4 Do family meanings matter?
4.1 Family and meanings?
We have considered the difficulties of pinning down family definitions and meanings. We now ask whether it is indeed important to explore and unravel these complexities. Do the varieties of family meanings – or the meaning of ‘family’ itself – matter, or do they just provide a minor intellectual diversion? You may like to pause here for a moment to consider how you would answer this question for yourself. Do you think they matter, and if so, in what ways?
We consider this question by reference to three main areas:
people in their individual lives and relationships;
social policies and professional practices;
family studies as an academic area.