Students Staff

17 December 2008

Family not what it used to be

Colchester Campus

The changing face of the family is the focus of a new book produced by researchers at ISER.

Changing Relationships, edited by Malcolm Brynin and John Ermisch, investigates a wide range of family issues and argues that the traditional concept of the family should be replaced with an emphasis on individual relationships.

The book, one of few collaborations between sociologists and economists, examines a wide range of issues from how people pick their partners, when and why young people leave home, to the impact of unemployment on marital breakdowns and the relationships between children and their parents.

Using cutting-edge statistical analysis, in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary approach, the contributors, all associated with ISER, address the contemporary state and changing nature of these various types of relationships, linking them to key rites of passage to see how these stand after a period of rapid social change.

Malcolm Brynin said: “At the heart of the book is the idea that nowadays there is doubt as to what counts as family, so that the boundaries of the network of relationships we call the ‘family’ are fuzzy. Changing Relationships offers a fascinating insight into this idea and its strength lies in this collaborative approach where the social and economic factors that impact so heavily on all our lives are examined side by side.”

Changing Relationships is published by Routledge


For further information please contact the University of Essex communications office on 01206 874377 or e-mail

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