Handbook of Marriage and the Family by Jay D. Teachman, Karen A. Polonko, John Scanzoni (auth.),

By Jay D. Teachman, Karen A. Polonko, John Scanzoni (auth.), Marvin B. Sussman, Suzanne K. Steinmetz (eds.)

The lucid, uncomplicated Preface of this instruction manual by way of the 2 editors and the excellent perspecĀ­ tives provided within the advent through one ofthem go away little for a Foreword so as to add. it truly is for that reason restricted to 2 proper yet now not intrinsically comparable issues vis-a-vis study on marriage and the relations within the period because the fIrst guide (Christensen, 1964) seemed, specifically: the impression in this study ofthe politicization of the hot correct! and of the Feminist Enlightenment starting within the mid-sixties, in regards to the time of the 1st guide. within the overdue Thirties Willard Waller famous: "Fifty years or extra in the past approximately 1890, most folks had the best appreciate for the establishment known as the kin and wanted to benefit not anything no matter what approximately it. . . . every little thing that involved the lifetime of women and men and their little ones used to be shrouded from the sunshine. this day a lot of that has been replaced. long gone is the concealment of how within which existence starts off, long gone the irrational sanctity of the house. The charisma of sentiment which as soon as secure the relatives from dialogue clings to it not more .... We wantto research as a lot approximately it as we will and to appreciate it as completely as attainable, for there's a emerging acceptance in the USA that huge numbers of its households are sick-from inner frustrations and from exterior buffeting. we're engaged within the means of reconstructing our relations associations via feedback and dialogue" (1938, pp. 3-4).

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One way to reduce gross analyses and descriptions of kin networks and their activities into microphenomena was to devise the concept-of-life sector. In order to capture the structure, dynamics, and interaction of family networks in a major cross-national study involving nine countries, it was necessary to consider a single sector of family activity (Sussman, 1974). These sectors included work, leisure, religion, welfare, social service, social control, health, and economy. The sector is composed of a mynad of institutions, organizations, and actors to which family members relate on a daily basis or tum to when there are specific issues and problems in need of solutIon.

The first, Chapter 4, coauthored by Darwin L. Thomas and Jean Edmondson Wilcox, details the development of family theory through a growing interest in conceptual frameworks, interrelated propositions, and general theoretical models. These authors analyze the evolution of family theory through several phases: nineteenth-century attempts to explain family disorganization, which were influenced by Darwin, Compte, and Spencer and rooted in positivism and structuralism; the social psychologists James, Cooley, Thomas, and Znaniecki in the first half of the twentieth century who provided alternatives to positivism; and critical theory perspectives in more recent times professed by Popper, Kuhn, and Habermas.

However, although the concept of a family life cycle has been useful in the past, family demography is now a more inclusive field of study, going beyond the delineation of developmental stages. Given the changes in family structure and process, the concept of a family life cycle has become overly rigid, having too great an emphasis on normatively constructed sequences of events, while ignoring variations in the timing of events and nonnormative sequencing (Nock, 1979, 1981; Spanier & Glick, 1980a; Spanier, Sauer, & Larzelere, 1979).

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