Free course

What do we mean by 'family'?

Free statement of participation on completion
What do we mean by 'family'?

Please note: As part of a review of content, this course will be deleted from OpenLearn on 26th May 2021.

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

First Published: 10/08/2012

Updated: 11/06/2019