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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. Patriarchal Life-long monogamy Sex role segregation Father-right (if mothers left husbands, they lost their children).

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Family fluidity

Family Fluidity

Family ideology and legislation

Based on the work of Bren Neale, Leeds University

Sociology at NSG


The indissoluble family early c20th
The Indissoluble family Early C20th

  • Patriarchal

  • Life-long monogamy

  • Sex role segregation

  • Father-right (if mothers left husbands, they lost their children)


The companionate family 1950s
The Companionate Family 1950s

  • 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
The Reconstituted Family 1970s

  • ’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
The Biological FamilyLate C20th

  • 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
Family Practices DHJ Morgan (1996)

  • ‘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
Family Fluidity Today

  • 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?


Family fluidity

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