• Motherhood, paid work and partnering: Values and theories.

      Duncan, Simon; Edwards, R.; Reynolds, T.; Alldred, P. (2003)
      The male breadwinner model, which dominated both policy assumptions and social ideals in the post-war welfare state, is increasingly being supplanted by an adult worker family model. In this new model, both men and women are assumed to be primarily workers in the labour market, who as fathers and mothers pool their earned income in supporting children. In this article we assess this assumption. First, we examine the gendered moral rationalities of particular social groups of partnered mothers, defined in terms of class, conventionality, ethnicity and sexuality, about how mothering is combined with paid work, and how time and labour is allocated with their partners. Second, in the light of this empirical research, we examine three leading approaches to understanding change and decision making in families - new household economics, individualization in late modernity, and `post-modern moral negotiation'. We conclude that both the empirical and theoretical assumptions of the adult worker model are severely limited.
    • New families? Tradition and change in partnering and relationships

      Duncan, Simon; Phillips, M. (2008)
      The family as a social institution is often said to be undergoing rapid change or even crisis. Commentary in the media and by policy-makers sometimes claims a `breakdown¿ of the family, asserting that intimate ties of loving and caring are becoming more individualised and self-centred, even selfish. Some scholars see this as part of a broader process whereby traditional social ties such as class, religion and family are fading away. Instead, they argue, people are `compelled to choose their own biographies¿ and personal relationships are being individually and actively chosen from a diverse range of possibilities. Statistically speaking, marriage is decreasing in popularity, whilst living alone, cohabitation and births outside marriage are increasing. But what do trends like this mean? Does this mean `family breakdown¿ or, as much in-depth family research has argued, just that the outward form of families is changing but the inner core - the value people attach to their family relationships ¿ remains central? This project tried to answer this question by examining the British public¿s attitude to different family relationships and parenting arrangements. It looked particularly at cohabitation and marriage, partnering, divorce, solo living, living apart together, same sex relationships and friends.
    • People who live apart together (LATs) - how different are they?

      Duncan, Simon; Phillips, M. (Wiley Blackwell, 2010)
      ‘Living apart together’ – that is being in an intimate relationship with a partner who lives somewhere else – is increasingly recognised and accepted as a specific way of being in a couple. On the face of it, this is a far cry from the ‘traditional’ version of couple relationships, where co-residence in marriage was placed at the centre and where living apart from one's partner would be regarded as abnormal, and understandable only as a reaction to severe external constraints. Some commentators regard living apart together as a historically new family form where LATs can pursue a ‘both/and’ solution to partnership – they can experience both the intimacy of being in a couple, and at the same time continue with pre-existing commitments. LATs may even de-prioritize couple relationships and place more importance on friendship. Alternatively, others see LAT as just a ‘stage’ on the way to cohabitation and marriage, where LATs are not radical pioneers moving beyond the family, but are cautious and conservative, and simply show a lack of commitment. Behind these rival interpretations lies the increasingly tarnished spectre of individualisation theory. Is LAT some sort of index for a developing individualisation in practice? In this paper we take this debate further by using information from the 2006 British Social Attitudes Survey. We find that LATs have quite diverse origins and motivations, and while as a category LATs are often among the more liberal in family matters, as a whole they do not show any marked ‘pioneer’ attitudinal position in the sense of leading a radical new way, especially if age is taken into account.