Dual-Career Families Re-Examined

Dual-Career Families Re-Examined

Dual-Career Families Re-Examined

Dual-Career Families Re-Examined

Excerpt

This is a book of case studies of five families in which both the husband and the wife pursue active careers and family lives. We call this type of family, in which both heads pursue careers, the dual-career family. It is one of many types of family structure present in today's complex society. Families are in general much more complicated and variegated than may be realized. Current thinking on the family, both in popular and in professional circles, proceeds as though it were a unitary phenomenon. Modal patterns are taken to be natural; variations are frequently seen either as indications of a change process or as some kind of deviation based on abnormalities or radical tendencies. Variations arouse discomfort, even in a world that values permissiveness in other areas of life such as food, clothing, art and architecture.

In fact, beneath the façade of uniformity, even the modal conventional family of working father, housewife mum, elder son and younger daughter may be more complex than meets the eye. Their patterns of decision-making, authority and discipline, division of labour, communication and evaluation of experiences vary enormously. Dual-career families, which are not conventional, present additional aspects of variation. Little is known about this type of family structure and the present book aims to contribute to understanding how this type of family is evolving and what are its characteristics.

The fact that both heads of the household pursue full and active careers gives rise to a number of specific problems and yields a number of specific benefits. Furthermore the fact that such an arrangement is still highly unusual provides additional elements of both strain and satisfaction. Though many married women work, and their numbers are increasing, the tendency is still for women to subordinate their own career aspirations to those of their husbands and defer their own involvements in the . . .

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