Feminist Theory and Research on Family Relationships: Pluralism and Complexity
- 5.5k Downloads
Feminist perspectives on family relationships begin with the critique of the idealized template of the White, middle class, heterosexually married couple and their dependent children. Feminist scholars take family diversity and complexity as their starting point, by emphasizing how power infuses all of family relationships, from the local to the global scale. As the main location for caring and productive labor, families are the primary unit for providing gendered socialization and distributing power across the generations. In this issue and two subsequent issues of Sex Roles, we have collected theoretical and empirical articles that include critical analyses, case studies, quantitative studies, and qualitative studies that focus on a wide array of substantive topics in the examination of families. These topics include variations in marital and intimate partnerships and dissolution; motherhood and fatherhood in relation to ideology and practice; intergenerational parent–child relationships and socialization practices; and paid and unpaid labor. All of the articles across the three issues are guided by a type of feminist theory (e.g., gender theory; intersectional theory; Black feminist theory; globalization theory; queer theory) and many incorporate multiple theoretical perspectives, including mainstream social and behavioral science theories. Another feature of the collection is the authors’ insistence on conducting research that makes a difference in the lives of the individuals and families they study, thereby generating a wealth of practical strategies for relevant future research and empowering social change. In this introduction, we specifically address the first six articles in the special collection on feminist perspectives on family relationships.
KeywordsFamilies Family relationships Feminist research Feminist theory Intersectionality
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This article complies with ethical standards of the American Psychological Association.
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, or publication of this article.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, or publication of this article.
- Baber, K. M., & Allen, K. R. (1992). Women & families: Feminist reconstructions. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Bjork-James, S. (2015). Feminist ethnography in cyberspace: Imagining families in the cloud. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/s11199-015-0507-8.
- Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
- Curran, M. A., McDaniel, B. T., Pollitt, A. M., & Totenhagen, C. J. (2015). Gender, emotion work, and relationship quality: A daily diary study. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/s11199-015-0495-8.
- De Reus, L., Few, A. L., & Blume, L. B. (2005). Multicultural and critical race feminisms: Theorizing families in the third wave. In V. L. Bengtson, A. C. Acock, K. R. Allen, P. Dilworth-Anderson, & D. M. Klein (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theory and research (pp. 447–468). Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dill, B. T., McLaughlin, A. E., & Nieves, A. D. (2007). Future directions of feminist research: Intersectionality. In S. N. Hesse-Biber (Ed.), Handbook of feminist research: Theory and praxis (pp. 629–637). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Freedman, E. B. (2002). No turning back: The history of feminism and the future of women. New York: Ballantine.Google Scholar
- Fulcher, M., Dinella, L. M., & Weisgram, E. S. (2015). Constructing a feminist reorganization of the heterosexual breadwinner/caregiver family model: College students’ plans for their own future families. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/s11199-015-0487-8.
- Gergen, M. (2001). Feminist reconstructions in psychology: Narrative, gender, and performance. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Goldberg, A. E., Moyer, A. M., Black, K., & Henry, A. (2014). Lesbian and heterosexual adoptive mothers’ experiences of relationship dissolution. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/s11199-014-0432-2.
- Harding, S. (1998). Is science multicultural?: Postcolonialisms, feminisms, and epistemologies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Hermann, A. C., & Stewart, A. J. (Eds.). (1994). Theorizing feminism: Parallel trends in the humanities and social sciences. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Hesse-Biber, S. N., & Piatelli, D. (2007). Holistic reflexivity: The feminist practice of reflexivity. In S. N. Hesse-Biber (Ed.), Handbook of feminist research: Theory and praxis (pp. 493–514). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Jacobs, J., & Gerson, K. (2004). The time divide: Work, family, and gender inequality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Krieger, S. (1996). The family silver: Essays on relationships among women. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Lather, P. (1991). Getting smart: Feminist research and pedagogy with/in the postmodern. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Mahler, S. J., Chaudhuri, M., & Patil, V. (2015). Scaling intersectionality: Advancing feminist analysis of transnational families. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/211199-015-0506-9.
- Smith, D. E. (1987). The everyday world as problematic: A feminist sociology. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
- Sprague, J. (2005). Feminist methodologies for critical researchers: Bridging differences. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
- Stanley, L. (1990). Feminist praxis and the academic mode of production: An editorial introduction. In L. Stanley (Ed.), Feminist praxis: Research, theory and epistemology in feminist sociology (pp. 3–19). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Tasker, F., & Delvoye, M. (2015). Moving out of the shadows: Accomplishing bisexual motherhood. Sex Roles. doi: 10.1007/s11199-015-0503-z.
- Thorne, B. (1982). Feminist rethinking of the family: An overview. In B. Thorne & M. Yalom (Eds.), Rethinking the family: Some feminist questions (pp. 1–24). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
- Tronto, J. (2006). Moral perspectives: Gender, ethnics, and political theory. In K. Davis, M. Evans, & J. Lorber (Eds.), Handbook of gender and women’s studies (pp. 417–434). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Walker, A. J. (2009). A feminist critique of family studies. In S. A. Lloyd, A. L. Few, & K. R. Allen (Eds.), Handbook of feminist family studies (pp. 19–27). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Yllo, K., & Bograd, M. (Eds.). (1988). Feminist perspectives on wife abuse. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar