There are aspects of society we are taught not to question: government, education, capitalism. These are portrayed as immutable truths that, if presented with a gap in their logical system, are dependent on sidestepping them, referring to the aforementioned immutability, and relying on the status quo to keep their position as societal structures. Sophie Lewis’s most recent case for phasing out the nuclear family structure, Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care, demonstrates how the family is another one of these seemingly universal concepts. The unacknowledged reality of the family is historically one a tool of control rather than freedom, and Lewis seeks to redefine love in the context of social care rather than nuclear dependence. She argues that the truest act of affection is to allow someone to step outside of the family structure if they need it, rather than trap them in a situation for the sake of blood relation. Some families may benefit from the traditional structure—those with the resources to provide all that they need within the house and get along well emotionally—but, like capitalism itself, only because there are others who are suffering within the system. While not a utopian exercise, family abolition is a form of compassion, based on de-engineering harmful state systems.
Barocas, Julian, "Unchallenged Myth: Abolish the Family and Structure" (2023). Richard T. Schellhase Essay Prize in Ethics. 24.
Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Other Economics Commons, Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies Commons
Second prize winner.