Historically, the family has functioned as a social institution that serves as the site of procreation and provider of the physical, financial and emotional needs that individuals cannot provide for themselves.  For many, the family is where we initially learn about the world around us, garner our world view and sense of self.  It is where we can find a place to belong for a lifetime.  In the sentiments of our former Family Division chair Dr. Cheryl Bordeaux, in a just world all people “are allowed to be a part of a loving, nurturing family” that is recognized and supported by society. 

Though many families continue to serve the same functions, in other ways families as we have known them are evolving.  In fact, the very structures of family units are transforming. For example, some couples are choosing to remain child free while other women opt to use fertility technologies to become single parents by choice. Many adults will spend some part of their adulthood cohabitating with significant others, while others will reside in family-like cooperative living arrangements with people to whom they are not biologically related.  We also know that same sex families are on the rise following the 2015 SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality.  In summary, families are anything but static!  But, rather, they are constantly co-evolving with other features of contemporary social life.

The Family Division of SSSP is just that, a family!  If your research, teaching or activism interests center on issues related to families domestically or globally, we hope that you will consider becoming a part of our clan!

Our objective is to produce knowledge and discourse that can lead to policies and programs that enhance family life in its myriad forms.  Social justice is at the heart of our research, activism and initiatives.  We anticipate that our efforts will lead to empowerment and equality for families that are marginalized for any reason. Specifically, we seek justice for same sex unions and other non-traditional family forms. We seek to alleviate hardships upon families impacted by racism, poverty, incarceration, disability, abuse, addiction, ageism, and sexism. We seek to remove all structural barriers that impede life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people in all places always.  

Division mission statement reviewed in November 2019 by Kristin J. Wilson, Cabrillo College, Family Division Chair, 2018-2020. No edits were made. Division mission statement was last edited in November 2017 by Jennifer Haskin, Arizona State University, Family Division Chair, 2016-2018. 

Key Articles and Books for Learning More: 

Coontz, S. (2001). Historical Perspectives on Family Diversity. In S. J. Ferguson (Ed.), Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families (2nd ed., pp. 59-76). Mountain View: Mayfield.

Ehrenreich, Barbara (May 1, 2002) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Holt Paperbacks

Rosanna Hertz, (2006) Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American Family, Oxford

Loseke, Donileen R., Gelles, Richard J., and Cavanaugh, Mary M., editors. 2nd ed., (2005) Current Controversies on Family Violence Sage Publications, Inc.

Szasz, Andrew (2007) Shopping Our Way to Safety: How We Changed from Protecting the Environment to Protecting Ourselves. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Sudhir A. Venkatesh, (2006) Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor, Harvard University Press

Giddens, A. (1992). The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love & Eroticism in Modern Societies. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Hochschild, A. R. (1989). The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. New York: Viking.

Journal of Marriage and the Family, Decade Review: The current one is Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Jun., 2010)

Lappegard, Trude (2008). "Changing the Gender Balance in Caring: Fatherhood and the Division of Parental Leave in Norway". Population research and policy review (0167-5923), 27 (2), p. 139.