By Sophie Lewis
What if we could do better than the family?
We need to talk about the family. For those who are lucky, families can be filled with love and care, but for many they are sites of pain: from abandonment and neglect, to abuse and violence. Nobody is more likely to harm you than your family.
Even in so-called happy families, the unpaid, unacknowledged work that it takes to raise children and care for each other is endless and exhausting. It could be otherwise: in this urgent, incisive polemic, leading feminist critic Sophie Lewis makes the case for family abolition.
Abolish the Family traces the history of family abolitionist demands, beginning with nineteenth century utopian socialist and sex radical Charles Fourier, the Communist Manifesto and early-twentieth century Russian family abolitionist Alexandra Kollontai. Turning her attention to the 1960s, Lewis reminds us of the anti-family politics of radical feminists like Shulamith Firestone and the gay liberationists, a tradition she traces to the queer marxists bringing family abolition to the twenty-first century. This exhilarating essay looks at historic rightwing panic about Black families and the violent imposition of the family on indigenous communities, and insists: only by thinking beyond the family can we begin to imagine what might come after.
Loved by our collective!
This little book punches way above its weight: introducing the promise of family abolition, grappling with the polarizing emotions such a proposition elicits, arguing against the tendency to exempt certain kinds of families, and surveying the history of family abolitionism in the English-speaking world. A delightfully readable text, Lewis explores ideas with the benefit of someone who has considered and argued over them for years, pulling from a vast constellation of radical thought including French utopians, Bolshevik commissars, second wave feminists, Black scholars, and transgender Marxists.
- 128 pages
- Verso (10/4/22)
- 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches