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 4: Dysfunctional Families
Since the golden era of the modern family of the 1950s, during which the nuclear version became an icon of morality, the family has been represented as both stable and deeply vulnerable. It continues to be conveyed as biologically and psychically natural and, at the same time, as crisis-ridden and under siege (Barrett and Macintosh, 1982; Gittins, 1993; Harwood, 1997). Ideas about the family being under threat of extinction allow it to be used as an ideological platform. The ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s was an important cultural watershed when the rigid bonds between love and marriage, sexual pleasure and procreation were seriously questioned and, to some extent, uncoupled from one another. Sexual choices and lifestyles were being made and celebrated by ...