Sociology | The Family
S316 | 4108-4109 | McManus


The importance of our private families in our lives is inescapable,
so much so that we take for granted the public role of family in
society.  In this course we step back and take a look to the family
as a dynamic social institution which is shaped by economic,
political and cultural forces in society.  The course is organized in
three broad sections.  In the first section, we begin with an
examination of the contrast between the private and public aspects of
family.  We then consider major sociological perspectives on the
family and key organizing concepts for the sociological study of the
family.  The second section examines the work of families.  Three
topics are explored in depth: (1) What kind of work do families do?
(2) How does the private family make decisions about the division of
labor in the household? (3) What is the social value of household
production? In the third section, we study the changing family in
society.  We examine trends in family formation, divorce and
remarriage.  We then consider trends in government approaches to
family policy.  In order to get a better understanding of these
trends in the United States, we take a comparative perspective,
focusing in particular on comparisons with European nations.