New social orders

reconceptualising family and community in utopian fiction

Kerry Mallan, Clare Bradford, John Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


When Goldstein conceived the metaphor of the American family as the cradle of the future he was writing at a specific historical moment, 'one to which the stresses of war, the uncertainties of the ensuing peace, and the emerging relationship between ideologies of the family and American national identity together lent an unparalleled ambiguity and anxiety about family life' (Levey 2001, p. 125). Nearly 60 years on, the same conditions seem still to apply not only to the United States, but also to many other countries across the globe. The linking of family to the social well-being of a nation and its individual citizens is a familiar rhetoric employed by politicians, religious leaders, social commentators, and scholars, who rely on the interplay between an actual social unit and its metaphorical extensions to produce an illusion of 'the truth'. In a similar way, the notion of a 'new social order' offers the utopian promise of a better life than that which current or past social orders have provided. Again the force of the metaphor resides in its capacity to appeal to both the intellect and the emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-21
Number of pages16
JournalPapers: Explorations into Children's Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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