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Families, Intimacy and Social Capital

  • Janet Holland (a1), Jeffrey Weeks (a2) and Val Gillies (a2)

Abstract

Three major emphases in interpretations of the state of contemporary intimate relationships can be broadly characterised. These are (i) breakdown and demoralisation; (ii) individualisation and democratisation; and (iii) a recognition of elements of continuity, particularly around power relations. We consider these three positions, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive, relating them to key themes of identities and values, networks and trust and reciprocity, and major theorisations of the concept of social capital. We offer a critique of existing positions and suggestions for the future, cast in the light of potential policy relevance.

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