Sociology professor seeks to reframe textbooks on family formations

Sociology professor Florence Maatita plans to publish a textbook with updated marriage and family portrayals. Photo by Theresa San Luis

Through a textbook, sociology professor Florence Maatita will portray a more modern picture of how marriages and families may form in the U.S.

Tentatively titled, “Imagining 21st Century Families: Intersectionality and Connections in a Sociological Perspective” she and two others, Sarah Morrison and Katie Upton, who are both SIUE sociology alumni, plan to complete their manuscript in the fall.

According to Maatita, who is in contract with Kendall Hunt, a publishing company, she is very excited about this project.

“We still have this traditional leave it to Beaver image, but large-scale census data show that a very small minority of families fit that mold,” Maatita said. “The textbook is new in terms of organization and it’s new in terms of how we’re approaching the study of families.”

According to Maatita, she and her coauthors are addressing gaps in former textbooks on marriage and families.

She said over the years they have had difficulty finding a textbook that really addresses different ways people create families such as through adoption and friendship, for instance.

“We understand marriage is important for some families but it’s not the experience of all families,” Maatita said. “So we’re kind of moving away from giving such primacy to the role of marriage.”

She added many previous textbooks claimed to use an intersectionality approach to examine contemporary families. By intersectionality, they would have intersected issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual orientation, for instance.

Maatita explained that it is important to look at those identities and connect them such as that of African-American women.

“These books tend to break them [the identities] apart and often fail to reconnect those pieces,” Maatita said.

Maatita said previous material that had presented the pathway of family formation, in the order of dating, marriage, and children, will be changed as well.

“So we’re organizing our book in a different way,” Maatita said.

She added the textbook will provide information on multiple family forms: domestic partnerships, step-families, childless families and instances of singlehood for instance.

Maatita said their publication will use ideas that her students have helped formulate over the years in the classroom and hopes it will open minds.

“I think we want a book that would resonate with our students and some of the topics we are planning to talk about are discussions within the classroom: family members in the military, role of religion and media images of family.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Sociology & Criminal Justice

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site