The State of Families: Law, Policy, and the Meanings of Relationships collects essential readings on the family to examine the multiple forms of contemporary families, the many issues facing families, the policies that regulate families, and how families—and family life—have become politicized.
This text explores various dimensions of "the family" and uses a critical approach to understand the historical, cultural, and political constructions of the family. Each section takes different aspects of the family to highlight the intersection of individual experience, structures of inequality—including race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and immigration—and state power. Readings, both original and reprinted from a wide range of experts in the field, show the multiple forms and meanings of family by delving into topics including the traditional ground of motherhood, childhood, and marriage, while also exploring cutting edge research into fatherhood, reproduction, child-free families, and welfare.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the family, The State of Families offers students in the social sciences and professionals working with families new ways to identify how social structure and institutional practice shape individual experience.
Table of Contents
Section I: Defining Families Introduction 1. The challenge of defining "family" Lynn H. Turner and Richard West 2.Redefining families: Who's in and who's out Martha Minow 3. Child marriage is still legal in the U.S. Nicholas Syrett 4. Family, feminism, and race in America Maxine Baca Zinn 5. More people than ever before are single – and that’s a good thing Bella DePaulo Section II: Rules of Dating and Courtship Introduction 6. From front porch to back seat: A history of the date Beth Bailey 7. What meeting your spouse online has in common with arranged marriage Amitrajeet A. Batabyal 8. What’s so cultural about hookup culture? Lisa Wade 9. Straight girls do kiss on campus, but what about those who don’t go to college? Jamie Budnick 10. ‘If I could really say that and get away with it!’ Accountability and ambivalence in American parents' sexuality lessons in the age of abstinence Sinikka Elliott 11. Think teens need the sex talk? Older adults may need it even more Heather Honoré Goltz and Matthew Lee Smith Section III: Regulating Relationships: Marriage and Partnerships Introduction 12. The language of (in) visibility: Using in-between spaces as a vehicle for empowerment in the family Katie L. Acosta 13. Mothers and Moneymakers: How Gender Norms Shape US Marriage Migration Politics Gina Marie Longo 14. Polygamy in the United States: How marginalized religious communities cope with stigmatizing discourses surrounding plural marriage Michael K. Ault and Bobbi Van Gilder 15. The Trouble with Tolerance Suzanna Danuta Walters 16. "Women's work"? Women partners of transgender men doing housework and emotion work Carla A. Pfeffer Section IV: Separation and Divorce Introduction 17. Have children? Here’s how kids ruin your romantic relationship Matthew D. Johnson 18. Can This Relationship Be Saved? The Legal Profession and Families in Transition Pauline H. Tesler 19. What It's Like to Get a Queer Divorce After Fighting for Marriage Equality" Shannon Weber 20. What type of relationship should I have with my co-parent now we’re divorced? Kristin Natalier 21. Role ambiguity among women providing care for ex-husbands Teresa M. Cooney, Christine M. Proulx, Linley A. Snyder-Rivas, and Jacquelyn J. Benson 22. Why fewer and fewer Americans are getting divorced Tera R. Jordan Section V: Reproducing Families Introduction 23. Beyond mothers and fathers: Ideology in a patriarchal society Barbara Katz Rothman 24. Why Coverage of Prescription Contraception Matters for Men as Well as Women Krystale Littlejohn 25. New Evidence about Women’s Experience with Abortion Diana Greene Foster, Rana E. Barar, and Heather Gould 26. Moral women, immoral technologies: How devout women negotiate gender, religion, and assisted reproductive technologies Danielle Czarnecki 27. Race matters in lesbian donor insemination: whiteness and heteronormativity as co-constituted narratives Maura Ryan and Amanda Moras 28. Immigration policies can make the difference between life and death for newborn US children Maria Rodriguez and Jens Hainmuelle 29. Born in the USA: Having a baby is costly and confusing, even for a health policy expert Simon Haeder Section VI: Building Families Through Adoption Introduction 30. Race and "Value": Black and White Illegitimate Babies, 1945–1965 Rickie Solinger 31. International adoptions have dropped 72 percent since 2005 – here’s why Mark Montgomery and Irene Powell 32. Letting her go: Western adoptive families’ search and reunion with Chinese birth parents Leslie Kim Wang, Iris Chin Ponte, and Elizabeth Weber Ollen 33. "It was the Cadillac of adoption agencies": intersections of social class, race, and sexuality in gay men's adoption narratives Dana Berkowitz Section VII: Families without Children Introduction 34. Childless… or childfree? Amy Blackstone 35. Unwomanly conduct: The challenges of intentional childlessness Carolyn M. Morell 36. Infertility through the ages – and how IVF changed the way we think about it Tracey Loughran 37. Hard Evidence: does fertility really ‘drop off a cliff’ at 35? Nicholas Raine-Fenning Section VIII: Children and Teens in Families Introduction 38. Where Has Teen Car Culture Gone? Gary Cross 39. For the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, a new approach to care Tey Meadow 40. White families and race: Colour-blind and colour-conscious approaches to white racial socialization Margaret Ann Hagerman 41. When "Helicopters" Go to School: Who Gets Rescued and Who Gets Left Behind? Jessica Calarco 42. Missing school is a given for children of migrant farmworkers Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz 43. Stigma management among children of incarcerated parents Kate Luther 44. Why today’s teens aren’t in any hurry to grow up Jean Twenge 45. Rituals of Childhood Kieran Healy Section IX: Experiences and Expectations of Motherhood Introduction 46. Mothering while disabled Angela Frederick 47. I’ve talked to dozens of parents about why they don’t vaccinate. Here’s what they told me. Jennifer Reich 48. The joy of cooking? Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton 49. The deadly challenges of raising African American boys: Navigating the controlling image of the "thug" Dawn Marie Dow 50. The ‘organic child’ ideal holds mothers to an impossible standard Kate Cairns, Norah MacKendrick, and Josée Johnston 51. "Not My Way, Sesha. Your Way. Slowly": A Personal Narrative on Raising a Child with Profound Intellectual Disabilities Eva Feder Kittay 52. Kids Don’t Damage Women’s Careers — Men Do Jessica Valenti Section X: Defining Fatherhood Introduction 53. Organized youth sport and parenting in public and private spaces. Dawn E. Trussell and Susan M. Shaw 54. Who’s your daddy? Don’t ask a DNA test Nara Milanich 55. Biology and Conformity: Expectations of Fathers in Reunification in the Child Welfare System Jennifer Reich 56. Navigating the tricky waters of being a stepdad Joshua Gold 57. I am who I need to be: reflections on parental identity development from a father of a child with disabilities. Shailen Singh 58. Fathers also want to ‘have it all’ Gayle Kaufman Section XI: Poverty and Family Policy Introduction 59. As American as apple pie: Poverty and welfare Mark R. Rank 60. How Racism has Shaped Welfare Policy in America since 1935 Alma Carten 61. The Diaper Dilemma Jennifer Randles 62. Why Policies Meant to Discourage Poor Women from Having Children are Ineffective and Punitive Diana Romero and Madina Agénor 63. Negotiating the Discourse of Race within the United States Welfare System. Vicki Lens and Colleen Cary 64. LGBT Poverty in the United States M.V. Lee Badgett, Soon Kyu Choi, Bianca D.M. Wilson 65. What it means to be "under-connected" in lower-income families. Vikki S. Katz Section XII: Aging Introduction 66. Aging in Places Stacy Torres 67. Doing it my way: old women, technology and wellbeing Meika Loe 68. Could different cultures teach us something about dementia? Richard Gunderman and Lily Wolf 69. The Perils and Pleasures of Aging: How Women’s Sexualities Change across the Life Course Lisa R. Miller 70. Think You’re Not Having Enough Sex? Try Being A Senior In Assisted Living Elisabeth O. Burgess, Alexis A. Bender, and Christina Barmon 71. Skip fights about digital devices over the holidays – instead, let them bring your family together Shelia Cotten Epilogue: Future Families
Jennifer A. Reich is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado Denver. She is the author of two award-winning books, Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System and Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines, and is co-editor of the book Reproduction and Society. Her research examines how individuals and families weigh information and strategize their interactions with the state and service providers in the context of public policy, particularly as they relate to healthcare and welfare.
The State of Families is an exemplary reader I highly recommend for any introductory course on the family. This collection covers a diverse range of family forms and features new and classic works that address social issues of citizenship, gender and race.
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Southern California
The collection offers brief, lively essays which shed light on crucial aspects of family life. It is an excellent resource for teaching. Highly recommended!
Annette Lareau, Author, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life.