We are nostalgic for a family that never quite
“Nuclear” not so clear.
Definitions of childhood
The role of work and the economy
The family as “happiness”
What is a Family?
You’re read and responded to Coontz and you’ve
each had different and valid responses, so let’s take
a few minutes to develop our own working
Karen will record these and post to our course site.
At the end of the course, we will revisit our
The family as:
An economic unit (Work, labor, and finances)
As a site of gender & race & class politics (Care work &
As a site of “reproduction.” (Children & workers)
As a site of socialization (The labor of parenting)
As a site of “safety” or “domesticity” (contra “the factory)
As as site of “happiness” or lack thereof
As a site of “personal” fulfillment & choice
As Economic Unit
Historically, the family has been a unit of economic
Family as “business”
Family as site of labor
The transmission of wealth via genealogical lines
This is true across class distinctions
Gender, Race & Class
Care work is political work. Who cares for whom and
Site of Reproduction
The family is endless site of worry with regards to
Does this just mean babies?
What is “social reproduction”?
Marx &Engles “The Origin of the Family”
Feminist Marxist work of 1970s
Silvia Federici, Wages for Housework
How are parents charged with the socialization of
How is such parenting “policed”?
“Haven in a Heartless
With the rise of Industrial Capitalism (What is this?)
the spheres of WORK and HOME are separated.
Compare this with the family in an agricultural
The HOME becomes associated with a place free
from the cares of the WORKPLACE… but…
1960’s & 1970s Feminist Study of the family
1963 Betty Friedan “The Feminist Mystique”
"The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the
minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a
sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning [that is, a longing]
that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in
the United States. Each suburban [house]wife struggled
with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for
groceries … she was afraid to ask even of herself the
silent question — 'Is this all?
1980s: Divorce becomes public issue.
The rise of the companionate form of marriage.
Delayed childbearing (education, social class here)