UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families Working Paper No. 12 2002
Families exist as dynamic processes situated within both space and time. It is possible for an outside analyst to describe temporal and developmental cycles that extend across years and even generations. This is important. However it does not answer the question of how family members themselves build the events and structures that will later become visible as larger processes of change and development, and moreover do this in the midst of the mundane, daily interaction with each other that constitutes the life of the family. How do they themselves perceive the temporal and sequential frameworks that they are embedded within? How does such analysis figure into the organization of action? What consequences does this have for the positioning of the actors engaged in these processes? This paper will investigate how members of a family shape both each other as cognitive and moral agents, and the developmental course of the family as a dynamic process, through how they organize action within interaction.