families, ireland, social change, qualitative, life course, textbook
Family rhythms is the first textbook of its kind to offer a comprehensive introduction to family studies through an explicit focus on the Irish experience. Uniquely, it draws on original in-depth interviews with more than two hundred Irish people of different ages to illustrate contemporary theoretical ideas and empirical scholarship on family life. Ireland provides an interesting case study given the speed at which Irish family patterns have converged with those of other European and North American countries while maintaining many distinctive characteristics. The book situates Irish families in comparative perspective, showing how the Irish experience sheds light on continuities and changes in family forms and practices more generally. It does this with chapters on childhood, adolescence, parenting, and grandparenthood that reveal the resilience of families at different life course stages. Each chapter also includes a discussion of the challenges that face families and how social research can inform policy makers’ responses. Family rhythms is a comprehensive, user-friendly text book that offers a variety of strategies for engaging its readers, including direct encounters with qualitative data through the use of discussion panels, where longer quotations are presented in a classroom oriented format. Synopses of landmark Irish studies are included and referenced throughout, bringing these key studies together in a single textbook for the first time. Key concepts and terms in family sociology are defined and easily referenced. Family rhythms will be of interest to undergraduate students of sociology, social care, and social policy.