Sociology | The Sociology of the Family
S316 | 3762 | McManus


OPEN TO UNDERGRADUATES ONLY
MAY NOT BE TAKEN FOR CULTURAL CREDIT

In this course we step back from our private families and take a look
at the concept of family as a dynamic social institution that is
shaped by economic, political and cultural forces in society.  The
principal goals of the course are (1) to introduce students to major
perspectives on the American family (2) to sharpen critical thinking
skills by scrutinizing the nature and quality of evidence offered in
support of different perspectives (3) to gain insights into the major
issues facing the families of the future. The course is organized in
three sections. In the first section we review the development of
family institutions in the west and we consider alternative
explanations for the diversity of family forms. In the second section
we focus on recent family dynamics in U.S. society. We examine trends
in family formation, divorce and remarriage; we investigate the
changing rules for marriage, cohabitation and domestic partnership.
In the final section, we study the work of families in the U.S., with
a focus on dual-income middle class families and gay and lesbian
couples.  We pay particular attention to the division of unpaid labor
in households and the concept of "work/family balance."