My OpenLearn Profile
- Personalise your OpenLearn profile
- Save your favourite content
- Get recognition for your learning
What do we mean by 'family'?
The idea of 'family' is very powerful in contemporary UK culture and policy. Family lives have been the subject of many anxieties, at both the personal and policy levels. How do public debates relate to people's everyday experiences of families? In this free course, What do we mean by 'family'?, you can explore the many attempts at defining 'family' and why these complex and contradictory meanings are important to us. We begin to unpick questions of power and inequality, to test our everyday assumptions about families, and to reflect on the values underpinning them.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the concept of ’ (knowledge and understanding)
- engage with and review debates about selected key concepts relevant to the study of families and personal relationships
- identify connections between concepts and the themes they raise for research and for social policy
- understand some of the social processes underlying research around family issues, and the implications these have for our knowledge of families
- use your knowledge and understanding to interpret and compare different key terms and concepts in the field of family studies
You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Why ‘family meanings’?
- 2 Can we, and should we, define what we mean by ‘family’ ?
- 3 So what is ‘family’?
- 4 Do family meanings matter?
- Keep on learning
Create an account to get more
Track your progress
Review and track your learning through your OpenLearn Profile.
Statement of participation
On completetion of a course you will earn a Statement of participation.
Access all course activities
Take course quizzes and access all learning.
Review the course
When you have finished a course leave a review and tell others what you think.
Creative commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions and our FAQs.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.Have a question?
Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.
Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.
About this free course
4 hours study
Level 2: Intermediate
Download this course
Free statement of participation on completion of these courses.