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 6: Discourses of Family Crisis
Discourses of Family Crisis
Debates about family values in the news media have been characterised by swings between left-wing celebration or tolerance of ‘family diversity’ and right-wing moral panics about ‘family decline’ and the disintegration of traditional family values. A gradual acceptance of the idea of the family ‘adapting’ to changing circumstances was detectable during the 1970s. But a decade later, during the Reagan/Thatcher era, there was a shift again back to the right of the political spectrum when the term ‘family decline’ was repeatedly used by politicians and echoed by social scientists in their interpretations of changes in family relations. ‘The family’ was launched as a powerful ideological weapon in a counter-attack on liberationist sexual politics within this post-liberation landscape. ‘The ...