Families, Households &
Intimate relationships
February 2013
‘[I]t is no longer possible to pronounce in some
binding way w...
Today
• Diversity of family forms
– Are all family forms equally socially acceptable in modern Britain?
– What emotional, ...
• Diversity in family forms
• Violence and abuse in families
• The search for intimacies
DIVERSITY OF FAMILY FORMS
The Family in History
Family: a group of persons who form an
economic unit directly linked by kin
connections, the adults ...
Three phases in the development of
family forms 1500-1800
• Nuclear unit not clearly separate from the community
– Primari...
Lawrence Stone
(1980)
• 1500s nuclear family, small
households, kin, sex necessary for
children not pleasure,
erotic/roman...
The way we never were (Coontz, S
1992)
• Many people, often conservative, argue that
family life is becoming undermined
Myths of the Traditional Family
• Is family life becoming
undermined today?
• Victorian family life:
– High mortality rate...
Myths of Traditional Family Life
• http://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=xO304aoUAWE
• 1950s ‘ideal family’:
– Women trapped in
...
Critical Thinking...
• If these conepts are frequently shown to be
myths, then why do people like to hold on to
these idea...
Diversity in Family Forms
• Lone parent
• Heterosexual couple: married or cohabiting
• Gay or Lesbian couple: civil partne...
Individuals may live in many family
forms through the life-course…
Jane is single and as a result of a brief
sexual affair...
And Then…
• Jane starts a relationship and moves in with Phil,
who has two children from a previous marriage
and one from ...
Families around the world- Variety &
Change
Clans and other
kin-based groups
are declining
Same-sex
partnerships
Children’...
Rising Divorce Rates
Divorce relates to the legal end of marriage.
Thus we know nothing about:
• Empty shell marriages
• S...
Why have divorce rates risen?
• Legislative changes making divorce easier and
cheaper to obtain
• Women’s increased econom...
European & Western Families
• Monogomous
families
• Romantic love
• Patrilineal
• Neo-local
• Nuclear
Housework
• Women still
disproportionately doing
housework
• Stalled revolution
Hoschild (1989)
• Caring activities are
so...
Lone-Parent Households
• UK has highest propotion in Europe:
– Increase from 7% 1971 to 24% 2006
(HMSO 2007:16)
• Social d...
The Absent Father 1930s-70s war; breadwinner
• Contemporary infrequent contact with children after
divorce/separation…The ...
New Partnerships
• Changing attitudes to family life: fluidity
• Remarriage
• Step-families:
– Reconstituted families
• Ki...
Perspectives
• Functionalism:
– Family performs important tasks that
contribute to society’s basic needs
– Helps perpetuat...
VIOLENCE & ABUSE IN FAMILIES
Violence
& sexual
abuse
• Children:
– Sexual abuse May-Chahal & Herczog (2003)
• 10-20% of children in Europe will be sexu...
National Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children
• Neglect
• Physical abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Sexual abuse:
– ...
Domestic Violence
• Rawstorne (2002)
– Women are at greater risk of violence from men in own family/close
aquaintances tha...
Violence in the family
• Feminism:
– Privatization of violence and abuse work to uphold the dominance of
men in patriachal...
THE SEARCH FOR INTIMACY
It’s not all
bad news…
The Search for Intimacy
Contemporary Western society is characterized by:
• Rapid social change
• Weakening of traditional...
Models of Love
Giddens (1993) : The ‘pure relationship’, based on plastic sexuality
(choice, untied from reproduction), so...
Diversity of family forms
• Are all family forms equally socially acceptable in modern Britain?
• What emotional, social a...
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Families households

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  • HMSO – explain – her Majesty’s stationery office i.e. legislation
  • Families households

    1. 1. Families, Households & Intimate relationships February 2013 ‘[I]t is no longer possible to pronounce in some binding way what family, marriage, parenthood, sexuality or love mean, what they should or could be.’ Beck & Beck - Gernsheim At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. Plato The family is the country of the heart Giuseppi Mazzini
    2. 2. Today • Diversity of family forms – Are all family forms equally socially acceptable in modern Britain? – What emotional, social and economic advantages could polygyny or polyandry offer women and men in a modern society? – How can growing divorce rates indicate that the marriage relationship has become more not less important? • Violence and abuse in families – Is violent behaviour an individual personality problem or part of the structure of society? Can it be both? – What social measures could be taken to reduce levels of violence within families? – Which is more important: protecting privacy or protecting people from violence? • The search for intimacy – When people talk about a ‘return to family values’, what do they actually mean? – Is romantic love a secure basis for a lasting relationship? – Do arranged marriages offer a basis for the formation of an emotionally intimate relationship? – Is it possible to do intimacy by text?
    3. 3. • Diversity in family forms • Violence and abuse in families • The search for intimacies
    4. 4. DIVERSITY OF FAMILY FORMS
    5. 5. The Family in History Family: a group of persons who form an economic unit directly linked by kin connections, the adults of which assume responsibility for caring for children Kinship: a relation which links individuals through blood ties, marriage or adoption.
    6. 6. Three phases in the development of family forms 1500-1800 • Nuclear unit not clearly separate from the community – Primarily an economic unit: property arrangement – Unemotional – high mortality rates – Sex for procreation not pleasure – high infant mortality rates • Nuclear unit as a distinct and separate entity – Transitional form found in upper classes – Growth in importance of marital and parental love – Increase in authoritarian power of the father • Nuclear unit with high degree of domestic privacy – Close emotional bonds – Centred on rearing children – Marriage based on romantic love or sexual attraction – Site of consumption – Housewife/breadwinner roles
    7. 7. Lawrence Stone (1980) • 1500s nuclear family, small households, kin, sex necessary for children not pleasure, erotic/romantic love sometimes regarded as sickness • 17th /18th C transitional form, nuclear family becomes separate entity, importance of marital/ parental love, increase in authoritarian power of fathers (connect to patriarchy) • Post 18th C family, close emotional bonds, affective individualism; personal selection, sexual attraction, romantic love, consumption rather than production • Criticisms: love was often found in pre 18th C English marriages; unoriginal (borrowing Weber and Marx’s ideas about individualism?!)
    8. 8. The way we never were (Coontz, S 1992) • Many people, often conservative, argue that family life is becoming undermined
    9. 9. Myths of the Traditional Family • Is family life becoming undermined today? • Victorian family life: – High mortality rates – Average marriage less than 12 yrs – ½ of all children saw death of one parent (at least) by age of 21 – Strict authority (cruel by today’s standards) – Middle-class wives house –bound – Double standards of sexual behaviour – Child labour common in lower classes
    10. 10. Myths of Traditional Family Life • http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=xO304aoUAWE • 1950s ‘ideal family’: – Women trapped in domestic role after 2nd WW – Sexual double standards – Oppressive nature of domestic life, childcare – Emotionally detached husbands – Alcoholism and violence – Friedan, B. (1963) The Feminine Mystique. ‘The problem with no name’
    11. 11. Critical Thinking... • If these conepts are frequently shown to be myths, then why do people like to hold on to these ideas? • How do concepts of the family remain so strong? • What are the social consequences of holding on to such myths?
    12. 12. Diversity in Family Forms • Lone parent • Heterosexual couple: married or cohabiting • Gay or Lesbian couple: civil partners or cohabiting • Couple (hetero or homosexual) separated or divorced but co-parenting • Reconstituted family – Diana Gittens (1993) we must speak of ‘families’ not ‘the family’.
    13. 13. Individuals may live in many family forms through the life-course… Jane is single and as a result of a brief sexual affair has a child, Shaun. The biological father does not keep in touch. Jane meets Simon and they start living together. Jane and Simon have a child together and get married. Jane and Simon split up.
    14. 14. And Then… • Jane starts a relationship and moves in with Phil, who has two children from a previous marriage and one from a previous affair. • Simon starts a relationship with Peter and moves in with him. Peter has two children from an earlier marriage. Both fathers have their children to stay for holidays. • Years pass…when Shaun gets married who is likely to feature in the photos of the groom’s family?
    15. 15. Families around the world- Variety & Change Clans and other kin-based groups are declining Same-sex partnerships Children’s rightsMore sexual freedom Rights of women Free selection of spouse
    16. 16. Rising Divorce Rates Divorce relates to the legal end of marriage. Thus we know nothing about: • Empty shell marriages • Separations without divorce • Cohabitation break-ups • Remarriage rates
    17. 17. Why have divorce rates risen? • Legislative changes making divorce easier and cheaper to obtain • Women’s increased economic independence • Reduction in the social stigma of divorce • The expectation of personal satisfaction in marriage
    18. 18. European & Western Families • Monogomous families • Romantic love • Patrilineal • Neo-local • Nuclear
    19. 19. Housework • Women still disproportionately doing housework • Stalled revolution Hoschild (1989) • Caring activities are socially constructed as women’s work Devault (1991) • Mothers spend more time with children than fathers Shelton (1992)
    20. 20. Lone-Parent Households • UK has highest propotion in Europe: – Increase from 7% 1971 to 24% 2006 (HMSO 2007:16) • Social disapproval • Economic insecurity • High correlation between births outside marriages and poverty and social deprivation in unmarried/never married mothers • Direct link between welfare support and diverse proportions of lone parent families across Europe (Morgan 1999) • Diversity of pathways into/out of lone parent families (Crow & Hardey 1992)
    21. 21. The Absent Father 1930s-70s war; breadwinner • Contemporary infrequent contact with children after divorce/separation…The death of the dad? • Erosion of Fatherhood (Blankenhorn 1995) Fatherless America • But is it better to have a dad who comes home from work and drinks beer in front of the tv, than no dad at all?! • (Yeung et al 2002) the earnings of a working mother or work hours do not effect the time she spends with children. For fathers, it does significantly effect it. • Paternity leave – up to 26 weeks paternity leave (www.direct.gov.uk) £128.73 per week ‘When did you last see your father?’ W.G. Yeames
    22. 22. New Partnerships • Changing attitudes to family life: fluidity • Remarriage • Step-families: – Reconstituted families • Kinship relationships (Firth 1956): – Effective vs non-effective kinship • Mauthner (2005) sistering - what are women like as sisters? BFFs? • Cohabitation (HMSO 2004): – ‘it’s ok to live together without intending to get married’ – 88% 18-24 yr olds – 40% 65 plus • Gay and lesbian partnerships (Weeks et al 2004): – More opportunities for equality among partners - negotiation • Staying single (HMSO 2004): – One person households 18% - 1971 – 29% - 2003
    23. 23. Perspectives • Functionalism: – Family performs important tasks that contribute to society’s basic needs – Helps perpetuate social order – Fullfilling roles – Focussed on reproduction, childrearing and socialization • Feminism: – Challenging idea of family as being harmonious and egalitarian – Questioned idea of family being cooperative unit based on common interests and mutual support – Unequal power relationships – Male breadwinner model – Caring activities
    24. 24. VIOLENCE & ABUSE IN FAMILIES
    25. 25. Violence & sexual abuse • Children: – Sexual abuse May-Chahal & Herczog (2003) • 10-20% of children in Europe will be sexually assualted during their childhood • 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: – Raise awareness of child sexual abuse – 1999 – only 1% of Europeans had never heard of child sexual abuse within a family – 97% thought child sex abuse was a form of violence
    26. 26. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children • Neglect • Physical abuse • Emotional abuse • Sexual abuse: – ‘sexual contact between a child and adult for the purposes of the adult’s sexual gratification’ (Lyon & de Cruz 1993) – Correlation between childhood sexual abuse and prostitution, offending and drug use • Victoria Climbie (-2000): – Died of hypothermia after months of torture – Police and health services missed oppportunities to save her
    27. 27. Domestic Violence • Rawstorne (2002) – Women are at greater risk of violence from men in own family/close aquaintances than strangers – Two women each week are killed by their partners in the UK – Domestic violence affects between 1/3 and ¼ of all women • The Council of Europe (2006) – 1/5 to ¼ of all women have experienced physical violence at least once in their adult lives – 12% to 15% of all women have been in a relationship of domestic abuse after age 16 • Commonwealth Fund – 4 million women are physically abused per year in the USA – Beijing Marriage and Family Affairs Research Institute (1995): • 23% of husbands admit to beating their wives • Domestic Violence Research Group, Japan (1993): – 59% of 796 women questioned had been physically abused by their partner
    28. 28. Violence in the family • Feminism: – Privatization of violence and abuse work to uphold the dominance of men in patriachal societies – More husbands are violent against women than vice versa – Domestic violence is a major form of male control over women • Staus & Gelles (1986) men are less likely to report violence than women • Rawstone (2002) violence by women against men is often defensive rather than offensive, women resort to violence only after suffering repeated attacks time after time • Cherlin (1999) spousal abuse is more common in low-income couples • Goode (1971) Low income men may be more prone to violence as they have less means to control their wives (i.e. income or education level) • Gelles & Cornell (1990) unemployed men are 2x as likely as employed men to assault their wives
    29. 29. THE SEARCH FOR INTIMACY It’s not all bad news…
    30. 30. The Search for Intimacy Contemporary Western society is characterized by: • Rapid social change • Weakening of traditional identities and ties • Individualism • Reflexivity • Impersonal globalized risk Contemporary relationship ideals based on: • Equality • Negotiation • Self-fulfilment • The ‘haven in a heartless world’
    31. 31. Models of Love Giddens (1993) : The ‘pure relationship’, based on plastic sexuality (choice, untied from reproduction), social reflexivity, confluent love (active and contigent) Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995): The ‘normal chaos of love’, in the absence of old norms, love presents as ‘the answer’, a cycle of hoping, regretting and trying again Bauman(2003): ‘Liquid Love’, in a world of constant change, the ‘top pocket relationship’ is instantaneity and disposability incarnate. Networks and connections, not relationships, replace quality with quantity Smart (2007): these three are too pessimistic. People are still tied in to shared memories and meaning-constitutive traditions, i.e. they exhibit ‘connectedness’ which we can uncover if we focus on ‘personal life’ (rather than family or individual)
    32. 32. Diversity of family forms • Are all family forms equally socially acceptable in modern Britain? • What emotional, social and economic advantages could polygyny or polyandry offer women and men in a modern society? • How can growing divorce rates indicate that the marriage relationship has become more not less important? Violence and abuse in families • Why is family life not always happy and harmonious? • Is violent behaviour an individual personality problem or part of the structure of society? Can it be both? • What social measures could be taken to reduce levels of violence within families? • Which is more important: protecting privacy or protecting people from violence? The search for intimacy • When people talk about a ‘return to family values’, what do they actually mean? • Is romantic love a secure basis for a lasting relationship? • Do arranged marriages offer a basis for the formation of an emotionally intimate relationship? • Is it possible to do intimacy by text? • Will the future bring decay of marriage and partnerships? • Will emotional and sexual relationships become more bitter and violent?

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