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Sociology of Families
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Sociology of Families
Change, Continuity, and Diversity

First Edition
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August 2016 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Proud sponsor of the 2019 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award—enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.

The family patterns seen in recent decades—cohabitation, divorce, nonmarital childbearing, same-sex marriage and childrearing—can seem like radical changes from the past. But upon closer examination, many are consistent with broader trends that have been going on for centuries. Sociology of Families: Change, Continuity, and Diversity considers this tension between change and continuity, situating families in a social, historical, and economic context, and emphasizing how these contexts create family diversity and inequality. By incorporating diverse family structures into each chapter, author Teresa Ciabattari has written a text that challenges idealized assumptions about how families should be, and instead explores the complex realities of how families actually are.

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award

Find out more at www.sagepub.com/sociologyaward

 
About the Author
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
Chapter 1- Introduction
Family Change, Family Continuity

 
Family Diversity and Inequality

 
Sociological Perspective on Families

 
Applying the Sociological Perspective: The Standard North American Family and the Ideology of Separate Spheres

 
Understanding Contemporary Families

 
A Demographic Snapshot of the U.S. Population

 
Looking Ahead

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 2- Defining Family
Defining Family: Four Approaches

 
1. Family as Structure

 
2. Family as Household

 
3. Family Roles

 
4. Family as Interaction: Doing Family

 
Defining Family: A Summary

 
How Americans Define Family

 
Extended Families

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Defining Families

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 3- Sociological Methods and Theories in the Study of Families
Scientific Method

 
Micro and Macro Approaches to Studying Families

 
Research Methods

 
Theoretical Frameworks in the Sociology of Families

 
Structural-Functionalism

 
Conflict Theory

 
Symbolic Interactionism

 
Feminist Theories

 
Social Exchange Theory

 
Life Course Theory

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Family Methods and Theories

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 4- Young Adults and the Transition to Adulthood
Defining the Transition to Adulthood

 
Transition to Adulthood in Historical Context

 
Transition to Adulthood in the Early 21st Century

 
Economic Uncertainty and Higher Education

 
Changing Patterns of Family Formation

 
Changing Relationships With Parents

 
Young Adult Sexuality and Romantic Partnerships

 
Dating in Historical Context

 
Decline of Dating and the Rise of Hookup Culture

 
Sexual Debut

 
Hooking Up

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in the Transition to Adulthood

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 5- Marriage and Cohabitation
Marriage and Divorce in Historical Context

 
Institutional Marriage

 
Companionate Marriage

 
Individualized Marriage

 
Contemporary Coupling

 
Cohabitation

 
Nonmarital Fertility

 
Same-Sex Marriage

 
Marriage Markets

 
Marriage, Cohabitation, and Education

 
Marriage, Cohabitation, and Race-Ethnicity

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Marriage and Cohabitation

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 6- Divorce and Relationship Dissolution
Rising—and Declining—Divorce

 
Demography of Divorce

 
The Process of Uncoupling

 
Legal Divorce

 
Parental Divorce

 
Financial Divorce

 
Emotional and Social Divorce

 
Relationship Dissolution and Children

 
Relationship Dissolution Among Unmarried Parents

 
Supporting Children When Parents Break Up

 
Economic Support

 
Reducing Conflict

 
Effective Parenting

 
Relationships With Fathers

 
Fewer Transitions

 
Remarriage and Blended Families

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Divorce and Relationship Dissolution

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 7- Parents and Children
Children and Parents in Historical Context

 
Childhood: Economically Useful to Emotionally Priceless

 
Fatherhood: Moral Overseer to Breadwinner

 
Motherhood: Productivity to Domesticity

 
Issues in Contemporary Childrearing

 
Demographic Patterns in Fertility

 
Time With Children

 
Parenting as a Gendered Practice

 
Parenting Ideologies and Social Class

 
Immigrant and Transnational Parenting

 
Gay and Lesbian Parenting

 
Opting Out of Parenthood

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Parenting and Childhood

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 8- Family Work
Ideology of Separate Spheres

 
Defining Care Work

 
Empirical Patterns of Employment, Housework, and Childcare

 
Women’s Employment Before 1950

 
Women’s and Men’s Employment Since 1950

 
Housework

 
Macro-Level Perspectives on Housework

 
Childcare

 
Work–Family Conflict and Social Policy

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in Family Work

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 9- Family Lives of Older Adults
Defining Old Age

 
Demographic Context

 
Romantic Relationships Among Older Adults

 
Grandparenting

 
Grandparents as Caregivers

 
Intergenerational Solidarity and Ambivalence

 
Intergenerational Exchanges

 
Parents Helping Adult Children

 
Adult Children Helping Parents

 
Ambivalence, Individualism, and Intergenerational Support

 
Family Complexity and Aging Families

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in the Family Lives of Older Adults

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Chapter 10- Social Policy and the Future of Families
Defining Family

 
Family Change

 
Family Continuity

 
Family Diversity, Inequality, and Social Policy

 
Housing Policy and Family Inequality

 
State Welfare Policy and Family Inequality

 
Future of American Families

 
Economic Inequality and the Growing Class Divide in Families

 
Immigration, Race-Ethnicity, and Family Ties

 
Unfinished Revolution in Gender and Sexuality

 
Change, Continuity, and Diversity in American Families

 
Main Ideas

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

Supplements

Instructor Site

  Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Microsoft® Word test bank, is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

    • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards reinforce understanding of key terms and concepts that have been outlined in the chapters.
    • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.
    • Video and multimedia links that appeal to students with different learning styles.

“The integration of issues of race, class, gender and sexuality into each chapter, rather than focusing on them in separate chapters is a strength [of Sociology of Families].  Students need to see how race, class, gender and sexuality influence everything, and by repeatedly referring to these issues in each chapter it will reinforce their importance.”  

Tracey A. LaPierre
University of Kansas

“I like the way [Sociology of Families] powerfully historicizes the concept of the family and actually illustrates many of the myths about contemporary families, while also showing what is distinct about the 21st century family.”

Roland Mitchell
Louisiana State University

“[Sociology of Families] is concise, easy to read, and has some great supporting evidence and/or examples. [ . . . ] There is more focus than in most books on social variation by class, race, and gender.”

Chris Wienke
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

“[Sociology of Families] covers the major topics, and does so in a way that consistently addresses the theme of family continuity and change.  The writing style should engage students in a kind of conversation with the author.”

Liza L. Kuecker
Western New Mexico University
Key features

KEY FEATURES:

  • Considers both the ways that contemporary families have changed and the ideological and behavioral threads that link today’s American families with those of the past.
  • Instead of separate chapters on gender, sexuality, race, and social class, family diversity is integrated throughout the text, so that certain family forms and practices are not perceived as “problems.”
  • Ch. 2 in its entirety is devoted to four different approaches to defining “family,” and demonstrates how our ideas about family shift when we move extended families to the center of analysis.
  • Ch. 3 surveys the main theories and methods used by sociologists to study families, and provides a strong foundation for the remainder of the text.
  • Ch. 4 considers the topics of first sexual experiences and romantic partnerships in the larger context of the transition to adulthood.
  • The author provides a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data, in the form of tables and graphs, to support her arguments about family change and continuity.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4

Chapter 8


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