ISBN-10:
0674019105
ISBN-13:
9780674019102
Pub. Date:
01/03/2006
Publisher:
Harvard
The Place of Families: Fostering Capacity, Equality, and Responsibility / Edition 1

The Place of Families: Fostering Capacity, Equality, and Responsibility / Edition 1

by Linda C. McClain

Hardcover

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Overview

In this bold new book, Linda McClain offers a liberal and feminist theory of the relationships between family life and politics—a topic dominated by conservative thinkers. McClain agrees that stable family lives are vital to forming persons into capable, responsible, self-governing citizens. But what are the public values at stake when we think about families, and what sorts of families should government recognize and promote?

Arguing that family life helps create the virtues and character required for citizenship, McClain shows that the connection between family self-government and democratic self-government does not require the deep-laid gender inequality that has historically accompanied it. Examining controversial issues in family law and policy—among them, the governmental promotion of heterosexual marriage and the denial of marriage to same-sex couples, the regulation of family life through welfare policy, and constitutional rights to reproductive freedom—McClain argues for a political theory of the family that embraces equality, defends rights as facilitating responsibility, and supports families in ways that respect men's and women's capacities for self-government.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674019102
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/03/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Linda C. McClain is Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar at Boston University School of Law.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

I. Fostering Capacity

1. The Place of Families and Government in a Formative Project

2. Families as "Seedbeds of Civic Virtue"?

3. Care, Families, and Self-Government

II. Fostering Equality

4. Marriage Promotion, Marriage (E)quality, and Welfare Reform

5. Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

6. Beyond Marriage?

III. Fostering Responsibility

7. Rights, (Ir)responsibility, and Reproduction

8. Teaching Sexual and Reproductive Responsibility

Epilogue

Notes

Index

What People are Saying About This

A most compelling and novel study of the rights and responsibilities of the family, the community of which it is a constitutive part, and the government. A joy for legal scholars and social scientists and many others.

Martha Fineman

In this elegant and tightly reasoned book, Linda McClain argues that the family--though not necessarily traditional marriage--is central to the 'formative project' of fostering key civic virtues: capacity, equality,
and responsibility. In a series of different situations she considers what might be an optimal balance among governmental, social, and family responsibilities for shaping good citizens. The Place of Families is sure to influence many heated debates, in courts and legislatures as well as journals, about the complex relationships between families and public life.
Martha Fineman, author of The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency

Amitai Etzioni

A most compelling and novel study of the rights and responsibilities of the family, the community of which it is a constitutive part, and the government. A joy for legal scholars and social scientists and many others.

Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society

William A. Galston

The Place of Families is the most careful and comprehensive defense to date of the progressive liberal feminist position on the civic role of families. Those who agree with the thesis of this book will find powerful evidence for their case, and those who disagree will have to come to grips with it.
William A. Galston, Saul Stern Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Molly Shanley

Linda McClain has written an immensely valuable book that combines philosophical depth with up-to-the-moment policy analysis. Taking on many of the most difficult and contentious issues in family law and public policy today, including same-sex marriage, welfare reform, abortion, and sex education, McClain grounds her discussions in a commitment to both liberalism's respect for individual liberty and feminism's insistence on gender equality. Her meticulous scholarship, even-handed consideration of opposing viewpoints, and clear and accessible writing make The Place of Families a "must read" for anyone interested in the future of American families and family law.
Molly Shanley, Professor of Political Science, Vassar College

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