Family Security in Insecure Times, Vol. 1


210 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-88810-444-8
DDC 306.85'0971




Reviewed by James S. Frideres

James S. Frideres is associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Social
Sciences, University of Calgary, and author of A World of Communities:
Participatory Research.


This is the first of three volumes to be produced by the National Forum
on Family Security. Each of the book’s eight authors provides a
critical review of how Canadians are responding to the changing social
and economic circumstances that are affecting the family.

The book opens with a keynote paper by the forum director’s group.
This short paper outlines the central theme of the book and presents a
statistical compendium of information that gives the reader some sense
of how Canadians define their security, as well as how this sense of
security has been eroded over the past three decades. In successive
papers, J. Maxwell examines how international economic factors affect
family security; D. Bellemares presents a history of how the changing
domestic labor market and government policies have affected families and
their sense of security; D. Keating and F. Mustard review the literature
on how nurturing environments produce healthy and productive human
activity; C. McKie and M. Champagne, in separate chapters, focus on
changes in the family; S. McDaniel addresses the role of women in the
family; and, finally, M. Valpy looks at changes in cultural and
political values since World War II (he concludes that the view we hold
of ourselves as a compassionate, caring, society is a myth).

The focus of most of the papers is on insecurity, not on family. Many
of the authors point out that the family is more than the “sum total
of the individuals,” yet they all fail to treat the family as the unit
of analysis and instead relate the concept of insecurity to “the
family.” Nevertheless, the material presented is insightful, and


“Family Security in Insecure Times, Vol. 1,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 4, 2023,