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Keywords:

  • authoritarianism;
  • citizenship;
  • family;
  • political science;
  • political theory

This article identifies the main threads that have dominated thinking about family and citizenship in political theory. I situate recent research in both political theory and political science within these approaches and identify a traditional hostility to family life among theorists of politics, one legacy of which is a continuing neglect of family life in the field of political science. At a moment when profound changes in family structure and family life are taking root, and when rhetoric about family has become central to American politics, the field of political science needs to do a better job at reckoning with family life and the way it affects our capacities as citizens. I also identify a countervailing trend in political theory that demands that family life be taken seriously, as well as recent research in political science that begins to do so. Finally, in this context I revisit the psychoanalytic approach to studying the relationship between family and politics, and I suggest that it is among the most promising directions that future research in political theory and political science might take in regard to the political significance of the family.