Approved by Faculty Senate
University Studies Course Approval:
Department or Program: Sociology
Course Number: 212
Number of Credits: 3
Offered every semester. Grade only. Recommended prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology (Soc 150).
Course Title:The Family
Analysis of the family as an intimate, resilient, and dynamic social institution. Sociological influences on the family by legislation and law, technology, medicine, and other engines of social change.
This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2:yes
This is a new course proposal _____. (If this is a new course proposal, the WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4).
Department Contact Person for this course:
R. Stephen Schwartz, Minne 224, ext 5422
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UNIVERSITY STUDIES COURSE: Arts & Sciences Core Social Sciences
The Family (Sociology 212)
Social Science Outcomes
Socialization is a universal process: beginning in infancy, every family (primary
group), tribe and social group teaches members its language, norms and values.
For example, pre-verbal interaction and symbolic interaction via language acquisition processes are initiated within the family of origin which, in turn, is influenced regarding language and norms governing behavior by a larger macro society. To paraphrase John Donne, no person is an island because of membership in a family, in whatever form the family structure exists (e.g. nuclear, extended, etc.). Individuals are part of a specific primary groupasfamily, and are concomitantly affected by the larger social entity (e.g. the tribe, social definitions of status honor, culture, and society), and ineluctable social change.
Historical contexts for sociological theory as applied in The Family will include the research and perspectives of several classical sociologists. These include Max Weber and the complex value system that shapes a familys social status and style of life; Bronislaw Malinowskis ethnographic emphasis on observing what people do in the intimate family relationship; Emile Durkheims observations regarding ritual and its significance in family interaction processes; and, George H. Meads concept of symbolic interaction. Selected works of these sociological thinkers will be used in studying the historical context and changes in the institution of the American family as it has evolved over time.
Empirical and hypothetical issues germane to family members and their intra-relationship in the family unit, and the effects on the individuals and the family by outside forces over which they have virtually no control, will be examined. Textbook examples, current news events and student suggestions regarding problems and questions pertinent to the family will provide topics for objective discussion.
A liberal arts education should provide opportunities for adults (students) to learn to
like to think; and, in an environment which emphasizes constructive critical thinking. As
a formulative initial step, students will be introduced to or, re-acquainted with
the three major theoretical frameworks in sociology:
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structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. This will include contemporary variations on these, and other sociological theories. Emphasis is on symbolic interaction because of its remarkable versatility as a micro analytical theory for studying, for example, family roles and relations, dual-earner families, crisis, and other dimensions of family life. Theories are woven into the course to enhance student understanding of functional and dysfunctional families.
Social science research examples are utilized extensively in top quality, university-level sociology of the family textbooks. Research methodology strengths, weaknesses, reliability is presented through appropriate examples specifically relevant to the extraordinary range of studies on numerous aspects of the family. Discussion includes the focus of social science research, goals and outcomes, the methodology, group(s) researched, results and conclusions.
Disciplinespecific knowledge includes subject matter areas noted in the course syllabus. To reiterate, sociological theory is implemented throughout the course in analyzing and explaining family study issues and for encouraging critical thinking. Extensive bibliographical references on specific research areas are included in the textbook.
Sociology of The Family examines areas of similarities and differences among family members and families as a consequence of socialization, social experience, values, educational attainment, gender, age, and social and economic status. Appropriate references and discussion regarding selected examples of group variations, with research cited, is included in the course content.
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The Family (Sociology 212)
University Studies Course (Arts & Sciences Core: Social Sciences)
Syllabus (Fall Semester, 2001)
Section 01: M,W,F, 8:00-8:50 a.m., Minn� 239
Professor R. Stephen Schwartz, Ph.D.
Office Minn� Hall 224 Office phone: 507/457-5422
Department phone: 507-457-5420
Office hours: M,W,F, 7:30-8:00 am,
11:00-12:00. Other office periods
by appointment. Please make
appointments directly with me.
Analysis of the family as an intimate, resilient, and dynamic social institution. Sociological influences on the family by legislation and law, technology, medicine, and other engines of social change. Recommended prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology, (Sociology 150).
University Studies: Social Science Outcomes (referred to as US: SSO in the General Outline of the syllabus) help guide the course content, class activities, and assessments of the students participation in the class.
To provide the student with knowledge which can contribute to his or her understanding of the institution of the family. To provide the student with an academic opportunity to analyze and discuss empirical findings, and theoretical perspectives, in regard to research on various aspects of the family (e.g., courtship, roles, marriage, family interaction, etc.). Activities may include focus group discussions, panel presentations, and in-class papers.
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University Studies: Social Science Outcomes
(referred to as SSO in the General Outline)
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strengthening family roles and relationships, and decision-making
processes. Dysfunctional values and practices will also be discussed. Theory building will focus on the concepts of value and reification. Students will be asked to use a theoretical framework (e.g. symbolic inter-action, conflict theory) in thinking critically about the dynamics and significance of family values, their origins and effect on family members.
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Human Intimacy - Marriage, The Family & Its Meaning -- (8th ed) - Frank D. Cox
College/University-level dictionary (e.g. Websters New College)
Four required multiple-choice examinations (50 pts each) including the final: (200 points total)
I 1-4 & lectures
II 5-8 & lectures
III 9, 10, 13, 14 & lectures
Final 15-17 & lectures
Course Grade 200 points total
F------------------------109 & below
Periodic unannounced in-class assignments may be given. Each assignment may be worth at least one point, and the point(s) will be included with the students test score total.
Any changes in course requirements, grading, assignments, etc. will be announced in class.
Attendance: REGULAR ATTENDANCE IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED AS PART OF THE CLASS REQUIREMENTS. See the professor about legitimate excused absences (e.g. nursing clinicals, work, university activities, family, etc.).
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For each topic below, there is a reference to appropriate University Studies: Social Science Outcomes (referred to below as US: SSO) which are clearly defined in this syllabus (page 5-6) and have been explained in class. After each topic, the SSO is noted as (for example) #2, 5, etc. The student should refer to the Course Goals which help guide the content, activities and assessments in this course. The Social Science Outcome (US: SSO) designations (e.g. US: SSO #2, 5, etc.) are dynamic, not rigid or inclusive, and serendipitous changes will be explained in the lectures.
Topic 1 Sociological Theory and Research on the Family
US: SSO #3, 4, 5
Topic 2 Decision Making and Relationships
US: SSO #3, 6
Topic 3 Human Intimacy, Marriage, the Family and Its Meaning:
The Basic Assumptions
US: SSO #1, 2, 7
Topic 4 American Ways of Love: Conceptualization and Reification
US: SSO #4, 5, 7
Topic 5 Dating, Courtship, and Mate Selection
US: SSO #3, 6
Topic 6 Marriage, Intimacy, Expectations
US: SSO #1, 2, 3, 7
Topic 7 Communication in Intimate Relationships
US: SSO #3, 4, 5, 6
Topic 8 Roles in Marriage
US: SSO #1, 2, 7
Topic 9 The Dual-Worker Family
US: SSO #3, 5, 6, 7
Topic 10 The Importance of Making Sound Economic Decisions
US: SSO #3, 5, 6
Topic 11 Values and Sexuality
US: SSO #1, 3, 7
Topic 12 Family Planning, Pregnancy, and Birth
US: SSO #3, 4, 7
Topic 13 The Challenge of Parenthood
US: SSO #1, 4, 6
Topic 14 Family Life Stages: Middle-Age to Surviving Spouse
US: SSO #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Topic 15 Family Crises
US: SSO #3, 5, 6
Topic 16 The Dissolution of Marriage: Spouses and Children, Etc
US: SSO #1, 2, 4, 5, 7
Topic 17 Remarriage: Spouses and Children, Etc.
US: SSO #1, 6, 7
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CLASS DISCUSSION IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.
Office Periods: M,W,F, 7:30-8:00 am, 11:00-12:00. Other office periods by appointment. Please make appointments directly with me.
Office: Minne 224
Office Phone: 457-5422
Department Phone: 457-5420
No voice mail and no e-mail.
THE STUDENT IS CORDIALLY INVITED TO MEET WITH ME TO DISCUSS ACADEMIC QUESTIONS OF INTEREST TO THE STUDENT.