Contesting Conservatisms, Family Feuds and the Privatization of Dependency
American Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, Vol. 13, No. 3, p. 414, 2005
97 Pages Posted: 11 May 2005
The paper begins with an exploration of the theoretical differences between different visions of the family and the contradictory implications for the regulation of the family. It illustrates the extent to which these divergent approaches to family and privatization correspond to fiscal and social conservative political philosophies, and their fundamental differences in assumptions about family, gender and dependency. The paper then turns to consider three issues in the federal legal regulation of the family as concrete instantiations of the contradictions: child support, welfare reform, and marriage.
Although no one model of the family has emerged as dominant, the analysis of each of the three areas suggests that the social conservative model appears to be in ascendance. The paper argues that it is the discursive power of this social conservative vision that has to a large extent precluded broader definitions of family and a more robust privatization of support obligations in accordance with the goals of fiscal conservatism or the promotion of private choice in accordance with the goals of libertarianism.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation