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Experiences of family life can differ widely throughout society. So, can we still rely on one traditional definition of the family? And what can sociology teach us about the role and importance of the family in today's world? This new edition examines the core sociological concepts that help us to understand how and why families and households are changing. With thorough chapters that are organised around crucial topics and debates, this book: * Outlines and critiques traditional definitions of the family * Assesses shifting patterns of marriage, cohabitation and divorce * Highlights how gender roles and relationships are changing within the family * Explores what birth rates and family size can tell us about our society Part of the Skills-based Sociology series, this student-friendly text encourages readers to put their understanding into practice through a variety of useful tasks, activities and mock exam questions. It is an essential study and revision resource for all those new to family sociology.