This chapter shows how an account of family as a field of study was tenable. It explores the tensions within the family form, identified by the literature almost in spite of itself. From the late 1960s massive changes occurred in popular behaviour, rendering marriage and having children increasingly problematic. Allied with this was an explosion of discourse on the family. The sexual liberation movements launched a stinging critique of the ‘dark side’ of family life, in particular spouse assault and child abuse. The chapter addresses the changes since the late 1960s and considers their significance. Whilst moral conservatives railed against the breakdown of the family, academic sociologists and government policy advisers followed a different tack. The Australian Institute of Family Studies—established in 1973 to appease opposition to divorce law reform—played a key role. Its purpose was ‘to promote the identification and understanding of factors affecting marital and family stability in Australia'.