Fall 2023 - SA 231 D100

Sociology of Families (S) (4)

Class Number: 2856

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-12-05
    AQ 4140, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Barbara Mitchell
    Office: AQ 5057
    Office Hours: Fridays 2:00-3:00 pm via email, CANVAS; ZOOM appointments available



An examination of families and households in social, cultural, political and economic context. This course focuses on the diversity of family forms in contemporary societies (particularly Canada) in relation to various social institutions and processes, including demographic trends, ideology, gender inequality, the economy, the state and social policies.


This course is designed to introduce students to theory and research on Canadian families within socio-cultural, political, and economic contexts. Attention will be paid to critically analyzing both continuities and diversities in contemporary family life courses in relation to various social processes, institutions, and amidst social change. A variety of substantive areas will be examined such as: diverse meanings, experiences, interpretations, and conceptualizations of “family”; culture, ethnicity and immigration patterns; theories of childhood socialization; midlife parenthood and the `launching` of young adults; gender, LGBTQ2 and parenthood issues, such as childcare, and the division of domestic labour; selected health issues; social inequality, neoliberalism, and globalization; family poverty, stress and violence; partnership formation and dissolution; aging families and caregiving; and a number of relevant social policy issues (e.g., housing, labour market, health care).


1. Assess major trends and issues relevant to contemporary families from a critical life course perspective.
2. Critically evaluate and reflect upon how your own personal meanings and experiences of family life relate to a wide range of theoretical, research, and applied findings.
3. Appreciate the wide diversity of cultural and social contexts within which family relationships can develop and change over time.
4. Connect the unique circumstances of families and related issues of power, inequality, and (inter)dependency of family members to public and practical issues and their implications.


  • Small Group Work 20%
  • Tests (2 @ 20% each) 40%
  • Paper Proposal 10%
  • Term Paper 30%


Students are required to complete all course requirements. These requirements include: attendance at lectures, leading and/or participating in scheduled small group work meetings (during class time), the writing of 2 tests, and the completion of a research project (proposal and paper). Specific details will be distributed and discussed in class.

: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



Mitchell, B.A. 2021. Family Matters: An Introduction to Family Sociology in Canada, 4th ed. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.

A small list of (free) required, supplementary reading links will also be provided on CANVAS.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.