ERIC Number: ED458936
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Nov-13
Reference Count: N/A
The Ties That Bind: Understanding Today's Families--What They Look Like, What They Do, How They Feel. Perspectives.
Asserting the need for social scientists and policymakers to acknowledge that there is no single, standard image of the family, this report describes the mandate of the Vanier Institute of the Family and examines family relationships, focusing on families in Canada. The report identifies several reasons for the emergence of the dual wage-earning family as normative both statistically and culturally. The report then asserts that scholars and policymakers need to identify what is common to different families in order to determine their rights and obligations to one another and community obligations to them. It is noted that assumptions about the nature of family influence government planning, personnel policies, pension plans, school procedures, and relationships within families. Descriptions of how families differ from one another lead to the suggestion that whether or not individuals constitute family cannot be decided on the basis of legal or biological relatedness. However, the report argues, family cannot be eliminated from policy analysis because a way of acknowledging bonds of obligation and affection that bind family members to one another would be lost. Further, the report asserts that as the difficulty in defining family is increasingly recognized, public policymakers are intent on invoking the notion of family; the current serious economic contraction reminds policymakers and scholars that families have always been economically significant and are based, in part, on economic interdependence. The report concludes by presenting the functional definition of the family used by the Vanier Institute, emphasizing what families do for the benefit of their individual members and the larger society. (KB)
Descriptors: Births to Single Women, Consumer Economics, Definitions, Demography, Divorce, Family Characteristics, Family Needs, Family Relationship, Family (Sociological Unit), Foreign Countries, Marriage, Public Policy
Vanier Institute of the Family, 94 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ontario K2G 6B1, Canada ($3). Tel: 613-228-8500; Fax: 613-228-8007.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Vanier Inst. of the Family, Ottawa (Ontario).
Identifiers - Location: Canada