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
Deborah Chambers is professor of media and cultural studies at Newcastle University.
Acknowledgements page viii Introduction 1 1 Traditional Approaches to the Family 14 Late nineteenth-century sociological perspectives 15 Engels: family, private property and the state 18 The twentieth-century functional family 20 Companionate marriage 23 Community and kinship studies 25 Constructions of race in family studies 26 Feminism and families 29 Conclusions 32 2 Individualization, Intimacy and Family Life 34 Individualization and changing families 35 Doing and displaying families 41 Unconventional family relationships 45 Same-sex intimacies and families of choice 47 Minority ethnic kinship ties 51 Conclusions 53 3 Parenting Practices and Values 55 Changing ideas about parenthood 55 Morality and motherhood 58 Teenage mothers 62 Traditional and new models of fatherhood 64 Fatherhood after divorce 67 Minority ethnic parenting 68 Gay and lesbian parenting 71 Conclusions 73 4 The Changing Nature of Childhood 76 Past ideas about childhood 77 Children s agency 78 Children and divorced families 81 Childhood, consumption and class 83 Children, new media and the home 88 The privatization of childhood 90 Conclusions 92 5 Families and Ageing Societies 94 Changing dynamics of ageing and family life in western societies 95 Older people and patterns of family support 96 Gender differences among older people 101 Same-sex relationships among older people 102 Globalization, old age and traditional kinship customs 105 Conclusions 111 6 Globalization, Migration and Intimate Relations 114 Gendered migration patterns 115 Globalization, migration and family care 116 Marriage strategies and mobility 122 Commercially negotiated marriage 124 Sustaining cultural traditions in diasporic settings 127 Internet dating and mail-order brides 129 Conclusions 132 7 Families, Fertility and Populations 135 Governments and family planning 135 Romania s pro-natalist policy under Ceausescu 137 India s preference for sons 140 China s one-child policy 145 Demographic defi cit in developed nations 149 Conclusions 152 8 Families and New Reproductive Technologies 154 Assisted conception and relatedness 155 Approaches to new reproductive technologies 156 Donor insemination and the regulation of families 159 Views on infertility treatment among the South Asian diasporas 163 Donor technologies in the Muslim Middle East 166 Commercial surrogacy in India 169 Conclusions 172 9 New Directions: Personal Life, Family and Friendship 174 The politics of family values 175 Family diversity and personal life 179 Friends and personal communities 182 New intimacies 184 Global and economic dimensions of intimacy and family 187 Notes 191 Bibliography 193 Index 230