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Willmott and Young (1957)

Studying family life in Bethnal Green (East London) in the 1950's, Wilmott and Young found there was a strong bond between married daughters and their mothers, who often lived close together, even if not under the same roof.  This family type demonstrated close-knit extended kinship networks.

In the 1970's they found that the nuclear family had become dominated. It was based on a strong conjual bond between husband and wife, and other relatives outside the nuclear family lost importance. Wilmott and Young described this as a symmetrical family. By this they meant that the husband and wife have similar roles; both do paid work and both do housework and childcare. It developed because:

- Rising wages and developing welfare state made nuclear families more self-reliant

- Increased geographical mobility affected kinship networks

- Entertainment and facilities in the home improved

- Families become smaller, with fewer children per couple


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