Family and Society in American History
- List Price: $55.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
- Publish date: 06/01/2001
The internal dynamics of families have altered dramatically as the family has gradually shifted from a unit of economic production to a collection of individuals in pursuit of different goals. Taking examples from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, this eclectic reader illuminates changes in the American family and presents some of the methods and approaches used to study families.
Linking family patterns with changing social circumstances, Family and Society in American History considers husband-wife and parent-child relationships in light of language usage, gender roles, legal structures, and other contexts. For example, new legal attitudes toward divorce emerged as marriage came to be seen as a site for individual satisfaction. Marital fertility declined as pregnancy and childbirth came to be seen as medical rather than family issues. In the twentieth century, a new domestic role for men -- Mr. Do-It-Yourself -- developed in the wake of suburbanization.
Contributors also consider the experiences of ethnic and immigrant families. Among other case studies, they show how Chinese immigrant women targeted for rescue by Presbyterian mission workers took advantage of the gap between Chinese and American culture to increase their leverage in family and marital relationships.
A diverse compendium of family life, Family and Society in American History provides an intriguing commentary on the permeability of social structures and interpersonal behavior.