Answer the following questions. Identify each questions by chapter and number and write your responses after each.
What is meant by the idea that race, class, and gender are interactive systems rather than individual variables? Think about your own family of orientation, and take one particular aspect of your family life as an example. Discuss briefly how race, class, and gender act simultaneously to shape that aspect of your family life.
Most people agree that marriages and families underwent major changes during the last half of the twentieth century; however, few people link these changes to larger societal changes that have taken place. Identify some of the major changes that have taken place during the past 50 years (for example, in transportation, technology, and social welfare policies), and discuss their impact on contemporary marriages and families. Reflect on your own family and consider how one such change has affected your family and/or families like yours.
Why do sociologists need different theoretical perspectives to explain marriage and family behavior? Why isn’t one perspective sufficient?
Identify a family from a culture other than the United States. Interview family members in terms of a range of issues, including family values, norms, customs, and rituals relative to marriage, childbearing, and childrearing. Compare your findings to families born and raised in the United States. How does your research help you to understand these sociological concepts, and what does it tell us about the diversity of marriages and families?
As discussed in this chapter, marriages and families today are faced with a myriad of challenges such as home foreclosures, unemployment, violence, poverty, and racism. If you were a member of a team charged with developing social policy pertaining to American families, what aspect of family life would you focus on, how might you research the topic, and what kind of policy(ies) might you suggest to policy makers?
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