The Handbook of World Families provides a cross-cultural perspective on the family by examining family life in 25 countries worldwide. The countries included in this volume are organized by six world regions including Africa, Asia/South Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America - offering readers the most thorough and balanced cross-cultural examination of world families available. Editors Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost, along with contributions by top family studies experts from around the world, ensure reliable, cutting-edge research and perspectives.
Chapter 25: U.S. Families
American families are diverse in both structures and processes, with much opportunity for each to develop their own paradigms. As noted by Susser, “The concept of the United States itself has a history of shifting frontiers and contested boundaries” (2001, p. 4). From its formation, divisions arose with respect to cultural practices and beliefs. The concern for and protection of privacy by government and communities, and the society's dependence on individual family responsibility for its member's well-being, also allows much greater individual family and household variation and unique lifestyle. Several specific characteristics of American society are woven throughout all the descriptions of various family systems: definition of family, legal considerations, and cultural and historic influences. Because these are specifically intertwined, a ...