SOC 4050/5050 Sociology of Families

Exam 1 Study Questions

  1. What is sociology?  What is unique about the sociological approach?  How do sociologists see human beings and explain human behavior?
  2. What are some of the social systems and structures that sociologists argue shape our daily lives?  How are theses systems and structures produced?  Where do they come from?  How are they related to each other?
  3. Discuss the assertion that families are social constructions.  What are some of the implications of viewing families as humanly created?
  4. Discuss some of the variation in family structure and form that has occurred historically and cross-culturally.  What are some factors that account for this variation?
  5. Discuss each of the following as they relate to the development of the Western family:  (a) the Greco-Roman family, (b) the Judeo-Christian beliefs about family, (c) the Age of Chivalry and courtly love, (d) industrialization and modernization, including the rise of the modern state and economy, and (e) the Victorian ethic.
  6. Discuss the relationship between love, sex and marriage and how this relationship has changed over time.
  7. Discuss the evolution of the American family from the colonial period to the present.  How has the American family changed?  What factors account for these changes?
  8. How would you characterize and describe the contemporary American family? 
  9. Discuss the impact of culture and sub-cultures on family values, norms, structures, and behaviors?  How do variations in class, race, region, and religion impact family values, norms, structures, and behaviors?
  10. How are black families, Hispanic families, Asian families, and Native American families similar to and different from white families?  How are they similar to and different from each other?
  11. Compare and contrast functionalist, conflict, interactionist, phenomenological, and exchange theories of the family.  Which framework do you think is most useful for understanding families?
  12. What are some of the methods used by sociologists to study marriage and the family?  What makes studying families more difficult than studying most other social institutions?
  13. What is the difference between sex and gender?  In which of the two are sociologists most interested?  From where do gender differences come?
  14. What is gender socialization?  Discuss how males and females are socialized differently in the U.S.  Is gender socialization changing?
  15. What are traditional gender roles?  What is their source?  How and why are gender roles changing?  Are these changes good or bad?
  16. What is love?  What are its origins?  Is all love the same?  Do men and women experience love in the same way?  Explain your answer.
  17. How is love related to sexual attraction, infatuation, and passion?  What is its connection to friendship and companionship?  What about attachment and dependency or commitment and loyalty?
  18. Distinguish between verbal and non-verbal communication?  What is there relative importance to interpersonal relationships?  Discuss how gender impacts the use of both verbal and non-verbal communication in interpersonal relationships?  Discuss the different types of non-verbal communication.
  19. Discuss the role of power in interpersonal relationships?  From where is power derived?  Is power in interpersonal relationships relatively fixed and stable or is it situational and negotiable?  Explain your answer.