chapter  10
Critical Feminist Family Communication Theory
Gender, Power, and Praxis
ByPatricia J. Sotirin, Laura L. Ellingson
Pages 12

This chapter considers the value of the complexities, vitality, and imagination of contemporary critical feminism for energizing and reshaping family communication scholarship. Critical perspectives engage the plethora of lived family forms and more explicitly contextualize the gendered micropolitics of family life within larger social, cultural, and historical relations. This chapter describes and illustrates the value of critical feminist communication perspectives for studies of family and kinship. Critical feminist theories include standpoint theories that hold that our knowledge of social life is always situated by our social locations, especially as gendered, classed, and raced individuals. Radical feminism advocates for women's difference as critical to gendered ways of enacting family life. Three hallmarks of feminist theorizing are integral to current directions in feminist family communication scholarship: the personal is political; the danger of essentialism; and the synergy of feminist anger, struggle, and passion for gender justice.