The Place of Men
Changing Family Culture in Britain
by Geoff Dench
This brings up to date a research report ﬁrst published in the mid 1990s, which looked at some of the implications of changes in family life for men’s behaviour. In the current political climate follow up studies of this kind are more than ever needed and can contribute to the development of appropriate and successful policy responses.
The original study found two very different family cultures co-existing. On one hand, the majority of people still believed in conventional marriage, organised around some sexual division of labour and male family responsibilities, as the basis of interdependence of men and women. But a sizeable minority, mainly among younger people, and encouraged by state social policies, felt that all individuals should choose for themselves how they lived. This emphasis on personal choice ostensibly aimed to liberate women; but the study ﬁndings suggested that it was linked with a weakening of men’s commitment and contribution to family life.
Subsequent enquiries have indicated that women are now returning to more traditional family values, and ways of mobilising male support. But social policy is lagging behind them and ignoring the need to ﬁnd a place for men closer to the heart of the family once more.
Published by Hera Trust
Publication date January 1st 2011
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