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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2006

WGS 322 • Sociology of the Family

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47526 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
BUR 216
Crosnoe, Robert

Course Description

This course will involve the social psychological study of the American family. We will examine the changing nature of the family throughout American history, looking at how social and cultural currents have transformed the ideology associated with the family as well as the roles of individual members within the family. Family pathologies such as abuse will also be discussed. The unique experiences of different ethnic groups and of non-traditional families will also be examined in an effort to provide an encompassing view of the family as an institution. In the first half of the course, we will approach the family from a macro-structural perspective, examining the family as a changing cultural, social, and legal construction. Topics discussed in this half of the class include family ideologies and myths, family law, family diversity, and the economic constraints on family life. In the second half of the course, we will move inside the home to study the interactions and roles of various family members. Topics include gender roles, divorce, parenting and family processes, and family abuse. The family is a broad area of study, and almost all of us bring some experience to this topic. The purpose of this class is to provide a sociological foundation for a discussion of the family, encouraging students to question their taken-for-granted assumptions about the family, to understand the diversity of family forms in the United States, and to see the linkage between the family and the larger society and culture


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