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The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415910279
ISBN-10: 0415910277
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Editorial Reviews

Review

""The Neutered Mother is...an extended essay that elegantly and persuasively argues that caretaking relationships are systematically devalued in American law and culture and traces the ideological underpinnings of that disregard."
-"Las and Social Inquiry
"This book undertakes an ambitious--even revolutionary--rethinking of law's approach to the family. Martha Fineman seeks to recenter legal and social concepts of family around caregiving and dependency, rather than around the sexual tie between men and women. She offers a positive vision in which the inevitable depedency of some members ("children") is recognized as creating derivative dependency in caregivers ("mothers"). The problem lies not in dependency itself but in society's refusal to dignify, support, and protect it. "The Neutered Mother is original and important, a significant step forward in solving questions within feminist theory and in several areas of contemporary legal and political struggles involving women and motherhood."
-Martha Mahoney, University of Miami School of Law

About the Author

Martha Albertson Fineman is the Maurice T. Moore Professor of Law and Director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at Columbia University School of Law. She is the editor of "At the Boundaries of Law: Feminism and Legal Theory" and the author of "The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies,"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (January 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415910277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415910279
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Despite the rather alarming-sounding title, this is actually a rather innovative and interesting theoretical work about the meaning of family. The author proposes that a new definition of family be legally adopted to reflect practice and need, rather than traditional notions. She uses the mother and child model (this a metaphor for the nurturer and dependant individuals, whatever their age or gender) rather than our idea now that the sexual tie between husband and wife is the tie that binds. So, rather than giving tax breaks and inheritance rights and the myriad of legal advantages to protect a family on the basis of marriage, Martha Fineman proposes that the same advantages be provided by our society to a single mother with a child, or a man in his 30s taking care of his elderly parents, or a woman who lives with and supports her developmentally disabled brother, etc. It is really a completely radical idea, but it is argued persuasively. If she can't convince you, she will at least make you reconsider the assumptions one makes about families and their legal rights and responsibilities.
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Can't recommend this book highly enough. A radical theory of family structure that outlines traditional patriarchy and addresses the requirements of feminism and caregiving in terms of the priority of well-being and efficacy in family relationships.
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