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Selected Topics in The Sociology of The Family: “Alternative Families”

The family is a foundational institution upon which societies are built. Families can also tell us a great deal about social inequality. This course examines the social significance of, and relationship between, nuclear and alternative families. This course is organized into two broad areas. First, we examine the emergence and the significance of the nuclear family in western societies. Second, we explore the diverse experiences of “alternative” families and grapple with the new questions these families offer us in our quest to understand the relationship between families and social life. Students will have the opportunity to examine empirical and theoretical work in these areas. Most attention will be paid to the Canadian context; however, other international examples will be discussed. This is a seminar course (as opposed to a lecture) with a moderate amount of weekly reading; therefore, it is expected that all students will come to class each week prepared to engage in thoughtful and informed discussion.

SOCIOL 4AA3

Selected Topics in The Sociology of The Family: “Alternative Families”

Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): IV Term(s): Fall Offered?: Yes

The family is a foundational institution upon which societies are built. Families can also tell us a great deal about social inequality. This course examines the social significance of, and relationship between, nuclear and alternative families. This course is organized into two broad areas. First, we examine the emergence and the significance of the nuclear family in western societies. Second, we explore the diverse experiences of “alternative” families and grapple with the new questions these families offer us in our quest to understand the relationship between families and social life. Students will have the opportunity to examine empirical and theoretical work in these areas. Most attention will be paid to the Canadian context; however, other international examples will be discussed. This is a seminar course (as opposed to a lecture) with a moderate amount of weekly reading; therefore, it is expected that all students will come to class each week prepared to engage in thoughtful and informed discussion.


Julie Gouweloos

PhD Student

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level IV Honours Sociology or permission of the department. SOCIOL 4AA3 may be repeated, on a different topic, to a total of six units. Not open to students with credit in SOCIOL 4GG3 if on a similar topic.