The editors and twenty contributors to the essential anthology Journeys in Sociology use a life-course perspective to address the role of sociology in their lives. The power of their personal experiences—during the Great Depression, World War II, or the student protests and social movements in the 1960s and '70s—magnify how and why social change prompted these men and women to study sociology. Moreover, all of the contributors include a discussion of their activities in retirement.
Sociology studies human development from birth through death. It often focuses on the family because it is the primary institution for socializing children and caring for the elderly. While cultural definitions of family may be based on blood, marriage, or legal ties, “families” are socially constructed and can include cohabitation and other culturally recognized social bonds such as fostering, nurturing, or economic ties.
Family relationships vary by age, race/ethnicity, class, culture, and gender, and change over time and across the life course. Sociology studies the social structures, public policies, and cultural contexts that impact families including marriage, divorce, single parenthood, and members’ health and well-being. Sociology also studies how family relationships affect members and society.