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Course Outline

HDFS 511: Family Theory
Fall, 2006

We will review theories that are relevant for family studies and research. In some cases, material that has traditionally been used by developmental or social psychologists will be applied to the study of families. We will begin by discussing implications of human development theories for family social scientists, followed by a discussion of various dimensions of family life such as family structure, family interaction, and influences on families across time. We will conclude the semester by reviewing theories that emphasize cultural influences and discuss specific family policy theories.

Sequence of Course Material:

Throughout the course we will critically evaluate theories according to three dimensions: (1) sensitivity to diverse family experiences; (2) cross-fertilization with theories of attachment; and (3) implications for family policy.

Week

Date

Course Theme

Topic

Readings

One

08/23

Introduction/Overview

Contextual Approach to Family Theory
Family Policy Theoretical Issues

Boss et al. 1

 Zimmerman 1

Two

08/30

Diversity

Feminism

Boss et al. 23

Three

09/06

 

Race & Ethnicity

Boss et al. 24

Four

09/13

Attachment

Conceptual Material
Adult Attachment

Reader 1-2
Reader 3-4

 

 

Note: Exam 1 due on September 20

 

Five

09/20

Human Development

Human Ecology

Boss et al. 17;
Reader 5

Six

09/27

 

Developmental Psychology
Social & Cog. Psychology

Boss et al. 12

Boss et al. 21

Seven 

10/04

Social Constructionism

Symbolic Interactionism

Boss et al. 6; Zimmerman 10

 

 

Note: Exam 2 due on October 11

 

Eight

10/11

Biosocial Perspective

Biosocial Theory
Social Psychophysiology

Boss et al. 26
Reader 6-7

Nine

10/18

Note: No Class

 

Ten

10/25

Family Structure

Structural Functionalism
Systems Theory

Boss et al. 9
Boss et al. 14

Eleven

11/01

 

 

Family Therapy Theory

Boss et al. 20;
Reader 8

   

Note: Exam 3 due on November 8

 

Twelve

11/08

Life Span

Family Development Theory
Life Course Perspective

Boss et al. 10;
Boss et al. 19;

Reader 9

Thirteen

11/15

Resources & Power

Exchange & Resource Theory

Boss et al. 16; Zimmerman 9

Fourteen

11/22

Thanksgiving Break

 

Fifteen

11/29

 

Social Conflict Theory

Boss et al. 15; Zimmerman 10

Sixteen

12/06

Family Policy

Family Policy Theory

Zimmerman 5, 6, 8

Seventeen

12/13

Final Exam Due

 

 

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Last modified: August 18, 2006.