Welcome to Sociology of the Family, a course at Siena College in Albany, NY with Dr. Beverly Yuen Thompson. This course will bring a critical analysis to contemporary social issues  within the family institution. The shifting demographics of family life continues to evolve in new and interesting directions, yet media representations and “family values” political ideologies attempt to flatten the family into a non-representative stereotype. This course will examine the ways in which media representations and demographic realities interact with one another. This course also utilizes web 2.0 technologies in order to make the educational experience public, dynamic, and interactive.

On our first class meeting, we will begin our discussion of the ways in which media influences family dynamics, expectations, representations, and our lives in general. Please leave a comment with some of your thoughts on the discussion questions as practice for using our course blog, which will be central to our work.

Some questions to consider; please answer one:

  • We will be watching the movie Mickey Mouse Monopoly during the next class period. How are Disney movies integrated into family life? How are gender roles and racial stereotypes represented in these movies? Can you think of any examples? Can you find any representatives YouTube clips?
  • How are gender dynamics (being a man or woman) represented in t.v. commercials?
  • What are television families like demographically? Can you think of any non-stereotypical families represented on television?
  • How has the media effected your life? How do you use it in your daily life? Are there t.v. shows that you can relate to?
  • How many hours per day do you think the average person watches? Do you think excessive media consumption is damaging? Why or why not?
  • How is commercialism or “product placement” used in movies and television? Can you think of any examples? Can you find any YouTube clip examples?