Circles and Settings: Role Changes of American Women is an original, comprehensive analysis of changing roles of American women at a time of great upheaval and public, as well as social science, commentary. Using a symbolic interactionist framework, with role seen as a set of negotiated relations, Lopata analyses the roles of wife, mother, kin member (daughter, sister, grandmother) homemaker, job holder in different settings, as well as friend, neighbor, volunteer, and activist. This book comprehensively pulls together all the major involvements of American women using both historical and comparative perspectives to show the evolution of these roles over the last century.
Helena Znaniecka Lopata is Professor of Sociology at Loyola University of Chicago. She has written many books including Current Widowhood: Myths and Realities, and coedited Friendship in Context.
"Many authors give lip service to the impact of subcultural contexts on family life. Very, very few, however, hold these variables firmly in mind the way Lopata does throughout her discussion. The symbolic interactionist approach to describing and explaining women's roles makes it possible to think in terms of behaviors, expectations, tasks, social interaction, and contexts in a cohesive manner. Lopata understands this and presents these ideas extremely well. " — Catherine A. Surra, University of Texas as Austin