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Families in transition: Social change, family formation and kin relationships

Overview

This book addresses the complexity of family change. It draws on evidence from two linked studies, one carried out in the 1960s and the other in the early years of the 21st century, to analyse the specific ways in which family lives have changed and how they have been affected by the major structural and cultural changes of the second half of the twentieth century. The book shows that, while there has undeniably been change, there is a surprising degree of continuity in family practices. It casts doubt on claims ...

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Overview

This book addresses the complexity of family change. It draws on evidence from two linked studies, one carried out in the 1960s and the other in the early years of the 21st century, to analyse the specific ways in which family lives have changed and how they have been affected by the major structural and cultural changes of the second half of the twentieth century. The book shows that, while there has undeniably been change, there is a surprising degree of continuity in family practices. It casts doubt on claims that families have been subject to a process of dramatic change and provides an alternative account which is based on careful analysis of empirical data. The book presents a unique opportunity to chart the nature of social change in a particular locality over the last 50 years; includes discussions of social and cultural variations in family life, focusing on younger as well as older generations; explores not only what happens within family-households but also what happens within networks of kin across different households and shows the way changing patterns of employment affect kinship networks and how geographical mobility co-exists with the maintenance of strong kinship ties. The findings will be of interest to students of sociology, social anthropology, social policy, women's studies, gender studies and human geography at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861347886
  • Publisher: Policy Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 15.60 (w) x 23.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nickie Charles is professor in and director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick. She has published widely on many aspects of gender.

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Table of Contents


List of tables ix Preface and acknowledgements xi
1 Understanding families and social change 1 Understanding social change 2 Theoretical critiques: the individualisation thesis 3 Theoretical critiques: social capital 9 Moral values 12 Empirical research 14 An alternative approach 18 The family and social change revisited 21
2 Changing societies 25 Structural and cultural change in the UK 25 Demographic change 25 Changing patterns of employment 27 Cultural change 28 Structural and cultural change in Swansea 30 Industrial change 30 The housing market in Swansea 36 Cultural diversity in Swansea 37 The baseline study 39 The restudy 40 The four ethnographic areas 43 A note on class 51
3 Changing families 53 The family in decline? 54 Changing households 54 Continuity in the face of change 58 Residence 59 Contact 63 Normative expectations 67 Mothers and daughters 69 Sharing a home with parents 71 The two sides of the family 72 Class differences in patterns of contact 74 Working class 74 Middle class 74 Cultural identity 76 Increased occupational differentiation within kinship groups 77 Discussion 79
4 Families and cultural identity 81 Place and cultural identity 81 Cultural identities in Swansea, 1960 and 2002 83 Class 84 Ethnicity 91 Welsh identity 94 Minority ethnic identities 97 Cultural identities and family relations 99
'Very Welsh' families 100 The 'Asian' family 104 Families and the reproduction of cultural identity 107 Religion 107 Language 109 Cultural differentiation 113
5 Families in and out of work 115 Unemployment, social exclusion and gender divisions of labour 115 Types of support 118 Contact and support 119 Being there 121 Financial and practicalsupport 123 Setting up home 123 Education 124 Language 125 Bangladeshi households 125 Employment or labour 127 Family businesses 127 Emotional support 128 Support with strings 129 Unemployment 132 Pen-cwm 132 Discussion 136
6 Caring families 139 Caring for children 140 Grandparents caring for grandchildren 143 Caring for grandchildren after separation or divorce 148 Relationship breakdown 149 Caring for parents 151 Maintaining independence 152 Grandchildren caring for grandparents 153 Ill-health and bereavement 154 The gendering of care 156 Class, kinship networks and care 158 Discussion 161
7 Dispersed kin 163 Geographical mobility 164 Support at a distance 167 Caring at a distance 169 The significance of class 170 Independence and individualism 173 Family occasions 175 Transnational kinship networks 176 Visits 177 Ritual occasions 180 The rituals of death 182 The significance of place 183 Discussion 185
8 Families, friends and communities 187 Household composition, 1960 and 2002 188 Family and family-like relationships 193 Communities and social change 198 Communities in decline? 200 Communities and kinship 202 Communities and local organisations 204 Newcomers and community closure 206 Discussion 209
9 What is the future for the family? 213 The policy context 215 Family forms and unpaid care work 215 Social exclusion 218 Social investment and social capital 222 Contradictions in policy 223 The findings of the restudy 224 Implications for theory 227 What is the future for the family? 231 Appendices I Methodological problems in comparisons of class over time 235 II Swansea boundary changes 239 Bibliography 241 Index 255
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