In the third millennium, family policies have become the most dynamic part of welfare state policies in developed countries and the forerunners of welfare state development in developing countries. They remain, however, an important dimension of social policy diversification, among both developed and developing countries. Degree and patterns of overall welfare state development, labour market conditions, demographic characteristics, family and gender cultures, political legacies and political cultures – all these factors contribute to shaping which and how family issues are framed as policy-relevant issues. The author addresses some of the research challenges that lie ahead in family policy research, namely: (1) the conceptual and methodological challenges deriving from the enlargement of research, both national and comparative, across an increasingly diversified spectrum of countries; (2) the dual challenge of the diversification of family forms and of international mobility; (3) the interaction between the labour market and family policies and their impact on social class differences; (4) the differential impact of social policies across the social spectrum and diversified family forms; and (5) the multilevel making and governance of family policies and the impact on intra-country differences. According to the author, these challenges are also the consequence of the intersectional character of family policies.
We live in a historic period of heightened and intersecting uncertainties. This article draws on Bauman’s () metaphor of ‘liquid modernity’ to discuss the precariousness of family lives and child and family welfare provision in the context of austerity politics in contemporary England, before going on to consider the implications for research and researchers. Contexts of constant uncertainty have ethical and methodological implications for family research, particularly for studies concerned with services for children and families. When precarisation is an instrument of government, we need approaches to understanding ‘what works’ that are fit for liquid modern times: engaging with the complex contingencies of child and family lives and of the systems and services that they encounter, and actively resisting individualising and deficit-focused narratives in the study of child and family welfare. I focus my reflections on England because it is where I live and work, but the considerations I discuss have relevance for any context where the erosion of welfare provision coincides with growing inequality for children and families.
This article contributes to a reconceptualisation of the boundaries of sociological attention regarding where family is enacted. Despite being aware of the cultural contingency of the distinction that is drawn between the public and private spheres, family scholars in the Global North tend to study families as bounded units with an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’, and as spatially centred in the home. I argue that there is a need to systematically explore how mundane interactions and activities in public settings are woven into family life. Furthermore, drawing from research into family life in cities, I make the case for conceptualising public spaces as aspects of and even as characters in family life, and ask how people realise their family capacities in these. I propose that keeping these different facets of family life in view both analytically and empirically could lead to a radical shake-up of sociological thinking about family.
This article makes a small contribution to Families, Relationships and Societies’ knowledge production. It addresses racialised and ethnicised inequalities experienced in the everyday lives of a family constituted through serial migration, where the adult interviewed (‘Lizzie’) reflected on her childhood experience of leaving the Caribbean to join parents she did not remember and siblings she had never met. It reuses material from a larger study of the retrospective narratives of adults who had been childhood serial migrants. A major finding is that Lizzie’s experience of serial migration was intersectional, linked to her social positioning and her experiences of racism at school and felt outsiderness at home in contrast to feelings of belonging and being valued at the Black-led church she attended. The article argues that, while such family experiences are frequently unrecognised, they pattern children’s experiences, their adult relationships and identities and contribute to, and arise from, historical and sociostructural constructions of society.
A three-level project has been carried out to fulfil the mission of creating common foundations for international research collaboration within and on Asia. The first level is the collection, translation and sharing of important research findings from Asian insider perspectives that had been published or presented in the various languages in Asia. The second is to create a common basis for empirical research by building a database for international comparison. On the third level, effective international collaborative research projects focusing on various topics are made possible. Diversity in Asia has usually been taken to mean diversity of civilisations, but, at a deeper level is found the diversity rooted in kinship structure. This layer plays particularly important roles in constructing local forms of family, gender and intimacy. On top of these, modernisation created another layer. These layers influence each other at various times and to various degrees, constructing a dynamic diversity.