"Family Values" shows how the various contradictions at the heart of Western conceptions of maternity and paternity problematize our relationships with ourselves and with others. Using examples from philosophical texts, psychoanalytic theory, studies in biology and popular culture, Kelly Oliver challenges our traditional concepts of maternity which are associated with nature, and our conceptions of paternity which are embedded in culture.
Oliver's intervention calls into question the traditional image of the oppositional relationship between nature and culture, maternal and paternal. "Family Values" also undercuts recent returns to the rhetoric of a "battle between the sexes" by analyzing the conceptual basis of these descriptions in biological research and the presuppositions of such suggestions in philosophy and psychoanalysis. By developing a reconception of maternity and paternity, "Family Values" offers hope for peace in the battle of the sexes.
Articulating alternative ways to conceive of ourselves as subjects, and our conceptions of our relations to others, Oliver suggests an innovative approach to ethics or questions of values--family values. Engaging such thinkers as Locke, Rousseau. Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Levinas, Derrida, Kristeva, Koffman, Irigaray and others, Oliver examines an enormous range of both classic and contemporary texts.
"Family Values" offers a groundbreaking analysis of ages-old conceptions of woman and man, maternity and paternity, nature and culture, and subjectivity and ethics, thus composing an enormous contribution to feminist theory, literary criticism, and cultural studies.