HERE TO STAY: American Families in the Twentieth Century by Mary Jo Bane
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HERE TO STAY: American Families in the Twentieth Century

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Here to Stay is an expression of surprise because the author began her study believing that the American family was in decline. Bane, a co-author with Christopher Jencks of Inequality, shared the familiar image of increasing family instability based on the conventional interpretation of such statistics as the rising divorce rate. But the data she collected, mainly from census surveys and polls, gradually convinced her that the family is still a viable social institution. As a small sample--she found that through this century the proportion of children living with at least one of their parents has been steadily rising, that the proportion of children affected by a parental disruption during childhood has dropped steadily, and that the most important changes in children's activities are due not to the increase in working mothers but to the impact of television which now claims more of children's waking hours than school. The second part of the book takes the demographic presentation as background for a discussion of such social policy issues as the protection of children, sexual equality, and the provision of equal opportunity. The central issue here is clearly articulated: how can we balance family autonomy with the demands of other social values such as sexual equality? A plain-spoken, unpretentious but genuinely provocative book.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1976
Publisher: Basic Books