in family literature
In the literature about "family," seven biases can be identified. It is useful to keep in mind the idea that sociology is about "what is" rather than "what should be."
The ageist bias is that the literature focuses
mainly on adults, and often sees seniors and babies as passive rather than
as active participants in family social dynamics.
The conservative bias is one in the literature
which supports socially conservative policies, as represented by the religious
right wing. There is little tolerance for variations from norms described
and supported by conservatives.
The heterosexual bias is one that implies that
a family is based on marriage between one man and one woman; and that other
arrangements are deviations (gay, lesbian, single, commune,
The microstructural bias is a focus on internal
family social interaction without considering the broad social forces which
also affect family structure and dynamics.
The monolithic bias sees the concept of a standard,
orthodox or traditional family as a measure against which all variations
are seen as temporary deviations. That orthodox family may be the
nuclear conjugal family or the extended family.
The racist bias sees families as normal when
in the dominant ethnic majority of society, usually white, Anglo Saxon,
and that variations of ethnic minorities are seen as aberrations or deviations
from the norm.
The sexist bias has two aspects to it; seeing
feminine roles as concentrating on household chores, and masculine roles
as making major decisions for the family.
Remember that the word "family" itself
is not culturally universal, and that kinship principles may be arranged
in various ways in various cultures and societies. The word "family"
derives from Latin, meaning domestic slaves and servants.
society, for example, has no word meaning "family" and the kin system is
based on matriliny. It has single words for household residents and
matrilineage or matriclan, which we do not have.
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