Family Transformed

Religion, Values, and Society in American Life

Steven M. Tipton and John Witte Jr., Editors

""A group of some of the most recognizable and renown scholars from a variety of fields contribute to this volume…their reputations and contributions are what makes this book worth the price.""
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Statistics on the American family are sobering. From 1975 to 2000, one-third of all children were born to single mothers, and one-half of all marriages ended in divorce. While children from broken homes are two to three times more likely to develop behavioral and learning difficulties, two-parent families are not immune to problems. The cost of raising children has increased dramatically, and married couples with children are now twice as likely as childless couples to file for bankruptcy. Clearly, the American family is in trouble. But how this trouble started, and what should be done about it, remain hotly contested.

In a multifaceted analysis of the current state of a complex institution, Family Transformed brings together outstanding scholars from the fields of anthropology, demography, ethics, history, law, philosophy, primatology, psychology, sociology, and theology. Demonstrating that the family is both distinctive in its own right and deeply interwoven with other institutions, the authors examine the roles of education, work, leisure, consumption, legal regulation, public administration, and biology in shaping the ways we court and marry, bear and raise children, and make and break family bonds.

International in approach, this wide-ranging volume situates current American debates over sex, marriage, and family within a global framework. Weighing mounting social science evidence that supports a continued need for the nuclear family while assessing the challenges posed by new advocacy for same-sex marriage, and delegalized coupling, the authors argue that only by reintegrating the family into a just moral order of the larger community and society can we genuinely strengthen it. This means not simply upholding traditional family values but truly grasping the family's growing diversity, sustaining its coherence, and protecting its fragility for our own sake and for the common good of society.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Introduction:No Place Like Home
Steven M. Tipton and John Witte, Jr.

Part I: All in the Family: Levels of Analysis, Angles of Vision

1. Marriage in the Matrix of Habit and History
Robert N. Bellah

2. The Biology of Family Values: Reproductive Strategies of Our Fellow Primates
Frans B.M. de Waal and Amy S. Pollick

3. Sex, Marriage, and Family Life: The Teachings of Nature
Stephen J. Pope

Part II: Happily Ever After? Profiles in Motion of Marriage and the Family

4. The Family as Contested Terrain
Robert Wuthnow

5. An Economic Perspective on Sex, Marriage, and the Family in the Contemporary United States
Robert T. Michael

6. The Family in Trouble: Since When? For Whom?
Claude S. Fischer and Michael Hout

Part III: I Do, I Don't: Reasons and Rites for and against Marriage and Family Life

7. Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood: The Social Science Case and Thoughts about a Theological Case
Linda J. Waite and William J. Doherty

8. The Changing Pathway to Marriage: Trends in Dating, First Unions, and Marriage among Young Adults
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

9. American Middle-Class Families: Class, Social Reproduction, and Ritual

Bradd Shore

Part IV: Blessed Yoke and Fragile Freedom

10. The Heart of the Matter: The Family as the Site of Fundamental Ethical Struggle
Jean Bethke Elshtain

11. Inside the Preindustrial Household: The Rule of Men and the Rights of Women and Children in Late Medieval and Reformation Europe
Steven Ozment

12. Retrieving and Reconstructing Law, Religion, and Marriage in the Western Tradition
John Witte, Jr.

13. The World Situation of Families: Marriage Reformation as a Cultural Work
Don S. Browning

Epilogue: It Takes a Society to Raise a Family
Robert N. Bellah



"A group of some of the most recognizable and renown scholars from a variety of fields contribute to this volume…their reputations and contributions are what makes this book worth the price."—International Journal of Sociology and the Family

"An all star cast of authors for a remarkably coherent, insightful, substantive, and programmatic contribution to our thinking about the family."—Reviews in Religion and Theology

"Family Transformed models the type of interdisciplinary dialogue that is needed today."—The Post and Courier

"A remarkable, thoughtful, and rigorous discussion of changing family life in America. I found it fascinating."—Donna E. Shalala, former secretary of health and human services

"This volume will become an instant classic in the field of interdisciplinary family studies. The volume gathers a stunning array of scholars and public intellectuals to focus enormous intellectual firepower on a topic that might seem too private for such public address. These informative and brilliantly argued essays demonstrate why healthy families are an important key to vital democracy and public life. A collective tour de force of erudition, imagination, and lively prose."—Robert M. Franklin Jr., president, Morehouse College

""A group of some of the most recognizable and renown scholars from a variety of fields contribute to this volume…their reputations and contributions are what makes this book worth the price.""—International Journal of Sociology and the Family


Robert N. Bellah Don S. Browning William J. Doherty Jean Bethke Elshtain Claude S. Fischer Michael Hout Robert T. Michael Steven Ozment Amy Pollick Stephen J. Pope Bradd Shore Steven M. Tipton Frans B.M. de Waal Linda J. Waite Barbara Dafoe Whitehead John Witte, Jr. Robert Wuthnow

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Steven M. Tipton is a professor of sociology of religion at Emory University and its Candler School of Theology. He is coauthor of Habits of the Heart and The Good Society and author of Getting Saved From the Sixties.

John Witte Jr., is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published nineteen books including From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition.

328 pp., 6 x 9

Nov 2005

328 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-066-6
Nov 2005

328 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-320-9
Nov 2005

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