Scholars are often quick to label the affective family a relic. Indeed, the description of this panel invites us to "return to the conventional understanding of the family as a primarily affective, altruistic, and solidaristic social domain," and then asks "[w]hat is to be done with this archaic remnant of separate spheres ideology?"' As this description accurately expresses, the separate spheres ideology demands that we bifurcate emotion and rationality, directing the former into the family and the latter into the market.
Although I reject the separate spheres ideology, I am not ready to disown the affective family. The corrective to this descriptively inaccurate and normatively undesirable ideology is not to discard the family as a site of affective activity. I believe it is the rejection of the family as a site of affective ties that is archaic and is itself a remnant of defensiveness about the place of family law in the academy. I agree that families are not always solidaristic nor altruistic, but in challenging these notions we should not reject emotion itself. There is tremendous traction in exploring the affective lives of families and family members, as the readings for this panel so well demonstrate.
Family Law | Law
Embracing the Affective Family: Tribute to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,
Harv. J. L. & Gender
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/3981