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Michael Young and Peter Willmott
The 4 stages of family life
Young and Willmott conducted studies of family life in London in the 1950s to the 1970s. In theirbook “The symmetrical family 1973, they attempt to trace the development of the family from pre-industrial England to the 1970s” using a combination of methods such as historical research and socialsurveys, they suggest that the family has evolved through 4 main stages. Much emphasis is however concentrated on working class families.
Stage 1: The preindustrial family
In that stage, the family was a unit of production. The husband, the wife and unmarried children worked as a team typically in agriculture or textile. This type of family was graduallysupplanted by the industrial revolution. However, in the 19th century a small minority of families are still adopting the traditional way of life, such as families involve in farming.Stage 2: The early industrial family
Stage 2 family began with the industrial revolution developed throughout the 19th century and reached its peak in the 20th century. The familyseized to be a unit of production as family members became wage earners.
Throughout the 19th century, working class poverty was widespread, wages were low and unemployment high. Like Anderson, Young andWillmott argued that the family responded to this situation by extending its network to include relatives beyond the nuclear family.
This provided an insurance policy against the insecurity andhardship of poverty.
The extension of the nuclear family was largely conducted by women who eventually built up an organization in their own defense and in defense of their children. The basic tie wasbetween a mother and her married daughter, in contrast the conjugal bond was weak. Women created an informal trade union where men were squeezed out of the female circle and took the puts of their...
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