chapter  1
25 Pages

Welfare, rights, care and gender in family law


This book is concerned with critically examining the various approaches which have been adopted in family law, understood herein as an institution, a set of practices but also as an academic and theoretical endeavour. The aim of this chapter is to assess some of the broad themes which will run through this book. We will focus on approaches to family law based on welfare, rights and an ethic of care and evaluate the various merits and demerits of each approach. Throughout our analysis we place gender centrally and draw upon the rich body of feminist contributions to the study of family law. What we are concerned with here is the shifting social and legal constructions of gendered power relations and with how the various case studies examined in this book offer important insights into the discursive constitution of masculinity and femininity in relation to the main themes covered, i.e. rights, responsibilities, welfare and care.1