What Is Parenthood? Contemporary Debates about the Family

What Is Parenthood? Contemporary Debates about the Family

What Is Parenthood? Contemporary Debates about the Family

What Is Parenthood? Contemporary Debates about the Family

Synopsis

Extraordinary changes in patterns of family life-and family law-have dramatically altered the boundaries of parenthood and opened up numerous questions and debates. What is parenthood and why does it matter? How should society define, regulate, and support it? Is parenthood separable from marriage-or couplehood-when society seeks to foster children's well-being? What is the better model of parenthood from the perspective of child outcomes? Intense disagreements over the definition and future of marriage often rest upon conflicting convictions about parenthood. What Is Parenthood? asks bold and direct questions about parenthood in contemporary society, and it brings together a stellar interdisciplinary group of scholars with widely varying perspectives to investigate them. Editors Linda C. McClain and Daniel Cere facilitate a dynamic conversation between scholars from several disciplines about competing models of parenthood and a sweeping array of topics, including single parenthood, adoption, donor-created families, gay and lesbian parents, transnational parenthood, parentchild attachment, and gender difference and parenthood.

Excerpt

Extraordinary changes in patterns of family life—and family law—have dramatically altered the boundaries of parenthood and opened up numerous questions and debates. What is parenthood and why does it matter? How should society define, regulate, and support it? Despite this uncertainty, however, the intense focus on the definition and future of marriage diverts attention from parenthood. Further, demographic reports suggesting a shift away from marriage and toward alternative family forms keep marriage in constant public view, obscuring the fact that disagreements about marriage are often grounded in deeper, conflicting convictions about parenthood.

What Is Parenthood? asks bold and direct questions about how to think about, support, and regulate parenthood. We begin with the institutional question: Is parenthood separable from marriage—or couplehood—when society seeks to foster children’s well-being? We then turn to other issues: What is the better model of parenthood from the perspective of child outcomes? How should the rights of adults and of children shape the law of parenthood? How do children form secure attachment to parents, and how significant is biology to that process? How do gender equality and gender difference shape the law and social practice of parenthood? Are there gender differences in parenting, and, if so, should difference make a difference? What are the implications for the meaning of parenthood and family life of immigration and its giving rise to forms of transnational parenting? Finally, given the significant changes in patterns of family life, what directions should family law and public policy concerning parenthood take?

The book brings together an interdisciplinary group of distinguished scholars to investigate these questions and debates about parenthood in contemporary society. For each question, the book provides two responses from experts with different perspectives, who are, generally, from different disciplines. Law, admittedly, is the disciplinary center of gravity, but the volume brings into conversation scholars from law, anthropology . . .

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