Marital Happiness and Marital Quality

Your Final Exam is a comprehensive examination of the course material. Please be sure to review the content for all 8 modules as you prepare to complete the final exam. The final exam addresses all six-course outcomes. Your Final Exam will consist of FOUR essay questions. Each essay answer should address the question prompt completely and should consist of approximately 500 words of text (approximately 2 pages of double-spaced and 12 point font of text). Be sure to carefully cite supporting evidence and sources within each answer. Before you begin writing, it is recommended that you outline each essay and locate the evidence you will use to support your argument. The body of each essay should be your presentation of evidence, organized carefully to support any theoretical insight and empirical analysis that is relevant and can be mustered. Your work should demonstrate your considered reflection on the material we have covered in the course. The final exam questions tap into all your newly acquired knowledge and allow you to examine multiple dimensions of family life in the United States, using evidence drawn from throughout the whole of the course. Thus, the quality of your work will depend on the care with which you plan your responses and show the breadth and depth of your knowledge (i.e., avoid making general assertions about families unless you have the evidence to back them up; also, be sure to consider possible counter-arguments where applicable).You are required to answer any FOUR of the NINE questions below in order to receive full credit.Each essay response to the questions below should be approximately 2 pages (500 words) in length, not including references (be sure to identify which number question your essay responds to). The NINE Final Exam questions you are to choose FOUR from are as follows: Question 1: Marital Happiness and Marital Quality; Differentiate between marital quality and marital happiness. In your opinion can a couple have marital happiness without marital quality? Why? Do you feel the marital quality is enhanced or deterred when the first baby arrives? Explain.Question 2: Theoretical Perspectives; Explain your understandings of structural functionalism and symbolic interactionism. Debate the respective value of these theoretical perspectives to research into families. Touch on at least three areas of family research, of which at least one should be from Modules 1-4 and one from Modules 5-7.Question 3: Social Construction of Gender; Compare and contrast gender stratification in the family structures of the 18th century North American colonies and/or 19th century America with the gendered family arrangements of the U.S. in 2011. Identify and explain the positive or negative elements of gender identity in these family structures. In your analysis, be sure to consider all the ramifications of gender. For example, how have inequalities between men and women shaped work-family conflict, domestic violence, care for aging parents, cohabitation, and/or marriage/divorce/remarriage and the evolution of stepfamilies? Do you think women’s positions in the family have remained more or less the same, improved over time, declined over time, or a combination? How have men’s family roles evolved over time? Have they become more or less responsible for the welfare of their families? Or have their responsibilities simply changed? Have men also been victims of gender stratification? Question 4: Race, Gender, and Immigration in Families; Discuss challenges that immigrant and racial/ethnic families face as they integrate into middle-class American society. Identify and discuss factors which can cause conflict among the different generations of these families, and between these families and American social institutions dominated by the elite and the middle class. How do you think these conflicts can be reasonably resolved? In what ways do these diverse families “go mainstream”? What are the divergent paths along which they develop? Question 5: Family Values; Select any one characteristic of your family that you value. Select a family characteristic and not the characteristics of individual members. It may be a shared belief, a ritual, a profession or skill, a style of relationship, or an approach to relationships with friends, relatives, or neighbors. It may also be some set of beliefs and practices that maintains the cultural/ethnic/racial identity of the family. Analyze this characteristic using the theoretical tools we’ve developed in this class. Is it functional? Does it help the family integrate with the larger society? Or is it an expression of resistance against the larger society, an acceptable way to manage contradictions and conflict, or to push for social change? Is it simply an expression of solidarity within the family, that helps you to feel closer to each other but ignores the world outside? Also, if you have or can gain access to the necessary information, trace the historical roots of the family characteristic you selected. Discuss how the characteristic began, how it was handed down from generation to generation, and how (if at all) is changed. Question 6: Families and Gender Socialization; Gender socialization begins at home. For better or worse, families help to construct the gender identities of their children. How might the unconscious distinctions parents make between their boys and girls help, in the long run, to perpetuate social arrangements that many would consider unjust? On the other hand, how might gender construction in the family helps to counter or weaken the effects of gender discrimination in outside institutions, such as school or workplace? Use examples from the text and personal experience to illustrate your points. Question 7: Family Institutional Strength; Is the American family today a weak or strong institution? Is it a bulwark against potentially destructive forces in the outside society, or is it overwhelmed by those forces? Base your response on a careful analysis of the interaction between American families and at least three of the following six social forces: Racial and ethnic identity; Social class Romantic love Contemporary sexuality Economic change since the 1970s Individualism Question 8: Families Between Individual and Societal Problems; In what ways do the American family structure show a connection between social problems and the individual manifestation of those problems? Support your points with evidence. For example, you could show how persistent unemployment is associated with personal problems such as domestic violence, underwater mortgages, or poor school performance among children. Question 9: Behavioral Norms Over Time; Within the American family, behavior that is today considered abusive or neglectful was once an acceptable, even normal part of life. On the other hand, actions that were once outrageous are now viewed as a normal occurrence. Describe three to five examples of family practices whose meaning has changed so dramatically that the neutral became unacceptable and the unacceptable became desirable. How did these changes occur? How can a sociological approach make sense of them?

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