This exciting new book engages with the recent resurgence of
interest in the family, offering empirical material and theoretical
analysis which give rise to a fresh understanding of the nature of
family practices in modern societies.
The past decade has seen the emergence of an orthodoxy which
depicts the family as being in moral decline and 'blames' parents
for the harms of divorce. Family Fragments? takes issue with
this political vision and with the idea that divorce is inevitably
a harmful process. Although some households are fragmenting, the
authors argue that moral commitments are not simply sundered.
Instead they put forward a different perspective on divorce as well
as formulating principles of policy based on an ethic of care.
Family Fragments? draws on a qualitative study of
separating parents and examines the diverse and fluid patterns of
parenthood that are negotiated and re-negotiated in the aftermath
of separation. The authors show that the quality of parental
relationships, both before and after separation, are vital for
achieving joint parenting after divorce. They examine the moral
reasoning of parents and explain how this may vary considerably
with the sort of solutions imposed in a legal forum.
This book has a direct bearing on current debates concerning the
family and will be essential reading for those studying gender and
family relations in sociology, social policy, law and social