Academic journal article Law & Society Review

Legalized Families in the Era of Bordered Globalization

Academic journal article Law & Society Review

Legalized Families in the Era of Bordered Globalization

Article excerpt

Legalized Families in the Era of Bordered Globalization. By Daphna Hacker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017

Legalized Families in the Era of Bordered Globalization is a fascinating book which could not come at a better time. Globally, we are observing large numbers of individuals fleeing their countries to seek safer places, leaving their children behind to search for a better life; families moving together; and women crossing borders to access reproductive services, just to name a few. In this groundbreaking book, Daphna Hacker reminds us that these movements are shaping not only the lives of those moving, but also the lives of those other members of their families who stay or have yet to move to another place.

Using a social-legal perspective, Hacker offers a conceptual framework for the study of families and law in the context of globalization. Specifically, Hacker focuses on border crossing to argue that families cannot be understood without taking into context "bordered globalization," or the interplay between globalization and borders; families are shaped by these interplaying interactions all over the world. By evaluating border crossing in the context of bordered globalization, the author underscores that nation-based family laws are insufficient since families are shaped by the legal systems of more than one nation.

The book is organized into eight substantive chapters. The first two lay out the context of how globalization fosters movement while national borders operate to constrain it, highlighting specific instances of bordered globalizations. Then, the author presents how family as lived experience interacts with family law at the national, international, and subnational levels, both de jure and de facto. Hacker shows that each legal system works with a particular definition of family; there is no singular, universal way to codify families across countries. Given the fact that family members may reside in more than one country, nation-based family law proves to be insufficient in regulating family experiences in the era of globalization.

Moving on from the conceptual frame, Hacker organizes her book following the chronological phases of families, from conception of children to old age. First, Hacker shows the challenges states run into in controlling their citizens' (in)ability to pursue parenthood in another country. Then, once a family is formed and with children, Hacker brings to the forefront the fact that not all members may have the same citizenship rights. She suggests, for example, the concept of familial citizenship, which she defines as "the right of family members to be citizens of the same country, based on their family relations" (150). In so doing, Hacker identifies the rights and resources (or lack thereof) family members have. Next, the author turns her attention to children and the migration paths parents follow to support them. By specifically studying remittances, child labor, and intercountry adoption, Hacker highlights how migration across borders is part of a family project, rather than an individual enterprise, yet again illustrating the limits of nation-based family law. Furthermore, Hacker proposes familial violence, expanding the term violence to refer to physical and nonphysical manifestations of violence in order to challenge how law should or should not intervene to protect family members from each other. Finally, Hacker sheds light on the role of seniors, both those who migrate and those left behind, looking at both their care for their grandchildren and who cares for them, in an analysis that shows the limits of the nation-legal system. …

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