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Constructing the Family: Marriage and Work in Nineteenth-Century English Law and Legal Thought

posted on 2023-03-13, 14:00 authored by Luke TaylorLuke Taylor

In nineteenth-century England, legal conceptions of work and family changed in fundamental ways. Notably, significant legal moves came into play that changed the legal understanding of the family.

Constructing the Family examines the evolution of the legal-discursive framework governing work and family relations. Luke Taylor considers the intersecting intellectual and institutional forces that contributed to the dissolution of the household, the establishment of separate spheres of work and family, and the emergence of modern legal and social ideas concerning work and family. He shows how specific legal-institutional moves contributed to the creation of the family's categorical status in the social and legal order and a distinct and exceptional body of rules – Family Law – for its governance.

Shedding light on the historical processes that contributed to the emergence of English family law, Constructing the Family shows how work and family became separate regulatory domains, and in so doing reveals the contingent nature of the modern legal family.