Case study in the development of the modern family : urban Scotland in the early twentieth century
This thesis is based upon interviews with 87 working-class and middle-class men and women born between 1896 and 1910 and brought up in urban Scotland. In these interviews I took respondents through their childhood and youth, and focused in particular on their relationship with their parents. These oral histories of growing up in early 20th century Scotland are used to evaluate accounts of the development of 'the modern family' in the work of Parsons, Goode, Zaretsky, Stone, Shorter, Aries, Lasch and Donzelot. It is argued that these authors agree on four distinctive features of 'the modern family' - 'child-centredness', ' separation-off', an emphasis on the individual and exaggerated sex-role segregation - and, in general, agree that these are to be found first of all in the middle class. Individual authors differ, however, on the particular sequences of the emergence of these features. In four successive chapters I examine the extent to which my respondents' families exhibited these features, and whether the families of working-class and middle-class respondents differed. The conclusions reached in these chapters are used to establish whether 'the modern family', as the above authors understand it, existed in early 20th century Scotland, and I conclude that it largely did not. The particular pattern of presence and absence of features I found was more damaging to some authors' accounts than others.