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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 214
Course Title: Family
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Survey of structures, functions, processes, alternative life styles and problems in the contemporary family.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Instructors are encouraged to use a primary text, from this initial list, and a supplemental reader or text from the following list.

Marriage and Families: Changes, Choices, and Constraints
By Benokraitis, Nijole V. (Prentice Hall)
Feuds About Families: Conservative, Centrist, Liberal, and Feminist Perspectives
By Benokraitis, Nijole V. (Prentice Hall)
Public and Private Families: An Introduction
By Cherlin, Andrew (Mayfield)
Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families
By Ferguson, Susan J. ( Mayfield)
Marriage and Family.
By Lauer, Robert and Jeanette C. Lauer (McGraw-Hill)
Sociology of Families
By Newman, David M. and Elizabeth Grauerholz (Sage)
Family Theories
By White, James (Sage)
Continuity and Change in the American Family
By Casper, Lynne M. (Sage)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Feeding the Family: The Social Organization of Caring as Gendered Work.
By DeVault, Marjorie (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
What it Means to be Daddy
By Hamer, Jennifer (Columbia University Press)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Taking Parenting Public: The Case for a New Social Movement
By Hewlett, Sylvia, Nancy Rankin, and Cornell West (Rowman and Littlefield)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crimes of Family Violence
By Kindshi Gosseline, Denise (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Families, Delinquency and Crime: Linking Society’s Most Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior
By Simons, Ronald L., Leslie Gordon Simons, and Lora Ebert Wallace (Roxbury)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Families in Later Life: Connectionsand Transitions
By Walker, Alexis, Margaret Manogian-O’Dell, Lori, McGraw, and Diana White (Sage)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Family Violence: Legal, Medical, and Social Perspectives
By Wallace, Harvey (Pearson)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce
By Wallerstein, Lewis and Blakeslee (Hyperion)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Family Policy: Constructed Solutions to Family Problems
By Zimmerman, Shirley (Sage)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Families in Transition
By Skolnick & Skolnick (Allyn & Bacon)
Course Objectives
  • To develop a sociological understanding of the family as a historical and social construction, and thus to be able to understand family diversity along social class lines, racial and ethnic lines, as well as along the lines of sexual orientation.
  • To understand sociological perspectives on the family, particularly functions of the family and conflict perspectives on the family.
  • To develop critical and analytical skills through the analysis of family problems such as domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, family poverty, and the effects of incarceration on families; as well as through the interrogation of the social construction of the following concepts: ‘motherhood,’ ‘fatherhood,’ and ‘childhood.’
  • To develop understanding of the effects of social policy on families.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe the historical and social construction of the ‘family.’
  • Explain family diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class and the manifestations of such differences.
  • Identify and describe the structures and functions of the family in society.
  • Describe and analyze the social psychological factors that affect the pairing process and the development of intimate relationships.
  • Explain family crises such as domestic violence, child abuse, divorce and family poverty from a sociological perspective.
  • Establish understanding of the role of social polity toward families.
  • Explain the social construction of ‘motherhood,’ ‘fatherhood,’ and ‘childhood’
  • Explain significant demographic changes and their affects on families (i.e.: an aging population)
    Topical Outline:
  • The family from a historical, social constructionist perspective.
  • The major sociological theoretical perspectives on the family.
  • Motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood--social roles.
  • Family diversity
    - race and ethnicity
    - social class and the family
    - alternative family forms: gay and lesbian families, single parent families, cohabitation, childless couples
    - Family crises
    - divorce, remarriage, and step-families
    - domestic violence and child abuse
    - families in poverty
  • The mate selection process and theories

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Ahoo Tabatabai Date: January 17, 2012
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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