Family Structure and Interaction

This revised edition of Family Structure and Interaction makes available again in a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in family sociology; as a concise overview of comparative family studies, the book will also be a useful reference for professionals in related fields. Gary Lee's objective is to apply the method of comparative sociology to the study of the family, integrating material from the fields of sociology and anthropology. The book is organized in three parts. The first discusses the nature and methodology of comparative sociology, emphasizing both its contribution to the development of explanatory social and behavioral theory, and the pitfalls one may encounter in the conduct and interpretation of comparative research. Part two takes up the application of the comparative method to the subject of family organization. Lee's intent is not to describe family practices in any specific society but rather to explain why societies differ in many of these practices. The third part examines interactions between members of families and kinship systems, focussing on premarital and marital relations and parent-child relationships. In revising this text, Lee has taken into account the wealth of historical data published since the mid-seventies. He shows how historical and comparative research complement each other and points to the shared interests of social historians and comparative sociologists in the antecedents of change in family form and structure. Though he has not added new chapters to the second edition, each chapter is now a more comprehensive and thorough treatment of its subject.