Stacey (In the Name of the Family), a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University, spent over a decade interviewing and observing families in California, South Africa, and China for this scrupulously researched and moving portrait of family diversity across three continents and cultures. The first section is devoted to gay men living, loving, and parenting in tony West Hollywood. Stacey uses the experiences of her 50 subjects to examine both sides of the gay-marriage debate. The theory that legalizing gay marriage will lead to the legalization of polygamy takes Stacey to South Africa, where both same-sex and plural marriages are legal. She examines the history and modern interpretation of polygamy and asks if the practice might not offer some potential benefits to women and their children. Finally, Stacey turns her keen analysis on the Mosuo people of southwest China, who have rejected marriage for multigenerational households in which children are raised by their mothers and maternal family. Throughout her travels and exhaustive research, Stacey pokes and prods, and eagerly calls into question everything we think we know about love, marriage, and the baby in the baby carriage. Photos. (May)
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will enrage some readers and delight others, but anyone interested in contemporary debates about marriage, sexuality, and family life must read this richly detailed, rigorously argued book.”-Stephanie Coontz,author of Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage
"Stacey certainly makes a passionate case with a surprising amount of information on her side."-Anthropology Review Database
"The richness of data, the detective-like quality of the prose, and its social and political relevance are sure to make Unhitched
a provocative and invaluable contribution to the study of family and intimacy."-Kimberly D. Richman,American Journal of Sociology
"It's admittedly hard to stop reading...if you're a people-watcher, are interested in culture and its changes, or have a deep interest in marriage rights one way or the other, this is one can't-miss book."
-Terri Schlichenmeyer,The Los Angeles Times
"The book is openly taking a strong normative stance against attempts at regulating the family."-Anca Gheaus,Metapsychology
"The book will fuel the ongoing family values/marriage discourse by challenging conservatives, feminists, and proponents of same-sex marriage."
-Marge Kappanadze,Library Journal
is a wild ride through the political and emotional worlds of family life. With a sociologist’s skill, Judith Stacey uncovers the very diverse shapes of human families; with a novelist’s skill, she tells us how they are lived. The disappointing options available to many women in a world of inequality appear; so do the creative responses. A lively and important book.”-Raewyn Connell,author of Gender: In World Perspective and Southern Theory
thoughtfully explains how unconventional relationships can thrive across cultures with some intention and practice...The book says it's about love and marriage, but it's actually about parenthood and the myriad of ways a family can look to support raising children well." -Bitch
"It doesn't simply offer a mind-bending cross-cultural perspective--you can find that in any Anthropology 101 textbook. Instead, Stacey uses her observations to underscore just how stifling and unstable the Western romantic ideal of marital monogamy can be for some people, as well as the vast array of romantic arrangements that are already out here in the world."
"In her new book, Unhitched
, Judith Stacey, a sociologist at NYU, surveys a variety of unconventional arrangements, from gay parenthood to polygamy to—in a mesmerizing case study—the Mosuo people of southwest China, who eschew marriage and visit their lovers only under cover of night."-Kate Bolick,The Atlantic
"The book is thought provoking, engaging, and makes important contributions to the study of families."-Joya Misra,International Journal of Comparative Sociology
"Judith Stacey's Unhitched...successfully demystif[ies] aspects of modern marriage and its attendant real and imagined crises...[she] is a senior scholar on top of her game...her book makes you want to discuss her ideas with others."
-Kristin Celello,Women's Review of Books
“With clear-cut, modern prose, (Stacey) infuses her commentary and details her investigation from all sides of the aisle with well-researched facts and figures… Clever and practical blend of research, history and anecdote.”
“An engagingly written and highly readable book that deals with a crucial and controversial related set of issues: the nature of contemporary family life, kinship, love, parenting, intimacy, and how to live with diversity. No one is better qualified to take this on than Judith Stacey. She manages to combine the commitment of the serious ethnographer with the enthusiasm and insight of the eager traveler. This is an essential book.”-Jeffrey Weeks,author of The World We Have Won
“Throughout her travels and exhaustive research, Stacey pokes and prods, and eagerly calls into question everything we think we know about love, marriage, and the baby in the baby carriage.”-Publishers Weekly
"Judith Stacey is a great writer, whose clear style and provocative arguments make her one of the most compelling and most engaging feminist writers of our time."-Social Forces
is Judith Stacey's richest and most provocative work to date. Tirelessly championing diverse varieties of intimate life, she has long refused to succumb to simplistic, homogenizing notions of ‘the family.’ Unhitched
continues in this vein, bringing together a fascinating mix of ethnographic research on same-sex intimacies in this country, and plural and non-marital family forms in South Africa and China. It poses a powerful empirical challenge to the belief that the nuclear family—in both its hetero and homo variants—best fulfills our needs for intimacy and security."-Arlene Stein,author of The Stranger Next Door