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Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  115 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Red Families v. Blue Families identifies a new family model geared for the post-industrial economy. Rooted in the urban middle class, the coasts and the "blue states" in the last three presidential elections, the Blue Family Paradigm emphasizes the importance of women's as well as men's workforce participation, egalitarian gender roles, and the delay of family formation un ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Apr 09, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: AAUW women
Recommended to Elizabeth by: npr

Red families are falling back on their cultural beliefs to cushion their falling standard of life. They are not doing well financially because the unskilled and blue collar jobs are no longer plentiful in this country. Such jobs are moving to third world countries with their factories. The jobs that are left behind are jobs that require more education and these families in formally rural and factory rich states don't focus on education. By focusing on controlling women's sexuality, they pus
Although I found the ideas in this book to be important and interesting, I just couldn't get into it for several reasons. First, they took entire chapters to say something that could easily be said in a paragraph. Second (and related): the book is boring. Third, I wasn't really sure what the authors wanted me to get out of the book. The introduction made grand claims about their purpose, but I found it very difficult to describe the book to others, i.e. - there was not a central thesis. This doe ...more
Legal and societal critique are usually right up my alley but I found this book to be dull and one dimensional. It clearly proves its thesis : That red and blue states operate in vastly different ways so middle ground is often difficult to come by. It also proves quite clearly that the red state model is losing in terms of gay marriage, sex, and other areas. But there is just nothing special here. For a book about people's lives it is remarkably impersonal. Even when quoting legal situations, th ...more
Apr 03, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it
A detailed and well-documented analysis of what ails American families from three vantage points: the Liberal/Left/Blue, the Conservative/Right/Red, and an integrative data-based stance. A thoughtful work worthy of consideration by individuals of all political persuasions.
Maren Walz
Aug 13, 2012 Maren Walz rated it it was ok
Valuable premise, important ideas, very dull... Only in the second chapter and have already turned a few unfinished pages thinking "OK, I get it." But like I said, the idea is an important one.
Linda Ethier
Feb 21, 2013 Linda Ethier rated it really liked it
The facts are stunning and disturbing. This book is full of statistics that demonstrate the cultural divide that the country is struggling with.

The "blue" regions, in general, have geared up for a post-industrial economy, with cultural emphasis on advanced education and delayed marriage and childbearing until both parents are prepared emotionally and financially.

The "red" state regions, on the contrary, continue to promote foremost the unity and sanctity of sex, marriage, and childbearing, iron
May 06, 2012 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, sociology
The authors’ stated intentions for this book was to find out “whether red families differ from blue ones… to see if we could find a geographic pattern in the statistics that corresponded to our understandings of red v. blue family strategies.” Their primary tactic for doing this is to look at overall state averages regarding a number of different issues, in an attempt to describe cultural patterns.

As I was reading the introduction, a statistic jumped out at me: “Thirty percent of American girls
A very academic book with a lot of numbers and stats. I could see a college course having this as required reading.

While many parts of the book are outdated due to the recent changes in marriage and the ACA, the book was still pretty relevant. The framing of different perspectives was well done and while I don't agree with the opinions of those on the other side of the debate, I see how they came to their conclusions. The authors also work really hard to find areas where improvements can be mad
Tom Meyer
Mar 11, 2013 Tom Meyer rated it really liked it
An excellent companion to Charles Murray's Coming Apart: both benefit immensely from reading the other.

Though the basic thesis -- that America has two competing models of family formation that, roughly, correlate with how states vote for president -- is persuasive and illuminating. The first third, which deals with this, is highly, highly recommended. The book, unfortunately, loses some of its objectivity as it proceeds and also fails to address the huge swaths of the country that are either nei
Aug 03, 2010 Becky rated it it was ok
Chock full of statistics, many on teen pregnancy... the book was definitely eye-opening for me. It did a good job of framing how "red families" and "blue families" each view the role of the family in society. But I was a little frustrated with the authors, who seemed to be making the same point again and again - with no practical solutions to the problems. Yes, minimizing teen pregnancy would be a good thing for society as a whole.... but how to do it effectively in different communities, with d ...more
Jeremy Wardein
Jan 13, 2011 Jeremy Wardein rated it really liked it
I finished this last week, before the Arizona shooting underscored how the political divisiveness in our society can have very real, devastating effects. In retrospect, I admire how this book manages to cross that cultural divide. While the authors are unmistakably "blues," they make a strong case for how the private lives of each "side," in regards to families, marriage, sex, etc., are often closer to the publicly expressed values of the other; and how our public, legal and educational policies ...more
Nov 30, 2010 Danine rated it it was amazing
Red family: Higher divorce rates. Higher abortion rates. Higher teenage pregnancy rates. Lower median age for marriage. Higher poverty rates (200% below the poverty line.

Blue family: Well educated. Better equipped financially, emotionally and mentally about having a child.

This book was more of a validation than education. I learned some new statistics to back up the arguments.
May 07, 2012 Julia rated it it was amazing
Great book. It reiterated my ideas of abstinence and the red family paradigm of young marriage and traditional gender roles. That is abstinence doesn't work, the authors cite studies to prove this as well as marrying young with expectations of traditional gender roles can lead to higher rates of divorce when this doesn't come to fruition.
Amy Qualls
Feb 06, 2015 Amy Qualls rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the idea of this book. However, it has the unfortunate timing of having been published right before major changes in US marital law, so there's a large portion of this book that needs rewriting to handle the changes. There's a lot that is thoughtful, but it's now outdated. I'd wait for a revised edition.
Ron Tuohy
You should read this book if you have any interest in how our families and notions of family interact with current politics, economics, and ideas about sexuality. Well written and researched and fairly even handed, although it's pretty obvious the authors are blue. I'm about 85% blue myself.
Jun 08, 2016 Lauren rated it it was ok
Published in 2010, Red Families already feels out of date regarding both the state of family law and the conservative / liberal divide in America. That it’s also repetitive and statistic heavy to the detriment of actual analysis makes it a good book to skip. Not recommended.
Apr 28, 2013 Sam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology
This is one of the best written books on modern family sociology.

The research and data is excellent, the writing concise and clear, and the tone refreshingly neutral in the oft controversial culture wars.

Highly recommended!
Nov 08, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
Great concepts presented and lots of food for thought, but the tone of the book was way too academic for me. Vignettes or anecdotes presented throughout (see Nicholas Kristof's book Half the Sky) would have made this an easier read.
"It's nice to see what became of work I first encountered in drafts presented at my Law School Workshop on Regulation of Family, Sex and Gender." - Mary Anne Case
Mar 26, 2010 Matt marked it as to-read
I saw the authors speak on a panel at the George Washington University Law School. It's a very interesting subject, and I look forward to learning more about it.
Feb 05, 2011 Barry added it
I almost always finish a book, once I've started it, but I read a few pages of this and skimmed the rest. At that point finishing didn't seem worth it.
Feb 19, 2011 Linda rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
okay to skim for ideas - another one of those books I would have preferred as a long magazine article!
Aug 07, 2011 Jane rated it it was ok
Just OK. No new ground here. Pretty much states the obvious.
Maggie added it
Aug 16, 2016
Cynthia Shelly
Cynthia Shelly rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2016
Jennifer marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2016
Adrienne Davis
Adrienne Davis marked it as to-read
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Jul 04, 2016
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Jun 12, 2016
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