Concepts of Family and Marriage
Unit Introduction In this Unit we explore concepts of kinship relationships. We begin by looking at various concepts of family and marriage, examining our own assumptions in this area, and making a conscious effort to remain open to alternate perspectives. We then move on to explore the various roles of the elderly in cultural communities, including or own. In this Unit, we practice the ethnographic tool of Focused GROUP interviews which provide a window into multiple viewpoints of a particular topic as well as dynamics and discussion between individuals around this topic. To reemphasize this point, in this you are observing and recording a small group of people discuss a topic, not interviewing them in isolation from one another. Please review the reading on this technique carefully, and allow sufficient time to gather at least three qualified participants (see assignment) for your focused group interview. Please observe ethnographic protocols concerning "Do no harm" and preserve participant anonymity at all times. Use discretion in proceeding with your assignment, Unit Assignment Kinship Kinship and Changing Roles In this assignment you will practice reflexivity and focused group interview techniques on the topic of kinship, cultural values and roles of elderly individuals.
Part One: Kinship and Family roles As outlined in the Introduction on Kinship, kinship can be traced through biology, through origin, religion, cultural affiliation, or even namesake. If a woman is an unrelated female in one cultural system, your aunt in another system, and your mother in another system, one can easily see how the closeness of an expected bond varies considerably based on the cultural kinship system. New areas of biological kinship based on surrogate conception, and medical intervention are also emerging. Adoptive kin, blended families, fictive kin, including created families, the closeness of some friendships, or non-biological bonds that function as family, are also a powerful kinship systems. 1. Who do you consider to be member of your family? How far back generationally can you go? 2. Are members of your family linked through name, biology, common experience? Identify these connections and how your connections relate to the reading on kinship provided. 3. What is the oldest member of your "family"? What roles do they play in your life? What roles do they fill within the larger social framework?
Part Two A.: Elderly Lives: A Cross-Cultural Perspective READ: Distant Mirrors Chapter Eleven: Encounters with the Elderly in America WATCH ONLINE: The Silver Age (15 min.) In the reading, Encounters with the Elderly in America,Tsuji provides a cross-cultural window into the lives of the elderly in Japan and the US, through her ethnographic research as a graduate student. The film alternately suggests that customs may be changing Japan. Record the following in your written paper: 1. Contrast the status of the elderly and the traditional family structure in the United States and Japan. 2. What aspects of Tsuji's fieldwork on Lake District Senior Center did she “discover” or find surprising? 3. What aspects of Tsuji's fieldwork on Lake District Senior Center did you find most interesting or compelling and why? 4. How did the video provided impact your thinking about these cross-cultural differences? Part Two B: Roles of Elderly Individuals 1. ESSENTIAL READ Online: Introduction to Focus Groups 2. Using the ethical guidelines provided for this course, gather two to three individuals together at the same time for an Informal Focus Group discussion on the topic of diverse roles of "elderly" individual within their families and the larger society These informants can be two three retired or semi-retired individuals (65+ years), or two to three individuals with an "elderly" parent (65+ years). 3. PLEASE FOLLOW THE SPECIFIC GUIDELINES PROVIDED IN THE READING: AN INTRODUCTION TO FOCUS GROUPS. D. SELECT your 4-5 Focus Group questions from the list provided in the Introduction to Focus Groups reading that you will use as a framework for the group discussion. E. Using your 4-5 selected questions as a framework, as well as any applicable techniques provided for focus groups from the assigned reading, initiate a focus group discussion with your selected participants. Record their thoughts in a written narrative for the second part of your written paper. Total Paper length: 4 pgs. 12 pt Times New Roman font double spaced. Please ALSO include your selected focus group questions and a source page. Citation Guidelines For this course, I prefer that you use the Chicago Manual style but will accept APA or MLA as appropriate. For the purposes of this course you need only be concerned with appropriate in-text citations and source page citations. Please cite: Any relevant foundational readings provided for the unit exercise Your methodological interaction while preserving the anonymity of the participants. For example: "Focused Group Interview (Anonymous) Flagstaff, Arizona. Sept 1 2016 video options: REQUIRED WATCH Online: The Silver Age (15 min.) OPTIONAL Online Kinship Video One: Relative Values (15 min.) OPTIONAL Online Kinship Video Two: The Dance Within.