The Redefinition of Sociological Institutions

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The Redefinition of Sociological Institutions So long as there are economic fluctuations, homogamy amongst subcultures worldwide, and the willingness of people and researchers to multi-laterally communicate towards achieving the quality of life desired by all groups, there will remain the possibility of “re-defining” sociological institutions. To name a few from the wide spectrum of possibilities, two institutions that have been significantly “redefined” by time are the American family culture and co-housing communities throughout the United States. American family culture in the 1700’s consisted of a style of living called the extended or “connected” family. The idea arose that the extended family style had been “damaged”, therefore deserving a more critical look into the issue. In a “connected” family, the economic value of family members far outweighed their personal family freedoms. Entire families of people would be living and working together in a group to gain economic stability. Women’s interests were thought to be insignificant by society, and children were bred freely as to increase the family’s labor capital. The extended family style was one of mutual support and complementary value between family members. Women and children worked long hours on their farms and were denied of any freedoms whether they are personally or politically empowering. The women then finding a “second shift” (household duties and child rearing) when they retired from working that day. The in-depth look at the structure of the extended family raised new ideas on increasing the quality of life for all existing “connected” models. Views about women’s empowerment, freedoms, gender equity, and self-sufficiency were established along with Clark2 those of child welfare and proper upbringing. This experimental family style was considered an early form of the nuclear or “non-connected” family style. Mother’s relationships with their children grew more significant and women were allowed more and more access to new child-rearing technologies and focused more on “child turnout” than economic growth. By acting to liberate and equate the interests of women this movement molded the “spheres of influence” and traditional roles of the existing “connected” family model.
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