What is a Parent?: A Socio-legal Analysis

Front Cover
Hart Publishing, 1999 - Law - 297 pages
This collection of essays is the product of a series of seminars held at the University of Cambridge in 1998 under the auspices of the newly formed Cambridge Socio-Legal Group. The book presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the nature of parenthood and its various manifestations in contemporary society. It is divided into three sections dealing respectively with defining parenthood, new issues in contemporary parenting and parenting post-divorce. Each contributor addresses the central question What is a Parent? from the perspective of his or her own discipline, thus bringing together ideas about parents derived from law, sociology, psychology, biology and criminology. Despite the familiar and apparently obvious answer to this question, the notion of parent emerges from the analysis as a contested concept. Definitions are various and fluid, parenting practices are by no means fixed and ideologies which frame who parents are and what they do are subject to disruptions from several quarters. In short, the essays in this book show the ways in which parent like child is a term with a shifting meaning and parenthood refers to a fluid set of social practices which are historically and culturally situated.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
DEFINING PARENTHOOD
25
A Biomedical Perspective on Parenthood
47
Assisted Reproduction and the Legal Definition of Parentage
73
The Welfare Principle and the Rights of Parents
89
Family or Familiarity?
107
Perspectives on Parenthood from Surrogacy
121
Unmarried Fathers and the Law
143
Lesbian Mother Families
161
A Childrens Perspective
181
Youth Crime and Parental Responsibility
217
the LongerTerm
243
Changing Patterns of Public Intervention
259
Index
295
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About the author (1999)

Andrew Bainham is a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge and Reader in Family Law and Policy at the University of Cambridge.
Shelley Day Sclater has been a lawyer and academic social scientist and now works as a freelance writer and researcher. She was Professor of Psychology and Law at the University of East London.
Martin Richards is Emeritus Professor of Family Research at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge.

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