Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions Edited by Thorne Barrie and Marilyn Yalom

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions Edited by Thorne Barrie and Marilyn Yalom

Article excerpt

THORNE Barrie and Marilyn YALOM, eds., RETHINKING THE FAMILY: Some Feminist Questions (Revised Edition). Boston, Mass.: Northeastern University Press., 1992, 316 pp., $14.95 softcover/$39.50 hardcover.

ANN GOETTING*

This book is designed to draw readers into two decades of feminist thinking about the family. Considering all issues raised by feminists, it is those that bear on the family that have been the most controversial. Among them, demands for abortion rights, efforts to legitimate varied household and sexual arrangements, and challenges of men' s authority and women's economic dependence and exclusive responsibility for nurturing are highlighted in this volume. The majority of essays are new entries to this second edition.

The authors represent multiple disciplines, and their papers draw upon and contribute to the various dimensions and facts of feminism as an interdisciplinary ideology. The book is organized around five themes: (1) challenge to the idea of "the monolithic family;" (2) gender as the basic category of analysis in the study of the family; (3) structures of gender, generation, race and class that permeate family organization; (4) reconceptualization of family boundaries in the context of challenge to the traditional dichotomy of private and public, family and society; and (5) tension between individualism and community as basic to the politics of family change. Overall, the collection affirms the political significance of feminist analysis.

Among the many compelling issues raised and examined is the ideology of the traditional American family in its reinforcement of the economic exploitation of women. …

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