Family Values shows how the various contradictions at the heart of Western conceptions of maternity and paternity problematize our relationships with ourselves and with others. Using philosophical texts, psychoanalytic theory, studies in biology and popular culture, Kelly Oliver challenges our traditional concepts of maternity which are associated with nature, and our conceptions of paternity which are embedded in culture.
Oliver's intervention calls into question the traditional image of the oppositional relationship between nature and culture, maternal and paternal. Family Values also undercuts recent returns to the rhetoric of a "battle between the sexes" by analyzing the conceptual basis of these descriptions in biological research and the presuppositions of such suggestions in philosophy and psychoanalysis. By developing a reconception of maternity and paternity, Family Values offers hope for peace in the battle of the sexes.