Research Focus

Our work falls into 5 main research themes

CRFR has particular expertise in social scientific research, in cross-cultural work on families and relationships, and in the use of innovative approaches to researching personal relationships. It works collaboratively with research participants, service users, practitioners and policymakers, and is committed to challenging rather than reinforcing current hierarchies and exclusions, to inform policies and practices that shape lives of within societies. CRFR research is not limited to the Scottish/ UK context.

Our five themes are not intended to be rigid, nor to imply that other Families & Relationships research is excluded. We expect these themes to evolve over the next few years, as existing programmes of work are consolidated, and new collaborations and research activity emerge.

Intersecting with these 5 substantive research themes, are key cross-cutting themes, indicative of broader issues of particular research interest with Families & Relationships, and/or research approaches used:

Social Justice, Human Rights & Inequalities
Life-course and Transitions
Methodological innovation
Intervention development & evaluation
Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement

Childhood and Youth

CRFR is a leader in research on childhood and youth issues, including: children’s rights; child and youth participation; child protection; diversity; and cross-cultural work on childhoods. Through our large body of empirical research, the Centre has contributed to the new social studies of childhood and the view of children as competent social actors.

More recent work has focused on relational understandings of childhood, focusing on interdependencies and social networks; relationality in care practices; intergenerational relationships; and children and young people’s role on political processes and decision-making. Underpinning our approach to childhood and youth research is our commitment to innovative approaches and, in particular, participatory research.

We seek to work collaboratively with research participants, service users, practitioners and policymakers, and are committed to challenging rather than reinforcing current hierarchies and exclusions to inform policies and practices that shape the lives of children and families.

Contact Director: Emma Davidson and Associate Director: Samantha Punch

Institutions and Civic Society

While families and relationships are personal and subjective, these experiences are individually and collectively shaped by institutions of the state and of civil society. Institutions can serve to control and regulate our personal relationships. Yet they can also provide opportunities for interdependencies, social networks and social action.

Our research in this theme seeks to explore this complex dynamic in the context of social change. Areas of current and planned research include the changing nature of work and families’ experiences of change; the impact of organisational policies and practices on family practices; how new technologies are reshaping work and family lives; and the shifting role of civil society during austerity.

Of fundamental concern is the on-going impact of economic change, both globally and locally, and the resultant consequences on social institutions and those using them. Our research in this area is multidisciplinary, uses a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, and informs policy and practice across different domains.

Contact Associate Director: to follow. Associate Director: to follow

Environment and Sustainability

Families and personal relationships can effect or resist social change in response to global environmental challenges, including climate change, decline in animal, bird and plant populations and key resources such as water, food and fuel. Personal relationships also influence our willingness to take political action and the types of action we are comfortable with.

Our feelings about the natural world and animals are often shaped through childhood family experiences. Family practices can influence car use or walking and cycling and other practices of consuming, spending, wasting or saving, recycling and conserving.

CRFR is encouraging experts on families and relationships to be engaged with other academics studying climate change, sustainability and environment issues and with voluntary organisations, policy makers and practitioners seeking ways of promoting life-styles that do not harm the future sustainability of the planet.

Contact Director: Lynn Jamieson

Health Illness and Wellbeing

CRFR is a leader in research on childhood and youth issues, including: children’s rights; child and youth participation; child protection; diversity; and cross-cultural work on childhoods. Through our large body of empirical research, the Centre has contributed to the new social studies of childhood and the view of children as competent social actors.

More recent work has focused on relational understandings of childhood, focusing on interdependencies and social networks; relationality in care practices; intergenerational relationships; and children and young people’s role on political processes and decision-making. Underpinning our approach to childhood and youth research is our commitment to innovative approaches and, in particular, participatory research.

We seek to work collaboratively with research participants, service users, practitioners and policymakers, and are committed to challenging rather than reinforcing current hierarchies and exclusions to inform policies and practices that shape the lives of children and families.

Contact Director: Emma Davidson and Associate Director: Samantha Punch

Gender and Sexuality

While families and relationships are personal and subjective, these experiences are individually and collectively shaped by institutions of the state and of civil society. Institutions can serve to control and regulate our personal relationships. Yet they can also provide opportunities for interdependencies, social networks and social action.

Our research in this theme seeks to explore this complex dynamic in the context of social change. Areas of current and planned research include the changing nature of work and families’ experiences of change; the impact of organisational policies and practices on family practices; how new technologies are reshaping work and family lives; and the shifting role of civil society during austerity.

Of fundamental concern is the on-going impact of economic change, both globally and locally, and the resultant consequences on social institutions and those using them. Our research in this area is multidisciplinary, uses a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, and informs policy and practice across different domains.

Contact Associate Director: to follow. Associate Director: to follow

JOIN OUR RESEARCH NETWORK

We have a dynamic research network linking academics, researchers, students, practitioners and policy officers with an interest in families and relationships research. Join our research network to hear news, events, recent publications and networking opportunities from across the CRFR consortium.