Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VII: Lifelong Learning, Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will identify the two main component parts or features of the sociological imagination.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of why the sociological imagination sociologically significant.
  • Students will identify the basis of the scientific method.


Survey of empirical studies conducted by family sociologists from varied theoretical orientations. Focus on social influences affecting the American expressions of intimate life styles related to relationships, marriage and family systems. Exposure to the methods of social research.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of major sociological theories to the social institution of the family.
  2. Identify and discuss the family from cross-cultural, historical, and political perspectives.
  3. Identify the intersection among race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, age, gender, and sexuality within the family.
  4. Identify and examine gender, age, and socialization within the family.
  5. Identify and understand the various kinship and family arrangements.
  6. Describe and explain the basic dimensions of social inequality and social change.

Course Content

  1. Basic Concepts
    1. Marriage, Family, Social Group
    2. Consanguine vs. Conjugal Family Systems
    3. Changing American Family: 1600s through Present
  2. Social Research
    1. Methods and Techniques Employed
    2. Research Emphasis: Structural-functional and Symbolic Interactionists Schools
    3. Ethical Issues and Informed Consent
  3. Gender Roles and Socialization
    1. The Social Construction of Gender
    2. Gender and Identity
    3. The Family as a Gendered Institution
    4. Doing Gender
  4. Communication Patterns
  5. Structure and Function of Marriage and Family
    1. Monogamy, Polygamy, Group Marriage
    2. Nuclear, Extended, Binuclear Families
  6. Premarital Patterns
    1. Courtship
    2. Romantic Love
    3. Sexual Behavior
    4. Dating: Intrinsic or Instrumental
    5. Engagement
    6. Cohabitation
  7. Nonmarital Patterns
    1. Prostitution, Homosexuality, Promiscuity
  8. Traditional vs. Contemporary Marriage Patterns
    1. Cultural Diversity: Black, Hispanic, Asian Marriage and Family Systems
    2. Two-Career Marriages
    3. Rituals, Customs and Expectations
    4. Parenting
  9. Alternative Non-Traditional Marriage and Family Patterns
    1. Swinging
    2. Open Marriages
    3. Communes
    4. Single-Parent Families with Latchkey Children
    5. Gay Marriages and Families
  10. Divorce and Remarriage
    1. Serial Monogamy
    2. Blended Families
    3. No-Fault Divorce
  11. Marriage and Family in the Middle and Later Years
    1. Empty-Nest Syndrome
    2. Mid-Life Crisis
    3. The "Caught" Generation
    4. Retirement
    5. Becoming a Grandparent
  12. Future of the Family

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Class discussions
Active learning exercises
Oral presentations
Critical essay(s)
Examinations or quizzes

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Oral presentations
Electronic discussions/chat

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Benokraitis, Nijole V.. Marriages & Families. 2019.

Lamanna, Mary Ann, Agnes Riedmann, and Susan D. Stewart. Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. 2021.

Olson, David, John DeFrain, and Linda Skogrand. Marriages and Families: Intimacy, Diversity, and Strengths. 2022.

Schwartz, Mary Ann, and BarBara Marliene Scott. Marriages and Families: Diversity and Change. 2018.

Strong, Bryan, and Theodore F. Cohen. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. 2021.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. College level readings from primary and secondary sources
  2. College level writing assignments based on primary and secondary source reflection and/or analysis