Eric D. Widmer
Are present-day families still like those described by sociology in the middle of the 20th century or have they changed beyond resemblance? The media and much of the popular perceptions along with them have long ago opted for an « all-change » perspective on contemporary patterns of living together; the sociological literature is divided between diagnostics of change and diagnostics of resilience. A recent study of intra-couple dynamics in Switzerland shows the existence of a large array of couples’ internal structures of regulation, but with a persistent core of traditionalism. The concept of master status is used to interpret the fact that major changes point less towards clear-cut egalitarianism, which could be an alternative to traditional gender structures, than towards a traditionally biased « synthesis » that could be paradoxically called modernized family traditionalism.
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