Home and family

Clark, Alison and Kehily, Mary Jane (2013). Home and family. In: Clark, Alison ed. Childhoods in Context (2nd ed). Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 53–108.

URL: http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781447...


In this chapter, we consider childhood from the perspective of family and home. We will discuss what makes a family, the ways in which families differ and the place of children within families. Within the context of differing family forms, the chapter also explores the concept of home, what constitutes a home and the experiences of children within the home. Children's earliest memories are rooted in family and home. Sociologists locate the family as a primary site of socialisation for children - the place where children first learn the cultural norms, values and expectations of the society in which they live. In the chapter, we will look at the twin concepts of family and home as locations that give shape to children's experience; in doing so, we will generate meanings about childhood and parenting. Drawing on sociological, cultural studies and geographical ideas, the chapter examines family and home as spatially bound concepts that become sites for the enactment of relationships and practices that play a part in bringing the family into being. We will also consider the materiality of home as a site where relationships, everyday social practices and objects may be imbued with significance. In considering what a family is and how it works, we suggest that family and home can be seen as lived ideas that become meaningful through the shared practices of the people who inhabit them. Our main interest is in the relationship of family and home to childhood and its implications for children.

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