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What is The Family of Law?


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This book argues that no universal definition of the 'family' exists within UK law or academic literature, and that the legal understanding of the 'family' is instead influenced by the idealised image of the 'nuclear family' and traditional familial roles. The author discusses what alternative models could replace the nuclear family model and whether the legal regulation of families and family life should be centred around a conceptual model of 'family' at all.

Table of Contents

I. Theoretical Context II. Outline PART I THE FAMILY 1. What is the Law's 'Family'? I. 'Family' as a Social Concept II. The Law's 'Definition(s)' of 'Family' III. The Influence of the Nuclear Family Model within the Definitions of 'Family' 2. The Historical and Philosophical Underpinnings of the 'Nuclear Family' Model I. The 'Family' and the 'Legal Subject' II. Critiquing the Orthodox Construction of the Legal Subject III. The Nuclear Family as the Natural Model of 'Family' PART II THE CONJUGAL RELATIONSHIP 3. The Legal Regulation of Conjugal Relationships I. What is Marriage in UK Law? II. The Centrality of Conjugality PART III PARENTHOOD 4. The Attribution of Legal Parenthood within UK Law I. Natural Reproduction II. Assisted Reproduction III. Surrogacy 5. The Legal Understanding of the Parental Role I. What is the 'Parent' in the Law? II. The Gendered Parenting Roles of the Nuclear Family III. The Role of Lesbian 'Mothers' or 'Parents' PART IV THE FUTURE 6. The Possibilities Offered by Alternative 'Models' of the 'Family' I. Exploring the Conceptual Influences II. Abstract Models and Real Families Conclusion

About the Author

Alan Brown is Lecturer in Private Law at the University of Glasgow.

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