This article tries to answer some pertinent issues about the American families. As such, it seeks to illustrate whom the Americans count as family, identify how the Americans perceive their families, and find the public opinion about the American nontraditional families such as same sex marriages (Powell et al. 17).
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In the article, the author asserts that currently there are several differing opinions on what counts as families. The author reaffirmed this opinion when he or she interviewed several family members from both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
These family groups comprised of a man and a woman living together with children, a man and a woman living together with no children, a man and woman cohabiting, and homosexual couples. According to the article, the American’s definitions of families can be clustered into three groups. These groups are exclusionists, inclusionists, and moderates. It was found that the dissimilarity among these clusters extend beyond their views on same sex marriage.
In the article, the author collected a number of respondents about pertinent issues concerning the American families. Through this, it was found that more individuals agreed that a man, wife, and children count as a family. The second living arrangements that had a number of individuals perceiving them as families were single families. Last in the list was housemates followed by homosexual couples with children.
To reaffirm on these claims, the author carried out an independent research and consulted existing family literatures. For instance, the author acknowledges that finding consensus among existing definitions was not an easy task. The article notes that there are disagreements among several academicians indicating that the author relied heavily on previous works before coming to his or her conclusions.
Equally, the author mentions several authors of other family related books. Among these authors are Berkowitz, Bernstein, Riemann, Holstein, and many more (Powell et al. 18). This indicates that appropriate evidence was provided for conclusions. In general, the article gave a broad overview of the distinctions that Americans make between families and non-families. The conclusions were drawn after analyzing a unique data set of several respondents.
Based on this article, it is apparent that there are several perceptions about families in the American society. As such, it was widely agreed that a family constituted of a couple with their children as compared with couples with no children. Similarly, the article asserts that more Americans use cohabitation and homosexuality as a disqualifier for family status. However, it was worth noting that the number of those who acknowledged homosexual couples with their children as families was on the rise compared to some few years back.
This implies that these types of families are slowly gaining acceptance among the American population. Based on these findings, it can be deduced that in the future the definitions of the American family will differ from the current definitions. In the future, social constructions based on emotional ties will play a major role in defining the American family.
During the classroom sessions, the following questions can guide the students in analyzing the article. Whom do Americans count as family? What is the public opinion about the family? Does public opinion indicate a shift toward greater acceptance of homosexual families? Based on the article, can the attributes of America’s future families be deduced? Do public definitions of family translate into views regarding family policy?
Powell, Brian, Catherine Bolzendahl, Claudia Geist, and Lala Carr Steelman. Counted Out: Same-sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family . New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012. Print.