Masculinity, Law, and the Family

By Richard Collier | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Changing masculinities, changing law

Concluding remarks

In this book I have sought to explore how heterosexual masculinity has been constructed in family law. I have argued that masculinity, as a discursive position, is constantly constructed within a process which has involved both resistances and challenges to the constitution of the hegemonic norm of heterosexual familialism. Legal determinations of relationships between men, women and children have involved a complex interdiscursive process through which legal discourse has brought together a range of ideas about men and masculinity. The exclusions of legal discourse—what is not said as much as what is about being a man in law—must be seen, I have argued, as an important part of the history of masculinity. At times the ideas of masculinity to be found in law can be seen to be contradictory. There is no general consistency to the representations of masculinity in law and the law does not uniformly reflect or embody an omnipotent and omnipresent male power. However, what does tend to unite the constructions of masculinity discussed above is their combined function in establishing the power of a more overarching idea—that of a familial masculinity in law.

In this final chapter I wish to draw together the themes explored in this book and, by way of conclusion to this study of masculinity, law and the family, to assess how some of the implications of this analysis might bear on the politics of changing our understandings of both masculinities and of law.


BEYOND THE FAMILY: MASCULINE AUTHORITY AND LEGAL DISCOURSE

I have argued in Chapter 6 that the male subject in family law does not stand apart from manifestations of masculinity in other areas

-252-

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Masculinity, Law, and the Family
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements ix
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Theorising Masculinity and the Family 47
  • Chapter 3 - Law, Sex and Masculinity 87
  • Chapter 4 - ‘love Without Fear’ 138
  • Chapter 5 - The ‘good Father’ in Law 175
  • Chapter 6 - ‘family Men’ and ‘dangerous’ Masculinities 215
  • Chapter 7 - Changing Masculinities, Changing Law 252
  • Notes 278
  • Bibliography 286
  • Index 325
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