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Race and Family

Race and Family
A Structural Approach

July 2005 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"The author provided interesting, original examples which I found engaging. . . . I think the biggest strength is avoiding the 'one ethnicity per chapter' approach found in so many books on family diversity. I like the structural approach."  
- Hilary A. Rose, Concordia University

"A very useful book as a companion text for courses on race and ethnicity….The chapters are easy to follow for undergraduate students."
- Renxin Yang, Northern Michigan University  

"I think the book is needed because there are limited choices currently available and this book is moving in the right direction….A strength is that it is not an edited book like so many other books on this topic.  There is a need for detailed study of ethnic minority families, and I am excited about making this book my required text for my Ethnic Families Course."                      
- Cheryl Burgan Evans, Miami University  

"I find the emphasis on social structure particularly appealing.  To date, I have used Taylor's [edited] book, which depends on the instructor to provide all of the integration."                              
- Gretchen Cornwell, Pennsylvania State University    

In Race and Family: A Structural Approach, author Roberta L. Coles looks at ethnic minority families in a novel way— through a structural lens. Unlike many texts on race and family, this book offers an approach that illustrates overarching structural factors affecting all families as opposed to examining each ethnicity in isolation from one another. By focusing on various structural factors such as demographic, economic, and historical aspects, this book analyzes various family trends in a cross-cutting manner to exemplify the similarities and distinctions among all racial and ethnic groups.  

Key Features:

  • Establishes commonalities and differences across various cultures within American society in an approach that enables students to better compare and contrast different ethnic groups
  • Covers multiracial families, in addition to traditional ethnic groups such as African American, Native American, Latino American, and Asian American, to provide the most contemporary examination of American families
  • Uses the latest research and Census data to present a relevant assessment of trends in family structure, gender relations, intergenerational relations, family violence, acculturation, interracial marriage, and adoption in an increasingly diverse American context
  • Includes an annotated listing of suggested videos, autobiographies, articles, and Web sites students can explore for further information  

Race and Family is a brief core textbook designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying ethnic minority families and family diversity in the departments of Human Development & Family Studies, Family & Consumer Sciences, and Sociology.  




Ch. 1. Introduction
Overview of text

Discussion of key concepts

Ch. 2. Approaching the Study of Race and Family
Economic Factors

Demographic Factors

Historical-legal factors

Ch. 3. A Brief History of the American Family
American Families through the Centuries

Ch. 4. Cross-cultural Comparisons
Social or Legal Marriage

Marriage types and choices

Marriage as a family affair

Family power systems

Family Functions

Ch. 5. Family Structures
Extended Family Households

Nuclear family households

Single-parent families

Nonfamily households

Ch. 6. Gender Relations and Sex Ratios
Gender stereotypes and roles

Sex ratios

African American gender issues

Latina/o gender issues

Asian American gender issues

Native American gender issues

Domestic Violence

Ch. 7. Intergenerational Relations: Parent and Child
Individual and communal orientations

Effects of socioeconomic status on children’s well-being

Racial socialization

Cultural rituals that contribute to racial socialization

Ch. 8. Intergenerational Relations in Late Life: The Elderly, Their Adult Children and Grandchildren
Intergenerational interaction

Illness and death

Ch. 9. African American Families
How did slavery shape Black American families?

African American families after slavery

African American families today

Ch. 10. Native American Families
Looking back in history

The state of American Indians and their families today

Ch. 11. Latino American Families
Manner and timing of entry

Similarities among Hispanic families

Divergent trends among Latino ethnic groups

Ch. 12. Asian American Families
East Asians in America

Southeast Asians in America

Asian American families today

Ch. 13. Acculturation and Multiracial Family Issues

Multiracial issues

Bi- or multi-racial identity

Transracial adoption


Key features
Rather than exploring individual ethnic groups in isolation of one another, the author seeks to establish commonalities across racial/ethnic groups within American society to better highlight differences and why they exist when exploring individual groups.

In addition to covering the traditional "big four" racial/ethnic groups, the author includes a chapter on multiracial families, a group which has received greatly increased attention within the past decade.

Chapters conclude with a "Resources" section providing an annotated listing of suggested videos, autobiographies, articles, and web sites students can explore for further information, and key terminology is highlighted and defined in text.

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