Research on Families and Households in Modern Britain: An Introductory Essay

  • Catherine Marsh
  • Sara Arber

Abstract

Each generation imbues family life with myths about the golden era of the past and the breakdown of norms in the present. The explanation for this continued sense of social decay is probably a very basic confusion between processes of history and those of personal biography. But whatever the cause, this strong sense that people have of the changes that are taking place to the family, irrespective of any social reality, makes it especially hard for researchers to assemble and interpret the facts about social change in family composition and structure, and in values and attitudes towards the family. The ease with which explanations can slip into ‘common sense knowledge’ makes it particularly important to support statements about change with empirical evidence collected across time rather than with data collected in the present and contrasted with an assumption about the past.

Keywords

Depression Europe Income Stratification Sonal 

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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Marsh
  • Sara Arber

There are no affiliations available

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