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Cross CurrentsFamily Law and Policy in the US and England$
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Sanford N. Katz, John Eekelaar, and Mavis MacLean

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.001.0001

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The End of an Era?

The End of an Era?

(p.636) (p.637) 29 The End of an Era?
Cross Currents

John Eekelaar

Oxford University Press

This book has shown that family life and family law underwent such significant change during the last quarter of the twentieth century that the form of family law as a whole in the 1950s was closer to that of the 1890s than to that of the 1980s. Historically, an individual’s rights and duties, his or her social role, depended on the individual’s relationship to social institutions. Being married and being born into a marriage was as important as social class or religious affiliation in determining the nature of an individual’s social relationships. Confidence in institutions was probably undermined by revelations of domestic violence between adults, and of child abuse within families and in institutional settings. Possibly because welfarism had not taken such a deep hold in the United States as in England and Wales, the challenge to traditional forms from the ideologies of rights and empowerment was more dramatic. For many years the battle has centred on the issue of abortion.

Keywords:   family life, family law, rights, duties, social institutions, marriage, domestic violence, welfarism, child abuse, abortion

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