Families and their Social Worlds

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-01-21
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Exploring the private side of family life together with the public, institutional nature of the #x1C;the Family#x1D; through a sociological lens. #xA0; Families and Their Social Worlds shows that many family concerns are actually social issues that need to be addressed through sound#xA0;social policies. The author encourages#xA0;readers to think about families beyond their own personal experiences, and even beyond family structure in the United States.#xA0;Her goal is#xA0;to impart a passion for critical thinking as#xA0;readers see that families exist within social worlds.#xA0;#xA0;Important policy considerations are imbedded in each chapter#xA0;to illustrate what is currently being done, and perhaps even more importantly, what can be done to strengthen families and intimate relationships.

Author Biography

Karen Seccombe is a professor in the School of Community Health at Portland State University, located in Portland, Oregon. She received her B.A. in sociology at California State University, Chico, her M.S.W. in health and social welfare policy from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University. Her research focuses on poverty, welfare, access to health care, and the effects of social inequality on families. She is the author of Marriage and Family: You and Society (Pearson); “So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?”: Welfare Recipients’ Perspectives on the System and its Reform, 3rd edition (Allyn and Bacon); Families in Poverty (Allyn and Bacon); Just Don’t Get Sick: Access to Health Care in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform, with Kim Hoffman (Rutgers University Press), and Marriages and Families: Relationships in Social Context, with Rebecca L. Warner (Wadsworth). She is a National Council on Family Relations fellow, and a member of the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association, where she has held elective offices. Karen lives in Portland with her husband Richard, a health economist, her ten-year-old daughter, Natalie Rose, and her eight-year-old daughter, Olivia Lin. In her spare time she enjoys hiking near their cabin in the Oregon Cascades, walking the sandy beaches of the Oregon coast, exploring the kid-friendly playgrounds, attractions, and restaurants in Portland and surrounding areas, and traveling just about anywhere–the San Juan Islands are high on her list.

Table of Contents







Chapter 1:    Families and the Sociological Imagination  

Chapter 2:    Families Throughout the World: Marriage, Family, and Kinship  

Chapter 3:    Families Throughout History  

Chapter 4:    Sex, Gender, and Families  

Chapter 5:    Social Stratification, Social Class, and Families  

Chapter 6:    Race, Ethnicity, and Families  

Chapter 7:   Courtship, Intimacy, and Partnering  

Chapter 8:    Marriage: A Personal Relationship and Social Institution  

Chapter 9:    Becoming a Parent  

Chapter 10:  Raising Children  

Chapter 11:  Families and the Work They Do  

Chapter 12:  Aging Families  

Chapter 13:  Violence and Abuse  

Chapter 14:  Divorce and Repartnering  

Chapter 15:  Summing It Up: Families and the Sociological Imagination  





Part I: Understanding Families and Their Social Worlds


Chapter 1: Families and the Sociological Imagination  

                                            What Are Families?

                                            The Sociological Imagination

                                            Familes and Social Change

                                            The State and Family Policy

                                            Themes of This Book



Chapter 2: Families Throughout the World: Marriage, Family, and Kinship  

                                            Functions of the Family: Variations and Universals

                                            Differences in Marriage and Family Pattern

                                            Patterns of Power and Authority

                                            Patterns of Kinship, Descent, and Inheritance

                                            Patterns of Residence

                                            Modernization Theory: Social Change and Families

                                            World Systems Theory: Social Change and Families

                                            Families Around the World



Chapter 3: Families Throughout History  

                                            Why Study Family History?

                                            Families in Preindustrial Socities

                                            Family Life in Preindustrial United States

                                            American Families in the Nineteenth Century

                                            Families in the Twentieth Centry: The Rise of the "Modern" Family

                                            Recent Family Issues and Their Historical Roots



Chapter 4: Sex, Gender, and Families  

                                            Sex and Gender: What's the Difference?

                                            Where Do We Learn Gender?

                                            The Pitfalls of Masculinity

                                            Institutional Sex Discrimination: Patriarchy

                                            Does Patriarchy Exist in Western Nations?

                                            Implications for Families

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 5: Social Stratification, Social Class, and Families  

                                            Social Class and Family Relationships

                                            What Is Social Stratification?

                                            Social Class in the United States

                                            Family Focus, How Calss Matters: Health, Health Insurance, and Family Well-Being

                                            Families in Poverty

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 6: Race, Ethnicity, and Families  

                                            Increasing Diversity in the United States


                                            Defining Basic Concepts

                                            How Do Race and Ethnicity Influence Family and Close Relationships?

                                            Hispanic and Latino Families

                                            Black Families

                                            Asian American Families

                                            Native American and Alaska Native Families

                                            Interracial and Interethnic Families

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Part II:   Negotiating Family Relationships


Chapter 7: Courtship, Intimacy, and Partnering  

                                            Courtship and Mate Selection



                                            Heterosexual Cohabitation

                                            Gay and Lesbian Commitment and Cohabitation

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 8: Marriage: A Personal Relationship and Social Institution  

                                            The Universality of Marriage

                                            The Changing Nature of Marriage

                                            Benefits of Marriage

                                            Marital Happiness, Satisfaction, and Success

                                            The Marriage Movement

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 9: Becoming a Parent  

                                            Population and Fertility Trends Worldwide

                                            Fertility Rates in the United States

                                            Deciding to Parent

                                            The Social Construction of Childbirth

                                            The Transition to Parenthood

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 10: Raising Children  

                                            Comparative Focus on Childhood and Parenting


                                            Parenting Styles and Practices       

                                            Parenting Contexts

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 11: Families and the Work They Do  

                                            The Changing Economy and Work

                                            Life in a Recession

                                            The Division of Household Labor

                                            Juggling Work and Family Life

                                            Child Care? Who's Minding the Children?

                                            Social Policy and Famli Resilience



Chapter 12: Aging Families   

                                            Changing Demographics

                                            Historical Perspectives

                                            Prevailing Theories of Aging

                                            The Economics of Aging

                                            The Aging Couple

                                            Relationships with Children and Grandchildren



                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Part III:   Social Problems and Families


Chapter 13: Violence and Abuse  

                                            Gender-Based Violence: An International Human Rights Issue

                                           Intimate Partner Violence

                                           Child Abuse

                                           Elder Abuse

                                           Explanations for Violence and Abuse Among Intimates

                                           Social Policy and Family Resilience



Chapter 14: Divorce and Repartnering      

                                           Measuring Divorce

                                           Cross Cultural Comparisons  

                                            Historical Trends in the United States

                                            Factors Associated with Divorce

                                            The Stations of the Divorce Experience

                                            Consequences of Divorce for Children

                                            Repartnering and Remarriage

                                            Stepfamily Relationships

                                            Social Policy and Family Resilience



Part IV:   What Have We Learned?


Chapter 15: Summing It Up: Families and the Sociological Imagination  

                                            The Sociological Imagination

                                             Using the Sociological Imagination: Themes of the Text Revisited

                                             Future Trends: Where Are Families Heading?


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