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 7: Conclusions
One of the main themes in this book is a recognition that meanings and values of family are formed and contested through a multiplicity of discursive sites. Official, formal and popular discourses are systems of representation that produce regulatory ideals and control and survey meanings and practices of family. Political rhetoric, academic discourses, family policy, popular media discourses and private representations of the family, such as the family photograph album, are all vital interlocking cultural sites across which distinctive versions of family are articulated and framed. But they are not the only sites, and although the messages emitting from them come together to constitute a discursive field as a system of representation, they do not necessarily operate as a seamless united voice. What these ...