Family Obligations and Social Change

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A discussion of the nature of family life, especially the concepts of duty, responsibility and obligation. The author looks at political and popular debates in this area bringing together material from many disciplines within the social sciences. She looks at the historical perspective, uses empirical evidence about contemporary families and highlights the gaps in research on these topics. The whole discussion is set in the context of current economic and social changes - including social policy and welfare provisions - which create external pressures upon family life. The author argues that these affect both the need for support and the capacity of family members to provide it.