Families, Labour and Love

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We think of our family life as very personal, but in fact it is shaped by influences well beyond our control. Families, Labour and Love identifies the ways in which family and personal life in three 'settler' societies - Australia, New Zealand and Canada - has been shaped by colonisation, immigration, globalisation, demographic changes, law and policy.

Baker shows that these three countries, each a former colony, developed similar family trends and similar family policies. Strongly gendered patterns of paid and unpaid work played a major role in family life. The family practices of indigenous people were largely overlooked, as were those of recent immigrant groups. However local conditions also produced significant differences in family experiences among the three countries.

Richly illustrated with examples, comparative data and textual sources, Families, Labour and Love provides a broad-ranging analysis of the family which will appeal to students, researchers and policy-makers.

Maureen Baker outlines with great clarity the diversity of families and the way in which they are shaped by historical and cultural forces. The focus on Australia, New Zealand and Canada is not only refreshing but throws into sharp relief the impact on contemporary families of the colonial experience, industrialisation, large scale immigration and globalisation.

David de Vaus, La Trobe University

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