Is there life for the family in the 21st century? Pessimists view the traditional two-parent nuclear family as a relic of the past, attributing their gloomy outlook to increased demands from the workplace, rampant technological advancement, and the pursuit of personal achievement at the expense of interpersonal needs and values. Optimists, on the other hand, claim that increasing alienation and emphasis on the occupational sphere necessitate a sense of family, community, and belonging as a haven from work-related stress. This volume addresses these and related issues such as the interplay of personal versus interpersonal factors in family development, the role of the extended family, and the interface between work, community and family.
The contents of this book--scholarly contributions from a unique interdisciplinary rostrum of behavioral scientists in such diverse fields as psychology, sociology, anthropology, social work, industrial management, and demography--represent the latest developments in research, theory, and practice in family studies. The reader is presented with theoretical formulations, empirical findings, and applied interventions regarding family life in different parts of the world. A systems perspective is adopted as the family is examined at its interface with individuals, community, society, and culture, with the interdependence of these different levels emphasized. In addition, an attempt is made to integrate the work of theoreticians, researchers, and practitioners in understanding the evolving family.
Dreman provides a survey of family life in the international arena and finds a surprising consensus between the different disciplinary perspectives and the respective geographical arenas. He discusses life-span issues in relation to all levels of family life including the impact of increased longevity and decreased fertility in relation to topics such as individual development, parent-child and couple relationships, the workplace, and the community. This book also highlights the interplay of biological and interpersonal dynamics as in the case of spousal depression.
"…an interesting book with a multidisiplinary perspective on families…suitable even for upper-level undergraduate students. Although all chapters are interesting, five chapters seem especially useful as either therapy or teaching resources. These chapters would be useful for professors to assign for class readings or for therapists to use in their work with families."
"As the world becomes more of a global community, family theory, research, and policy will benefit from international comparisons such as this volume provides."
—Journal of Marriage and the Family
"Dreman and his contributing authors have succeeded in offering a rich smorgasbord of observations, reflections, predictions, and recommendations about The Family on the Threshold of the 21st Century: Trends and Implications. The authors, all presenters at an international conference held in Israel in 1994, come from a variety of countries and from various professions concerned with the research about, treatment of, and social policy and planning for the family at all stages of the life cycle.
The smorgasbord is lively and varied, multitextured and multilayered, as the authors explore the individual within the context of the nuclear family, extended multigenerational family, and larger exosystem consisting of personal community and work world, as well as the extant yet ever changing economic and political context.
The portrait that emerges is realistically complex and colorful, optimistic and pessimistic, culturally specific and yet with universal overtones. Dreman has accomplished the difficult feat of interweaving the variegated chapter components into a meaningful totality, this impressive volume."
—F.W. Kaslow, PhD
Director, Florida Couples and Family Institute
"No one disputes that the family is under great challenge from myriad social and economic forces these days. Dramatic changes in political structures, in communications, in social mores have all gone forward with little attention to their implications for family life. Thus, this is the ideal moment for an international group of family social scientists and clinicians to come together, share their observations, their ideas about the family's future, and their recommendations for family policy.
This volume represents just such a meeting. As such it is an invaluable source of ideas and wisdom from an international cast about where the family has been, and where it is likely to be going in the next century."
—Peter Steinglass, MD
Executive Director, Ackerman Institute for the Family
Contents: Preface. Part I: Introduction. S. Dreman, On the Threshold of a New Era: An Overview. Part II: Individual and Developmental Influences and Family Life. C.P. Cowan, P.A. Cowan, Working With Couples During Stressful Transitions. Y. Teichman, Depression in a Marital Context. Part III: Changing Roles and Structures in the Family. F.K. Goldscheider, Family Relationships and Life Course Strategies for the 21st Century. A.F. Steyn, Marital Integration in the Dual Career Family. Part IV: The Extended Family and Alternate Family Forms. A.B. Weiner, The False Assumptions of Traditional Values. L.A. Lomnitz, Family, Networks, and Survival on the Threshold of the 21st Century in Urban Mexico. Part V: Culture, Society and the Family. B. Birns, S. Birns, Violence-Free Families. D. Edgar, Developing the New Links Workplace: The Future of Family, Work, and Community Relationships. A. Skolnick, The Triple Revolution: Social Sources of Family Change. W. Dumon, The Situation of Families in Western Europe: A Sociological Perspective. A. Golini, A. Silvestrini, Family Change, Fathers, and Children in Western Europe: A Demographic and Psychosocial Perspective. Part VI: Situational Influences and Family Life. S. Sharlin, I. Elshanskaya, Parental Attitudes of Soviets in Israel to the Immigration Process and Their Impact on Parental Stress and Tension. S. Dreman, E. Shinar, Immigration as a Challenge: Implications for Individuals and Families. Part VII: Family Assessment in a Systems Context. D.H. Olson, Family Stress and Coping: A Multisystem Perspective. Part VIII: Conclusions. S. Dreman, Is the Family Viable? Some Thoughts and Implications for the Third Millennium.