First published in 1999, the primary focus of this book is what goes on inside the ‘black box’ of households, beginning with decision-making but branching out to develop a comprehensive view of the domestic domain. It brings together theoretical frameworks relevant to the study of family households from several root disciplines, each framework highlighting a different approach. Each approach is applied to important problems concerning the functioning of family households. The book focuses on households and their members as active agents who manage both material and immaterial resources. The private sector, to which family households belong, is not viewed as just responding to impulses from the formal economy and to public policies, but as a dynamic system in its own right. In the view of Paul Pennartz and Anke Niehof, households not only accommodate to social change but also mediate and generate social change. In the book key studies are presented which exemplify approaches and issues. The key studies cover a wide range of societies in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Africa, thus also exemplifying the comparative perspective, which is another important feature of the book. Pennartz and Niehof examine issues including the organisational approach and resource allocation, the power approach and the division of household production tasks and the opportunity structure approach and the housing market.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. The Rational Choice Approach and Households’ Sustainable Behaviour. 3. The Strategy Approach and Temporary Migration. 4. The Organisation Approach and Resource Allocation within Households. 5. The Power Approach and the Division of Household Production Tasks. 6. The Opportunity Structure Approach and the Housing Market. 7. The Longitudinal Approach. 8. The Morality Approach and the Issue of Care. 9. Synthesis and a View Ahead.
’Anyone interested in families and households will find here a stimulating synthesis of empirical and theoretical work from a variety of different intellectual perspectives. An original and wide ranging book...’ Jan Pahl, University of Kent, UK '...a very useful work, because the authors focus precisely on ways of explicating "what goes on inside the 'black box' of households"...it neatly summarizes the theoretical approaches to the family household in various contemporary family sciences, and effectively discusses the multiplicity of approaches useful for understanding what transpires (and, perhaps, transpired in the past) inside "the black box".' International Review of Social History