Theorizing History: Separate Spheres, the Public/Private Binary and a New Analytic for Family Law History

2012 ANZLHS EJournal, Refereed Paper 2

34 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2015

See all articles by Danaya C. Wright

Danaya C. Wright

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

There is an extensive scholarship on separate spheres, the public/private binary, and family history that reveals a nuanced understanding of the interconnections and constructedness of these metaphors and rubrics traditionally used in family law history. In exploring the current understandings and limitations of these subjects as analytics for doing my own history of English family law, I turn to Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo’s critique that we limit our subjects and reinforce power differentials when we use a lens of difference in our scholarship. I first explore the lessons learned about the enduring nature of separate spheres and the power imbalances of the public/private binary in terms of their implications for family law, and try to bring these diverse areas of scholarship together to reflect on the narrow project of family law history. Then I propose a new approach that focuses on the paths not taken, the reforms that were blocked, as providing one way to get around some of the limitations of separate spheres and reveal the stark relations of power in modern constructions of the family and the state.

Keywords: family history, public/private binary, separate spheres, English family law

Suggested Citation

Wright, Danaya C., Theorizing History: Separate Spheres, the Public/Private Binary and a New Analytic for Family Law History (2012). 2012 ANZLHS EJournal, Refereed Paper 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2667953

Danaya C. Wright (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352-273-0946 (Phone)
352-392-3005 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
41
Abstract Views
556
PlumX Metrics