Relevant, focused and accessible this book will provide students with an indispensible guide to the central concepts of family studies.




In contemporary English-speaking cultures, ‘the personal’ is used to refer to matters centred on individual experience, and sometimes intimate issues. As such it presupposes the concept of ‘the person’.


The term ‘personal’ brings a variety of debates and topics into focus in the context of studying families. It draws attention to individual rather than collective experience.

Theories of ‘the person’ vary between disciplines. Anthropologists explore how the meaning of ‘the person’ varies across cultures; psychologists derive concepts on the basis of ‘the person’, such as ‘personality’ and ‘(interior) personal experience’; while sociologists use it to consider how individual experiences occur in social, cultural and historical contexts. Other disciplines, such as economics or politics, theorize the person as a rational economic actor or as a citizen, drawn ...

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