Chapter

Peter Townsend, a man ahead of his time: re-reading <i>The family life of old people</i> and <i>The last refuge</i>

Hilary Land and Hilary Rose

in Fighting poverty, inequality and injustice

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427151
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302353 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847427151.003.0003
Peter Townsend, a man ahead of his time: re-reading The family life of old people and The last refuge

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This chapter demonstrates both the sociological and methodological significance of Peter's work. It notes that women respondents outnumbered men in both The family life of old people and The last refuge. It observes that in both studies, Peter illustrated everyday experiences but superimposes on his novelist's eye a passion for scientific analysis. It acknowledges that Peter was a pioneer ahead of his time while being at the same time a man of his time, by the recognition given on the importance of the role of women, and especially grandmothers, in these studies. It goes on to trace some of the key demographic, social and economic features of the period and how official statistics — another of Peter's battles — gave over-simplified pictures both of family and work life.

Keywords: scientific analysis; work; women respondents; family life; demographic features; role of women; grandmothers; official statistics; family and work life

Chapter.  7184 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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