Sociology of Marriage and the Family: Gender, Love, and Property / Edition 4

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This sociological analysis of the system of marriage and family focuses on the family as an institution in society. It uniquely encompasses many facets of society, and students are able to learn about family seen through a cultural and historical perspective. The book sets a high conceptual standard, but uses informal writing and minimal jargon. It presents the perspectives of critical and questioning academics (feminists, progressives, anti-racists, independent-thinkers, cross-disciplinary types, etc.) within a scholarly, well-researched text. It addresses a host of real world issues and practical concerns.


  • NEW! Updated references and examples, including the latest research available and recent government data and projections on marriages and families (census, bureau of labor statistics, vital statistics records, etc.). No group is minimized in the presentation and commitment to the latest research.
  • NEW! Coordination to outside sources-such as InfoTrac College Edition, the Sociology Web site, and CNN Today Videos-makes the book more user-friendly.
  • NEW! At Virtual Society: The Wadsworth Sociology Resource Center ( you can find surfing lessons (tips to find information on the Web), a career center, links to great Sociology Web sites, as well as updated information on the latest developments in the field of Sociology.
  • A historical view throughout the text.
  • Uses a comparative approach: comparison across time, across cultures, across types of marriages, types of sexualities, between men and women.
  • Presents the family as a property system-rights of sexual possession, economic property rights, and intergenerational property rights.
  • Full chapter on Kinship Politics to the Patriarchal Household, forming a strong anthropological background.
  • Full chapter on Family Violence.
  • Excellent coverage of: inclusion of diverse marriage and family life, i.e. cohabiting, single-parent, gay, Ch, 2, Ch, 5, Ch, 9; shows the interconnectedness of institutions, Ch, 4; history and evolution of love, Ch. 4; parents and children, historical discussion of childhood, Ch. 12; blasts away myths about divorce, Ch. 14.
  • NEW! Many of the A Closer Look boxes feature the theme of religion and families.
  • NEW! Family is defined earlier in the book in Chapter 1.
  • NEW! More emphasis on embracing diversity-more examples using history and cross-cultural examples to emphasize family types from different races, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, etc.
  • NEW! More emphasis on social policy and the ways it can influence the family.
  • NEW! A list of specific theories provides more depth in the theory sections.
  • NEW! A new glossary.
  • NEW! The different themes of the book are better tied together (series of practical issues, the family as an institution, what has shaped it and how is it changing, professionals that deal with family-related problems).
  • NEW! The latest news and research articles online-updated daily and spanning four years! Choose to package InfoTrac College Edition with this text and you and your students will have 4-month's free access to an easy-to-use online database of reliable, full-length articles (not abstracts) from hundreds of top academic journals and popular sources. Contact your Wadsworth/Thomson Learning representative for more information. Available to North American college and university students only. Journals subject to change.
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Editorial Reviews

New edition of a text covering comparative and historical perspectives; diversity in modern families; love, marriage, and childbearing; family realities--housework, violence, relationships; and family changes--divorce & remarriage, life transitions, and the future of the family. The aim is increased understanding of sociological principles as well as increased understanding of and preparation for adult life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830413928
  • Publisher: CENGAGE Learning
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Series: Sociology Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 500

Meet the Author

Dr. Coltrane has written about the inter-relationships among fatherhood, motherhood, marriage, parenting, domestic labor, popular culture, ethnicity, and structural inequality. Results of his research have been published in various scholarly journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Sex Roles, and Gender and Society. Professor Coltrane is author of Gender and Families, Family Man, and coauthor (with Randall Collins) of Sociology of Marriage and the Family: Gender, Love, and Property. Dr. Coltrane serves as Associate Director of the UCR Center for Family Studies and is Co-Principal Investigator (with Ross D. Parke) of FAMILIES FIRST, an NIH funded longitudinal study of Mexican-American and European-American families. He is the 2000/2001 President of the Pacific Sociological Association.
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Table of Contents

  1. Explaining Families.
  2. The Social Ingredients of Families.
  3. From Kinship Politics to Patriarchal Households.
  4. . The Love Revolution and the Rise of Feminism.
  5. Twentieth-Century Families.
  6. Families and Social Class.
  7. Race, Ethnicity, and Families.
  8. Love and Marriage Markets.
  9. Erotic Ties: Marital and Non-Marital Sex.
  10. Contraception, Childbearing, and Birth.
  11. Housework, Power, and Marital Satisfaction.
  12. Family Violence.
  13. Divorce and Remarriage.
  14. . Life Transitions.
  15. The Future of Families.
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