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This course addresses the institution of family in terms of the nature and functioning of family and the social context of family. It examines the diversity of families in the U.S. and other societies, conceptualizing the institution of family through a variety of sociological perspectives and theories. Research is presented that illuminated that nature of family and the ways in which families are influenced by social context and social change, and, in turn, the ways in which changes in family composition, roles, and relations influence society and social change. The changing nature of family and the relationship between family, ethnicity, and class are important subjects of study. Related topics include dating, marriage, cohabitation, divorce, childbearing, parenting, child development, family violence, love, intimacy, sexuality and aging.