Families as They Really Are goes to the heart of the family values debate by reframing the question about families from "Are they breaking down?" to "Where are they going, how, and why?" Essays in the book are not reprints; you won't find them anywhere else. Each article is a new contribution to the research and theory about families, drawn from an interdisciplinary community of experts. The four parts of Families as They Really Are focus on how we got to where we are today, what's happening in relationships, youth in the 21st century, and the state of the gender revolution.
Barbara J. Risman is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was previously Alumni Distinguished Research Professor, as well as the Founding Director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program at North Carolina State University. Risman is the author of Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition and over two dozen journal articles. She is also the president of the board of The Council on Contemporary Families, a national organization whose mission is to bring new research findings and clinical expertise to public attention. In 2005, Risman was honored with the Katherine Jocher Belle Boone Award from the Southern Sociological Society for lifetime contributions to the study of gender. In 2013, she was elected vice president of the American Sociological Association. She is currently testing theories about whether hormonal exposure in utero influences gendered selves in adulthood. Risman strongly believes that sociologists have a responsibility both to do good research and to teach about it in the classroom and to the public at large.