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This new reader contains a broad range of authoritative articles, including some newly commissioned pieces, and covers several key facets of family and community history. The book revolves around three central concerns: first, the need to show the historical context of various current preoccupations (for example, do families support each other more or less than in the past?); second, the need to cover the range of research already carried out (through reviews of the literature), and third, the desire to guide and help those who wish to undertake their own research. The book sets family and community history in a broad context, beyond the personal and parochial, and will develop an understanding of social and historical patterns and interactions. It includes writing t only from historians, but also from anthropologists, sociologists and geographers. It encompasses a broad range of issues, including urban and rural experiences, qualitative and quantitative techniques, nineteenth- and twentieth-century experiences, case studies and up-to-date reviews of research. As such, it will be of interest t only to a broad range of students in social history, social anthropology and sociology, but also to those wishing to undertake their own research.
Michael Drake is Emeritus Professor in the Social Sciences at The Open University, and Visiting Professor of History at the University of Tromso, Norway.