Feminist Family Sociology
I've had a great time putting together these readings. The general structure of the course moves from really broad questions like "What is feminist sociology?" through fairly large middle-range questions like "What is a family?" to really specific stuff like "How do women get beaten in their own homes?"
The readings are motley in at least three senses. (1) I had to pick some topics, and I wanted to cover everything, but I couldn't. I may have left out a favorite topic of yours, but since everyone will assign a reading and do a paper presentation in the middle of the semester, we will get at more topics than the ones I've chosen. (2) The papers I've picked include some that are old favorites of mine, as well as some that I’ve only skimmed. Among the latter, I think I've found some great stuff that's relatively new to me. (3) The readings do not recognize disciplinary boundaries very well. Catharine MacKinnon is a lawyer. Carole Pateman is a philosopher, Linda Gordon is a historian, and Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist. But what they write sounds like sociology to me. Here is my topic outline:
I. General Perspectives
A. Feminist theories
1. General sociology
2. Family sociology
B. Feminist methodologies
1. General sociology
2. Family sociology
II. Some Really Broad Topics
A. What is a family?
1. The NCFR diversity debate
2. Anth. & Close Rel. perspectives
B. Are families good for women?
1. The general question
2. The family values debate
C. What is marriage all about?
1. Rights and responsibilities
III. Getting More Specific
A. Romance and sexuality
1. Power strategies
2. Shifting power bases
1. Violence against wives
2. Violence against daughters
D. Household division of labor
1. Who does what?
2. How do women feel about it?
E. Motherhood and fatherhood
F. The public/private intersection
1. The economic system
2. The political system
Really Good Book
This class will run as a seminar, with one or two people assigned to facilitate discussion on each topic, and the rest of us participating about equally. (You may at times find me talking too much, or too little, for your taste--you'll need to push me in your preferred direction in that respect.) Here's my plan. At the end of each day, I will do a mini-lecture on the readings for the next day, giving you my take on what the main points are. At the beginning of each set of readings the person or persons (we need to discuss this) in charge of that topic will introduce the readings with their take on two issues: (1) what are the major contributions of the readings to our understanding of family life from a feminist perspective, and (2) what are the most exciting, surprising, or interesting aspects of the readings. Then, they will facilitate our discussion.
Grades will be based on (1) general level of contribution to the seminar discussions (about 20%), (2) quality of discussion facilitation (about 20%), (3) the quality of a 15 minute presentation on your term paper about half way through the semester, for which I'll ask you to give the class one published paper to read ahead of time (about 20%), and (4) the actual 15-20 page term paper applying a feminist perspective to some aspect of family life, which will be due the day of your presentation (about 40%).
About the paper. Believe it or not, it will be due sometime between October 31 and November 7 (depending on where you fit into our schedule of presentations). As preliminary steps, a one page topic choice and justification is due September 12, and an outline and tentative bibliography is due September 26. That leaves you about a month to finish writing the paper, which must be focused on feminist family sociology (broadly conceived). I will grade the papers as I get them and give you more feedback than you'd like. You may then rewrite the paper, and the rewrite will be due December 12. If you do rewrite the paper, only the grade on the final version will affect your course grade.
Feminist Theories: General Sociology (66pp)
(Only asterisked papers are assigned and are in the packet.)
R. W. (1987).
"Current frameworks" and the introduction to "Main structures:
Labour, power, cathexis." Pp. 41-65, 91-92 in R. W. Connell, Gender
and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford:
Patricia Hill. (1990). "The politics of Black feminist thought" and
"Defining Black feminist thought." Pp. 3-40 in Collins, Black Feminist
Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment.
Ruth A. 1989). "Introduction." Pp. 7-19 in Ruth A. Wallace (ed.), Feminism
and Sociological Theory.
Dorothy. (1987). The Everyday World as Problematic: A
Mann, Susan A. & Kelley, Lori R. (1997). “Standing at the crossroads of modernist thought: Collins, Smith, and the new feminist epistemologies.” Gender & Society, 11, 391-408.
Smith, Dorothy E. (1997). “Response to Susan Mann and Lori Kelley.” Gender & Society, 11, 819-821.
Feminist Theories: Family Sociology (47pp)
Barrie. (1992). "Feminism and the family: Two decades of thought." Pp. 3-30 in
*Thompson, Linda and Alexis J. Walker. (1995). "The place of feminism in family studies." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 847-865.
Thompson, Linda and Alexis J. Walker. (1989). "Gender in families: Women and men in marriage, work, and parenthood." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 845-871.
Marie Withers and
Fox, Greer Litton and Velma McBride Murry. (2000). “Gender and families: Feminist perspectives and family research.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1160-1172.
Feminist Methodologies: General Sociology (56pp)
Pp. 240-269 in Shulamit Reinharz with the assistance of Lynn
Davidman, Feminist Methods in Social Research.
Joey and Mary K. Zimmerman.
(1993). "Overcoming dualisms: A feminist agenda." Pp. 255-280 in Paula
England (ed.), Theory on Gender; Feminism on Theory.
Lorde, Audre. (1984). "Poetry is not a luxury." Pp. 36-39 in Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press.
Dorothy E. (1989). Sociological theory: Methods of writing patriarchy." Pp. 34-64 in
Ruth A. Wallace (ed.), Feminism and Sociological Theory.
Feminist Methodologies: Family Sociology (56pp)
*Risman, Barbara. (c. 1990).
"Methodological implications of feminist scholarship for family studies." Revision of
paper presented at National Council on Family Relations annual meetings,
*Thompson, Linda. (1992). "Feminist methodologies for family studies." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 3-18.
Kersti. (1988). "Political and methodological
debates in wife abuse research." Pp. 28-50 in Kersti
Yllo and Michelle Bograd (eds.), Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse.
Walker, Alexis. (2000). “Refracted knowledge: Viewing families through the prism of social science.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 595-608.
Allen, Katherine. (2000). “A conscious and inclusive family studies.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 4-17.
The NCFR Diversity Debate (and Allen and Demo) (53pp)
*Allen, Katherine R. and David H. Demo. (1995). "Families of lesbians and gay men: A new frontier in family research." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 111-127.
Stephen R. (1987). Critique of Burr et al., "An epistemological basis
for primary explanations in family science". Presented at the Theory and Methods
Workshop at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations.
*Bahr, Howard M. & Bahr, Kathleen S. (1996). “A paradigm of family transcendence.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 541-555.
*Berscheid, Ellen. (1996). “The ‘Paradigm of family transcendence’: Not a paradigm, questionably transcendent, but valuable, nonetheless.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 556-564.
*Marks, Stephen R. (1996). “The problem and politics of wholeness in family studies.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 565-571.
Beutler, Ivan F., Wesley R. Burr, Kathleen S. Bahr and Donald A. Herrin. (1989). "The family realm: Theoretical contributions for understanding its uniqueness." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 805-815.
Edwards, John N. (1989). "The family realm: A future paradigm or failed nostalgia?" Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 816-818.
Jurich, Joan A. (1989). "The family realm: Expanding its parameters." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 819-821.
Menaghan, Elizabeth G. (1989). "Escaping from the family realm." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 822-825.
Beutler, Ivan F. et al. "A seventh group has visited the elephant." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 826-830.
Marks, Stephen R. (2000). “Teasing out the lessons of the 1960s: Family diversity and family privilege.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 609-622.
Note: (This is a critique of Wesley R. Burr, Donald A. Herrin, Randal D. Day, Ivan F. Beutler & Geoffrey K. Leigh, An epistemological basis for primary explanations in family science, a paper presented in the Theory and Methods Workshop at the annual meetings of the National Council on Family Relations, Atlanta, Georgia, 1987. The Beutler et al. piece below is a revision of this Burr et al. paper, and the Bahr & Bahr article carries on this debate.)
B. Anthropological and Close Relationships Points of View (57pp)
Jane, Michelle Z. Rosaldo, and Silvia Yanagisako. (1992). "Is there a family? New anthropological views." Pp. 31-48
John, Karen Polonko, Jay Teachman, and Linda Thompson. (1989). "Framing
the problem" and "A fresh construct." Pp. 12-50 in Scanzoni et al., The
Jaber F. &
Marriage as Rights and Responsibilities (46pp)
Randall. (1992). "Love and property." Pp. 119-154 in Collins, Sociological
Insights: The Sociology of the Non-Obvious.
Carole. (1988). "Feminism and the marriage contract." Pp. 154-188 in Pateman, The
Sexual Contract. Stanford:
Gayle. (1975). "The traffic in women: Notes on the political economy of
157-210 in Rayna Rapp Reiter (ed.), Toward an Anthropology
Marriage as a Labor Contract (51pp)
Christine and Diana Leonard. (1992). "The family as an economic
system: Theoretical outline." Pp.129-162 in Delphy and
Leonard, Familiar Exploitation.
*Kandiyotti, Denise. (1988). "Bargaining with patriarchy." Gender & Society, 2, 274-290.
Are Families Good for Women?
The General Question (72pp)
*Johnson, Michael P. (1993). Handout in response to student question, "So, what's so bad about the traditional family anyway?" in AAAS/SOC/WMNST 103: Racism and Sexism.
Letty Cottin. (1983). "The enduring nest." Pp. 21-37 in Pogrebin, Family
Politics: Love and Power on an Intimate Frontier.
first published in 1972).
"The wife's marriage." Pp. 26-53 in Bernard, The Future of
*Waite, Linda J. (1995). “Does marriage matter?” Demography, 32, 483-507.
Judith. (1986). "Are feminists
afraid to leave home?"
Pp. 208-237 in Juliet Mitchell and Ann Oakley (eds.), What is
Feminism: A Re-Examination.
Are Families Good for Women?
The Family Values Debate (69pp)
*Popenoe, David. (1993). "American family decline, 1960-1990: A review and appraisal." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 527-541.
*Glenn, Norval D. (1993). "A plea for objective assessment of the notion of family decline." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 542-544.
*Stacey, Judith. (1993). "Good riddance to 'The family': A response to David Popenoe." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 545-547.
*Cowan, Philip A. (1993). "The sky is falling, but Popenoe's analysis won't help us do anything about it." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 548-553.
*Popenoe, David. (1993). "The national family wars." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 553-555.
Judith. (1996). “The neo-family-values campaign.” Pp. 52-82 in
Stacey, In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the
Judith. (1992). "Backward toward
the postmodern family: Reflections on gender, kinship, and class in the
Shulamith. (1970). "The culture of romance." Pp. 146-155 in Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist
Letitia Anne. (1994). "Men and women in love." Pp. 19-49 in Donna L. Sollie and Leigh
A. Leslie (eds.), Gender, Families and Close Relationships: Feminist
*Rose, Suzanna. (1985). "Is romance dysfunctional?" International Journal of Women's Studies, 8, 250-265.
*Johnson, Elizabeth M. & Huston, Ted L. (1998). “The perils of love, or why wives adapt to husbands during the transition to parenthood.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 195-204.
Kirkpatrick, Martha. (1989). "Middle age and the lesbian experience." Women's Studies Quarterly, 17 (Spring/Summer): 87-96.
*Peplau, L. A. (2001). “Rethinking women's sexual orientation: An interdisciplinary, relationship-focused approach.” Personal Relationships, 8, 1-19.
*MacKinnon, Catharine A. (1989). "Sexuality." Pp. 126-154 in MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
*Ehrenreich, Barbara, Elizabeth Hess and Gloria Jacobs. (1986). "Conclusion." Pp.192-208 in Ehrenreich, Hess and Jacobs, Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex. Garden City: Doubleday.
Andrea. (1987). "Possession." Pp. 63-79 in Dworkin, Intercourse.
Kristine. (1994). "Studying women's sexualities: Feminist transformations." Pp. 50-73 in
Donna L. Sollie and Leigh A. Leslie (eds.), Gender,
Families and Close Relationships: Feminist Research Journeys.
Power Strategies (70pp)
*Komter, Aafke. (1989). "Hidden power in marriage." Gender & Society, 3, 187-216.
*Walker, Alexis J. (1996). “Couples watching television: Gender, power, and the remote control.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 813-824.
*Knudson-Martin, Carmen and Anne R. Mahoney. (1998). “Language processes in the construction of equality in marriages.” Family Relations, 47, 81-91.
*Kranichfeld, Marion L. (1987). "Rethinking family power." Journal of Family Issues, 8 (#1), 42-56.
DeFrancisco, Victoria Lets. (1991). "The sounds of silence: How men silence women in marital relations." Discourse & Society, 2, 413-423.
Letitia Anne and Susan Miller Campbell. (1989). "The balance of power in dating and
121-137 in Jo Freeman (ed.), Women: A Feminist Perspective (Fourth
Shifting Power Bases (63pp)
Pepper. (1994). “Eliminating the
provider role.” Pp.
111-144 in Schwartz, Peer Marriage.
*Gallagher, S.K. and C. Smith. (1999). “Symbolic traditionalism and pragmatic egalitarianism: Contemporary evangelicals, families, and gender.” Gender & Society, 13, 211-233.
*Risman, Barbara & Danette Johnson-Sumerford. (1998). “Doing it fairly: A study of postgender marriages.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 23-40.
William J. (1992). "Why men resist." Pp. 287-310 in
Blaisure, Karen R. and Katherine R. Allen. (1995). "Feminists and the ideology and practice of marital equality." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 5-19.
Violence Against Wives (61pp)
*Dobash, R. Emerson and Russell Dobash. (1976). "Violence against wives: A case against the patriarchy" and "The violent marriage." Pp. 1-13, 124-143 in Dobash and Dobash, Violence Against Wives. New York: The Free Press.
*Johnson, Michael P. (1995). "Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283-294.
*Johnson, Michael P., and Kathleen J. Ferraro. (2000). “‘Research on Domestic Violence in the 1990s: Making Distinctions.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 948-63.
Johnson, M. P. (2001). Conflict and control:
Symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. In Alan Booth, Ann C. Crouter
& Mari Clements (Eds.), Couples
in Conflict (pp. 95-104).
Violence Against Daughters (58pp)
*Russell, Diana. (1986). "The gender gap among perpetrators of child sexual abuse" (co-authored with David Finkelhor) and "Factors reducing social inhibitions against child sexual abuse." Pp. 215-231, 261-268 in Russell, Sexual Exploitation. New York: Basic Books.
*Gilgun, Jane. (1995). "We shared something special: The moral discourse of incest perpetrators." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 265-281.
Lindy & Sobieszczyk, Teresa. (1997). “Attitudes surrounding the continuation of
female circumcision in the
October 31-November 7
Who Does What? (54pp)
* Coltrane, Scott. (2000). “Research on household labor: Modeling and measuring the social embeddedness of routine family work.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1208-1233.
*Zvonkovic, Anisa M., Greaves, Kathleen M., Schmiege, Cynthia J., & Hall, Leslie D. (1996). “The marital construction of gender through work and family decisions: A qualitative analysis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 91-100.
John P. & Godbey, Geoffrey. (1997). Time for Life: The Surprising Ways
Americans Use their Time.
Daniels, Arlene Kaplan. (1987). "Invisible work." Social Problems, 34, 403-415.
Marjorie. (1991). "Feeding as
'women's work'." Pp.
95-119 in DeVault, Feeding the Family: The Social Organization of Caring as Gendered
diLeonardo, Micaela. (1992).
"The female world of cards and holidays: Women, families and the work of
kinship." Pp. 246-261 in
Division of Labor
How Do Women Feel About It and Deal with It? (71pp)
*Thompson, Linda. (1991). "Family work: Women's sense of fairness." Journal of Family Issues, 12, 181-196.
*Hawkins, Alan J., Christina M. Marshall, and Kathryn M. Meiners. (1995). "Exploring wives' sense of fairness about family work: An initial test of the distributive justice framework." Journal of Family Issues, 16, 693-721.
*Ahlander, Nancy R. & Bahr, Kathleen S. (1995). “Beyond drudgery, power, and equity: Toward an expanded discourse on the moral dimensions of housework in families.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 54-68.
*Sanchez, Laura. (1996). “Feminism, family work, and moral discourse: A comment on Ahlander and Bahr’s….” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 514-520.
*Ahlander, Nancy R. & Bahr, Kathleen S. (1996). “Morality, feminism, and family work: A reply to Sanchez’s commentary.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 520-525.
Arlie with Anne Machung. (1989). "Beneath the cover-up: Strategies and
188-203 in Hochschild with Machung, The
Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home.
November 21a (may need to reschedule)
*Terry Arendell. (2000). “Conceiving and investigating motherhood: The decade’s scholarship.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1192-1207.
Patricia Hill. (1992). "Black women and motherhood." Pp. 215-245 in
*Rothman, Barbara Katz. (1989). "Women as fathers: Motherhood and childcare under a modified patriarchy." Gender & Society, 3, 89-104.
McDonald, Katrina B. (1997). “Black activist mothering: A historical intersection of race, gender, and class.” Gender & Society, 11, 773-795.
Chodorow, Nancy and Susan Contratto. (1992).
"The fantasy of the perfect mother." Pp.
November 21b (may need to reschedule)
Thomas W. (1992). "The facts of fatherhood."
Pp. 155-175 in
*LaRossa, Ralph. (1988). "Fatherhood and social change." Family Relations, 37, 451-457.
*Doherty, William J., Kouneski, Edward F., & Erickson, Martha F. (1998). “Responsible fathering: An overview and conceptual framework..” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 277-292.
*Walker, Alexis J. and Lori A. McGraw. (2000). “Who is responsible for responsible fathering?” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 563-569.
*Doherty, William J., Kouneski, Edward F., & Erickson, Martha F. (2000). “We are all responsible for responsible fathering.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 570-574.
"Unwed fathers: Complex dilemmas for policy makers." The American
Weston, Kath. (1991). "Parenting in the age of AIDS." Pp. 165-193 in Weston, Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University Press.
Sara. (1992). "Thinking about fathers." Pp. 176-190 in
The Public/Private Intersection: The Economic System (70pp)
*Zaretsky, Eli. (1986). "The family and the economy" and "Proletarianization and the rise of subjectivity." Pp. 9-19, 40-58 in Zaretsky, Capitalism, the Family & Personal Life. NY: Harper and Row.
*Perry-Jenkins, Maureen, Rena L. Repetti, and Ann C. Crouter. (2000). “Work and family in the 1990s.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 981-998.
Maxine Baca. (1992). "Family, race, and poverty in the
Eighties." Pp. 71-90 in
Rayna. (1992). "Family and class in contemporary
Maxine Baca. (1994). “Feminist rethinking from racial-ethnic
families.” Pp. 303-314 in Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie
Thornton Dill (Eds.), Women of Color in
The Public/Private Intersection: The Political System (48pp)
*Gordon, Linda. (1994). "Welfare reform: A history lesson." Dissent, 41, 323-328.
Edin & Laura Lein. (1997). Two
tables on survival strategies and “The choice between welfare and work.” Pp. 150-151 and
218-235 in Edin & Lein, Making
Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low Wage Work.
*Katha Pollitt. (2000). “The politics of personal responsibility.” The Nation, 271 (1, August 21/28), 12.
*Popenoe, David. (1991). "Family decline in the Swedish welfare state." The Public Interest, #102, 65-77.
*Sandqvist, Karin, Bengt-Erik Andersson, Gunilla Dahlberg, Jan Hoem, Britta Hoem, and Elisabeth Landgren-Moller. (1992). "Thriving families in the Swedish welfare state." The Public Interest, #109, 114-117.
*Popenoe, David. (1992). "Family decline: A rejoinder." The Public Interest, #109, 117-122.
Gwendolyn Mink. (1998). Feminists, welfare reform, and welfare justice. Social Justice, 25 (1), 146-157.
Christopher Jencks & Joseph Swingle. (2000). "Without a Net: Whom the New Welfare Law Helps and Hurts," The American Prospect,11 (4).
Randy Albelda. (1999). What welfare reform has wrought. Dollars & Sense. n221. Jan 1999. pp. 15-17.
Gwendolyn Mink. (1998). The lady and the tramp II: Feminist welfare politics, poor single mothers, and the challenge of welfare justice. Feminist Studies, 24 (1), 55-64.
Ruth Sidel. (1998). “Epilogue: Abandoning
the poor.” In
Ruth Sidel, Keeping women and
Susan L. (1995).
"Exchanging welfare checks for wedding rings: Welfare reform in
Pick a Book
List of book options to be generated by seminar participants.