The institution of the family changed hugely during the course of the twentieth century. In this major new work, Göran Therborn provides a global history and sociology of the family as an institution and of politics within the family, focusing on three dimensions of family relations: on the rights and powers of fathers and husbands; on marriage, cohabitation and extra-marital sexuality; and on population policy. Therborn's empirical analysis uses a multi-disciplinary approach to show how the major family systems of the world have been formed and developed. Therborn concludes by assessing what changes the family might see during the next century.

This book will be essential reading for anybody with an interest in either the sociology or the history of the family.

chapter |12 pages


Sex, power and families of the world

chapter |56 pages

Modernities and family systems

Patriarchy around 1900

chapter |25 pages

Sex and marriage in 1900

Fin-de-siècle scenes

chapter |30 pages

Marital trends of the twentieth century

The rise of the Western honeymoon

chapter |35 pages

The return of cohabitation and the sexual revolution

Boundaries blurred: marriage and non-marriage

part |2 pages

PART III Couples, babies and states

chapter |35 pages

The politics and sociology of birth control

Family systems and the second wave of fertility control

chapter |21 pages


The century gone, the century coming