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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

SOCI 4301: Family Life In Contemporary Canada

Students examine many facets of contemporary family life in Canada, beginning historically and looking cross-culturally within the nation. Sociological concepts, theories, and research methodologies are employed as a means to explain the causes and consequences of transformations of family life over time. These transformations include those that have already occurred and those that continue to take place, including dramatic changes in gender roles and divisions of labour. Emphasis is placed upon diversity within and between families; the increased pressures on families within a consumer society; and the impacts upon families from globalization and a pervasive neoliberal ideological, social, political and economic context.

Learning outcomes

  • Think critically about families as a major sociological institution and about family life in Canada
  • Apply the sociological imagination by linking the experiences of individuals within families to the broader socio-economic and political context
  • Assess the specific issues and challenges families in Canada today face
  • Assess the consequences of diverse social locations such as ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation / preference, and social class for, and in, contemporary Canadian families
  • Analyse Canadian family life through a variety of theoretical lenses
  • Critically assess existing research on Canadian families
  • Discuss and examine the transformations in family life historically through to today
  • Discuss and examine selected important contemporary trends and their consequences for families in Canada today

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Understanding Families Sociologically and in Context
  • Unit 2: Understanding Family Theories and Research Methodologies
  • Unit 3: Understanding Family Diversity
  • Unit 4: Understanding the Division of Family Labour and Family Production and Consumption

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for the course:

  1. Fox, B. (Ed.). (2014). Family Patterns, Gender Relations (4th ed.). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-19-544747-7
  2. Mitchell, B. A. (2021). Family Matters: An Introduction to Family Sociology in Canada (4th ed.). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9781773382494


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory project.

Assignment 1: Essay - Families and Family Theories 20%
Assignment 2: Essay - Family Diversity 20%
Assignment 3: Essay - Division of Family Labour, Family Production and Consumption 20%
Assignment 4: Reflections 10%
Final Exam (mandatory) 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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