Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation
Sociologists can often easily explain the problems some working-class families face as an outcome of social inequality and immediate and obvious disadvantages. In a minority of cases, however, family problems seem more lasting, deeply embedded, and recurrent down the generations. This is certainly how families in the UK government's 'Troubled Family Programme' are presented. Our argument is that problems apparently internal to 'troubled families' (and an outcome of intergenerational social learning) might, in fact, have their provenance in a semi-permanent constellation of external socio-economic pressures experienced by those families, in the places where they live, over generations and over decades. This is what was suggested by our research with young people and older family members in twenty families who lived in very deprived neighbourhoods of Glasgow and Middlesbrough. On the basis of this research, this shared constellation of forces would appear to be made up of many parts operating together. For instance, we could point to a shared and lasting social context of: restricted – and declining/ degrading – job opportunities; a contracting and increasingly punitive Welfare State; the destructive impact of the local criminaldrug economy; punitive criminal justice systems; the socio-spatial concentration of health inequalities; poor quality schooling and post-school institutions; persistent material poverty; poor quality housing and the decline of workingclass neighbourhoods. Drawing on qualitative case study material, we seek to elucidate some of these processes and to understand better how and why some families stay poor and troubled across generations.
6 Apr 2016
British Sociological Association Annual Conference: Global Societies: Fragmenting and Connecting