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.Contributors: Andrew Bainham, Carol Brayne, Stuart Bridge, Rachel Cook, Shelley Day Sclater, Margaret Ely, Loraine Gelsthorpe, Susan Golombok, Jack Goody, Jonathan Herring, Felicia Huppert, Allison James, Martin Johnson, Bridget Lindley, Mavis Maclean, Juliet Mitchell, Ros Pickford, Martin Richards, Wendy Solomou, Candida Yates.
Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Professional / Scholarly
Part 1 Defining parenthood: parentage, parenthood and parental responsibility - subtle, elusive yet important distinctions, Andrew Bainham; a biomedical perspective on parenthood, Martin Johnson; assisted reproduction and the legal definition of parentage, Stuart Bridge; the welfare principle and the rights of parents, Jonathan Herring; familiy or familiarity?, Juliet Mitchell and Jack Goody. Part 2 New issues in contemporary parenting: donating parenthood - perspectives on parenthood from surrogacy and gamete donation, Rachel Cook; unmarried fathers and the law, Ros Pickford; lesbian mother families, Susan Golombok; parents - a children's perspective, Allison James; state intervention and parental autonomy in children's cases - have we got the balance right?, Bridget Lindley; youth crime and parental responsibility, Loraine Gelsthorpe. Part 3 Parenting post-divorce: the parent-child relationship in later life - the longer-term effects of parental divorce and remarriage, Wendy Solomou, Margaret Ely, Carol Brayne and Felicia A. Huppert; parents and divorce - changing patterns of public intervention, Mavis MacLean and Martin Richards; the psycho-politics of post-divorce parenting, Shelley Day Sclater and Candida Yates.
It is important to acknowledge the centrality of the central premise of this book. We can no longer assume that there is unanimity on what or who is a parent. 'Family' arrangements continue to diversify and all those involved in working with men, women and children need to be aware of the potential legal, social and psychological ramifications.Brid FeatherstoneChild and Family Social WorkSeptember 2002Many of the chapters in this book offer new insights into the nature and practices of parenting and others provide useful reviews and syntheses on existing researchthis is a book that will be of interest to students and researchers focusing on the family in the fields of law, sociology and psychology.Felicity KaganasSocial and Legal StudiesSeptember 2002