BRAVE NEW FAMILIES: Stories of Domestic Upheaval in Late Twentieth-Century America by Judith Stacey

BRAVE NEW FAMILIES: Stories of Domestic Upheaval in Late Twentieth-Century America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sociologist's study of two Silicon Valley families that depicts radical change in the ""modern"" family. Stacey (Sociology/U. of Cal. at Davis) set out to examine what effects the economic roller-coaster in California's electronics industry, plus the social turmoil of the 60's and 70's, has had on traditional, working-class families. A committed and articulate feminist, she found that feminism had penetrated much deeper among working-class women (some of whom were ""born-again"") than she had anticipated. The ""postmodern"" families of two women, Pam and Dottie, are the focus of the interviews here. Rather than defending the nuclear family, the women that Stacey interviewed--admittedly a small sample--worked hard to strengthen ties in families so extended that they included new in-laws of former spouses. Para and her first husband's new live-in cooperated to ensure that holidays and special occasions were celebrated jointly by anyone who chose to claim kinship. That network even included longtime close friends. In a particularly interesting thread of born-again Pain's story, the idea of the traditionally male-dominated evangelical family was found to have been diluted with feminist concepts of marriage as a cooperative venture. Stacey writes well and reports honestly, although her surprise about the intricate family webs and the penetration of feminism among this group seems naive, if not condescending.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1990
Publisher: Basic Books