Spain has one of the highest per capita international adoption rates in the world. Internationally adopted kids are coming from many of the same countries as do the many immigrants who are radically transforming Spain's demographics. Based on interviews with adoptive families, migrant families, and adoption professionals, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver examines the experiences of Latin American children adopted into a rapidly multiculturalizing society. She focuses on Peruvian adoptees and immigrants in Madrid, but her conclusions apply more broadly, to any pairing of adoptees and migrants from the same country. Leinaweaver finds that international adoption, particularly in a context of high rates of transnational migration, is best understood as both a privileged and unusual form of migration, and a crucial and contested method of family formation. Adoptive Migration is a fascinating study of the implications for adopted children of growing up in a country that discriminates against their fellow immigrants.
Michael J. Rosenfeld offers a new theory of family dynamics to account for the interesting and startling changes in marriage and family composition in the United States in recent years. His argument revolves around the independent life stage that emerged around 1960. This stage is experienced by young adults after they leave their parents’ homes but before they settle down to start their own families. During this time, young men and women go away to college, travel abroad, begin careers, and enjoy social independence. This independent life stage has reduced parental control over the dating practices and mate selection of their children and has resulted in a sharp rise in interracial and same-sex unions—unions that were more easily averted by previous generations of parents.
Complementing analysis of newly available census data from the entire twentieth century with in-depth interviews that explore the histories of families and couples, Rosenfeld proposes a conceptual model to explain many social changes that may seem unrelated but that flow from the same underlying logic. He shows, for example, that the more a relationship is transgressive of conventional morality, the more likely it is for the individuals to live away from their family and area of origin.
How can we empower America’s children? That question has driven Ian Rowe throughout his career. He served ten years as CEO of Public Prep, a network of charter schools in the South Bronx, and held senior roles at places such as the White House, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and MTV. At each juncture, he noticed that young people—especially those from minority and underprivileged backgrounds—were receiving and unfortunately often absorbing a cultural narrative that devastated their chances of success. Moreover, they were growing up in communities with high concentrations of fragile families, lack of school choice, declines in religiosity, and significant unemployment.
The debilitating narrative combined with their challenging conditions communicated to young people that they were victims of forces beyond their control, that their destinies were not up to them. Rowe resolved to promote a rewrite of the victimhood narrative and to champion a change in institutions. An overhaul of both, he realized, is the only way to impress upon children that they have the power to live the lives of their choosing.
To be clear, Rowe fully acknowledges the reality of societal barriers in disadvantaged communities. That’s why, in addition to a personal conviction in their own potential, kids need the nurturing structure, the consistent discipline, and the moral direction that social institutions traditionally have provided. In particular, they need Family, Religion, Education, and Entrepreneurship—the very pillars that have crumbled in our most disadvantaged communities.
Rowe further incorporates into his argument the voices of individuals struggling in broken environments, giving them a platform they are not normally afforded. Their direct testimony underscores the perverse incentives that flood into neighborhoods stripped of society’s mediating institutions. It also reveals the hunger of young people for the kind of information Rowe provides—a desire to better themselves, their families, and their communities.
Parents of children with disabilities often situate their activism as a means of improving the world for their child. However, some disabled activists perceive parental activism as working against the independence and dignity of people with disabilities. This thorny relationship is at the heart of the groundbreaking Allies and Obstacles.
The authors chronicle parents’ path-breaking advocacy in arenas such as the right to education and to liberty via deinstitutionalization as well as how they engaged in legal and political advocacy. Allies and Obstacles provides a macro analysis of parent activism using a social movement perspective to reveal and analyze the complex—and often tense—relationship of parents to disability rights organizations and activism.
The authors look at organizational and individual narratives using four case studies that focus on intellectual disability, psychiatric diagnoses, autism, and a broad range of physical disabilities including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. These cases explore the specific ways in which activism developed among parents and people with disabilities, as well as the points of alliance and the key points of contestation. Ultimately, Allies and Obstacles develops new insights into disability activism, policy, and the family.
Based on two studies of marital quality in America twenty years apart, Alone Together shows that while the divorce rate has leveled off, spouses are spending less time together. The authors argue that marriage is an adaptable institution, and in accommodating the changes that have occurred in society, it has become a less cohesive, yet less confining arrangement.
Changes in family and household composition are part of every individual's life course. Childhood families expand and contract; the individual leaves to set up an independent household; he or she may marry, raise children, lose a spouse. These transitions have a profound effect on the economic and social well-being of individuals, and the relative prevalence of different living arrangements affects the very character of society. American families and Households takes advantage of the large samples provided by the decennial censuses to document recent major transformations in the individual life cycle and consequent changes in the composition of the American population. As James Sweet and Larry Bumpass demonstrate, these changes have been dramatic—rates of marriage and childbirth are down, rates of marital disruption are up, and those who can are more likely to maintain independent households despite the rapid acceleration of change during recent years, however, the authors find that contemporary trends are continuous with long-term changes in Western society. This meticulous work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the American Family and the individual life experiences that are translated into the larger population experience. "Jim Sweet and Larry Bumpass provide detailed descriptions of three components of the households and families of Americans: family transitions; the prevalence of different family and household arrangements; and the economic and social circumstances of people living in different types of families and households....As a reference work, the volume is a gold mine, with many rich veins of useful information....Anyone interested in American families and how they have been changing will want to refer to this volume." —American Journal of Sociology A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
American Kinship is the first attempt to deal systematically with kinship as a system of symbols and meanings, and not simply as a network of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the study of a highly differentiated society such as our own may be more revealing of the nature of kinship than the study of anthropologically more familiar, but less differentiated societies. He goes to the heart of the ideology of relations among relatives in America by locating the underlying features of the definition of kinship—nature vs. law, substance vs. code. One of the most significant features of American Kinship, then, is the explicit development of a theory of culture on which the analysis is based, a theory that has since proved valuable in the analysis of other cultures. For this Phoenix edition, Schneider has written a substantial new chapter, responding to his critics and recounting the charges in his thought since the book was first published in 1968.
Amigas y Amantes (Friends and Lovers) explores the experiences of sexually nonconforming Latinas in the creation and maintenance of families. It is based on forty-two in-depth ethnographic interviews with women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer (LBQ). Additionally, it draws from fourteen months of participant observation at LBQ Latina events that Katie L. Acosta conducted in 2007 and 2008 in a major northeast city. With this data, Acosta examines how LBQ Latinas manage loving relationships with the families who raised them, and with their partners, their children, and their friends.
Acosta investigates how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate cultural expectations, combat compulsory heterosexuality, and reconcile tensions with their families. She offers a new way of thinking about the emotion work involved in everyday lives, which highlights the informal, sometimes invisible, labor required in preserving family ties. Acosta contends that the work LBQ Latinas take on to preserve connections with biological families, lovers, and children results in a unique way of doing family.
Paying particular attention to the negotiations that LBQ Latinas undertake in an effort to maintain familial order, Amigas y Amantes explores how they understand femininity, how they negotiate their religious faiths, how they face the unique challenges of being in interracial/interethnic relationships, and how they raise their children while integrating their families of origin.
The first critical analysis of contemporary arranged marriage among South Asians in a global context
Arranged marriage is an institution of global fascination—an object of curiosity, revulsion, outrage, and even envy. Marian Aguiar provides the first sustained analysis of arranged marriage as a transnational cultural phenomenon, revealing how its meaning has been continuously reinvented within the South Asian diaspora of Britain, the United States, and Canada. Aguiar identifies and analyzes representations of arranged marriage in an interdisciplinary set of texts—from literary fiction and Bollywood films, to digital and print media, to contemporary law and policy on forced marriage.
Aguiar interprets depictions of South Asian arranged marriage to show we are in a moment of conjugal globalization, identifying how narratives about arranged marriage bear upon questions of consent, agency, state power, and national belonging. Aguiar argues that these discourses illuminate deep divisions in the processes of globalization constructed on a fault line between individualist and collectivist agency and in the process, critiques neoliberal celebrations of “culture as choice” that attempt to bridge that separation. Aguiar advocates situating arranged marriage discourses within their social and material contexts so as to see past reductive notions of culture and grasp the global forces mediating increasingly polarized visions of agency.
Denounced by some as a dangerous cult and lauded by others as a miraculous faith community, the International Churches of Christ was a conservative evangelical Christian movement that grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Among its followers, promises to heal family relationships were central to the group's appeal. Members credit the church for helping them develop so-called "awesome families"-successful marriages and satisfying relationships with children, family of origin, and new church "brothers and sisters." The church engaged an elaborate array of services, including round-the-clock counseling, childcare, and Christian dating networks-all of which were said to lead to fulfilling relationships and exciting sex lives. Before the unified movement's demise in 2003-2004, the lure of blissful family-life led more than 100,000 individuals worldwide to be baptized into the church.
In Awesome Families, Kathleen Jenkins draws on four years of ethnographic research to explain how and why so many individuals-primarily from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds-were attracted to this religious group that was founded on principles of enforced community, explicit authoritative relationships, and therapeutic ideals. Weaving classical and contemporary social theory, she argues that members were commonly attracted to the structure and practice of family relationships advocated by the church, especially in the context of contemporary society where gender roles and family responsibilities are often ambiguous.
Tracing the rise and fall of this fast-growing religious movement, this timely study adds to our understanding of modern society and offers insight to the difficulties that revivalist movements have in sustaining growth.