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Expecting the unexpected: Young people's expectations about marriage and family


Skrbis, Z and Western, M and Tranter, B and Hogan, D and Coates, R and Smith, J and Hewitt, B and Mayall, M, Expecting the unexpected: Young people's expectations about marriage and family, Journal of Sociology, 48, (1) pp. 63-83. ISSN 1440-7833 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 The Australian Sociological Association

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783311408968


Many social theorists argue that institutions such as organized religion, the nuclear family and social traditions more generally, are in a rapid and potentially terminal decline. At the same time, there has been a growing emphasis on the processes of individualization, the rise of the 'reflexive self', de-traditionalization and an emergent view of life as a 'planning project' where individuals determine their future pathways through autonomous decision-making. Some authors, such as Giddens and Beck and Beck-Gernsheim argue that personal life, families and relationships are particularly affected by these changes, while others, such as Gross and Simmons or Smart and Shipman, advise more caution. In this article we interrogate this tension by using first-wave data from a longitudinal study involving over 7000 12-13-year-old high-school students from government, independent and Catholic schools in Queensland, Australia. In this article we provide key baseline findings on students' expectations of marriage and family life to highlight several key issues that must be addressed by de-institutionalization and reflexivity theorists, and which illustrate the need for a more longitudinal evaluation of their claims.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:de-institutionalization, life course, longitudinal study, reflexivity, young people
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Tranter, B (Professor Bruce Tranter)
ID Code:71793
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2011-08-08
Last Modified:2017-11-29

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