Family Policy and the American Safety Net shows how families adapt to economic and demographic change. Government programs provide a safety net against the new risks of modern life. Family policy includes any public program that helps families perform their four universal obligations of caregiving, income provision, shelter, and transmission of citizenship. In America, this means that child care, health care, Social Security, unemployment insurance, housing, the quality of neighborhood schools, and antidiscrimination and immigration measures are all key elements of a de facto family policy. Yet many students and citizens are unaware of the history and importance of these programs. This book argues that family policy is as important as economic and defense policy to the future of the nation, a message that is relevant to students in the social sciences, social policy, and social work as well as to the public at large.
Housing, Neighborhoods, and Life Chances
Sociologists of the family typically do not spend very much time on the topic of housing. My guess is that they consider it a largely material matter that deals with bricks and mortar and pricing but does not cover the interesting connections between people that are of greatest interest to sociologists. In recent years, however, social scientists are beginning to realize that inattention to residential location and housing is a huge omission of a very important dimension of family life. Housing affects not only degree of crowding, presence of indoor plumbing, and availability of electricity, phones, and access to the Internet. The location of a household also brings with it a whole environmental context that includes ...