Mid-Term Exam

Answer ONE of these questions in about five pages.

[Answer to any of these question should based on a critical reading of several of the required readings. I expect some summary of the sources you chose organized to make your argument in support of a point of view.Use e-mail if you need clarification]

  1. How might it be possible to bring together Parsons' and Levi-Strauss's approaches to the understanding of familial processes?
  2. (Are there in fact any differences? Are they incompatible?)

  3. Goody's and Shorter's arguments are partially historical. How might they be strengthened/challenged by the kind of work summarized by Hareven?
  4. Frederick Engels wrote in 1884 (1972:135):
    Now that large-scale industry has taken the wife out of the home into the labor market and into the factory, and made her often the breadwinner of the family, no basis for any kind of male supremacy is left in the proletarian household, except, perhaps, for something of the brutality toward women that has spread since the introduction of monogamy.

    Discuss this statement in the context of Parsons/Bumpass and Shorter's analyses.

  5. How is the shape of your current household (where you have mostly slept last month) made possible/constrained by your relationship to your physical ecology?
    [do not spend much time on an ethnography of your household. I am interested in your thinking ecologically about modern life]
  6. Bumpass agrees with Parsons that family relationships are so limited in relevance in industrial societies that one has to wonder why family appears to be of such continued concern to so many. What are the arguments for and against this generalization.
October 26, 1999