Families and their Social Worlds / Edition 1

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Families and their Social Worlds, 1/E

Karen Seccombe, Portland State University
ISBN-10: 0205516459

Applying the sociological imagination to explore the private, public, and institutional nature of the Family.

This text examines the private, personal side of family life as well the public, institutional nature of the Family. Karen Seccombe explores how many family concerns are actually social issues that need to be addressed through sound social policies.

Families and Their Social Worlds shows that our conceptions of families are imbedded within our social structure, and that families represent a set of rules, regulations and norms that are situated in a particular culture in a particular historical time. Important policy considerations are imbedded in each chapter to illustrate what is currently being done, and perhaps even more importantly, what can be done to strengthen families and intimate relationships.

The author encourages students to think about families beyond their own personal experiences, and even beyond family structure in the United States. Her goal is to impart a passion for critical thinking as students see that families exist within social worlds.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205516452
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/17/2007
  • Series: MyFamilyLab Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 7.82 (w) x 10.18 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

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 healthcare, and the effects of social inequality on families. She is the author of “So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?” Welfare Recipients’ Perspectives on the System and its Reform, 2nd edition (Allyn and Bacon); Families in Poverty (Allyn and Bacon); Access to Healthcare: The Neglected Dimension of Welfare Reform (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming), and Marriages and Families: Relationships in Social Context, with Rebecca. L. Warner (Wadsworth). She is a member of the National Council on Family Relations, the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association, where she has held elective offices.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Understanding Families in Their Social Context

Chapter 1: Families and the Sociological Imagination

What are Families?

The Sociological Imagination

World Map 1.1: Comparative Infant Mortality Rates

Families and Social Change

The State and Family Policy

Themes of This Book

Box 1.1: Using the Sociological Imagination: Ideology of "Family" Shapes Perceptions of Immigrant Children

Box 1.2: Our Global Community: Adolescence Among the Masai

Selective Versus Universal

Family Policy and Family Values

Example: Welfare Reform

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

Functions of the Family: Variations and Universals

Sources of Comparative Data

Variations in Marriage Patterns

Box 2.1: Our Global Community: Marriage among the !Kung San of Southern Africa

World Map 2.1: Monogamy

Box 2.2: Using the Sociological Imagination: A Personal Ad From Adolph, Mary, and Megan

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?

Piecing Together the History of Family Life

Families and Societies

Families in Pre-Industrial Societies

Family Life in Pre-Industrial United States

American Families in the 19th Century

Box 3.1: Social Policies for Families: The Nineteenth Amendment is Ratified

Families in the 20th Century: The Rise of the "Modern" Family

Box 3.2: Family As Lived Experience: Coming of Age in the Depression

Recent Family Issues and Their Historical Roots

Chapter 4: Sex, Gender, and Families

Sex and Gender: What’s the Difference?

Box 4.1: Using the Sociological Imagination: Transgendered Experience Leads Scientist to Critique Sex and Gender Differences

Where Do We Learn Gender?

Box 4.2: Family As Lived Experience: The Thing About Thongs

Class, Race and Ethnicity, and Gender

Box 4.3: Using the Sociological Imagination: Modernization and Changing Latino Conceptions of


The Pitfalls of Masculinity

Institutional Sex Discrimination: Patriarchy

Does Patriarchy Exist in Western Nations?

Map 4.1: Eye on the World: Comparative Literacy Rates -- Literature Women as Percenage of Literate Men Worldwide Between 15-24 Years, 2000-2004

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

Box 5.1: Using the Sociological Imagination: The Social Register, Class or Caste?

Family Focus: How Class Matters: Health, Health Insurance, and Family Well-being

Families in Poverty

Box 5.2: Social Policies for Families: Making Ends Meet on A Poverty Budget

Map 5.1: Eye on the World: A Comparative Look at the Purchasing Power Parity, in U.S. Dollars (2004)

Box 5.3: Our Global Community: “Nalim” in Bhutan

Family Resiliency

Social Policy and Family Resilience

Chapter 6: Race and Ethnic Variations in Families

Increasing Diversity in the US


Defining Basic Concepts

Box 6.1: Families As Lived Experience: Loving Across the Color Line: A White Adoptive

Mother Learns About Race

Map 6.1: Eye on the World: Comparative Ethnic and Racial Diversity

How Do Race and Ethnicity Influence Family and Close Relationships?

Hispanic and Latino Families

Black Families

Asian American Families

Box 6.3: Our Global Community: One Child’s Very Special First Fourth of July

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

Box 7.1: Using the Sociological Imagination: The Historical Relationship Between Love and Marriage



Sexual Scripts

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Box 7.2: Family As Lived Experience: What is Genital Herpes?

Heterosexual Cohabitation

Gay and Lesbian Intimate Relationships

Social Policy and Family Resilience

Chapter 8: Marriage: A Personal Relationship and Social Institution

The Universality of Marriage

Box 8.1: Our Global Community: Iraqi Marriages: "It's Safer to Marry a Cousin than a Stranger"

The Changing Nature of Marriage

Box 8.2: Social Policies for Families: Antimiscegenation Laws

The 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

Map 9.1: Eye on the World: Comparative Total Fertility Rates, 2005

Fertility Rates in the United States

Box 9.1: Using the Sociological Imagination: Having a Baby at 50 or 60

Box 9.2: Families as Lived Experience: The “Costs” of Raising a Child

The Social Construction Childbirth

The Transition to Parenthood

Social Policy and Family Resilience

Box 9.3: Social Policies for Families: The Family Medical Leave Act

Chapter 10: Raising Children

Comparative Focus on Childhood and Parenting

Box 10.1: Our Global Community: Searching for Wages and Mothering From Afar: The Case of Honduran Transnational Families


Parenting styles and practices

Box 10.2: Families As Lived Experience: We Have Love Bouncing Off the Walls at Our House

Parenting Contexts

Social Policy and Family Resilience

Chapter 11: Families and the Work They Do

The Changing Economy and Work

Juggling Work and Family Life

Box 11.1: Social Policies for Families: Fixing Social INsecurity

The Division of Household Labor

Box 11.2: Families As Lived Experience: “Mini-Moms” Created As Low-Income Families Search for Affordable Day Care.


Social Policy and Family Resilience

Chapter 12: Aging Families

Changing Demographics

Map12.1: Eye on the World: Comparative Aging -- Percent of Population over Age 65, 2000

Map12.2: Eye on the World: Comparative Aging -- Percent of Population over Age 65, 2030

Box 12.1: Families as Lived Experience: Celebrating My Grandmother's Birthday

Historical Perspectives

Prevailing Theories of Aging

The Economics of Aging

Box 12.2: Social Policies for Families: The Roots of Social Security

The Aging Couple

Relationships with Children and Grandchildren


Box 12.3: Family As Lived Experience: What Is It Like to Be a Grandparent?



Social Policy and Family Resilience

Part III: Social Problems and Families

Chapter 13: Violence and Abuse

Gender-Based Violence: An International Human Rights Issue

How Americans Define and Measure Family

Box 13.1: Our Global Community: May and Parvati: The End of a Dream

Dating Violence

Spouse/Partner Abuse

Box 13.2: Social Policies for Families: History of the Battered Women’s Shelter Movement

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

Map 14.1: Eye on the World: Comparative Divorce Rates Per 1,000 People

Box 14.1: Our Global Community: Japanese Divorce and Custody Law

Historical Trends in the United States

Factors Associated with Divorce

The Dimensions of the Divorce Experience

Sex Differences in the Divorce Experience

Consequences of Divorce on Children

Repartnering and Remarriage

Box 14.2: Family As Lived Experience: Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends

Stepfamily Relationships

Social Policy and Family Resilience

Part IV: What Have We Learned?

Chapter 15: Summing It Up: What Sociology Can Teach Us About Families

The Sociological Imagination

Map 15.1: Eye on the World: Adults and Children Estimated to be Living with HIV in 2006

Box 15.1: Our Global Community: HIV/AIDS: Girls Are Very Vulnerable

Using the Sociological Imagination: Themes of the Text Revisited

Box 15.2: Using the Sociological Imagination: Managing the Stigma of Welfare

Future Trends: Where Are Families Heading?

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