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The family continues to be regarded as a private institution that should be immune to public scrutiny, despite the increasing intervention in the family by public institutions - notably, the law, education, medicine and social services. Towards the end of the 20th century, feminist thinkers challenged the view that the family is a private domain and there is now a growing tradition of using alternative perspectives, such as gender studies and childhood studies to examine the family as a site of contestation over members’ rights and responsibilities.
An indicative list of topics in this subject is as follows: the public/private divide; feminist perspectives on families; men’s contemporary roles and power in families in diverse cultural contexts; the roles and power in families of the ‘helping professions’; globalization, family diversity and the normalization of family life; the state regulation of families; the compatibility of parents’ and children’s rights.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Identify and understand different historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives on the study of family life;
- Analyse the role of specific public institutions in family life in 21st century;
- Explore and understand alternative perspectives on studying families in different cultural and political contexts;
- Present case studies of the changing roles and power of men in families in diverse cultural contexts;
- Develop awareness of the intersections and tensions between children’s rights and parents’ rights in current debates about the family.
On completing this subject, students should be able to:
- Sharpen their analytical skills by identifying and analysing diverse contemporary and historical theoretical perspectives in family studies;
- Enhance their skills of scholarly critique through reading widely in diverse journals and texts;
- Gain improved written and oral communication skills through developing and presenting case studies of changing role and power of men in families;
- Demonstrate skills in critical reflection on the role of public institutions in family life;
- Gain reflective knowledge and understanding of cross-cultural concepts in the study of family life.
Last updated: 15 May 2020