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Family troubles?Exploring changes and challenges in the family lives of children and young people$
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Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Carol-Ann Hooper, and Val Gillies

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447304432

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.001.0001

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Family troubles, methods trouble: qualitative research and the methodological divide

Family troubles, methods trouble: qualitative research and the methodological divide

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter Five Family troubles, methods trouble: qualitative research and the methodological divide
Source:
Family troubles?
Author(s):

Ara Francis

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447304432.003.0005

This chapter draws attention to the tensions and ‘divides’ concerning methodological approaches to researching family troubles, focusing on qualitative methodologies and arguing that they share a concern with meanings and staying close to everyday contexts, underpinned by a primarily inductive epistemology. In relation to family troubles, the author suggests that qualitative methodologies are particularly well-suited to ask two core questions: how people construct ‘family troubles’ and how these constructions are related to social systems of power and inequalities. Using the example of the emergence of child abuse as a significant publicly-defined family trouble in 20th century Western societies, the author argues that qualitative methodologies can consider the processes through which such troubles are recognized and constructed, including historical considerations of the parts played by particular professional interests and the (classed) resistance to and support for the definitions of child abuse that emerged. Close examination of the social constructions of particular family troubles can be important in helping to frame appropriate interventions.

Keywords:   Methodology, Family troubles, Qualitative methods, Social construction, Child abuse

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