Defending the nuclear family and extolling ’family values’ have long been central features of politics in capitalist societies, in spite of radical left challenges from social, counter-cultural and gay rights movements. This book examines these challenges as they emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, re-appraising their relevance in the light of recent developments, including the spread of more diverse family forms and the rise of the same-sex marriage movement. Drawing on archival research in the US, UK and Australia, the author asks what the emergence of same-sex marriage movements and legislation mean for challenges to the nuclear family in the light of an original general hostility to marriage and family structures in the gay liberation movement, whilst considering the extent to which the nuclear family might be included in the list of social and economic institutions subject to criticism on the part of more recent anti-capitalist movements, such as Occupy. A detailed study of the extent to which the nuclear family remains susceptible to the radical critiques of the last century, Radical Challenges to the Family examines whether the original challenges shed light on ensuring social problems, including domestic violence, child abuse, homophobia, and growing marital dissatisfaction. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology and politics with interests in gender and sexuality, the sociology of the family and feminist thought.
’Ashley Lavelle places the nuclear family on its knees�, to use his words - demonstrating how the women's movement and gay rights movement have radically re-designed the family. In this lively account, the book examines the ways in which attitudes towards the family have shifted since the 1960s, affecting gender roles, children, relationships, monogamy, and same-sex marriage.’ Esther Rothblum, San Diego State University, USA and editor of Journal of Lesbian Studies
Preface; Introduction: radical challenges to the family in a contemporary context; In the blink of an eye: the transitory modern family; Here comes the bride: marriage as a historical institution; In a world of its own: the strange modern family; The family: still a historic defeat for women?; A room with no view: the family and housewifery; ‘Little children are sacred’: the family’s raison d’être?; A tale of two halves? The family, monogamy, and relationships under capitalism; Subversion or sleaze? Pornography, the family, monogamy, and relationships; ‘Blood is stronger than bigotry’? The family and homosexual oppression; Love and other disasters: the family, monogamy, and relationships in the eyes of LGBT people; Rainbow wedding: the politics of same-sex marriage; The great indoors: haven in a heartless world, or, enemy of community?; Conclusion: beyond the family