Welcome to Sociology! 




The Department of Sociology is delighted that you have chosen to take one of our courses.



The courses in our department seek to give students the ability to use sociology’s concepts and analytic approaches in order to better understand their experience in various group and institutional settings.  We also try to enhance students’ ability to understand and evaluate reports of research -- in the news, in professional work, and elsewhere -- that use methods of social science.  Our emphasis is on enabling students to use sociological perspectives to become more insightful and effective participants in society and culture as well as in the wide range of careers relevant to group life.  Those who major in sociology are also prepared to undertake further study in graduate school.



More specifically, we want to help our students acquire the ability --


to explain and apply the major sociological concepts


to identify and describe the main methods used in building sociological knowledge


to evaluate reports based on an appreciation of their methods


to understand the meaning and impact of culture, institutions, socialization, differentiations (by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and social class), change, and other major aspects of social structure


to appreciate how cultures and social structures vary across time and place


to determine what information is relevant to any inquiry


to describe how sociology differs from, but is also similar to, other social sciences


to gather the relevant sociological information effectively and efficiently


to write a clear report of the findings of a sociological data analysis



We hope that you will enjoy this course and find it useful.  If there is any way that it can be made to serve your needs better, please feel free to talk with your instructor.




Sociology GSO 318/318.6 SA Spring 2010

By Dr. Komla S. Ganu

Phone: 718-436-0843

Email: kganu@earthlink.net , komla.ganu@touro.edu

Web Site: http://www.kganu.net


Marriage and the Family


This course explores the various protocols humans follow around the world in courtship and marriage leading to the derivative product – the primary form of human organization.  It defines family and its origin as the primary human group (from antiquity to present); the historical outlook of family i.e. past and present- similarities and dissimilarities; family as the first agent in human socialization; how individuals get prepared from the micro level in order to be able to deal with the macro – society at large. It examines the various types of family, theoretical approaches on the family, prevailing structures, the metamorphosis of gender roles in the family, the impacts of intervention of social (including peer) and political groups on the family; the new definitions of sexuality and conflicts with traditional family norms; functional and dysfunctional families – prevailing definitions and causes; and separation and or death.


NB: A copy of this course outline could be retrieved online at: http://home.att.net/~kganu/wsb/html/MarriageAndTheFamily.htm


Required Text:

Eshleman, R. J. and Bulcroft R.A. (2006). The Family (11th Ed.).  New York: Pearson – Allyn and Bacon. 


Course Requirements:

1. A seven-page term paper on a topic relating to the family, replete with citations, bibliographic and electronic references utilizing the APA format for everything (including parenthetical citations and footnotes). A draft must be presented in class towards ending of semester; final paper due one week before the final exam.       20%


2. Class participation (be aware that you cannot participate if you do not attend classes; please be on time, come prepared!).            10%


3. Two written assignments        15%


4. Midterm Exam                      25%


5. Final Exam – comprehensive  30%

 NB: Leaving and entering the classroom intermittently while class is in session is not acceptable and will be used against your final grade. Please have your cell phones turned off during class sessions!





1-2.   Overview of Course and Requirements

            What is Family? – Definitions

            Family as primary group

            Historical perspective of the family: origins- forms and structures, traditional versus modern models of family; courtship          and marriage.

            Assignment: Read The Family Chapter 1:  pp. 1-9; 13-19; & 22-28; & Courtship from What’s a Modern Girl to Do – By Maureen Dowd. Do a one page paper on “Courtship” based on this article and class discussions. Introduction to APA Format; it is mandatory for students to take this online tutorial: APA EXPOSED, complete the online poll at the end of the tutorial and print the Certificate of Completion to submit by the ending of week 3.


3.         Historical Changes in Western Industrialized Families: America and Europe;

            Modernity- internal and external factors influencing the family- marital status, religion, education, profession, income,             housing, peers etc.; gender roles in the   family, past and present compared; the necessity of two working parents and       its impact on the family; egalitarianism of gender in family sexuality and other ethics; the search for romance in the mix             of child raising; library visit by class.

            Assignment: The Family- Read Chapter 2, pp. 41-73. APA assignment is due!


4.         Marriage and the Family: Disciplinary & Theoretical Approaches: sociology of   the family; social science approach to         the family; research and theory, the wheel of science; research methods and statistical concepts.

            Assignment: The Family – Chapter 3, pp. 93-103.


5.         Social Class Variations in the U.S. Families: the concept of social stratification; determination of one’s social class;             impact of social class on family; single parent household families; family mobility and transformation.

            Assignment: The Family – Chapter 4, pp. 142–144; 162–171; & Class in America – By J. Scott & D. Leonhardt.              Also see Marriage in the New York Times series: Class Matters.

            NB: Assignment on Courtship is due today!


6.         Ethnic American Families: African Americans’; Hispanics’; Asians’ & Native Americans’.  The Family – Chapters 5 &         6; preparation & review for midterm


7.         Midterm Exam: In Class written exam


8.         Partnering & Marriage Formation: trends and characteristics; purpose and consequences; dimensions and             consequences of homogamy and intermarriages. Premarital and Nonmarital Relationships: the social construct of love;     theories on partner selection; single to married transformation and adaptation; & common law living arrangements.             Nonmarital Sexuality: social regulations & the culture wars on sexuality; biological v. sociological perspectives on             sexual behavior; sexual orientation; nonmarital sexual behavior

            Assignment: The Family – Chapters 7, 8 & 9, pp. 231–263; & 275–283; 291-

            308.  Readings of interest: What to Ask Before Marriage – Oprah.com ;

            and Sex and the City By David Brooks.


9.         The Marital System: the transition; division of labor; working moms v. stay-at-home moms; power and authority in the        family- sources and dimensions; marital quality; sex and marriage; extramarital sex and infidelity; & same sex             relationships and their legalities.

            Assignment: Read The Family, Chapter 10; also check out this WebMD article: The 7 Steps to Happily Ever After.  Also read New York State’s stand on gay marriages as espoused by then Sate Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

            Written Assignment: Do a two-page position paper (pros & cons) on “Working Moms versus Stay-at-Home             Moms.”  **Due week 11.


10.       The Parental System: transition to parenthood; gender roles in parenting; social consequences; unwed parenthood;             family size and consequences. Socialization Process: parent/children; among siblings; sociological perspective;             psychological perspective; impacts of significant others and reference groups.

            Assignment: Read The Family, Chapters 11 & 12; pp. 393-402; 409-419; 430-438; & 444.


11.       The Aging Family: post-parental period; grand-parenting; living arrangements     during senior years and other             problems; death and separation. Other family Issues: violence; child abuse; spousal abuse; sibling abuse.

            Assignment: The Family, Chapters 13 & 14; pp. 462-463; 469-472; 481-490; 508-  523.

            NB: The position paper assignment is due today.


12.       Divorce and Remarriage: desertion and marital separation; divorce around the world; divorce in the United States;             legal and social grounds for divorce; impact on children; child custody issues; same sex parents v. custody rights;             remarriages & reconstituted families.

            Assignment: The Family, Chapter 15; pp. 533-540; 550-569; & Should this Marriage be saved? – By Laura Kipnis. 

            Class Presentation by students


13.       Family Social Policy: various research assessments of family policies.

            Assignment: Read The Family, Chapter 16.

            Class Presentation by students


14.       Review for final exam

            Class Presentation by students


15.       Final Exam – in class