Looking at how the family is represented by the media, and by scrutinizing the manner in which it is regulated, this book uncovers the ways in which academic research and welfare policy have colluded with political rhetoric and the popular media to re-invent a mythical ideal family. Representing the Family: combines perspectives from a range of theories including media and cultural studies, sociology, and social history to show how certain types of family life are pathologised; highlights the discrepancies between contemporary representations of the "ideal" family and lived experience; and compares the British experience with that of the United States and Australia.
Chapter 1: Representing ‘the Family’
Representing ‘the Family’
Deep anxieties about the family as a moral domain continue to be played out within the western anglophone media through the interconnection of official discourses and popular media representations of family values and public morality. During a time when these nations are engaged in struggles over local, national and international identities, the family continues to be fixed as a primary symbol of absolute values in some key contexts. Yet in other important contexts that fixity is being questioned and, seemingly, subverted and transcended. Increases in divorce, remarriage, post-divorce families, blended families, single parenthood, joint custody, abortion, cohabitation, two-career families, gay and lesbian partnerships and parenthood all contribute to a rising ‘postmodern family’ diversity that is undermining the orthodoxy of traditional ...