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Sociology   >   Family Policy in Britain

The Family in Britain Before the 1960s

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Family Policy in Britain

In this course, Professor Pat Thane (Birkbeck, University of London) explores family policy in Britain since the 1960s. In the first lecture, we set the context by thinking about some key features of family life prior to the 1960s. In the second lecture, we consider policies introduced by the Labour government of 1964-70. In the third lecture, we look at the impacts of these reforms and further changes implemented Labour governments between 1974 and 1979. Next, we look at the policies of the Conservative governments of 1979-97. In the fifth lecture, we explore the New Labour years from 1997 to 2010. In the sixth and final lecture, we look at some important policy changes that have occurred since 2010.

The Family in Britain Before the 1960s

In this lecture, we think about families in Britain prior to the 1960s, in order to challenge perceptions that households in this period were based on stable, two-parent families, focusing in particular on: (i) key issues which impacted families, such as low male life expectancy, marriage breakdown, and domestic violence; (ii) women’s employment, often thought of as a relatively new phenomenon, as an important factor in family life in this period; (iii) the emergence of the welfare state and family policies of the Labour government of 1945-51; (iv) the postwar immigration boom and the changes it brought to family structures.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thane, P. (2021, August 24). Family Policy in Britain - The Family in Britain Before the 1960s [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thane, P. "Family Policy in Britain – The Family in Britain Before the 1960s." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021,

Image Credits


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Prof. Pat Thane

Birkbeck College, London