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Family Theory Versus the Theories Families Live By

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Abstract

I argue that there is significant disjunction between the way that families live their lives and the way that we theorize about families. Using the metaphor of positive and negative spaces from the art world, I argue that there are many negative spaces in our theorizing—everyday family activities that take up considerable time, energy, and attention but that are poorly represented in our theorizing about families. Specifically, there are three negative spaces that call out for more attention, including the realm of spirituality, emotions, and myths; activities related to consumption; and time and space.

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