Sociology | The Family
S316 | 3670 | Patricia 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.