The family institution is undergoing a radical transformation. The
modern meanings of kinship, marriage, parenthood, gender, and sexuality
are now being questioned, and debates on same-sex marriages and
parenthood or on divorce and blended families are reflective of these
The (Un)Making of the Modern Family is neither an
indictment of the new family nor a rallying cry. It is a classical
exercise of family sociology that draws upon a range of disciplines --
history, anthropology, psychology, and demography -- to provide an
interpretive model for understanding contemporary changes in the
family. It explores traditional family forms in order to identify
changes that gave birth to the ideal type of the modern family, and it
discusses how the modern family's constituent elements (the
family as institution, conjugal and parent-child relationships, and
gender and sexuality) relate to modernity's central feature --
the concept of the individual. By reconstructing an archetype of the
modern family, this book explains why individuals have experienced its
deconstruction as a profound identity crisis. It will appeal to anyone
concerned with the future of the (post)modern family and society.
Published originally by Les Presses de l'Universite Laval as
La fin de la famille moderne, this book was awarded the
2000-1 Prix Jean-Charles Falardeau for the best book published in
French in Canada in the field of social sciences.
Daniel Dagenais teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. Jane Brierley is a Montreal literary translator, writer, and editor who has won two Governor General's Awards for translation, most recently in 2003 for Marcel Trudel's Memoirs of a Less Travelled Road: A Historian's Life.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 The Ideal Type of the Modern Family 2 Family Ties: The Domain of Kinship 3 The Question of Private and Public Spheres 4 The Parental Role 5 Gender, Gender Differences, and Sexuality 6 The Conjugal Relationship 7 The French-Canadian Family 8 Contemporary Changes in the Family: What Do They Mean? Epilogue Afterword Notes References Index