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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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Family Policy in the Post-War Period

Family Policy in the Post-War Period

(p.81) 4 Family Policy in the Post-War Period
Cross Currents

Jane Lewis

Oxford University Press

The early feminist literature on the post-war welfare state emphasised the extent to which social policies represented ‘the state organisation of domestic life’. Family policy in the form of public law and private law has never been entirely coherent in its treatment of family members at the level of either principles or practice. The trend in terms of the social reality has been towards greater ‘individualisation’, although this does not mean that women have become fully individualised. Unmarried and divorced women, who had children and who by definition lacked male breadwinners, were bound to seek support, as mothers, from the social assistance authorities if they were not themselves in insurable employment. Widows of insured men were covered by social insurance. Notwithstanding the assumptions of policy makers about the desirability and existence of the traditional family form, the possibility of a measure of economic autonomy increased for all women in the post-war period. This chapter also discusses Britain’s policy on marriage, parenthood, and child support.

Keywords:   Britain, family policy, child support, welfare state, women, public law, private law, social insurance, marriage, parenthood

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