Exploring Family Relationships with Other Social Contexts

Exploring Family Relationships with Other Social Contexts

Exploring Family Relationships with Other Social Contexts

Exploring Family Relationships with Other Social Contexts

Synopsis

In the 1990s it is no longer "news" that families do not operate independently from other social organizations and institutions. Instead, it is generally recognized that families are embedded in a complex set of relationships with other institutions and contexts outside the family. In spite of this recognition, a great deal remains to be discovered about the ways in which families are influenced by these outside agencies or how families influence the functioning of children and adults in these extra-familial settings--school, work, day-care, or peer group contexts. Moreover, little is known about the nature of the processes that account for this mutual influence between families and other societal institutions and settings. The goal of this volume is to present examples from a series of ongoing research programs that are beginning to provide some tentative answers to these questions. The result of a summer workshop characterized by lively exchanges not only between speakers and the audience, but among participants in small group discussions as well, this volume attempts to communicate some of the dynamism and excitement that was evident at the conference. In the final analysis, this book should stimulate further theoretical and empirical advances in understanding how families relate to other contexts.

Excerpt

Ross D. Parke University of California, Riverside

Sheppard G. Kellam The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health

In the 1990s it is no longer "news" that families do not operate independently from other social organizations and institutions. Instead, it is generally recognized that families are embedded in a complex set of relationships with other institutions and contexts outside the family. In spite of this recognition, a great deal remains to be discovered about the ways in which families are influenced by these outside agencies or how families, in turn, influence the functioning of children and adults in their extra-familial settings, such as school, work, day- care, or peer group contexts. Moreover, we know little about the nature of the processes that account for this mutual influence between families and other societal institutions and settings. The goal of this volume is to present examples from a series of ongoing research programs that are beginning to provide some tentative answers to these questions.

In this introduction a variety of trends--both demographic and scientific-- that have converged since the 1980s to support this view of families' embeddedness in a wider set of societal institutions is briefly reviewed. Finally, the organization of the volume and the highlights of the remaining chapters are outlined.

SHIFTS IN SOCIAL ROLES AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

In the 1970s and 1980s, a variety of demographic and social changes have occurred that have altered the family's relationship to other institutions in our society.

Three changes are particularly noteworthy. They are the rise in maternal . . .

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