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Dave Witt

Dave's self-styled "experimental pages at the University of Akron" may not be pretty on the eye (or any other part of the anatomy come to that), but they do contain a wealth of useful information about Family Life. This includes material on family diversity, gender roles, Consensus and Conflict theories (amongst others). It's all a bit text-heavy (there are some illustrations to lighten the load), but it's well-focused and probably useful to those studying the Family topic.

Alternative Family Structures

"The Last Queendom of Women" is a short piece of research, carried-out by a student at the Shenzhen College of International Education in China, that looks at a rare contemporary example of an alternative to the “conventional nuclear family” that touches on a wide-range of concepts, including: family structures, marriage, divorce, motherhood, fatherhood and social status, sexuality, old age and family size.

Families and Social Capital

Although the material available for download is quite advanced (aimed more at an undergraduate audience), if you're looking for some up-to-date material on the relationship between families, social change and social capital this is a good a place as any to start. The Publications section has a lot of useful material to download.

Family Factbook

The Factbook is a small part of a much larger (blogging) site that's well worth exploring if you've got the time (especially The Blog section that covers social studies and media criticism) and represents a spin-off from research carried-out for a book on various aspects of family life. The information available is a mix of the quantitative and the qualitative (although, in the main, the focus is on American family life and experiences this could be useful for comparative purposes) and covers a number of aspects of family life - from questions about structure through gender roles to the "family breakdown" debate.

Family, Sex and Society

A range of podcasts, from the BBC World Service, that focus on areas like Gender, Family Structure and Social Change.

Gender and Society

Although this is part of the massive "Trinity" site, it's an interesting site in its own right, containing information and links relating to male and female lives and relationships. If you're looking for background material relating to gender studies (albeit with an American slant), this is a good starting point.

Guide to the Family

This is a massive site containing a wealth of data (statistical as well as qualitative) relating to all aspects of the sociology of family life (structures and processes, relationships, marriage and cohabitation, family history, socialisation and much, much, more...). It's designed to be an interactive tutorial (i.e. there's some hyperlinks to follow), but it's basically a load of interesting text about all aspects of family life.

History of Marriage

This online article offers a brief - but concise - "history of marriage" in Britain that includes useful observations about things like divorce, cross-cultural perspectives and alternatives to marriage.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The Foundation publishes a wide range of useful research into areas like family life and this particular piece of research looks at the concept of cohabitation in terms of why people cohabit and, most interestingly, what happens when a cohabiting relationship breaks down.

Marriage Quiz

Although not, in itself, particularly useful this short quiz entitled "Choosing the Right One: 16 Questions to ask yourself before you marry" contains some interesting material that can be adapted for classroom use when considering questions about who marries and who divorces.

Quantitative Research Lab

This site contains some fairly basic notes based around the theme of "measuring family decline" as well as further notes on defining a family. The material is generally from a Functionalist perspective (Murdock, Shorter, Stark...) and a little dated but it serves as a useful starting-point for discussion in this particular area. The site flags the promise of further materials on other areas of family life, but this resembles an incomplete project rather than work-in-progress...

Sex and Marriage

This site describes itself as "Introduction to the cultural rules regulating sexual access and marriage", in the course of which it offers a range of notes covering various aspects of marriage around the world (although with a North American bias in terms of focus). Amongst other things (such as quizzes) there's a useful glossary of family terms, an interesting feature of which is the use of sound files to illustrate the pronunciation of some of the more difficult concepts.

Social Gerontology

Another part of the massive Trinity University site, "Resources in Social Gerontology" aims to provide comprehensive coverage of the themes and issues surrounding the concepts of age and ageing (albeit with a bias towards modern America) To this end it covers areas such as the biology and psychology of age as well as linking the concept into areas such as family life, media, politics, health and so forth. In short, if you're looking for information relating to age-related inequality, this is probably a good place to start (especially since links to related sites are also included here).

2-in-2-1

An online article that poses the question "Can Governments Rescue Marriage?" through an examination of American New Right attempts to "stabilize marriage".  

Changing Families, Changing Food

Research from the University of Sheffield that "took food as the lens through which to observe recent changes in family life and examined how changes in family form have affected patterns of food consumption".  The site includes both the Final Report and a range of useful PowerPoint presentations - both the Report Summary slides and Fathers and Foodwork are particularly useful and interesting.

The Farm

Contemporary examples of communes (or "intentional communities" if you prefer) are few and far between - so this American example that's been around for nearly 50 years is a welcome addition.

Different cultures, different childhoods

Brief, but useful, examples of how childhood differs across different cultures.

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Families and Households