Monday, April 9, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Popenoe, David. “The American Family Decline, 1960- 1990.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 55 (August 1993): 527-555.
David Popenoe, professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, Co-Director of the National Marriage Project, and former social and behavioral sciences dean, suggests that the number of American nuclear families have declined since 1960 and consequences of this decline affect society seriously, especially children. Moreover, he also mentions that the family functions best in the nuclear family. While Popenoe makes some strong arguments about the family declining and how this change is bad, my study finds out that he does not take a step to explore how society also benefits from this change. He is taking the conservative view that I am against. As I am taking the liberal view in seeing this family issue, I will use Popenoe’s point of view to make a contrast to my argument and to make a clear point that functions of family can perform well even if the family is not the nuclear form.
Tey Meadow and Judith Stacey. “Family.” Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds. Vol.5, Issue 4, pp. 55-57.
Judith Stacey, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU and Director of Undergraduate Studies, suggests that family forms other than nuclear families are increasing. However, the decline in nuclear families does not bring negative influences to society; instead, it is positively affecting our society. The common point she has with David Popenoe is that this change affects the children in the society seriously. However, she goes beyond and says that these children are affected not because they lost their biological parents, but because of problems created due to economic difficulties. As I am taking the liberal view that is quite similar to Stacey’s, her arguments will support my study that nuclear family does not perform the best. Because Stacey does not mention why some families will come across economic difficulties, I am going to explore the reason by mainly talking about single-motherhood and divorce in the United States. I will use historical data and talk about the pattern of family change in the United States.
Roberts, Sam. “51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse” The New York Times. January 16, 2007.
According to a New York Times analysis of census results, 51% of women said that they were living without a spouse in the United States nowadays. Women enjoy being single because they can feel free to do whatever they want and they think it is not necessary to get married. Therefore, married couples have become a minority among all American households. This is an astonishing result to a lot of Americans because this rate has increased 16 percent in 55 years. In the news, some women say that the meaning of marriage for them become ambiguous. Why are 51 percent of women living without a spouse in the United States and only less than 30 percent in China? It will be interesting to explore the reason why the rate is so different between the U.S. and Asia. Furthermore, because the news fails to find the reasons that cause this unwanted situation, I will also try to figure out why women in the United States do not want to live with a spouse.
Sociology and Anthropology, China. Wong, XiaoSheng. “Changing Family Forms in China.” Sociology in China. Retrieved March 15, 2007 from the worldwide web: <http://www.sachina.edu.cn/Htmldata/article/2006/06/1025.html>.
XiaoSheng Wong, researcher of Social Sciences in China, suggests that the traditional large size nuclear families in China are declining. Instead, three new kinds of family forms have started to increase tremendously: one-child families, small size nuclear families and single parent families. He also suggests that the “One Child Policy” is the main cause for this change, which is completely different from the reason that Popenoe gives for the decline of such families in the U.S. Even though XiaoSheng Wong is taking a conservative view by arguing that the traditional family is declining, he suggests that new family forms are bringing many advantages to society due to the growing economy and more resources available. XiaoSheng Wong provides us sufficient information about changing family forms by showing us the historical data. However, he fails to show us the data concerning how the economy is growing in China. Therefore, I will try to talk about this positive effect that accompanies the changing family form. Moreover, I will use the information to bring a new insight about changing family forms into the intense debate in the United States.
Sociology and Anthropology, China. Tang,Can. “The Change In Family Form and Its Functions.” Sociology in China. Retrieved March 15, 2007 from the worldwide web: <http://www.sachina.edu.cn/Htmldata/article/2005/11/561.html>.
Can Tang, researcher of Social Science Studies in China, suggests that the family in China tends to form in a smaller size than it used to be in China and the functions of family are changing. Furthermore, he raises another idea that the changing family form is also caused by the changing concept of marriage. Because the functions of the family are different, people consider marriage as part of self-fulfillment rather than a life contract. The value of marriage changes a lot. In addition, there are also two other important reasons that cause the rate of marriage to decrease: people want to be single and enter marriage later. However, he fails to relate the reason of this changing concept in marriage to the importance of education that I think is the main factor that has caused this change. Therefore, in my study, I am going to explore how education changes people’s minds and how this causes the family to change.
Deng, XiaoFang. Interview. March 19, 2007.
I interviewed XiaoFang Deng, professor of economics at QingHua University, to invite her to share her opinions about her experience of family. As she was born in a traditional family in China, she had received approximately 20 years of education in China before she came to the United States to study. However, when she married another Chinese man in California and had two children, she decided to go back to China alone to work at QingHua University. She said she could not stay in her family because she did not want to sacrifice her job for her family, even if her family is now considered a single parent family. Her response is showing us that the traditional idea of family in China is declining and fewer people are willing to sacrifice themselves for their families. This is a common change in China. I am going to use this interview as evidence to show how education has changed people’s minds and how these changing ideas keep changing the family forms in China.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
My research topic is “Divorce and single-motherhood lead to the declining of traditional family”. Recently, I saw an article from NEW YORK TIMES and it mentions that 51 % of Women are now living without spouse. This census result has shocked me a lot because the rate is increasing dramatically in these few years. There are some women in the article talks about all the advantages they have when they live alone without spouses or husbands. As a lady, what they say really influenced me at that moment. However, after that moment, when I thought about this issue once again, I thought I may not want to live without a spouse in my future. Moreover, I suddenly realize that the reason why traditional family is declining is because of the different perceptions of family nowadays. Since women prefer to be stay alone, there are more divorce and single-mothers in society. At the mean time, the traditional family, which is the nuclear family, is declining.
I came from Hong Kong, where the individualism is highly emphasized like the United States, but the divorce rate is much lower than the United States. In my research, I am trying to make a comparison of people’s perception of family between Hong Kong and The United States. Furthermore, by making the comparison, I will explore how divorce and single-motherhood has caused the declining of the traditional family.