The meaning of the word “family” is queer to me.
Semiotically I know what the word is supposed to signify. Semantically I know what its heteronormative conventions denote. Its symbolism pervades popular representation.
The glamorised view paints the traditional family home as a stable and nurturing environment; a safe haven in which the close-knit kin share the interests and values of the family unit. And, for me, it is within these conventions that its slippages lie.
For others there can be as much meanness as meaning in the notion of family. Contemporary theorists, including Wilhelm Reich, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, have variously argued that the authoritarian patriarchal family is the locus of fascism.
Read it at the M&G.
Image – Robert Hamblin