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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The ‘perfect family’ has created an ethical and moral vacuum

By Zoe Krupka
The Conversation
Originally published September 11, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Arndt and Hymowitz, like many psychologists, opinionators and policy-makers, have distilled complex family studies research into a series of simplistic, unscientific and punitive ethical shortcuts to the question of how to live well in a family. It’s both a gross misuse of the evidence base and a stunted template for ethical decision-making. Squeezed into a tabloid headline, the message reads: Face Facts: If you’re a parent and you’re not married, your family is dysfunctional and your kids are suffering.

The ideal of the perfect family lurks not so quietly underneath these simple summaries of complex interpersonal and social life. It creates a kind of ethical vacuum where the question of competing factors and conflicting interests becomes invisible. In order to maintain an ideal of perfection, family studies research can be used as a kind of blunt instrument, forcing individuals to bear the brunt of more complex social forces alone.

The entire article is here.