My Family Within The Aspect Of Sociology
Families are the basic social groups and central institutions that are united through bonds of kingship or marriage and are present in all societies. In other words a family is a group of people who are affiliated by affinity, consanguinity or co-residence .The family provides its members with protection, companionship, security and socialization. Since it is a unit of socialization the family is an object of analysis for sociologists of the family. In every society there is a difference of how the family is structured and the needs of the family. The main unit in some societies is a nuclear family with two adults and their children while in other units it is a subordinate part of an extended family lastly a third unit is a single parent family where children live with just one parent who is either unmarried, divorced, widowed and can be a mother or father. Over time the family has been argued as the basic building block of society. Just like other institutions in the dynamic world it has been faced with challenges; it is hence vulnerable and susceptible to change that is incited by internal and external factors. These changes can occur slowly or quickly and they affect the dynamics of a family and hence it should be explored in a more holistic approach and not a single discipline approach. The family like other institutions has its own sets of values, statuses, roles and remains a principal environment where an initial form of socialization takes place (Naveed, 2009).Many sociologists rely on different perspectives and theoretical models that explain social interactions and the way humans behave. Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and different perspectives. There are three dominant modes used by sociologists and these are functionalist perspective, conflict perspective and symbolic interaction perspective.
This paper will therefore look at my family within the aspect of sociology putting into focus various concepts and theories in sociology. First when we look at my family on a symbolic interaction aspect we will consider some symbols that are portrayed in daily life upon which all human interaction and all human relationships re based on. First I come from a single-parent family raised by a mother who is divorced. From this perspective it is indicated that people behave differently according to how they interpret the meaning of the world. This interpretation however is dependent on how they perceive the different symbols and details of daily lives. It can be said that language is symbolic since they do not summon forth meaning on their own but symbolize what meaning is inferred. According to the symbolic interaction perspective relationship are built on symbolic interaction. People communicate through language which is a shared system of symbolic interaction. All social and cultural interactions are symbolic. Marriage is facilitated by symbolic interaction between persons. It is said that people with strong marriage are those with similar interpretations of symbolic interactions. It can be said that my mother and father read the world in an incompatible way and that is why they were not able to remain stable in their marriage ( Farley, 2012).They had many cases of miscommunications and this led to their separation. Miscommunication can be termed as a natural result of miscommunication. This is due to the fact everyone attaches her own personal and cultural meaning of the various symbols and social phenomena’s and hence they have different expectations of the world my mother being from a religious home vied her marriage as a sacred institution whereas my father raised in a secular household read marriage as a cultural tradition and hence this became a source of conflict between them. On the symbolic interaction perspective action is motivated by a person’s subject interpretation of symbols. My parents were very incompatible when it came to their actions and behaviors. People read the world differently and that explains why they respond to the world differently. For instance my mother is very tidy and neat whereas my father is the exact opposite. When my family is looked at from the social interaction perspective then it can be clearly concluded that symbolic interaction definitely can explain the divorce (Farley, 2012).
The conflict theory looks at how people within a family struggle for power; how they disagree and how they compete for resources. Wealth and prestige form the basis for most of the competitions. When my family is looked at from the conflict theory it can be said that our family underwent conflicts and disharmony. This was due to the fact that there are different dynamics and roles played by my family members.first traditionally the father are seen as the head of the family and it should come naturally. However this was not the case in our family because my mother did not recognize this simply because she was the bread winner since my father was out of employment. She often looked down upon him and there was a constant struggle for power and control between them. My mother saw that since she was taking care of all the finances in the house then she should be the head but on the other hand my father could not let himself to this since he saw this as being denied his right bas a man and the head of the family. There was no way they could come to an understanding and hence there was no development of positive relationship between them hence the conflicts persisted and led to their divorce officially (Ray, 2010).
Structural functionalism is quite a broad perspective in sociology that interprets society as structure inter related parts; functionalism addresses the society as whole in terms of functions of its constituent elements like norms, customs, traditions, institutions. Family as asocial structure creates deep social and emotional bonds that give people in depth systems of social support and at the same time generate expectations of social responsibility within the members of the family through this fulfilling the function n of the family of creating social cohesion. In our family, my mother supports my brother and I socially, emotionally, financially and physically. We talk to her and confide in her many things including any challenges that come our way. She always lends us her ears and offers us a shoulder to lean on whenever we need it. She provides for us from food, clothing shelter and also education there is nothing we say we lack. In the same way we give her emotional support and encouragement incase she is going through a rough patch at work or generally in life. We really were by her side throughout the divorce process and never left her side. In our family there is a system of support for all of us as members of the family and hence a healthy environment and opportunity for growth of each one of us. Therefore each member should adhere to their functions and stay together in harmony. Therefore we see that the family is a very aspect of the society and has to be therefore studies with great care so that there can be avoidance of conflicts. All these dimensions of the family that have been discussed are very important when it comes to my family. There are a lot of things that I can learn from these perspectives.
Farley, A. (2012).What is the Symbolic Interaction Perspective in Divorce? Retrieved December 10, 2012 from http://www.ehow.com/info_10017957_symbolic-interaction-perspective-divorce.htmlRay, L. (2010).Conflict theory and the family. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/345499-conflict-theory-the-family/Naveed, K. (2009).Family in Sociological Perspective. Retrieved December 10, 2012 from http://www.slideshare.net/naveedtaji/family-in-sociology-perspective.