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November 22, 2005
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v2.1 Reference

Family Transformed

Religion, Values, and Society in American Life

Statistics on the American family are sobering. From 1975 to 2000, one-third of all children were born to single mothers, and one-half of all marriages ended in divorce. While children from broken homes are two to three times more likely to develop behavioral and learning difficulties, two-parent families are not immune to problems. The cost of raising children has increased dramatically, and married couples with children are now twice as likely as childless couples to file for bankruptcy. Clearly, the American family is in trouble. But how this trouble started, and what should be done about it, remain hotly contested.

In a multifaceted analysis of the current state of a complex institution, Family Transformed brings together outstanding scholars from the fields of anthropology, demography, ethics, history, law, philosophy, primatology, psychology, sociology, and theology. Demonstrating that the family is both distinctive in its own right and deeply interwoven with other institutions, the authors examine the roles of education, work, leisure, consumption, legal regulation, public administration, and biology in shaping the ways we court and marry, bear and raise children, and make and break family bonds.

International in approach, this wide-ranging volume situates current American debates over sex, marriage, and family within a global framework. Weighing mounting social science evidence that supports a continued need for the nuclear family while assessing the challenges posed by new advocacy for same-sex marriage, and delegalized coupling, the authors argue that only by reintegrating the family into a just moral order of the larger community and society can we genuinely strengthen it. This means not simply upholding traditional family values but truly grasping the family's growing diversity, sustaining its coherence, and protecting its fragility for our own sake and for the common good of society.

About the Authors

Steven M. Tipton is a professor of sociology of religion at Emory University and its Candler School of Theology. He is coauthor of Habits of the Heart and The Good Society and author of Getting Saved From the Sixties.

John Witte Jr., is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published nineteen books including From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition.


"A group of some of the most recognizable and renown scholars from a variety of fields contribute to this volumetheir reputations and contributions are what makes this book worth the price."—International Journal of Sociology and the Family

"An all star cast of authors for a remarkably coherent, insightful, substantive, and programmatic contribution to our thinking about the family."—Reviews in Religion and Theology

"Family Transformed models the type of interdisciplinary dialogue that is needed today."—The Post and Courier


"A remarkable, thoughtful, and rigorous discussion of changing family life in America. I found it fascinating."—Donna E. Shalala, former secretary of health and human services

"This volume will become an instant classic in the field of interdisciplinary family studies. The volume gathers a stunning array of scholars and public intellectuals to focus enormous intellectual firepower on a topic that might seem too private for such public address. These informative and brilliantly argued essays demonstrate why healthy families are an important key to vital democracy and public life. A collective tour de force of erudition, imagination, and lively prose."—Robert M. Franklin Jr., president, Morehouse College

Georgetown University Press

9781589010666 : family-transformed-tipton-witte
Paperback / softback
272 Pages
$29.95 USD

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