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A Sociology of Family Life

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4778-4
256 pages
May 2012, Polity
A Sociology of Family Life (0745647782) cover image
New kinds of intimate relationships such as post-divorce families, co-habiting couples, ‘friends as family' and same-sex unions are now commonplace. This book explores the growing diversity of family life by presenting a comprehensive assessment of recent research and theory, and foregrounds new thinking about ‘family', parenting, childhood and personal life.

A Sociology of Family Life queries notions of moral decline by revealing a remarkable persistence of commitment and reciprocity across cultures in traditional and new family relations. This insightful and innovative work examines factors such as gender, race, ethnic identity and new sexual lifestyles in relation to cultural customs, government policies and social inequalities.

Global dimensions of intimate life are explored, including the impact of population policies on fertility in several nations; ethical dilemmas associated with reproductive technologies among different cultures; interdependencies between rich and poor nations through the globalization of domestic care; and transnational marriage strategies. This book will be indispensable for students across the social sciences interested in change in intimate relations.

Selected by Choice as a 2013 Outstanding Academic Title

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Introduction
1. Traditional Approaches to the Family
2. Individualization, Intimacy and Family Life
3. Parenting Practices and Values
4. The Changing Nature of Childhood
5. Families and Ageing Societies
6. Globalization, Migration and Intimate Relations
7. Families, Fertility and Populations
8. Families and New Reproductive Technologies
9. New Directions: Personal Life, Family and Friendship
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Deborah Chambers is professor of media and cultural studies at Newcastle University.
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  • Explores the growing diversity of family life and new sociological thinking about ‘family’, parenting, childhood and personal life.
  • Presents a comprehensive assessment of recent research and theory.
  • Examines factors such as gender, race, ethnic identity and new sexual lifestyles in relation to cultural customs, government policies and social inequalities.
  • Includes global dimensions of families in the 21st century, taking in different national and cultural perspectives.
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'This book covers an impressive amount of ground both geographically and in terms of topics. Stressing the themes of diversity and the need to take a global perspective in family studies, Deborah Chambers provides authoritative and lucid insights into some urgent scholarly and political debates. This is a family text for our times.'
David H. J. Morgan, University of Manchester

'This is a terrific book. It aptly demonstrates just how much families have changed even as it demonstrates that care and connection remain central aspects of the personal communities individuals construct. In addition, the author uses fascinating cross-cultural examples to shake complacency about which way is best. It is a perfect choice for courses on the sociology of the family.'
Margaret K. Nelson, Middlebury College

'A Sociology of Family Life is an excellent text. Well structured and clearly written, the book will appeal to a wide range of students taking family sociology modules. It lucidly introduces readers to contemporary debates within the sociology of the family, expressing complex themes in a coherent and accessible fashion.'
Graham Allan, Keele University

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