This is a fascinating topic and one we all feel we know something about. What I want to challenge you to do this week is to think about the family as a sociological framework. This means you think about it as an institution of power and/or cohesion and of dominance and/or stability. Meaning look at it from a conflict and functionalist perspective. This is very difficult, particularly for students (See Attachment) . Often times using a sociological perspective is seen as dismissing the sentimental value of family. While this is true in the way that sociologists don't evaluate how to create a strong marriage or raise children, it is not true in the sense that sociologists recognize the EXTREMELY important role the family plays in society. But what sociology does do is ask the question: Can family come in a variety of shapes and sizes and still perform the its' essential functions? In other words, is there an ideal family form that works better than others? To begin this journey, you must first review the history of the American Family... 1. http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC21/Coontz.htm 2. http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/fam-type.html 3. http://www.prb.org/Template.cfm?Section=PRB&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=9771 What type of family or families should our society promote? How does sociological theory understand the role of religion in society? What does Durkheim say about the way in which religion functions in our lives? What about Weber and the Protestant work ethic? And what about Marx? How does he understand the connection between religion and power? Do some research on each of these classic sociological ways of approaching religion. Present each argument and then discuss your thoughts on each. This is very deep sociology! I am looking forward to a great discussion!