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Ethnic Families : Contextual investigations

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  1. Ethnic Families: Case Studies Dr. Jane Granskog California State University, Bakersfield

  2. Four Families • Contrast between families from India, France, Japan, & Canada • Note characteristics of family structure - interaction between genders, roles carried out • Note patterns & differences in socialization of the young

  3. Self, Family and Community: Positive Dependency • sociological interdependence - self defined in relationship to family, community, ancestors, spirits • cyclical continuous flow between each essential for health and harmony • Self oriented toward personal interaction

  4. Positive Dependency Flows • Follow own wishes but within a context limiting boundaries of Self • Control limiting boundaries of Self instilled by space & sound - respect & obedience toward elders

  5. Dependency within the Family • Families are viewed as interlocking life units in which the well-being of one is inherent in well-being of others • Roles modify as persons move from one stage to another but not outside group • Bonding with trust is based on demands of custom v.s. a measure of the individual performance of given individual

  6. Dependency within the Family • Lateral extended kin - horizontal basis that carries brunt of dependency flow • Tension diluted by stretching discipline lines • Importance of respect mechanism • Emphasis on mutuality, reciprocity - setting things right in family disputes through face-to-face encounters (Hawaiian, 'ohana' practice)

  7. Dependency within the Community • emphasis on sharing, support between all groups/subunits within community - reciprocity • emphasis on exchange of services (time & energy) • importance of “doing” for others - involvement, commitment

  8. Types of Independence • Opposing dependency - supremacy of self outside of flow, emphasis on self first and foremost (sociological independence - Independence Complex) • Positive dependency - freedom to make choices within a cooperative framework (caring about others)

  9. Factors Influencing the Nature of Dependency Flow • Length of time (history) that you've had with someone - continuity, commonality • Nature of the "kinship" bond (biological vs non-biological and significance of the difference) • Nature of the interaction and intensity of the bond (e.g., life & death situation - wartime buddies)

  10. Factors Influencing the Nature of Dependency Flow • Location - distance limits the type & frequency of interaction (being able to call upon them), limits involvement • Common interests - ties are with people with whom you share important parts of your life - work, school, leisure activities, etc.

  11. Factors Influencing the Nature of Dependency Flow • Personal background/history - personality traits, coming from a disengaged vs enmeshed family; significance of "poisonous pedagogy" - disfunctional traits carried from childhood • Gender and Ethnic Background - differences in socialization patterns of females v.s. males and how they are expressed within the socio-cultural context

  12. Positive Dependency Features • Commitment (“amae”) - presume on each other’s convenience, call on in time of need • Involvement - engaged in daily activities • Bonding - established history, being a part of one’s life • Obligation - there to help each other out

  13. Positive Dependency Features • Reciprocity - doing for one another • Trust - being able to count on one another, a known quantity • Continuity - sense of community/”family” that extends over time

  14. Kinship Exercise • Frequency of interaction -- how often do you communicate with them, what is the nature of the communication? • What areas of life do you share with different members? • economic - support each other • social - get together at family reunions, spend week-end in shared activities, etc. • religious - go to church together, etc.

  15. Kinship Exercise • Role obligations and/or responsibilities -- what have you done for them recently & what have they done for you?, when you get into trouble, who are you most likely to call upon? • Note any patterns in the nature of your interaction with kin -- do you interact with some more than others and if so why? Is it because they live close by, share common interests and values, and/or because they are relatives?

  16. Ethnic Families in America • Significance of “primordial attachments’- belonging to a given ethnic group with a unique cultural heritage • Changing perspective of “Americanization”, assimilation -renewed ethnic consciousness • Focus of identity and solidarity lies in family’s ability to socialize members into ethnic culture

  17. Features of Ethnic Families • Emphasis on family activities - eating "ethnic" foods • Structure of the family - traditionally typically large extended families, patriarchal ideal, father-headed, mother-centered; strong family orientation; trend to smaller more nuclear families, increasing impact of socialization by outside institutions

  18. Features of Ethnic Families -2 • Ideology - emphasis on trust within group/family loyalty to kin first; emphasis on honor of the family • Cohesion/integration - traditional unity as the primary social & economic unit, emphasis on supportive family rituals; presently less likely to operate as such • Limited Geographic mobility -- place oriented to a considerable degree

  19. Focus of Articles in Ethnic Families • Historical background of immigration patterns • Demographic characteristics (rates of marriage, divorce, intermarriage) • Structure of the family (distribution of status, authority, responsibility within nuclear family) & extended kin networks

  20. Focus of Articles in Ethnic Families • Cultural values - achievement, style of life, educational & occupational aspirations; reflected in socialization patterns • Characteristics at different stages of the family life cycle - form of acculturation/assimilation taking place

  21. Overview of Immigrant Family in U.S. • 18th cen. Mercantilism, great transformation to large scale capitalist enterprises w/ rise of proletariats in 19th cen. (push factors); opportunities in U.S. (pull factors) • Immigration waves: 1) 1832-82 (old); 2) 1882-1930 (new - Irish, Germans); 3)”great lull” 1925-’65; 4) 1965 on - Asians, Indians, Pacific Islders., circular & transmodern migration patterns

  22. American Catholic Irish Family • Immigration over extended period (200 yrs); • Irish Catholic in Ireland: peasant tenant potato farmers; stem-family (impartible inheritance by favored son); • only single daughters worked outside the home, married women did not; patriarchal family structure

  23. Irish Immigration Patterns • family patterns promoted high number of single women & men who then migrated to the U.S. • Colonial period to 1815 - mostly small farmers, protestant, single, from N. Ireland • 1815 to Great Famine - increasing numbers of Catholics from S. Ireland

  24. Irish Immigration Patterns • Immigration after Great Famine (1845-48) - ‘47-’54, 1.25 million (1851-1900, 3 mill.); young (15-35) mostly single, Catholic, S & W Ireland; 1901-’24, 700,000, majority single women • Primarily went to cities - East Coast (Boston, New York), St Louis, Chicago, San Francisco

  25. American Irish Catholic - Patterns • Catholic church powerful institution in U.S., personal salvation theology, strong service, mutual aid organizations • Changed reference groups - from comparing to Irish in Ireland to other American Irish • Harsh work experience, manual labor discrimination, slow upward class mobility; high number of housholds headed by women

  26. American Irish Catholic - Patterns • 1920-50 established parish life, ethnically & ecologically nucleated; behavioral constraints, conform via gossip; children obedient & respectful, achieve in school & sports (boys) • Modern - working class - family & religion key, favotism toward sons, male dominance, use of alcohol, focus on action;

  27. American Irish Catholic - Patterns • middle class - various sub groups - those emphasizing education & achievement along w/ more traditional Catholics; family solidarity remains key • Problems - care of elderly, marital disruption, feminism, divisiveness within Catholic Church

  28. Italian American Family • Immigration - increased beginning 1870’s, peak, 1901-14 (mostly young men) • Early ethnic family, 1850-1920 - primarily from South Italy, insulated from mainstream America; emphasis on la famiglia, patrilineal extended clan supplemented by comparaggio (godparenthood);

  29. Italian American Family • father-headed, mother-centered, emphasis on family honor, solidarity, maintaining “face” of family • 2nd generation- smaller families, most in NE; lower rates of divorce, higher endogamy than most other ethnic groups (decreases w/ education), strong sibling solidarity;

  30. Italian American Family Values • la famiglia, respect & care for elders; • strong work ethic (“ben educato” - good manners, resistence to formal education) derived from predominantly peasant background; • significant continuity in cultural values despite social & physical mobility

  31. The Korean-American Family - History • pioneer immigration to Hawaii 1903-05 (uneducated, unskilled laborers); • Korean war brides, 1950's - intermarriage with servicemen, higher divorce rates • main immigration after 1965 Immigration Act (3rd largest after Mexicans & Filipinos, key emphasis on family unity - increased numbers of kin brought over), educated professionals & technicians

  32. The Korean-American Family • traditional family - patriarchial, strong influence of Confucianism (respect for & obedience to parents & elders, filial piety/ancestor worship); • married women did not work, subordinate to husband’s authority • education viewed as the main avenue for social mobility

  33. New Korean Immigrants • primarily West Coast (30% in California) - in large urban areas - Los Angeles, New York, Chicago • larger families (live with parents until marriage), lower divorce rate than Americans (higher than in Korea) • high female labor-force participation rate - mostly in small businesses --grocery stores, green groceries, fast food services (unable to find jobs to match status in Korea);

  34. New Korean Immigrants • double day for women; continued traditional socialization for boys & girls • strengthed conjugal ties, focus on family (positive dependency); strong extended kin ties • primary area of intergroup conflict - white suppliers, black ghetto residents

  35. The Chinese-American Family • In the U.S., significant numbers for 130+ years; largest Asian group in U.S. • little research on Chinese-American family, no typical family • major features - stable family unit (low divorce & illegitimacy); close ties between generations; economic self-sufficiency

  36. The Chinese-American Family • traditional family - patriarchial, patrilocal, patrilineal - father & eldest son primary authority; ancestor worship, filial piety (significance of tzu); concept of "face" • Acculturation - lessening of above, also reflected in the increase in interracial marriages among young

  37. Chinese Immigration Patterns • "Mutilated"/"split" family (1850-1920) -primarily men (Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882, 1888 Scott Act) • Small producer family (1920-43) - second generation Chinese population (discrimination of 1924 Immigration Act - citizens with chinese ancestry not allowed to send for wives & families)

  38. Chinese Immigration Patterns • Normalization of Chinese family (1943-65) - 1945 War Brides Act, 1948 Displaced Persons Act • Ghetto & professional Chinese family (1965-present) - ghetto - dual worker family, new immigrants in Chinatown (segregation work & family life); professional - middle-class, white-collar, suburbs, more modern & cosmopolitan - "semiextended" family points to continued importance of kin ties

  39. Male Dominance in Peasant Families Four Features of Peasant Society • Clearcut ideology of male dominance - does not necessarily reflect the reality of the peasant situation particularly with respect to the role women play. • A preference toward males in inheritance rules and residence patterns.

  40. Male Dominance in Peasant Families • Predominance of males in prestigeful productive activities, namely agriculture, which does NOT necessarily indicate who controls or makes the most decisions regarding the allocation of products • Social segregation of the sexes with an emphasis on male authority within the household

  41. Presence of Complementary Roles in the Peasant Family • Women are primarily associated with the domestic domain, which is of central importance in peasant society (source of female power) • Peasants are relatively powerless in their relationship to the larger society of which they are a part, and face-to-face interaction is significant within the community.

  42. Presence of Complementary Roles in the Peasant Family • Ergo, informal relationships and forms of power are as significant as formal authorized relations and forms of power (this serves as a second basis of female power) • Males have greater access to jural and other formal rights and are occupied with activities overtly considered to be important. (This is the basis of the ideology of male dominance.)

  43. Peasant Family Structure • Men and women are equally dependent on each other in important ways. (Source of the balance of power between the sexes.). • In summary, the first two components above, provide the basis for feminine power; the third insures the presence of an ideology of male dominance; and the fourth, maintenance of a balance of power between the sexes (complementarity) which is achieved by acting out the "myth" of male dominance.

  44. Vietnamese American Family • Approximately 600,000 currently in U.S., more than 1 million have fled to the West • Traditional society/culture - 4 classes: scholars (most respected); peasant farmers; craftsmen; businessmen • village next in importance after family as a positive dependency network • patriarchal family, center of individual’s life

  45. History of Immigration - Four Waves • Educated - end of the war, April ‘75, more educated, successful adaptation • Boat people - ‘78-’79 - ethnic chinese vietnamese business people • Escapees - via Thailand, Malaysia, walked across Laos etc. • Orderly departees emigrated in “79 after Viet. govt. allowed them to join relatives abroad

  46. Traditional Vietnamese Extended Family - Ho • Truong Toc - head of family, oldest male, responsible for care of ancestors • Mother - no power, priveleges, obey father, husband, eldest son; only area of equality, property & debts; had rights only as a mother, obeyed & respected by children • Piety for parents, most significant moral obligation

  47. Traditional Socialization & Marriage • sex segregation in socialization, fa-son; mo-da; mother blamed for child’s misconduct • siblings, age-hierarchy significant; share all within family • boys, formal schooling, not for girls • boys - may marry at 16 (usually later), girls, 13; arranged by family; emphasis on children; patrilocal residence; taboo to marry foreigners

  48. Vietnamese Family in America • U.S. - Texas & especially California (highest number of SE Asian refugees) • significant values - care for family members, family first before individual, self-sufficiency based on family; • compared with other Asian Americans, have highest percentage of extended families (55%)

  49. Vietnamese Family in America • four family patterns - nuclear family; incomplete extended family; broken family (father or mother, some children, rest in Vietnam or dead); one person family • young population; only Asian group with high percentage of female-headed households

  50. Vietnamese Family in America • Changes - more freedom/independence by young; father less absolute control; • women, significantly higher fertility than other Asian Americans (fewer kids w/ more education); • Conflicts: Vietnamese vs American identity (“marginal man”), parents & children; role conflict between husband/wife; less respect for aged