Families, Relationships and Home Life

Part of the Social History in Perspective book series (SHP)


The years 1860–1900 witnesseda remarkable number of changes in the premises and discourses of family life. Women’s growing access to employment opportunities and increased involvement in philanthropic and political life meant that traditional understandings of gendered roles within marriage were potentially threatened. In this light, the continuing acceptance of traditional structures of family life in most sectors is striking. Nevertheless, women do not appear to have simply acquiescedin patriarchal modes of family life. Middle-class and elite women demonstrated an ability to accommodate their own needs, as well as new ideas concerning relationships, mothering and consumer needs, within conventional formulations of married life and family responsibilities.


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© Kathryn Gleadle 2001

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