Diversity in Families

Maxine Baca Zinn / D. Stanley Eitzen / Barbara Wells  
Total pages
November 2013
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Diversity in Families
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This award-winning text treats familydiversity as the norm, while highlighting how race, class, gender, and sexuality produce varieties of familial relationships.

Diversity in Families looks at families not as “building blocks of societies” but rather, as products of social forces within society. The authors undertake a critical examination of society, asking questions such as, “How do families really work?” and “Who benefits under the existing arrangements, and who does not?” Their goal is to demystify and demythologize the family by exposing existing myths, stereotypes, and dogmas.


  • Emphasizes the influences of social forces on family forms, by highlighting the effects that race, class, gender, and sexuality have on family diversity.
  • Each chapter takes a close look at the myths and realities about families.
  • Coverage of human agency shows how family members respond to various social conditions and actively produce change in their family environments.
  • Especially strong in its inclusion of feminist scholarship and conflict theory.
  • “Emergent Family Trends” boxes look at new family patterns and their possible effects on future families.
  • “Inside the Worlds of Diverse Families” boxes focus on global issues such as transnational families, conducting global research on families, and mini-ethnographies that help students learn about diverse families around the world.
  • Strong pedagogy to support student learning includes an extensive box program, featuring “Families in Global Perspective,” “Technology and the Family,” “Researching Families,” “Emergent Family Trends,” and “Inside the Worlds of Diverse Families.”
  • MyFamilyKit (www.myfamilykit.com). MyFamilyKit is an online resource that contains book-specific practice tests, chapter summaries, audio and video activities, writing and research tutorials, and access to scholarly literature on families through Research Navigator. MyFamilyKit is available with Diversity in Families 9/e when a MyFamilyKit access code card shrinkwrapped with the text.

Outstanding author team, winner of the 2003 William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Award for excellence over multiple editions from the Text and Academic Authors Association.

New to this Edition

  • The 9th edition has been updated to an all-new full color design that utilizes a larger format.
  • Many new photos have been added throughout the text in order to reinforce the concepts presented.
  • The effects of the Great Recession on families (Chapter 4)
  • Families in the Great Depression and differences by race, class, and gender (Chapter 3).
  • The effects of globalization on family life is reflected throughout the text.
  • Parental time with children, including marital employment and time with children (Chapter 9).
  • Expanded coverage of immigrant families, including second generation immigrants (Chapter 4).
  • The latest research on today’s work/family realities, including the high commitment workplace, the work/family experience of single mothers, and the growing care sector of the economy (Chapter 6).
  • Mate selection, marriage, and technology (Chapter 7).
  • The latest on communication and the sexual relationship in marriage (Chapter 7).
  • Current statistics update discussions and new references highlight the latest research, especially in debunking the myths and in substantiating the realities about families reflected throughout the text.
  • Updated weblinks that follow each chapter encourage further reading and research.

Table of Contents










Chapter 1 Images, Ideals, and Myths

Chapter 2 Preindustrial Families and the Emergence of a Modern Family Form

Chapter 3 The Historical Making of Family Diversity

Chapter 4 Macro Forces Affecting Families:  the Economy, Immigration, and Aging

Chapter 5 Class, Race, and Gender

Chapter 6 Meshing the Worlds of Work and Family

Chapter 7 The Social Construction of Intimacy

Chapter 8 Contemporary Marriages

Chapter 9 Parents and Children

Chapter 10 Violence in Families

Chapter 11 Divorce and Remarriage

Chapter 12 Emergent Families in the Global Era


Chapter 13 Family Policy for the Twenty-First Century





Chapter 1Images, Ideals, and Myths   

Images and Ideals

 Family as Haven

 Family as Fulfillment

 Family as Encumbrance

Images and Reality

The Mythical U.S. Family

 The Myth of a Stable and Harmonious Family of the Past

 The Myth of Separate Worlds

 The Myth of the Monolithic Family Form

 The Myth of a Unified Family Experience

 The Myth of Family Consensus

 The Myth of Family Decline as the Cause of Social Problems

A New Framework for Understanding Families

 The Sociological Perspective

 The Paradigm Shift in Family Studies

 The Structural Diversity Approach


Chapter 2Preindustrial Families and the Emergence of a Modern Family Form   

Family and the New Social History

 What Is “New” about Family History?

 Overview of Family History Themes

Family Life in Colonial America

 Agricultural Communities and Families

 Family Structure and Household Composition

 Wives and Husbands


The Emergence of Modern Family Life

 Industrialization and Families

 Agency, Adaptation, and Change

 Household Size and Composition

 Wives and Husbands


 Challenging a Uniform Definition of the Family


Chapter 3The Historical Making of Family Diversity

Industrialization and Family Life

 New Work Arrangements

Work and Family in Industrial Society

 Accordion Households

Immigration and Family Life

 The Social Breakdown Perspective

 Industrial Work and Immigrant Families

Racial Control and Family Life

 New Thinking about Minority Families

 Race, Labor, and Family Life

 African American Families in Slavery and Freedom

 Chicano Families in the Southwest

The Great Depression and Family Change

Chapter 4Macro Forces Affecting Families:  the Economy, Immigration, and Aging  

Globalization and the Structural Transformation of the Economy, the Great Recession, and Families


 Structural Changes in the United States Because of Globalization

 The Great Recession (2007-?)

Downward Social Mobility

Shifting Family Forms

The New Immigration and the Changing Racial Landscape

Demographic Trends and Increasing Diversity

Structural Diversity of Immigrant Families

The Effects of Immigration on Immigrant Families

Immigration and Agency

The Effects of Immigration on Family Dynamics

The New Second Generation