Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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Canadian Scholars,Women’s Press
542 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
August 2021
Print ISBN: 9781773382494


Now in its fourth edition, Family Matters offers an enriched discussion on a variety of substantive issues experienced by diverse Canadian families across the life course. Adopting a feminist sociological approach throughout, this popular textbook explores family dynamics through a critical life course theoretical lens. This over-arching perspective is used to examine how social, economic, and historical processes related to gender roles, age and generational location, ethnicity and race, geographical location, and social change shape contemporary family life.

As a leading name in sociology, Barbara Mitchell has thoroughly updated the previous edition to reflect timely current events, recent census data, and cutting-edge research. Providing more detailed and nuanced discussions of many areas including life course and other styles of critical theorizing on families, this new edition examines the history of slavery and Black family life in Canada, Indigenous families, foreign/temporary workers, intersectional and racialized processes influencing families, youth activism, transgender children, technology and social media, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aging families.

Approachable, concise, and filled with discussion questions, activities, and resources for further reading, Family Matters is the perfect resource for students enrolled in introductory or advanced level courses in family sociology and gender studies.


  • up-to-date material featuring current events, recent research studies and statistics, including census and other national data sets
  • new and expanded content on a wide range of timely topics, such as Indigenous and racialized family life, transgender children, technology and social media, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • includes updated instructor supplement package equipped with PowerPoint slides, video resource suggestions, and a test bank

Table of Contents

List of Boxes, Tables, and Figures

PART I: Understanding Continuity, Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change in Families

Chapter 1: Family Matters: An Introduction to the Sociology of Canadian Families

Chapter 2: Family Theory and Methods: Windows on Families and Family Research

Chapter 3: Canadian Families in Historical, Cross-Cultural, and Global Context

Chapter 4: First Families: Indigenous Peoples and Family Life in Pre-Post Confederate Canada

Chapter 5: Immigration and the Changing Ethnic Mosaic of Canadian Families

Chapter 6: More than a Labour of Love: Gender, Unpaid Work, and the Cult of Domesticity

PART II: The Ties That Bind: Family Formation and Generational Connections

Chapter 7: Close Relations in Youth and Young Adulthood: Establishing Partnerships and Forming Families

Chapter 8: Families and Children in the Early Years: Childhood, Socialization, and Shifting Ideologies of Parenthood

Chapter 9: All Our Families: Diversity, Challenge, and Continuity in Non-Conforming Coupled Relationships

Chapter 10: Family Dissolution and the Brady Bunch: Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage

Chapter 11: Families in the Middle and the Launching of Children: Home-Leaving, Boomerang Kids, and the Empty Nest

Chapter 12: Aging Families and the Sunset Years: Caregiving and Support across the Generations

PART III: Families on the Fault Line and Social Policy Issues

Chapter 13: Families, Health, and Well-Being: Choices and Constraints over the Life Course

Chapter 14: Trying to Make Ends Meet: Family Poverty, Living on the Margins, and Financial Struggle

Chapter 15: Families in Crisis: Family Violence, Abuse, and Stress

Chapter 16: Families and the State: Family Policy in an Era of Globalization and Economic Uncertainty

Copyright Acknowledgements


Instructor Resources

See sample

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