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There has been a widespread resurgence of rights talk in social and legal discourses pertaining to the regulation of family life, as well as an increase in the use of rights in family law cases, in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.
Rights, Gender and Family Law addresses the implications of these developments - and, in particular, the impact of rights-based approaches upon the idea of welfare and its practical application. There are now many areas of family law in which rights and welfare based approaches have been forced together. But whilst, to many, they are premised upon different ethics - respectively, of justice and of care - for others, they can nevertheless be reconciled.
In this respect, a central concern is the 'gender-blind' character of rights-based approaches, and the ontological and practical consequences of their employment in the gendered context of the family: for the balance of power between women as mothers and men as fathers, as well as for children's welfare.
The contributors to Rights, Gender and Family Law explore the tensions between rights based approaches and welfare based approaches in family law: explaining their differences and connections; considering whether, if at all, they are reconcilable; and, addressing the extent to which they can advantage or disadvantage the interests of women, children and men.
It may be the case that rights-based discourses will come to dominate family law, at least in respect of the way that social policy and legislation responds to calls of equality of rights between mothers and fathers. This book, however, argues that rights cannot be given centre-stage without thinking through the ramifications for gendered power-relations, and the welfare of children.