As ministers prepare to decamp for their holidays, Professor Fiona Williams of the University of Leeds has just published the perfect summer reading. It’s only 96 pages long, it’s jargon-free, and it could change our lives – and theirs – immeasurably.
Rethinking Families is the crystallation of a £1.3 million research project by the ESRC-funded team on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare (CAVA). Over the course of five years, some 400 people gave 500 hours of interviews about their family lives, personal relationships and their work.
The results describe huge shifts in family life – how people live and love – and in work. A fantastic diversity of households was revealed – people cohabiting, marrying, separating, parenting singly – or doing all of these in the course of their lifetimes.
But the breakdown of traditional structures has done nothing to lessen family commitments. “Commitment has not faltered,” said CAVA director Professor Williams. “People take their morals less from the church and state and there is much talk of the decline of family values. But we found no loss of commitment.
Vanessa Bridge | alfa
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