Changing Definitions of Families

Figueroa, Liz

Liz Figueroa was elected to the California State Senate as a Democrat from the10th District (Alameda and Santa Clara Counties) in 1998 and re-elected in 2002.  Prior to her election to the State Senate, she served two terms in the California State Assembly from 1994-1998.

In 2005, Senator Figueroa was named chair of a powerful new Senate committee, the Government Modernization, Efficiency, and Accountability Committee (GMEAC), charged with a thorough examination of California Performance Review proposals, and with reforming state government.  Her oversight of the GMEAC is complimented by her existing position as chair of the Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions, and Consumer Protection, a committee which has oversight of over 300 state regulatory or administrative boards or commissions.  In tandem, these posts have given her the opportunity to bring about real government reform and real increases in efficiency, while maintaining the level of government services essential to all Californians. 

Senator Figueroa also serves as the chair of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development; the Senate Subcommittee on International Trade Policy and State Legislation and the Senate Subcommittee on Technological Crime and the Consumer.  She is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, as well as a member of the Senate Select Committees on California’s Wine Industry and Horse Racing Industry.  While in the Assembly, Figueroa chaired both the Insurance Committee and the Select Committee on Aerospace.
In her first year in the Legislature, Figueroa delivered nine bills to the Governor’s desk -- all of which where signed into law -- the highest percentage of any freshman legislator. Throughout her legislative career, she has consistently carried legislation that reflects her dedication to improving access and the quality of health care, while also protecting citizens and their privacy.
Senator Figueroa worked closely with the White House on landmark legislation, a bill that mirrored her successful law AB 1841, that provides a two-day hospital stay for mothers and their newborn babies.  She also co-chaired the conference committee that drafted and successfully implemented California’s Healthy Families program, which provides health insurance for children and the working poor.  She clearly is a leader in the high-profile fight to reform managed health care in California.  Her legislation (SB 21) giving patients the right to sue their HMO was characterized as the “crown jewel” of the HMO reform package by the former Governor.

The Senator has also established herself as one of the nation’s leaders in protecting consumers’ personal privacy and helping victims of identity theft.  Her Medical Records Privacy Act made California the first state in the country to guarantee that a patient’s medical records are confidential and cannot be used by HMOs for any other purpose not directly related to health care.  Senator Figueroa’s SB 27 made California the nation’s first state to shed light on the little known multi-billion dollar business of buying and trading customer lists (oftentimes including private personal, medical and financial information) for direct marketing purposes.  In addition, she authored two first-in-the-nation measures to help victims of identity theft by allowing Californians to obtain free credit reports, and imposing fines on credit bureaus that fail to place consumer-requested security alerts on credit reports.  Other legislation authored by Figueroa bans false and misleading advertising from cosmetic surgery advertisements, and requires information about physicians who have malpractice judgments and criminal convictions to be posted on the Internet.
Senator Figueroa’s extremely popular and successful SB 771 created the “Do Not Call List” enabling Californians to block telemarketing calls and prompted the Bush Administration to follow her lead with a national “Do Not Call” program that is now fully in effect.  In 2004, she was named the recipient of the “Brandeis Award” by Privacy International, an award given to those who have demonstrated exemplary work to protect and champion the privacy rights of individuals.

In addition, Senator Figueroa continues to be a strong advocate for the environment while maintaining a business-friendly climate for companies doing business in California.  Some of her more noteworthy measures aimed at protecting business interests include expediting the clean-up of contaminated sites, placing limits on frivolous lawsuits against businesses, and helping to keep Workers’ Compensation premiums lower by cracking down on Workers’ Comp fraud.  The Senator’s environmental record includes authoring or sponsoring legislation ensuring the safe disposal of medical and household hazardous waste and the creation of the Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Account for the safe disposal of mercury lamps and fluorescent bulbs (a huge source of mercury that leaches into our waterways and soils from landfill disposal).  Protecting marine waters and habitats, and keeping the air clean through the promotion of public transportation with the addition of High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV) in the Bay Area, continue to be priorities for the Senator.

Other significant efforts by Senator Figueroa include work on behalf of women and human rights - both of which have gained international recognition.   She has spearheaded action on important issues such as outlawing female genital mutilation, banning California’s use of products made by slave labor, prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against victims of domestic violence, and fast-tracking restraining orders for domestic violence victims.  As chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Figueroa worked tirelessly to secure funding for domestic violence shelters and restitution for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

As chair of the Legislature’s Trade Committee for the past two years, she has fought for international trade agreements that include enforceable provisions to address labor and human rights violations.  Last year, Senator Figueroa took the lead to address the problems surrounding the outsourcing of jobs and services to foreign countries.  Her SB 1451 - the only bill which made it to the Governor’s desk - sought to protect consumers’ medical and financial records pursuant to California law, even when the jobs or services are outsourced overseas. Unfortunately, Governor Schwarzenegger chose to veto this important privacy legislation.

Senator Figueroa currently serves as a board member for the Little Hoover Commission, Women in Government, Hispanic Community Affairs Council, Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Legal Assistance for Seniors, Centro Legal de la Raza Advisory Board, California Corporate Board Registry Advisory Board, AnewAmerica’s Women’s Business Center, and the Board for the California Elected Women’s Association for Education and Research (CEWAER).

The Senator, who speaks fluent Spanish, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the first Northern California Latina to be elected to the Legislature.  Both of her parents are from El Salvador.  Prior to serving in the State Legislature, she owned and operated Figueroa Employment Consultants for seventeen years, a business that specialized in placing injured workers in jobs.  In 1985, Senator Figueroa was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Union Sanitary District and served as the district’s president, the first female president in its 71-year history.  She is the mother of AnaLisa Luippold and Aaron Bloom and the grandmother of Andrew and Cameron.

Dual Earner families, Families of Color: Hispanic, Families with Disabilities/Special Needs, Workers with Disabilities/Special Needs, Afterschool Care, Health and Well-being/Wellness, Child care, Organizational Culture Change, Diversity and Inclusion, Maternity leave, Changing Definitions of Families, Community, work and family, Work-Family Balance, Work/life Integration, and Women and their health.

Senator of California

California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 4061
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States

Van Dongen, Walter

Walter Van Dongen has a Master’s degree in Economic Sciences (1984) and a Doctorate degree in Ethical Sciences (1990). Since 1994, he has been project director in the Population and Family Study Centre (CBGS), Scientific Institution of the Flemish Community, Brussels, Belgium. His main area of expertise is in the daily combination of professional and family life of men and women, work organization in companies, external day care and financial support for (families with) children, and the meaning of the fiscal and social security system.

He has developed an integrated approach to the daily division of time of men and women in society, which is called the 'Combination model', expressing the main challenge of men and women during their life course. The combination model consists of a conceptual, an empirical and a policy perspective that permanently interact with one another, serving as the basis for the development of policy models for democratic societies. In line with these policy models, a management instrument, the Family & Business Audit (FBA), has been developed in Flanders during the last year, in order to support organizations with the realization of a modern family & business policy. The instrument can be applied in all sorts of professional organizations.

The Combination Model was conceived and elaborated on the level of Flanders, Belgium, during the period 1995-2004. In the last two years, the development of the combination model has been placed in an international context, to show that the model is useful for all countries. A international report will be published by the end of November by Policy Press (UK). At the moment we can refer to the some recent papers presented at the IATUR conferences during the last years.

Van Dongen W, D. Danau and D. VLoeberghs, (2002), Summary Final Report FBA project, CBGS, University of Antwerp and ECWS, Brussels.

Van Dongen W., (2005), The combination model in EU countries: actual development, policy models and the Family & Business Audit for organisations, Founding Conference of the International Centre for Work and Family (ICWF), IESE Business School, Barcelona, 7 - 9 July 2005.

Van Dongen W., (2005), Democracy of daily life. The development of the 'combination model' in Western countries for the reconciliation of professional and family life, paper for the IATUR conference 'Time use in daily life: the content and context of human behaviour', Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, November 2-4 2005.

Van Dongen W., (2008), To a democratic division of labour in modern welfare states?  The Combination Model as a new integrated European approach. Bristol/UK: Polisy Press, to be published in Novmeber 2008.

Expertise: Dual Earner families, Older Workers/Aging Workforce, Single Parents, Afterschool Care, Child care, Organizational Culture Change, Overwork/ Workload, Part-time or Reduced hours work, Phased Retirement, Flexible Work Schedules, Shiftwork, Telework and Telecommuting, Paid Sick Leave, Paid vacation, Paternity leave, Maternity leave, Paid Family Leave - state, Changing Definitions of Families, Community, work and family, Work-Family Balance, Work/life Integration

Policies: Policy for full employment, Reforming of the fiscal system, Day care for young children and additional care for all children, Mobility policy, combination policy in companies 
Management instruments: The Family & Business Audit (FBA), Flanders, Belgium


Research Centre of the Flemish Government (SVR)
Boudewijnlaan 30, Room 8-B-20
1000 Brussels,

Hansen, Karen V.

Karen V. Hansen studies the intersections of gender, class, and race in the context of families and communities in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century U.S.  Her recent book, Not-So-Nuclear Families:  Class, Gender, and Networks of Care (Rutgers University Press, 2005), won the William J. Goode Book Award, honorable mention, from the American Sociological Association Families Section.  She has also co-edited Families in the U.S.:  Kinship and Domestic Politics (Temple University Press, 1998).  Dr. Hansen is Professor of Sociology & Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University.

Expertise: Dual Earner Families; Afterschool Care; Child Care; Changing Definitions of Families; Community, Work and Family


Brandeis University- Department of Sociology
MS 071
Waltham, MA 02454
United States

Hoey, Brian

Brian A. Hoey is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He received his B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Before coming to Marshall University, Hoey was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan's Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life, a Sloan Center for the Study of Working Families.

Through two years of ethnographic fieldwork in the rapidly growing lakeside communities of rural Northwest Lower Michigan, his dissertation research explored non-economic migration where downsized and downshifting corporate workers relocate as a means of starting over in places they believe provide the necessary refuge to rethink work, family and personal obligations. Findings are presented in a book manuscript entitled "Opting for Elsewhere in America: Relocation and the Remaking of Self in the Post-industrial Middle class." This work explores present-day social and structural transitions through examining the meaning of relocation in middle-class working families away from metropolitan areas to growing rural communities. Hoey interprets this relocation as a way of negotiating building tension between personal experience with material demands in pursuit of a livelihood within the flexible, contingent post-industrial economy and cultural conventions for the good family and community life as a basis for defining individual character.  Hoey argues that this migration is a continuation of long-standing American traditions of starting over rooted in a belief that we can remake ourselves through sheer force of will while at the same time it is also a uniquely modern expression as people respond to challenges and opportunities of a flexible economy based increasingly on contingent work.

Although Hoey’s fieldwork has more recently been focused here in the United States, his research experience is both international and domestic with fieldwork ranging from the outer islands of Indonesia to the American Midwest. Although different, these projects share important characteristics that express enduring intellectual interests. These include a desire to conduct community based research as well as work in issues of migration, narrative constructions and identity, community building and participation, and personal negotiations between domains work, family, and the self in different social and historical contexts. Hoey also has a longstanding commitment to environmental studies and exploring cultural dimensions of human-ecological problems. As a Fulbright Scholar to Indonesia, Hoey studied community building in far-flung agrarian settlements built from the ground up as part of a government-sponsored migration program. His continuing interest in planned and intentional community and identity politics informs current work on issues of career change, personal identity and the moral meanings of work in the American middle class.

While a post-doctoral fellow, Hoey’s research considered forms of ‘New Work,’ alternative arrangements of work and family life, explored by so-called free-agents of the New Economy. This project aimed to reveal how certain individuals and groups are exploring, tentatively at first perhaps, unfamiliar landscapes of New Work as a kind of frontier of social and economic arrangements thus helping to redefine the meaning, purpose and place of work in personal and communal life. As pioneers of an emerging post-industrial world, how are some of today’s free-agents engaged in a kind of “frontiering” as they seek to find or create “good work” that has intrinsic value and allows them to experience a sense of dignity, self-respect and purpose? At the same time, how are they also challenging the presumptions of a frontier mind that characterizes the cultural history of America in their effort to redefine the relationships between work, family, community and self?

Hoey’s current project entails “deconstructing” the Appalachian state of West Virginia.  Having long played a significant role in the railroad industry, natural resource extraction, and the struggles of labor, West Virginia stands at the “Rust Belt’s” fuzzy edge, a term used to conjure images of decaying industrial places from another economic era. West Virginia has suffered a great deal of out-migration during the second half of the 20th century as young people abandon industries of their forebears that once defined entire communities.  Despite a recent history of often-bleak economic conditions, these communities may be places to examine new forms of entrepreneurship, community building, and place-marketing according to emerging cultural and economic models. The grassroots efforts of increasing numbers of local activists stand in sharp contrast to the dominant order of the Industrial Era and sharply at odds with popular images of the State. The predominant model for encouraging investment, in-migration, and population retention has for some time relied on rolling back taxes and providing cheap land and labor in an attempt to entice a single large employer in what has been called “smokestack chasing.” Following alternative approaches, activists advocate for preserving or enhancing quality of life in order to attract entrepreneurial migrants, the so-called creative class, interested in pursuing particular lifestyle choices which emphasize quality of life and livability.  Current research builds on prior experience in thematically related international and domestic research and is designed to document emergent cultural meanings and social behaviors in the everyday lives of community activists in Appalachia.

A future project will entail both archival and ethnographic research to consider some of the different ways that culturally meaningful space, what is referred to as "place" in the literature, may used therapeutically. The role of the physical environment in shaping the quality of public health and civic life is the center of an emerging area of inquiry at the intersection of both academic and applied interests. Although the field of public health, and especially environmental health, has documented the negative health effects and risks to the physical person associated with particular places such as industrial sites, there has been comparatively little consideration of the health promoting or creating role of place or "sense of place" in human physical and mental health. This research will explore the therapeutic uses of place within purposively created or "intentional" community. Fieldwork will consider in what ways the intentional space of place-based community created for therapeutic purposes seen in projects ranging from the 19th century "moral treatment" mental asylum to a variety of communitarian experiments throughout U.S. history are mirrored in contemporary initiatives such as the so-called new urbanism.  By taking an historical and ethnographic perspective, this research promises to offer an important context for evaluating current planning proposals to create “healthy places” for work and family life.

In addition to numerous contributions to reports in print, radio and television media, Hoey has published on these themes in several book chapters and articles in the American Ethnologist, the Journal for Anthropological Research, the Journal for Contemporary Ethnography, and Ethnology.

Expertise: Changing Definitions of Families; Community Planning and Development; Community, Work and Family; Dual Earner Families; Downsized/Downshifting; Global Economy/Global Focus; Livability/Quality of Life Initiatives; Resiliency and Stress; Telecommuting; Work-Family Balance; Work-Family Conflict; and Work/Life Integration

(304) 696-3747
(304) 696-2803

Marshall University
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington WV 25755-2678
United States

MacDermid, Shelley

Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth is a professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University, where she also directs the Military Family Research Institute and the Center for Families and serves as Associate Dean of the College of Consumer and Family Sciences.  Dr. MacDermid holds an M.B.A. in Management and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on relationships between job conditions and family life, with special focus on military families and organizational policies, programs and practices. Her research has been published in scientific journals including the Journal of Marriage and Family and the Academy of Management Journal, and has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Henry A. Murray Center, the Department of Defense, the state of Indiana, and the Lilly Endowment.  Dr. MacDermid serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Family Issues, Family Relations, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, and the Journal of Family Theory and Review.  Dr. MacDermid’s research has earned awards from the Groves Conference and Gamma Sigma Delta.  In 2005, Dr. MacDermid was named a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations, and in 2006 she received the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute.  Dr. MacDermid recently served as the civilian co-chair of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, and currently serves on the Psychological Health External Advisory Committee to the Defense Health Board.  The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University was created in 2000 with funding from the Department of Defense.  In September 2007 the Military Family Research Institute received funding from the Lilly Endowment to continue its research on military families and to expand its mission to include supporting the military infrastructures that support military families and strengthening the motivation and capacity of civilian communities to support their military families within and beyond Indiana.

Purdue University- Center for Families
1200 W. State St.
West Lafayette, IN
United States

Gerson, Kathleen

Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University.  She has held visiting positions at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Center for the Study of Status Passage in the Life Course and has served as President of the Eastern Sociological Society and Chair of the ASA Family Section. Her work focuses on the connections among gender, work, and family life in post-industrial societies.

Professor Gerson's most recent book, The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America (Oxford University Press, 2010), examines a new generation's experiences growing up amid changing families and blurring gender boundaries. She is also the author or co-author of four additional books and over fifty articles, essays, and opinion pieces.  Her first major work, Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood (1985), continues to inform ongoing debates about women's work and family commitments.  Her next book, No Man's Land: Men's Changing Commitments to Family and Work (1993), analyzed the pervasive but often ignored changes in men's lives and was chosen as a "new and noteworthy" paperback by The New York Times Book Review. More recently, Gerson teamed with Jerry A. Jacobs on The Time Divide: Family, Work, and Gender Inequality (2004), which was named a "best business book" by Strategy Business magazine and was based on work that received the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

Kathleen has participated in a wide range of research and policy initiatives, including the Ford Foundation Project on Integrating Work, Family, and Community; the Sloan Foundation Research Network on Work-Family Issues; the Council of Research Advisors for Purdue's Center for Families; and Catalyst's Advisory Board for "The Next Generation of Women Leaders."  She was named Distinguished Feminist Lecturer on Women and Social Change by the Sociologists for Women in Society and served as a board member of the Council on Contemporary Families.

Expertise: Gen X/Gen Y, Changing Definitions of Families, Work-Family Conflict, Community, Work, and Family, Work-Family Spillover, Work-Family Balance, Work/life Integration


New York University- Department of Sociology
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10003
United States

Gerstel, Naomi

Naomi Gerstel is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Gerstel’s research and courses focus on family, carework, job hours/schedules, gender, race and family & work policy.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation and has appeared in the American Sociological Review, Contexts, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Gender & Society, among others.  Her most recent articles have examined marriage as a greedy institution, the effects of women’s employment on care to kin and friends, effects of race on caregiving, labor union’s family policies, childcare, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the hours and schedules of medical personnel.  Her co-authored  and co-edited  books include Commuter Marriage, Families at Work, Families and Work, and Public Sociology.   She has received the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award and Samuel F. Conti Fellowship. She has chaired the Family Section of the American Sociological Association and  co-edited the ASA Rose Book Series and the Backstage Column for Contexts. Her current research consists of two projects, one on care to relatives and friends and the other on why Americans spend so much time on the job.

Expertise: Dual Earner; Families of Color: African Americans, Hispanics, Asian American; Paid Family Leave; Work Hours; FMLA, Changing Definitions of Family, Dependent Care, Child Care, Overwork/Workload, Elder Care, FMLA


University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Amherst- Department of Sociology
Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Crouter, Ann C.

Ann (Nan) C. Crouter is the Raymond and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development and Professor of Human Development at Penn State University.  Her research focuses on the connections between parents’ work conditions, family dynamics, and the development of school-aged children and adolescents.  She has explored these issues with her collaborator, Susan McHale, in the context of three longitudinal, federally-funded research studies focused on dual-earner families.  Currently, she collaborates on a study of Mexican American families led by Kim Updegraff at Arizona State University, as well as on an investigation of the work and family circumstances of low-income, rural parents, part of a program project conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina and Penn State University. She is also working on industry-specific research on work-family issues in the hotel industry with an interdisciplinary group of colleagues. This work, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, uses different kinds of methods, including qualitative interviews with executive thought leaders and general managers, telephone surveys with department managers, and daily diaries with hotel department managers and members of their family, to learn about what it means to work in this fast-paced, 24/7 sector of the service economy.

Expertise: Dual Earner Families; Health and Wellbeing/Wellness; Work-Family Conflict; Work-Family Spillover

(814) 865-1420
(814) 865-3282

The Pennsylvania State University - College of Health and Human Development
201 Henderson Building
University Park PA 16802
United States

Syndicate content