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Learning to love again: ‘broken families’, citizenship and the state promotion of coupledom

Learning to love again: ‘broken families’, citizenship and the state promotion of coupledom
Learning to love again: ‘broken families’, citizenship and the state promotion of coupledom
This article explores the ways in which coupledom is promoted through contemporary family policy in the UK. It does this in the context of dominant political discourses suggesting that broken relationships are a major political problem and the cause of almost all that is wrong with British society today. The paper performs an analysis of recent family policies, revealing narratives claiming that stable coupled relationships are the foundation of a strong nation. The reverse of this narrative, therefore, is that to not be in—or even worse, to not even aspire to be in—a coupled relationship is not just a personal failure, but a failure for the nation as a whole. The article therefore argues that the UK government encourages a particular type of intimate relationship, despite an increasing recognition of ’diverse’ family forms. Building upon Rich’s notion of compulsory heterosexuality, the article concludes that what we are witnessing in current British society is not compulsory heterosexuality, but compulsory coupledom
0016-7185
206-213
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a

Wilkinson, Eleanor (2013) Learning to love again: ‘broken families’, citizenship and the state promotion of coupledom. Geoforum, 49, 206-213. (doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.02.012).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article explores the ways in which coupledom is promoted through contemporary family policy in the UK. It does this in the context of dominant political discourses suggesting that broken relationships are a major political problem and the cause of almost all that is wrong with British society today. The paper performs an analysis of recent family policies, revealing narratives claiming that stable coupled relationships are the foundation of a strong nation. The reverse of this narrative, therefore, is that to not be in—or even worse, to not even aspire to be in—a coupled relationship is not just a personal failure, but a failure for the nation as a whole. The article therefore argues that the UK government encourages a particular type of intimate relationship, despite an increasing recognition of ’diverse’ family forms. Building upon Rich’s notion of compulsory heterosexuality, the article concludes that what we are witnessing in current British society is not compulsory heterosexuality, but compulsory coupledom

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Published date: October 2013
Organisations: Geography & Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 372500
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/372500
ISSN: 0016-7185
PURE UUID: 7168427e-39df-4c79-81b2-c52d68e290a2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Dec 2014 13:59
Last modified: 30 Jul 2019 18:42

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