Sociology 352

Winter 2014
11:30 AM-1:20 PM
Tuesdays and Thursdays
260 Savery Hall

Overview of Material
Teaching Assistants
Office Hours
Exams Dates

Reading List
Readings Directory
Lecture Outlines
Study Tools
Reading Points
Exam Preparation
Interesting Links
Writing & Tutoring

Course Description

This class explores substantive issues that are central to contemporary debates about the family, several of which are at the intersection of family, inequality and gender. The primary focus is on aggregate patterns, historical trends, racial-ethnic discrimination and how social class and gender inequalities are intertwined with family patterns and change. We examine the family as an institution, which is a social unit of importance to society that defines a set of roles and rules, rather than as a set of interpersonal relationships or dynamics within families. Emphasis is on the US, with some attention to cross-national comparisons. We engage contemporary debates over the family in the US, taking into account recent research findings and public policy implications.

Overview of Material Covered

  • The social demography of families and households
  • Trends in the family and the associated explanations offered for the trends.
  • Socioeconomic and racial-ethnic variation in family behaviors that have policy or theoretical relevance and debates over the causes of the variation.
    • Non marital childbearing, timing of marriage, child-rearing practices, etc.
  • Low income families
  • The gender based division of labor within families.


1. CLUE review session for final
Monday, March 17, 6:30-8pm in Mary Gates Hall, Room 251

Office Hours


Aimée Dechter or anonymous email Thurs. 1:20-3:20 or by appointment
271 Savery

Teaching Assistants

Brad Foster     Tues.  1:30-2:30, Fri. 12:30-1:30
250 & 251 Savery

Ayşe Toksöz    Wed. 12:00-2:00
Women's Library, Cunningham

Exams Dates

1/28 during class
2/25 during class
3/19 4:30-6:20 PM, Savery 260

Lecture Outlines

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Week 1
Who is Family?

Week 2:
How Do We Know What We know?
History of the Family

Week 3
Diverging Family Patterns by Socioeconomic Status

Week 4:
Exam 1
Racial-Ethnic Diversity in the Family     

Week 5:
Assortative Mating

Week 6:
Why Marry?
Same-Sex Marriage

Week 7:
Childrearing and the Reproduction of Inequality

Week 8:
Exam 2
Gender and Work-Family Conflict

Week 9:

Support for Economically Disadvantaged Families (Part 1)

Week 10:
Support for Economically Disadvantaged Families (Part 2)

School Age Childbearing and the Abstinence Movement


Due in section 1/17
Assignment #1
Reading Summary Form
Evelyn Nakano Glenn pp. 35-44, “Split Household, Small Producer and Dual Wage Earner: An Analysis of Chinese-American Family Strategies”, Journal of Marriage and Family

Due in section 2/21
Assignment #2

Due in lecture 3/11
Assignment #3

Study Tools

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Reading Summary Form
Second Shift and Audacity of Hope Readings Worksheet
Handout on selection bias and spurious correlation
Handout on Household Economics Theory
Discussion questions for the documentary on arranged marriage: Do You Take This Man: Pakistani Arranged Marriage
The Effects of In-Class Use of a Laptop on Learning

Reading Points

Hochschild, The Second Shift and Obama, The Audacity of Hope
Furstenberg, Teen Childbearing

Exam Preparation

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Exam 1 Exam 2
Exam 3

Interesting Links


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Domestic Abuse
Families in the Military
Family Policy Debates
Gender, the Division of Labor and Debates on Women's Earnings
Incarceration and the Family
Incest Taboo
Marriage in the US: Early Marriage Individualism and Millennials
Assortative Mating and Interracial Marriage

Writing & Tutoring

The Dept. of Sociology Writing Center
The Clue Writing and Tutoring Center
American Sociological association Quick Style Guide
The Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Instructional Center
The Office of Minority Affairs and Dviersity Academic Counseling Services
McNair Graduate Advisors

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