Family Configurations develops current scholarship on families and intimate lives by demonstrating that family relationships, far from being fluid and inconsequential, are more structured and committed than ever. Based on a series of empirical studies carried out in the US and Europe, this volume reveals the diversity of family relationships that emerge as a result of various key family issues, emphasizing the supportive and disruptive interdependencies existing among large sets of family members beyond the nuclear family. By applying social network methods to uncover the relational patterns of contemporary families, and making use of rich empirical data, this book draws on recent developments in family sociology, social network analysis and kinship studies to present a fascinating interdisciplinary approach to the family.
'Overall, the book makes a significant contribution to the literature on family structure and composition and makes an important call for the study of larger family networks. … Widmer clearly illustrates the importance of relying on respondents' subjective reports of family rather than on preconceived notions about who relevant family members are. Families continue to matter, and the book makes it clear that people "do" family outside of nuclear families and that a network perspective is a fruitful way of understanding family dynamics.' American Journal of Sociology 'Widmer has written an interesting book which theologians and social theorists concerned with families must read.' INTAMS - Journal of the Study of Marriage & Spirituality