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Family rhythmsThe changing textures of family life in Ireland$
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Jane Gray, Ruth Geraghty, and David Ralph

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719091513

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719091513.001.0001

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The idea of the modern family

The idea of the modern family

(p.15) 1 The idea of the modern family
Family rhythms

Jane Gray

Ruth Geraghty

David Ralph

Manchester University Press

This chapter describes how both sociological and lay understandings of family change have been informed by the belief that modern families are fundamentally different from traditional families. It reveals the origins of this idea in nineteenth century evolutionary thinking and shows how it was developed by twentieth century sociologists. The chapter introduces some of the iconic studies on Irish families from this period and evaluates them in light of recent scholarship. It describes how qualitative research on contemporary families and new findings on historical households, together with the growing influence of feminism, prompted the development of more critical perspectives in the second half of the twentieth century. The chapter introduces some of the concepts and theories that are essential for understanding family change, including kinship and family systems and the demographic transition.

Keywords:   Family systems, Kinship, Evolutionary theories, Demographic transition, Stem-family household, Structural-functionalism, Marxist-feminism, Extended families

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