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Families as They Really Are


Barbara J. Risman (Editor, University of Illinois, Chicago)

Overview | Features | Contents | Editions

A fresh collection of original essays by leading scholars that focuses on how families operate in everyday life: what they are, how they work, and why they matter.

Families as They Really Are goes to the heart of the family values debate by reframing the question about families from “Are they breaking down?” to “Where are they going, how, and why?”

Essays in the book are not reprints; you won’t find them anywhere else. Each article is a new contribution to the research and theory about families, drawn from an interdisciplinary community of experts.

The four parts of Families as They Really Are focus on how we got to where we are today, what’s happening in relationships, youth in the 21st century, and the state of the gender revolution.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2009
  • ISBN 978-0-393-93278-2
  • 6.1 × 9.3 in / 576 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Here’s a book destined to make publishers of textbooks on U.S. family studies tremble. Families as They Really Are is bursting its generous seams with lively, lucid, authoritative, original essays on every form and facet of contemporary family life. This fabulous collection presents work by a cavalcade of the field’s most preeminent and creative scholars. No textbook can possibly compete.” — Judith Stacey, author, In the Name of the Family

Families as They Really Are is an anthology as it really should be—an admirably comprehensive collection of provocative essays by the top scholars studying families today.” — Brian Powell, Indiana University

“This incredibly useful book goes well beyond rebutting myths about family change to provide succinct and highly readable introductions to practically every controversial family issue on the public agenda today. The attention to how class, race, gender and sexuality challenge families and shape family concerns is thoughtful and balanced.” — Myra Marx Ferree, University of Wisconsin

“The story of America’s families is too often narrowed to fit a predetermined theme. Instead, this collection presents powerful, well-written new work by a diverse roundtable of social scientists, whose wealth of research expertise is matched by a common commitment to clarity without over-simplification.” — Philip Cohen, University of North Carolina

Families as They Really Are is a dream edited collection--solid sociology from leading scholars yet also readable and real.” — Mary Blair-Loy, University of California, San Diego

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