Choices and Constraints in Family Life / Edition 2

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Today more than ever, relationships and marriage are shaped by personal choices-choices that are, in turn, influenced by family circumstances and events in society, including changes in educational opportunities, employment trends, social policies, technological innovations, media representations, and new ideas about human rights or personal entitlements. At the same time, many expect government and public agencies to play a strong role in protecting them from violent relationships, helping them manage problem children, and supplementing inadequate household incomes. In Canada, recent public debates have probed the validity of new forms of marriage, the difficulty of enforcing child-support payments, and the challenge of interacting with immigrants whose family practices diverge from the majority.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195431599
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Maureen Baker is Professor of Sociology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has taught at several Canadian universities including the University of Toronto and McGill University, as well as in Australia. She has also worked as a senior researcher for Canada's Parliament, specializing in social policy issues relating to families and women. She is author of many books and articles on family and social issues including Restructuring Family Policies: Convergences and Divergences (forthcoming).

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements vii

1 Conceptualizing Families 1

Learning Objectives 1

Chapter Outline 1

Introduction 1

Defining Families 3

Cultural Variations in Families 7

Conceptualizing Family Patterns 13

Methods of Family Research 20

Conclusion 22

Summary 22

Questions for Critical Thought 23

Suggested Readings 23

Suggested Websites 23

2 Forming Relationships 24

Learning Objectives 24

Chapter Outline 24

Introduction 24

Dating as a Recent Social Phenomenon 25

The Social Regulation of Courtship 28

Post-1960s Dating and Sexual Practices 32

Who Marries Whom? 36

The Single Life 40

Conclusion 42

Summary 43

Questions for Critical Thought 43

Suggested Readings 44

Suggested Website 44

3 Cohabitation and Marriage 45

Learning Objectives 45

Chapter Outline 45

Introduction 45

Cohabitation among Heterosexual Couples 46

The Rise in Same-Sex Cohabitation 48

The Social and Policy Implications of Increased Cohabitation 49

The Changing Meaning of Marriage 52

Cultural Practices in Marriage 55

Marriage Rates 62

The Quality of Marriage 64

Barriers to Legal Marriage 66

Conclusion 67

Summary 68

Questions for Critical Thought 68

Suggested Readings 68

Suggested Website 69

4 Child-bearing, Child-rearing, and Childhood 70

Learning Objectives 70

Chapter Outline 70

Introduction 70

Declining Fertility, Smaller Families 71

Parenting and Childhood in the Past 75

Reproduction: A Deliberate Choice? 79

Childbirth, Specialists, and Technology 81

Rearing and Supervising Children 85

Same-Sex Parenting 87

Prolonging Adolescence 88

Conclusion 90

Summary 91

Questions for Critical Thought 91

Suggested Readings91

Suggested Websites 92

5 Family Work and Family Money 93

Learning Objectives 93

Chapter Outline 93

Introduction 93

Cohabitation, Marriage, and Housework 94

Household Money and Wealth Accumulation 98

Changing Labour Markets 103

Gender and Work 105

Employment and Parenthood 107

Low-income Households with Children 108

Employment Leave and Families 112

Conclusion: The Growing Impact of Paid Work on Family Life 114

Summary 115

Questions for Critical Thought 116

Suggested Readings 116

Suggested Websites 116

6 Separation, Divorce, and Re-partnering 117

Learning Objectives 117

Chapter Outline 117

Introduction 117

Why Are So Many Couples Separating? 118

Separation Outcomes 121

Family and Divorce Laws 123

Children, Separation, and Divorce 129

Remarriage and Stepfamilies 132

Conclusion 134

Summary 135

Questions for Critical Thought 135

Suggested Readings 135

Suggested Websites 135

7 Families and the Welfare State 137

Learning Objectives 137

Chapter Outline 137

Introduction 137

What Do We Mean by the 'Welfare State'? 138

Gender, Social Class, and Welfare States 141

Fertility Services and Public Funding 143

Employed Mothers, Childbirth, and Child Care 146

Income Support for Families with Children 148

Protecting Vulnerable Family Members 151

Conclusion 156

Summary 157

Questions for Critical Thought 157

Suggested Readings 157

Suggested Websites 158

8 Constraints on Personal Choices 159

Learning Objectives 159

Chapter Outline 159

Introduction 159

Predicting Future Family Patterns 163

The Future of Family Studies 171

Summary 173

Questions for Critical Thought 173

Suggested Readings 173

Suggested Website 173

Glossary 174

References 179

Index 195

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