The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview


This chapter has discussed some of the main themes in research on the sociology of families and households in Australia. It has focused on four main areas – research on demographic trends in family formation and dissolution, research on the historical construction of the family, research on the gender division of labour in families and, finally, research on state regulation of family life. The account is undoubtedly sketchy and necessarily brief, but it does provide an outline of key themes and the contributions made by various scholars in each of these areas.

Australian research on families and households has been distinctive in its critical stance on issues to do with gender inequality.The feminist critique of gender roles has permeated all areas of the sociology of the family and has provided the underpinnings for all of the research discussed above. Feminism has not only promoted equality within families, but has also influenced the way we view families and, in part, the way the state has responded to family diversity and changes in family patterns. Some of the developments that have taken place in social policies around family life, including recent moves to introduce paid maternity leave, have stemmed from a long history of 'femocrat' agitation around issues of gender equality from within the bureaucracy

Undoubtedly there will be further debate over the future of family life. Nostalgia for the familial and cultural ideals that dominated in the 1950s and 1960s will probably continue for some time. But with each successive generation, new ideals and new benchmarks will be established.This global revolution in family life (Giddens 2000) is bound up with other changes that are taking place in postindustrial societies around the world. In response to those who argue that family life is in decline, we may well argue that families are more important than ever. The declining marriage rate, declining fertility level and rising divorce rate may all in fact indicate the increasing importance that individuals now place on personal relationships (Giddens 2001).The task of sociologists of families and households is to help unravel and explain these continuing changes and the diversity and uniformity of family life.


Alford, K. 1984. Production or Reproduction? An Economic History of Women in Australia, 1788–1850. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Arndt, B. 2002. A good role model. Australian 31 January.

ABS. 1979–2000. Labour Force Status and other Characteristics of Families. Cat. No. 6224.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS. 1995. Marriages and Divorces. Cat. No. 3310.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS. 1998. Australian Social Trends. Cat. No. 4102.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS. 1999. Australian Social Trends. Cat No. 4102.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS. 2000a. Australian Demographic Statistics. Cat. No. 3301.0. Canberra:Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS. 2000b. Births. Cat. No. 3301.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Baker M. 2000. New employment policies, poverty and mothering. Family Matters 55:46–51.

Baker M. 2001. Families, Labour and Love: Family Diversity in a Changing World. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Baldock, C., and B. Cass (eds). 1983. Women, Social Welfare and the State. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 705

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.