The ever-changing idea of family has been, in 20th century propaganda, often stated as an ideal or the source of moral values. The term is often used in the names of pressure groups, e.g. Focus on the Family.

In The History of the Family, Meg Fox argues however that the concept and definition of family and associated relationships, especially monogamy and father-child relationships, have been subject to significant change over time.

In Moral Politics, George Lakoff argues that the two most basic, gendered, perspectives in democracy, arise from family metaphors. Specifically that left-wing politics arise from maternal metaphor and right-wing politics from paternal metaphor.