Focus & Scope Assumptions
These are the assumptions that provide the foundation for Family Life Course Development Theory.
1. Developmental processes are inevitable and important in understanding families.
- Individual family members, Interaction between family members, Structure of family, and The norms composing expectations about family roles all change over time. These changing roles and expectations for different stages of family are viewed as essential to an understanding of the family.
2. The family group is affected by all the levels of analysis.
Social system (Institutional norms and conventions about the family) e.g. legal expectations like child abuse laws
Aggregate Clusters (Families and norms structured by class and ethnicity) Social group - Family
Sub-group - Relationships (e.g. Husband -Wife, Siblings, etc.)
These general social norms represent the level of analysis of the family as a social institution. This institutional level of analysis is generally the one we refer to when we talk about “The Family” and is the level on which we often conduct cross-cultural comparisons (the U.S. family compared with the Japanese family).
3. Time is Multi-Dimensional
Periodicity - An equal interval of time between each event on the clock. (e.g. jewel movements of a wrist watch‘s gears)
However, our experience of time is perhaps not as regimented as periodicity would lead us to believe.
Social Process Time- Family and personal experiences are used as a separate way to divide up time. (e.g. “When we first married” or “Before your sister was born”)
Social norms are tied more closely to this social process dimension of time than to calendar or wristwatch time.
Subsequently, for Family Life Course Development Theory, the family process dimension of time is critical to understanding and explaining family change because it provides the marker events for analyses. (E.g. births, weddings, deaths, etc.)