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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $105.99

448 pp.
26 figures; 14 tables, 7.5" x 9.25"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Canadian Families Today

New Perspectives, Fifth Edition

Edited by Patrizia Albanese

Now in its fifth edition, Canadian Families Today brings together contributions from Canada's top scholars in the field to provide a current and comprehensive introduction to the sociology of the family. Part I begins with a historical and theoretical overview of Canadian families and family life, with an emphasis on the ongoing diversity of family forms. Part II then examines common changes that occur in families over the life course, from family formation through to later life. In Part III, the text explores various issues in family life (including rituals, paid and unpaid work, and poverty), and specific challenges faced by immigrant and refugee families, Indigenous families, and families living with disability. Finally, Part IV concludes with a discussion of family violence, family policies in Canada, and predictions about the future of the Canadian family.

This new edition includes fully revised chapters on LGBTQI+ families, parenting, separation and divorce, and immigrant and refugee families, as well as a refreshed box program and thorough updates to statistics and content throughout.

Readership : Canadian Families Today, 5e is a core text for courses on the sociology of the family, usually found in sociology departments at the second- or third-year level. It is primarily aimed at the university market, but it may also be used in some colleges.


  • "Leads with historical contexts and follows with details. It is the best Canadian sociology of the family undergraduate text on the market."
    -Robin Willey, Concordia University of Education
  • "The new additions that bring the text up to date are great - I like the 'effects of the pandemic' bits, very timely!"
    -Linda Cohen, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • "This is a great [text] that is written by various well-known sociologists. Each chapter provides a rich, interesting and up-to-date critical review of the relevant literature and contemporary topics."
    -Rania Tfaily, Carleton University

PART I: Conceptualizing Families, Past and Present
Chapter 1: Introduction to Diversity in Canada's Families: Variations in Forms, Definitions, and Theories
By Patrizia Albanese
Learning Objectives
Changing Trends in the Diversity of Family Forms
Contemporary Canadian Family Studies
Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to Studying Families
- Functionalism
- Marxism
- Symbolic Interactionism
- Exchange Theory
- Family Systems Theory
- Developmental Theories
-- Biases in Traditional Approaches/Theorizing
- The "Big Bang"-Feminist Theories
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Video
Key Terms
Chapter 2: Canada's Families: Historical and Contemporary Variations
By Cynthia Comacchio
Learning Objectives
Families as Historical Actors
The Shape(s) of Modern Families
Families at Mid-century
Families at the Millennium
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
Chapter 3: LGBTQI+ Families in Canada
By Margaret F. Gibson and Julia Gruson-Wood
Learning Objectives
Introduction - Background and Context
- Two Spirit Identities and Colonialism
- Criminalizing and Pathologizing
- Key Legal Changes: Setting the Stage for LGBTQI+ Families
- LGBTQI+ Resistance
Life Stages and LGBTQI+ Families
- Children
- Youth
- Adult Relationships
-- Monogamy and Polyamory
-- Marriage
-- Divorce
- LGBTQI+ Parents
- Older LGBTQI+ Adults
Broadening Kinship
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
PART II: The Life Course
Chapter 4: Intimacy, Commitment, and Family Formation
By Melanie Heath
Learning Objectives
Family Formation, Social Structures, and Change
Intimacy: Meanings and Theories
Marriage Debates: Legal Structures and Cultural Privilege
The Changing Legal Path of Marriage and Cohabitation
The Changing Landscape of Young Adult Relationships: Dating and Hooking Up
- Techno Transformations: Internet Dating and Cybersex
Living Alone, Families of Choice, and Living Apart Together
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 5: Children and Parenting: Cultural Expectations and Social Realities
By Glenda Wall
Learning Objectives
The Social Construction of Childhood and Parenthood
Intensive Parenting
- The Historical and Cultural Development of Intensive Parenting
- Influences of Neoliberalism and Risk Culture
- The Influence of Brain Development Advice
Over-parenting and Building Resilience
Gender and Intensive Parenting
Class, Privilege and Intensive Parenting
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
Chapter 6: Separation and Divorce: Examining the Fragmentation and Renewal of Families
By Joseph H. Michalski and Don Kerr
Learning Objectives
Historical and Legal Contexts of Divorce in Canada
Separation and Divorce Patterns in Canada
Canada's Divorce Rate
Divorced and Remaining Single
The Many Determinants of Separation and Divorce
- Early Socialization and the Life Course Perspective
- Risk Factors for Divorce
- Cohabitation as a "Risk" Factor?
- Extramarital Fertility as a Risk Factor
The Multifaceted Consequences of Separation and Divorce
- Children's Experiences
- More Children Live in Lone-parent or Stepfamily Arrangements
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
Chapter 7: Families in Middle and Later Life: Patterns and Dynamics of Living Longer, Aging Together
By Karen M. Kobayashi and Anne Martin-Matthews
Learning Objectives
Demography: What Aging Families Look Like
- What Families Look Like at Mid-life
- What Families Look Like in Later Life
Transitions throughout Family Life
- A Transition Delayed: Leaving Home
- A New Transition: Returning Home
- Transitions Redefined: Grandparenthood
- Transitions Reframed: When Marriage Ends, When New Relationships Begin
-- Separation and Divorce
-- Widowhood
-- Remarriage
Dynamics in Aging Families
- Caring and Support between the Generations
- Understanding Family Dynamics: Ambivalence
Diversity in Family Forms and Perspectives
- Ethnicity
- Gender
- Sexual Orientation
Aging Families and Social Policy
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
PART III: Family Issues
Chapter 8: Marriage and Death Rituals
By Deborah K. van den Hoonaard
Learning Objectives
Pre-wedding Rituals
Weddings in the Past
Evolution of Weddings through the Twentieth Century
Weddings in the Twenty-first Century
Alternative Approaches
Renewing Vows: A Rite of Progression
Rites of Separation
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 9: Paid and Unpaid Work: Connecting Households, Workplaces, State Policies, and Communities
By Andrea Doucet
Learning Objectives
Paid Work
- Gender and Paid Work
- Gender and Wages for Paid Work
- Gender and Part-time Work
- The Rise of Non-standard Employment
Unpaid Work
- Housework
- Unpaid Care Work (Childcare)
- Care Responsibilities
Community and Inter-household Work
Studying Paid and Unpaid Work
Connections between Paid and Unpaid Work
Connections between Paid and Unpaid Work and State Policies
Gender Differences in Paid and Unpaid Work: What Difference Does Difference Make?
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 10: The Correlates and Coping Strategies of Families Experiencing Poverty in Canada
By Don Kerr and Joseph H. Michalski
Learning Objectives
Has the Problem of Poverty Worsened in Recent Decades?
Shifts Over Time Using Statistics Canada's LICO
Low Income, Family Type, and Number of Earners
Poverty among Families in Later Life
Low Income, Family Change, and Child Poverty
Low Income, Single Mothers and Unattached Persons
Economic Well-being among Indigenous and Racialized Communities
Shortcomings of Income-based Measures of Poverty
How Do Low-income Families Cope with Poverty?
What Are the Consequences of Poverty?
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 11: Immigrant and Refugee Families
By Usha George
Learning Objectives
Canada's Immigration Policy
Demographic Profile of Immigrants and Refugees to Canada
Conceptual Frameworks
- Acculturation
- Adaptation
- Integration
- Intersectionality
- Transnationalism
I. Pre-Migration Experiences of Refugee Families & Settlement Experiences of Newcomers to Canada
- Immigrant and Refugee Settlement in Canada
- Employment and Housing
- Settlement Services
II. Acculturation and Intra-Familial Relationships in the New Context
- Changing Gender Roles
- Parent-Adolescent Relationships
- Youth
- The Elderly
III. Family Conflict, Domestic Violence, Family Breakdown
IV. Immigrant and Refugee Families' Interactions with the School System
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
Chapter 12: Indigenous Families
By Vanessa Watts
Learning Objectives
Gender Roles and Families
Contact and the Fur Trade
Treaties and the Indian Act
The Indian Act: Gender and Families
Residential Schools
Child Welfare: The Sixties Scoop
Child Welfare: The Millennium Scoop
Child Welfare: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
Matrimonial Real Property
Indigenous Families: A Global View
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
Chapter 13: Lack of Support: Canadian Families and Disability
By Michelle Owen
Learning Objectives
Defining Disability
- The Social Model of Disability
- Theoretical/Methodological Frameworks
Children and Youth with Disabilities
- Demographics
- Impact of Children with Disabilities on Families
- Family Income, Employment, and Poverty
- The Dearth of Supports for Disabled Children
-- Housework, Family Responsibilities, and Personal Activities
-- Parental Caregiving Responsibilities
-- Home and Respite Care
-- Child Care
Parents with Disabilities
- Mothering Challenges
- Informal Caregiving
- Employment and Learning
- Impact of Dependent Children on Labour Force Participation
- Domestic Labour
Violence and Abuse
- Children
- Women
- Barriers to Obtaining Help
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms
PART IV: Problems, Policies, and Predictions
Chapter 14: Violence in Families
By Catherine Holtmann
Learning Objectives
- Definitions of Domestic Violence
Theoretical Perspectives on Domestic Violence
Prevalence of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence among Vulnerable Families
Intervention Strategies
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 15: Investing in Families and Children: Family Policies in Canada
By Catherine Krull and Krys Maki
Learning Objectives
Canada's Family and Child-related Policies
- Maternity and Parental/Adoption Leave Benefits
- From Universal to Targeted Child and Family Benefits
- Children in State Care
Assessment of Canada's Child and Family Benefits
- Impact of Measures on Child Poverty
- Impact of Measures on Childcare
Quebec's Family Policies: An Example to Follow
- Quebec's Pro-natal Policies
- From Pronatalism to Pro-family
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Study Questions
Further Readings
Key Terms
Chapter 16: Predicting the Future of the Family: A Look Back, A Look Forward
By Margrit Eichler, with Patrizia Albanese
Learning Objectives
Past Predictions about the Family
- The Future of the Family/Marriage as an Institution
-- The Disintegration of the Family -- Both Lamented and Celebrated
-- The Ever-Adapting Family Shall Live On
-- Families Transformed -- Communal Family Structures and Group Marriages
- Gender Roles
- Sexuality
- Divorce and Cohabitation as Alternatives to Permanent Monogamous Marriages
- Fertility and Fertility Control
- New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies
- Unanticipated Trends
The Various Bases for Making Predictions about the Family
Some Tentative Predictions about the Future of Canadian Families
- Worldwide Changes
Effects of World and Societal Changes on Families
- More Three-generation Families
- Decrease in Life Expectancy
- Overall Low Fertility Coupled with High Immigration Rates and Indigenous Population Explosion
- Sexuality
- New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies
- Gender Roles
- LGBTQ Rights
- Divorce and Cohabitation as Alternatives to Permanent Monogamous Marriage
Study Questions
Further Readings
Suggested Websites
Key Terms

PowerPoint Slides:
· Each chapter will contain:
-- 20-30 slides
Test Bank:
· Each chapter will contain:
-- 40+ multiple choice questions with answer and section reference
-- 40+ true/false questions with answer and section reference
-- 17+ short answer questions with sample answer and section reference
-- 8+ essay questions with sample answer and section reference

Patrizia Albanese is the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University; Chair of the Board of Directors of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences; and professor of Sociology. She was a past Chair of the Ryerson University Research Ethics Board and a past president of the Canadian Sociological Association. Her research focuses on policies affecting children, youth, and families, with attention to care, child care policies, child poverty, and youth growing up in military families.

Children in Canada Today - Patrizia Albanese
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • With contributions from leading Canadian sociologists, the text offers diverse and authoritative perspectives on the study of Canadian families.
  • Comprehensive and relevant, with a wide breadth of coverage and up-to-date statistics and examples, including content on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Written on-level for the university market, accurately reflecting students' level of comprehension.
  • Increased integration and application of theories throughout the text, modelling the use of sociological analysis.
  • Fully revised chapters on LGBTQI+ families, parenting, separation and divorce, and immigrant and refugee families.
  • New "Families in the Digital Age" and "Families Around the World" boxes address issues of contemporary and global relevance.