The Post-Modern View of the Family



- Late modern and postmodern eras have seen dramatic changes in the organisation and structure of family life.

- Wider changes in society have brought about changes in the interactions between partners, gender roles and what we define as a family.

- Late modern ideas focus on the individualisation thesis, whilst postmodern families focus on greater diversity, choice and acceptance of lifestyles.

Late-Modern Views of Family

- Key theorists in late modern views of family life and personal relationships:

  • Giddens
  • Beck and Beck-Gernsheim
  • Bauman

Beck and Beck-Gernsheim

- Risk in society has translated into relationships, whereas, in the modern era, marriage was a life-long commitment, it has now been replaced with a range of alternatives.

- Increased insecurity in society has led to the definition of a relationship as being a form of emotional refuge.

- Satisfying these needs becomes a condition of relationships, what Beck refers to as a 'negotiated family'.

Bauman's Theory of Liquid Love

- Bauman suggested relationships in late modernity are fragile and based upon consumerist transactions, or liquid love.

- Greater focus on the self, which leads to connections with others rather than relationships, based on satisfying needs.

- Insecurity in maintaining relationships and preference for flexible relationships developing contrasting ideas of what a relationship is, this is freedom versus security.

Evaluation of Late Modern


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