This review inverts the idiom “family values” to show the value of the family. It grounds this value in family economic activity but advocates an interactive approach in which cultural commitments to the family influence economic and political outcomes. Historical and ethnographic research on the family is mustered to illustrate the interaction and then combined with theories of capitalism and nationalism to account for the resonance of the family values discourse. A final section reviews the potential dangers of family-focused research.

That tradesman who does not delight in his family will never long delight in his business.

D. Defoe

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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