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Family Fluidity - Philadelphia University

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Family Fluidity
Family ideology and legislation
Based on the work of Bren Neale, Leeds University
Sociology at NSG
The Indissoluble family
Early C20th
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Patriarchal
Life-long monogamy
Sex role segregation
Father-right (if mothers left husbands, they
lost their children)
The Companionate Family
1950s
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Wives companions (not slaves) to husband
and children
Greater emphasis on personal fulfilment
Women work for �pin’ money
Birth control for planning children within
marriage
Higher expectations of marriage
Divorce rare and stigmatised
The Reconstituted Family
1970s
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’69 Divorce Reform Act allowed for a �clean break’
for re-marriage
Those �living in sin’ could now more easily divorce
and �re-tie the knot’
Stepfather’s position overrode that of the biological
father
Biological father’s financial responsibilities to first
family not legally enforced
Unsuccessful marriages could be replaced by
successful ones
The Biological Family
Late C20th
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Biological ties rather than marital ties
Shared responsibility for childcare and
economic support
Based on �two earner model’ instead of
�marital support’ model
Encourages active fathering by biological
parent
Parenthood supersedes marriage as bedrock
of the family
Family Practices
DHJ Morgan (1996)
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�Families are what families do’
How people �do’ marriage, cohabitation,
parenting, kinship
Heterosexual or same sex
May or may not involve co-residence
Focus on practices rather than structures
Family Fluidity Today
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Traditional nuclear families are a minority
lifestyle choice
Change, fluidity and transformation
characterise contemporary families
We need to reconsider what we mean by
�normal’ family life
Should we celebrate change or see it as a
cause for concern?
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