformed families by moving women out of the home & into the labor force, increasing mobility in search of work, and increasing work hours & nonstandard work schedules
Myth of the Monolithic Family Form
Alleged “typical” family: 1) a nuclear unit, 2) consisting of a mother, father, and children, 3) has a sexual division of labor with a breadwinner father and full-time wife and mother.
In reality, this describes only 7% of American families.
Family (kinship group) vs. household (residence group): not always the same
Proliferation of diverse family types is the result of: globalization & economic transformation, new work patterns for men & women, new patterns in marriage & divorce, decline in number of children women bear
Myth of a Unified Family Experience
Assumes that all family members have common needs, interests, and experiences
In reality, each member experiences the family differently.
Families produce divergent experiences based on gender & age
Idealized image of the family that assumes families always operate on the principles of harmony and love
Family life is contentious due to: power relations within the family, competitive aspects of family relations, new patterns of work & leisure, & the intense emotional quality of intimate relationships (which can generate violence)