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).


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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.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2012.01434.x
ISSNs: 0007-1315 (print)
Keywords: family, family policy, family sociology, intimacy, kinship, personal life
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology
ePrint ID: 336914
Date :
Date Event
14 December 2012e-pub ahead of print
December 2012Published
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2012 13:10
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 17:20
Further Information:Google Scholar

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