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English Issue > 2006

An Annual English Selection - 2006 - 47 - Supplement

What Pluralization of Family Relations ? Conflicts, Conjugal Interaction. Styles, and Social Milieu

Éric WIDMER
Jean KELLERHALS
René LEVY

 

 

pp. 131-156

 

In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of studies brought to light a variety of family interaction styles characteristic of contemporary societies. Which of them have lasted ? How are they related to the social structure ? What problems and conflicts are they likely to bring about ? This article aims to answer those questions on the basis of a large representative sample indicating couples’ social and generational characteristics. Five styles were empirically identified, associated with sharply varied frequency levels for problems and open conflict. Prevalent conjugal conflict coincides with a strong tendency for spouse or partner autonomy, sex-differentiated roles, and couple self-enclosure. These results are largely due to the differential effect of the conflict-management modes inherent in the various interaction styles, these in turn influenced by couples’ social characteristics and position. No increasing standardization of conjugal interaction modes was observed ; indeed, advanced modernity seems characterized instead by several fairly distinct models highly dependent on position in the social structure.

 

 

 
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