Singapore University of Social Sciences

Sociology of Family

Sociology of Family (SOC261)


Sociology of Family examines the application of Sociological theories and methods to the study of family life, and discusses variations in family structure, family dynamics and the role of families in society. The course begins with the analysis of the definition of family in various cultures and time periods and the most important theories about family relations and roles. This introduction leads to the discussion of differences and similarities in family structure and dynamics across cultures. The process of family formation is discussed next and it includes important aspects such as the customs and significance of courtship, wedding ceremonies, and the role of parents in the process of selecting a marriage partner. Another theme explored is the socially assigned roles of men and women in the family and the gender division of labour within the home. Other topics analyzed in this course family stress, marital breakdown and divorce; social support networks; and the impact of socio-economic development on family life in a cross-national perspective.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • Definition of family and main sociological theories in family sociology
  • Families and culture: east and west
  • Courtship, marriage, and the role of parents in family formation
  • The roles of men and women in the family
  • When families face crises
  • The larger picture: economic development, government policies and families

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate an overview of the main concepts and theories in family sociology
  • Apply theories and perspectives in family sociology to social phenomena and problems
  • Recognise the main methodological approaches in family sociology research
  • Analyse main family trends across cultures, on evidence-based research
  • Inspect the dynamics of family behaviour and the influence of internal and external factors on family life
  • Examine the influence of the state and policy on family life
  • Determine the most reliable studies on family trends in the literature
  • Review the overall usefulness of family research plans
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