Acknowledging the increasing diversity and complexity of families, this innovative book proposes a new conceptual framework for understanding families and other relationships that both challenges and attempts to reconcile traditional and contemporary approaches.
Using the notion of 'boundaries', the book shifts thinking from 'families as entities' to 'families as relationship processes'. Emphasising the processes that underlie boundary construction and reconstruction suggests that the key to understanding family life is the process of relationship formation. The ideas of entity, boundary, margins and hybridity provide a framework for understanding the diverse, and often contradictory, ways in which families contribute to society.
Families in society makes a significant contribution to the academic literature on families and is essential reading for social science students, social researchers, policy makers and practitioners interested in families and relationships.
Sarah Cunningham-Burley is a co-director of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) and Reader in Public Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests span the sociology of the family, health and illness, and she has a particular interest in the use of qualitative research methods.
Linda McKie is an associate director of CRFR and Research Professor in Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her research interests include: gender, violence and social change; ethics of care; qualitative evaluation and power and participation in healthcare innovations.
Introduction: Families and relationships: boundaries and bridges ~ Linda McKie, Sarah Cunningham-Burley and John McKendrick;
Part 1: Families in society: Balancing work and family life: mothers' views ~ Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Kathryn Backett-Milburn and Debbie Kemmer; Gender, care, poverty and transitions ~ Gill Scott and Sue Innes; Families, education and the 'participatory imperative' ~ Janet Shucksmith, Lorna McKee and Helen Willmot;
Part 2: Children, families and relationships: Children's boundaries: within and beyond families ~ Malcolm Hill; Family within and beyond the household boundary: children's constructions of who they live with ~ Helen Sweeting and Peter Seaman; Children managing parental drug and alcohol misuse: challenging parent-child boundaries ~ Angus Bancroft, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Hugh Masters and Kathryn Backett-Milburn;
Part 3: Health, illness and well-being: Intersections of health and well-being in women's lives and relationships at mid-life ~ Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Laura Airey and Linda McKie; Families, relationships and the impact of dementia: insights into the 'ties that bind' ~ Dot Weaks, Heather Wilkinson and Shirley Davidson; Violence and families: boundaries, memories and identities ~ Linda McKie and Nancy Lombard;
Part 4: Relationships and friendships: Boundaries of intimacy ~ Lynn Jamieson; Solo living, individual and family boundaries ~ Fran Wasoff and Lynn Jamieson with Adam Smith; Boundaries of friendships ~ Graham Allen; Living and loving beyond the boundaries of the heteronorm: personal relationships in the 21st century ~ Sasha Roseneil;
Conclusion: Perspectives on social policies and families ~ Fran Wasoff and Sarah Cunningham-Burley.
"This book would make fascinating reading for all concerned with families, especially those working in the human services and social policy fields." Family Matters
" ... a light read on a range of topics and of interest to those considering contemporary relationships in general." SRA News
"Informed by a stimulating range of recent research on family relationships, this important book explores the value of boundary-based metaphors to reveal families as relationship processes rather than entities. It deserves to be widely read." John Rodger, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Paisley, UK