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Understanding Families
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Understanding Families
A Global Introduction



March 2012 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Families are at the core of our society. Our experience of them affects many aspects of our everyday lives shaping our expectations and future plans.

Written by field experts this clear, engaging book adopts a global perspective to usefully examine how modern families can be explored and understood. Packed with critical pedagogy, including case-studies, think points, key words and a glossary, it guides students through topics such as relationships, sexualities and paid and unpaid work.

The book also:

  • Applies key social theories from classical sociological theory and contemporary analysis
  • Examines best practice for researching families and family life
  • Explores the role of government policies and practices

This comprehensive introduction to the study of families and relationships is a timely resource for students and lecturers working across the social sciences.


 
Introduction
Structures, Processes and Strategies

 
Family or Families?

 
Families in History

 
The Families We Live With, The Families We Live By

 
The Contents of the Book

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
PART ONE: INTRODUCING FAMILIES
 
Families and Relationships
Introduction

 
Families: A Constant State of Flux

 
Continuities and Presumptions

 
Structures: Identifying and Talking About Families

 
Defining Families 1: Common Characteristics

 
Defining Families 2: Values, Memories and Spaces and Places

 
Statistical Trends and Family Structures

 
Processes: Families, Kinship and Activities

 
Global Families

 
Topic 1. The Impact of Welfare Regimes on Families: France, the Russian Federation, East and West Germany

 
Topic 2: Ideal and Actual Families in Asia

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
Explaining Families
Introduction

 
Sociological Explanations: Premise and Origins

 
Ideology and Theory: What Is This Thing 'the Family'?

 
Sociological Theory

 
Ties that Bind: Making Sense of Structures

 
Families as a Framework: Parsons

 
Socialization: Merton

 
Actors and Actions: Theories of Interaction

 
Interactions: Goffman

 
Structures and Practices: Giddens and Wallace

 
Theories of Conflict

 
The 'Lifeworld' of Families: Habermas

 
Women, Men, Gender: Feminist Perspectives

 
Feminist and Gender: Perspectives on Families

 
Global Dimensions

 
Contemporary Voices on Intimacy

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
PART TWO: RESEARCH AND POLICY
 
Researching Families
Introduction

 
Research Methods

 
Survey Research

 
Writing About People and Families: Ethnographic Research Methods

 
Secondary Analysis of Research Studies

 
Historical Research on Families

 
Approaches to the History of the Family

 
Better Times for Families?

 
Documenting Change in Family Processes

 
Family and Sex 1900-2000

 
Private Troubles and Public Issues

 
Researching Change and Continuity

 
Solo Living

 
Talking About Sex

 
Single Parenting

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
Politics, Policies and Practices
Introduction

 
Definitions

 
Policies and Families' Forms and Functions

 
Family Policy - New Kid on the Block?

 
How do Policies Deliver Benefits to Families?

 
Policy Approaches to Different Family Forms

 
Evidence-Based Policy

 
Families in Action

 
Families and Social Cohesion

 
Families and Social Breakdown

 
Beyond Stereotypes

 
Families and the Welfare State

 
The Relationship Between Politics and Policies

 
Services and Practices

 
Types of Services

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
PART THREE: FAMILIES IN ACTION
 
Relationships and Sexualities
Introduction

 
Lets Get Together: Marriage, Cohabitation

 
Universality of Marriage and Partnering

 
Definition of Partnering - How do People Partner?

 
Diversity in Partnering Arrangements

 
Cohabitation

 
Same-Sex Couples and Families

 
Children Raised by Same-Sex Couples

 
Moving Apart: Breakdown and Divorce

 
Why do Relationships Break Down?

 
What Changes After Divorce and What Stays the Same?

 
Being Together and Living Apart: Solo Living, Friendships and Social Networks

 
'Coupleness' Outside of Cohabitation

 
Why else do people Live Alone?

 
Beyond the Family - Friendships

 
Social Networks

 
Communities and Neighbourhoods

 
The Effects of Neighbourhoods and Communities on Families

 
Sexualized Societies

 
Enduring Relationships: Generating Histories

 
Enduring Intimacy

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
Families and Work
Introduction

 
Defining and Explaining Work

 
Underemployment and Unemployment

 
Boundaries: Paid and Unpaid Work

 
The Global Context

 
Survival and Longevity: The Challenge to Work

 
Decent Work and Rural Employment

 
Relationships and Resources

 
Acquiring and Allocating Resources

 
Gender and Resources

 
Unpaid Work

 
Gender Roles and Unpaid Work

 
Quantifying and Valuing Unpaid Work

 
Vital but Subordinate

 
Family Practices and Work

 
Policy, Politics and Families

 
Explaining Preferences and Choices

 
Migrant Domestic Workers

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
PART FOUR: CONCLUSIONS
 
Families into the Future
Introduction

 
Trends and Futures

 
Working Patterns, Gender and Care

 
Demography: Fertility, Life Expectancy and Care

 
Relationship Formation

 
The Impact of Technologies on Families

 
Commonalities and Differences across the Globe

 
Beliefs and Behaviours

 
Sustainable Families?

 
The Importance of Childcare

 
Shaping Politics and Policy

 
Addressing Family Fragility

 
Same-Sex Relationships and Assisted Reproduction

 
Summary

 
Explore Further

 
 
Glossary

A reasonable text that helps to contextualise the changing nature of famlies

Neill Redmond
Primary and Intermmediate Care, King's College London
November 27, 2013

Good background reading for the module I am teaching in Children and Families

Ms Debbie Amas
Family and Community Studies (Peterborough), Anglia Ruskin University
August 16, 2013

I enjoyed the layout of this book and the indicators to prompt students to cross reference different issues. This is useful for first year UG students to encourage more evaluation and reflection in their work. Good overall coverage of the main issues (particularly the inclusion of feminist theory and links to research and policy. I would have liked to see the section on public/ private issues clearly indicate the issuesa around domestic violence and abuse and child abuse relating to the taboo still here and myths around strangers rather than familial abuse still being pushed through the media etc..

Miss Debbie Thackray
Social Work (Didsbury), Manchester Metropolitan University
July 23, 2013

This is an excellent book that provides up-to-date information and analysis of families in a global context. It explores topics that are very relevant to a wide range of students interested in working with children and families within theoretical frameworks.

Ms Andrea Collins
Faculty of Education, University of St Mark & St John
June 18, 2013

This book is a very comprehensive overview of many of the issues relating to families. It covers research into families, family policy and wider political ideologies that impact upon the family. Relationships within families is explored and work life balance. It is a very reader friendly volume also.

Dr Katie Cagney
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
April 20, 2013

In a swiftly changing world where disadvantaged families are increasingly finding services difficult to access, this book provides a very accessible text that facilitates increased understanding of the issues families face and the contexts in which we are working.

Ms Angela Hilton
School of Education, Wolverhampton University
April 7, 2013

A well constructed book that encourages reflective learning. I particularly liked chapter 3 that placed research methods in the context of families which most students will be able to relate to.

Rosemary Willers
School of Health, Science and Social Care, University Campus Suffolk
February 28, 2013

A book that is particularly relevant for those practitioners both in health and social care who work with families in a supportive and caring capacity

Ms Mary Scott
Dept Health & So, Glasgow Caledonian University
February 13, 2013

This book is very useful and provides a good introduction to the focus of working with families and communities. I was pleased that it took an international perspective as this will also be useful for student who are studying comparative education in their final year.
The library has bought copies of the text and it is referenced throughout the course

Ms Louise Gilbert
Early Childhood Studies, University of Gloucestershire
November 18, 2012

Ch 7 Families into the Future is useful supplementary reading to help students anticipate the effects of changes in families.

Mr Martin Harmer
Please select your department, Please select your institution
October 24, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction


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