Family sociology in from the fringe: the three ‘economies’ of family life
This chapter shows how family studies have moved more centre-stage over the last two or three decades. Increasing governmental and political interest in family life has been one, but not the sole or even the most important, influence. The chapter looks at a set of related issues to do with employment, the household, class and gender described generally as 'the political economy of family life'. It also considers two other 'economies' which overlap with the political economy of family life. In the first place 'moral economy' of 'the' family, that is the ways in which family members reflect upon and account for the decisions that they have made in the course of day-to-day family living. Second, 'emotional economy' to do with the part played by feelings and emotions within family living. Emotions seem to be on the fringe of many theories of social behaviour. An abiding concern within family studies in recent years has been the very term 'family' itself.