SO 302 Park University Unit 3 Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage Discussion

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Unit 3: Discussion


In this unit, we will focus our attention on marriage, cohabitation and partnership. Specifically, we will look at why people still marry, configurations of the family, the benefits of marriage, cohabitation, and remaining childless. Symbolic interactionism, a micro level theory, will be examined and applied to family.


  1. Identify various configurations of the family
  2. Understand how families are formed and marital stability
  3. Apply symbolic interactionism to family
  4. Apply class knowledge to everyday lives and personal lives


After reading the articles assigned for the week in your Ferguson text, fully answer the questions asked on each article. Each unit, you are required to post to ALL discussion prompts but only one peer post per unit is required. You must post first before you will see other classmate’s postings.

Topic 1: “The deinstitutionalization of American marriage”

The author speaks of the deinstitutionalization of marriage which means the weakening of social norms on the way people feel about it. He also argues that marriage has declined due to it no longer being considered as a universal setting for childbearing, gay and lesbian relationships and the high number of people of cohabitating. Since marriage in deinstitutionalizing, cohabitation is institutionalizing. Furthermore, marriage is now a choice, not a necessity. Since single parenting and cohabitation are so acceptable in our society now, why do people still want to get married? Which direction do you see marriage heading in the future (more marriage, less marriage, a continuation of the deinstitutionalization of marriage)?

Topic 2: “Marriage: the good, the bad and the greedy”

What are the pros and cons of marriage? What do you buy into more? Explain. How does marriage weaken ties to the community and to kin? Explain why marriage is greedy. Do agree or disagree with this and why? Explain what marriage promotion does.

Topic 3: “Families formed outside of marriage”

What are the pros and cons of cohabitating? Should police allow for more domestic partnership benefits? If so, why marry? What are your thoughts on cohabitation? Would you ever? Have you and if so, what have been your experiences on it?

Topic 4: “Women without children: A contradiction in terms?”

Discuss some of the reasons why some people do not want children. What might influence your decision to have them or if you have kids, what influenced your decision?

Topic 5: Apply any of the readings this week to your own life.

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