Lesbian Family Relationships in American Society: The Making of an Ethnographic Film

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This book explores intimate relationships in lesbian families living in American society. From an insider's point of view, it examines how relationships within these families form and develop, what special concerns and problems result, what personal gains the family members derive from these types of families, and how motherhood and parenthood evolve. This work is a companion to Dr. Asten's ethnographic video, Intimate Relationships in Three Lesbian Families Living in American Society.

Most of the literature on lesbian families compares heterosexual families to lesbian families and uses the researcher's perspective as the core unit of analysis. In contrast, this work is an interrelated filmed/written ethnography which is the result of participant observation and feminist participatory research. It includes not only the researcher's data analysis but also the participants' reaction to and interaction with the process. Providing a unique understanding of the diversity of the American family, this is an important contribution to the growing fields of lesbian/feminist studies and visual anthropology, as well as sociology and psychology. For a copy of the video, Intimate Relationships in Three Lesbian Families Living in American Society, that accompanies this book, contact Dr. Maureen A. Asten, 1 Fifth Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545. Telephone: (508) 799-9746.

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Editorial Reviews

An ethnographic study of four lesbian families based on participant observation and feminist participatory research. It records perspectives of the family members on such questions as how relationships within the family form and function, how family is defined, special concerns and problems, positive aspects of growing up in a lesbian family, and the shapes of motherhood and parenthood. A 60-minute companion video is available. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275956424
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Pages: 164
  • Lexile: 1050L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

MAUREEN A. ASTEN is Assistant Director of Continuing & Professional Studies, Rabb School of Summer, Special and Continuing Education, Brandeis University.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Family One 7
3 Family Two 29
4 Family Three 49
5 Family Four 67
6 Comparing and Contrasting the Families 87
App. A A Feminist Ethnographic Approach to Lesbian Studies 97
App. B Defining Participatory Observational Cinema and the Filmmaker's Role 101
App. C Description of the Research Process: How the Families Were Identified 105
App. D The Camera in the Research Process and as a Data Collection Tool 107
App. E The Participants' Reactions to the Video Camera/Filmmaker and the Videotape Process 109
App. F The Data Collection Process 117
App. G Data Analysis: Coding Interviews and Making the Video 119
App. H Review of the Literature 125
App. I Legal and Ethical issues 131
App. J Data Collection Forms 135
Bibliography 141
Index 147
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