The (Un)Making of the Modern Family
512 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:01 Jul 2009
Release Date:01 Oct 2008
Release Date:01 May 2009

The (Un)Making of the Modern Family

By Daniel Dagenais; Translated by Jane Brierley
UBC Press

The family institution is undergoing a radical transformation. The modern meanings of kinship, marriage, parenthood, gender, and sexuality are now being questioned, and debates on same-sex marriages and parenthood or on divorce and blended families are reflective of these challenges.

The (Un)Making of the Modern Family is neither an indictment of the new family nor a rallying cry. It is a classical exercise of family sociology that draws upon a range of disciplines – history, anthropology, psychology, and demography – to provide an interpretive model for understanding contemporary changes in the family. It explores traditional family forms in order to identify changes that gave birth to the ideal type of the modern family, and it discusses how the modern family’s constituent elements (the family as institution, conjugal and parent-child relationships, and gender and sexuality) relate to modernity’s central feature – the concept of the individual. By reconstructing an archetype of the modern family, this book explains why individuals have experienced its deconstruction as a profound identity crisis. It will appeal to anyone concerned with the future of the (post)modern family and society.

Published originally by Les Presses de l’Université Laval as La fin de la famille moderne, this book was awarded the 2000-1 Prix Jean-Charles Falardeau for the best book published in French in Canada in the field of social sciences.

Dagenais’ approach seems fruitful to me … notably because it sheds light on something that is paramount. Some of the changes impacting the family might hurt the basic conditions of our own human development: the solidarity between family and community; the future of parental relationship; the difference between genders and generations; and the goal of educational practices. Marie-Claude Blais, French philosopher and sociologist
Daniel Dagenais teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. Jane Brierley is a Montreal literary translator, writer, and editor who has won two Governor General’s Awards for translation, most recently in 2003 for Marcel Trudel’s Memoirs of a Less Travelled Road: A Historian's Life.



1 The Ideal Type of the Modern Family

2 Family Ties: The Domain of Kinship

3 The Question of Private and Public Spheres

4 The Parental Role

5 Gender, Gender Differences, and Sexuality

6 The Conjugal Relationship

7 The French-Canadian Family

8 Contemporary Changes in the Family: What Do They Mean?






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