This thesis positions itself within the variety of new approaches in kinship studies, and focuses specifically on how some people in Dublin use family and kin relations as resources in specific contexts. Six months of intensive fieldwork in a middle class area of suburban Dublin is the basis for this analysis of kinship practices in contemporary Ireland. The research explores the uses of social relatedness in an industrialised society by examining individuals in various life situations. In particular, this work highlights the fact that people use kinship relations in different ways at different times. It pays special attention to the fact that when people have children they tend to intensify and often reactivate kin relations both for social contact and for practical help in their everyday lives. The contact between close kin is investigated, and the tendency to ambilocality (living close to one's kin) among Dublin families is discussed with reference to its emotional, practical and economic significance. 1 discuss the relations between kinship and childcare, practical help and economic support, and examine how dependency becomes ambivalent within an ideology of independence. In these contexts, gender differences in kinship practices are mostly related to the different resources that men and women have, and their different roles in the household activities. There is a difference between kinship and friendship, but as the Dubliner's social contact with kin is often explained by reference to their appreciation of the relationship itself, it becomes similar to a friendship and the boundary between the two becomes blurred. Through an analysis of 'family' as a polythetic term, 1 show how the contextual use of family terms indicate the development of kinship in a western society from the closed nuclear family to the more open and flexible family situation in modem society. The ambivalent views that many Irish people hold on marital breakdown and divorce are contextualised within the characteristics of modernity and the influence of Catholicism in Ireland.