Does putting your smartphone on the dinner table impact your relationships? How does where you place your TV in your home affect your family? The Stuff of Family Life takes readers inside the changing world of families through a unique examination of their stuff. From digital family photo albums to the growing popularity of “man caves,” I look at not only what large demographic studies say about family dynamics but also what our lives—and the stuff in them—say about how we relate to each other. The book takes readers through various phases of family life, including dating, marriage, parenting, divorce, and aging, while paying attention to how our choices about our spaces and objects impact our lives.
I have joked, “I’m not a social scientist who uses large national datasets to illustrate family life; I’m the social scientist who asks people to examine what’s in their underwear drawers to tell stories about their family life.” From underwear drawers to calendars, The Stuff of Family Life offers an illuminating and entertaining look at the complexities of American families today.