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The politics of concepts: family and its (putative) replacements

Edwards, Rosalind, Ribbens McCarthy, Jane and Gillies, Val (2012) The politics of concepts: family and its (putative) replacements British Journal of Sociology, 63, (4), pp. 730-746. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2012.01434.x).

Record type: Article


The central concern of this paper is that there has been a move within British sociology to subsume (or sometimes, even replace) the concept of ‘family’ within ideas about personal life, intimacy and kinship. It calls attention to what will be lost sight of by this conceptual move: an understanding of the collective whole beyond the aggregation of individuals; the creation of lacunae that will be (partially) filled by other disciplines; and engagement with policy developments and professional practices that focus on ‘family’ as a core, institutionalised, idea. While repudiating the necessity (and indeed, pointing out the dangers) of providing any definitive answer to definitions of ‘family’, the paper calls for critical reflection on the implications of these conceptual moves.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 14 December 2012
Published date: December 2012
Keywords: family, family policy, family sociology, intimacy, kinship, personal life
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology


Local EPrints ID: 336914
ISSN: 0007-1315
PURE UUID: c6559ee5-0d8e-4ac0-867e-1b3e52a0b1ae
ORCID for Rosalind Edwards: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 Apr 2012 13:10
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:06

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Author: Jane Ribbens McCarthy
Author: Val Gillies

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