Sociology of the Family 

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Sociology of the Family Course Outline

Changes and Definitions

Concepts Covered:

  • Author’s Introduction
  • Family Structure and Support
  • Family Systems Theory and Sociological Imagination
  • Family Research

Studying Marriage and Families

Concepts Covered:

  • Scientific Sociology and Survey Research
  • Components of Good Surveys

Theories - Family

Concepts Covered:

  • Making Sense of Abstract Theories
  • Conflict Theory
  • Functionalism of Structural Functionalism Theory
  • Symbolic Interactionism Theory
  • Social Exchange Theory
  • Family Systems Theory

Gender & Socialization

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the Difference between Sex and Gender?
  • Debunking Myths about Women
  • Gender Roles as a Social Force
  • Opportunities
  • Bold Research on Gender
  • What about Men?

Love and Intimacy

Concepts Covered:

  • The Beginnings of Love
  • The Study of Love
  • Different Types of Love
  • Understanding Love


Concepts Covered:

  • The Roots
  • Win / Win Negotiation
  • Other Conflict Resolution Techniques
  • Non-verbal Communication

Sexual Scripts

Concepts Covered:

  • Introduction to Sexual Scripts
  • Male and Female Sexual Development
  • Physical Intimacy
  • Sexual Orientation, Desires, and Behaviors

Dating - Mate Selection

Concepts Covered:

  • How Do We Choose a Mate?
  • Theories of Mate Selection
  • Dating Trends

Marriage and Other Long-Term Relationships

Concepts Covered:

  • Types of Long Term Relationships
  • Marriage
  • Cohabitation


Concepts Covered:

  • Functions of Parents
  • Childhood Dependence
  • Finding the Balance Between Control and Freedom
  • Behaviorism and the Cognitive Model
  • Types of Parenting
  • Self-Worth vs. Shame

Family Resources and Economics

Concepts Covered:

  • Family Resources and Childhood Poverty
  • Major Purchases and Debt
  • Budgeting and Financial Planning
  • Undermining Financial Stability

Divorce and Separation

Concepts Covered:

  • Divorce and Separation
  • Likelihood and Effects of Divorce

Remarriage and Step-Families

Concepts Covered:

  • Complexities of Stepfamilies
  • Strategies for Stepfamilies
  • Sexual Boundaries
  • Getting Back into the Dating Market

Aging and Families

Concepts Covered:

  • Understanding the Generations of Life
  • Theorizing Later Life
  • Challenges of Being Elderly and Single
  • Roles of Grandparents

Politics, Government, and Issues

Concepts Covered:

  • Child Labor
  • Education
  • Marriage and Divorce Issues
  • Death of a Spouse
  • Divorce Laws
  • Cohabitation
  • Adoption

Violence and Tragedies

Concepts Covered:

  • Family Functions and Dysfunctions
  • Violence and Abuse
  • Marital Stressors
  • Pregnancy and Delivery

Family Strengths and the Future

Concepts Covered:

  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Family History
  • Quality Family Time
  • Resist Family Entropy

Rape and Sexual Assault

Concepts Covered:

  • Rape is Not the Same as Sex
  • The Personal and Larger Social Levels of Rape’s Impact
  • Helping Survivors to Avoid Blaming Themselves
  • Larger Social Explanations
  • Changed Values Among Men

About the book

Sociology of the Family


In all societies, the family is the premier institution for all of the following: socialization of children, adult intimate relationships, lifelong economic support and cooperation, and continuity of relationships along the life course. Sociologists are leaders among scientists who study the family. They function in a core assessment role for describing, explaining, and predicting family-based social patterns for the United States and other countries of the world. Sociologists allow us to understand the larger social and personal-level trends in families.

About the authors:

Senior Contributing Author

Dr. Ron J.Hammond

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