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New families? Tradition and change in partnering and relationships

By Simon Duncan and M. Phillips

Abstract

NoThe family as a social institution is often said to be undergoing rapid change or even crisis. Commentary in the media and by policy-makers sometimes claims a `breakdown¿ of the family, asserting that intimate ties of loving and caring are becoming more individualised and self-centred, even selfish. Some scholars see this as part of a broader process whereby traditional social ties such as class, religion and family are fading away. Instead, they argue, people are `compelled to choose their own biographies¿ and personal relationships are being individually and actively chosen from a diverse range of possibilities. Statistically speaking, marriage is decreasing in popularity, whilst living alone, cohabitation and births outside marriage are increasing. But what do trends like this mean? Does this mean `family breakdown¿ or, as much in-depth family research has argued, just that the outward form of families is changing but the inner core - the value people attach to their family relationships ¿ remains central? This project tried to answer this question by examining the British public¿s attitude to different family relationships and parenting arrangements. It looked particularly at cohabitation and marriage, partnering, divorce, solo living, living apart together, same sex relationships and friends

Topics: Families, United Kingdom, Britain, Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Partnering, Same sex relationships, Solo living, Living apart together, Friends
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/2239
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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