Students will explore the characteristics of families around the world, especially in
non-Western societies, as they experience the forces of globalization and social change.
Building on comparative family studies, students will first explore varied kinship structures
and stages in family life. Students then investigate how contemporary families are impacted by
global forces, including media, employment, violence, and migration. Students will also
examine how social inequality, through the relations of gender, race and poverty, further
influences family dynamics. In concluding the course, students review the potential of social
policy to support the needs of global families in transition.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Discuss the significance of variations in family and kinship systems for an understanding
of global society.
- Identify and discuss the forces contributing to contemporary changes in non-Western
- Compare the characteristics of the traditional family with those of emerging families in
- Differentiate between a comparative or cross-cultural perspective of the family and a
- Distinguish between the positive and negative effects of globalization for the family.
- Analyze the forces of globalization most likely to impact families in developing nations.
- Discuss the ways in which social inequality influences the lives of global families.
- Evaluate examples of family policy and their impacts on global families today.
The course is organized into four instructional units and contains eight major topics. The
lessons provide specific learning outcomes that guide your learning; course notes that
highlight, discuss, and illustrate important points in the textbook, as well as practice and
review exercises. The outline is as follows:
Unit 1: Families in Global Perspective
- Introduction to the Global Family
- Kinship Structure, Residence and Marriage
Unit 2: Stages and Dynamics of Family Life
- Stages of Family Life: Roles and Relations
- Comparative Family Organization: Regional Differences
Unit 3: The Family and Globalization
- Families, Demographics and Global Change
- Impacts of Globalization on Families
Unit 4: Social Inequality, Policy and Family Futures
- Diversity, Social Inequality and the Family
- Social Inequality: Poverty and Social Policy
Required text and materials
- Ingoldsby, B. & Smith, S. (2006) Families in Global and Multicultural
Perspective (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Karraker, M. K. (2014) Global Families (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA:
ISBN: 9781412998635. Type: TRU-Reprint of textbook.
To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on
the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam. The following table shows
how your final grade will be determined for this course.
|Assignment 1 - Universality and Difference in Global Families
|Assignment 2 - Transitions in Family Life
|Assignment 3 - Globalization
|Assignment 4 - Social Inequality and Policy
|Final Exam *
Open Learning Faculty Member
An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by
phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the "mail" tool in the
Learning Environment if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact
information when you start your course.