Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Families, intimacy and social inequalities

David Morgan is an expert in the sociology of the family. He is Emeritus Professor at the Morgan Centre, University of Manchester. Here, Professor Morgan explains some of the issues he will address in his keynote presentation ‘Family and Intimate Practices and Social Inequalities’ at our 5th International Conference: Unequal Families and Relationships.

Many sociologists have examined the links between families and inequalities. For example John Goldthorpe describes the “the inherent ‘stickiness’ between the class positions of parents and their children”[i]. This can be seen as a call for the close examination of what happens within families when discussing the persistence of social inequalities. This should include examination of those at the higher levels of the class system, as Goldthorpe argues “more advantaged families now use their economic, cultural and social edge to ensure their children stay at the top of the social class ladder”[ii].

In my presentation at the CRFR international conference I will re-consider some aspects of families, including inheritance (especially of wealth), housing, how families accumulate and use their social capital (like networks, knowledge and other resources) and how these practices are seen to be normal and natural in society. While I focus on family practices this type of analysis can be extended to include personal communities and the wider networks of friends and acquaintances.

Much of this is not exactly new and much of the material is readily available. What is required is a recognition that everyday family practices can, using a different pair of spectacles, also be seen as class practices. 

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Professor Morgan is a keynote speaker at our 5th International Conference: Unequal Families & Relationships. You can read a brief introduction to his presentation 'Family and Intimate Practices and Social Inequalities' here.

You can follow live tweets from the conference using the hashtag #CRFR2016 on Twitter.

[i] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/13/decades-of-educational-reform-no-social-mobility
 [ii] http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-03-14-decades-educational-expansion-had-little-effect-social-mobility

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