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

Edwards, Rosalind; Gillies, Val and Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2012). The politics of concepts: family and its (putative) replacements. British Journal of Sociology, 63(4) pp. 730–746.

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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: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 London School of Economics and Political Science
ISSN: 1468-4446
Keywords: family; family policy; family sociology; intimacy; kinship; personal life
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
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Item ID: 34557
Depositing User: Jane Ribbens McCarthy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2012 14:59
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 14:24
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