Relevant, focused and accessible this book will provide students with an indispensible guide to the central concepts of family studies.

Conflict Theories

Conflict theories


Conflict theories share a concern with power inequalities that occur within and between families. They tend to bring into view the family as an oppressive institution.


Conflict theories offer a range of accounts of how power constitutes a key feature of family lives, and underpins the emergence of family forms and inequalities. Such frameworks may be accompanied by a commitment to bring about change. Some conflict theories focus on interpersonal dynamics. These include the theories of psychiatrist R.D. Laing (1971), who particularly emphasized the potential for tensions within families, as well as for physical and psychic violence. Laing argued that some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, are rooted in family relationships and communication patterns. In Laing's view, the politics or power dynamics of ...

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