Family, law and gender : a study of masculinity and law
This thesis is an attempt to explore the construction of masculinity in a variety of areas of law pertaining to the family. It attempts to integrate recent theoretical developments within the legal sub-discipline family law, in particular in relation to feminist theory and critiques of doctrinalism, with a social theory of gender and scholarship which foregrounds the social construction of masculinity. Chapters 1-5 are concerned to analyse and overview approaches to theorising law, gender and the family, and to present a theoretical base from which to begin to examine the relationships between legal discourse, power and sexuality in Chapter 6 - 9, They seek to define and analyse concepts and themes within the sociologies of law, gender and the family, concluding with an assessment of the implications of a theory of law as a social discourse and of 'familialist' approaches to law and the family for the study of masculinity and power. Chapters 4 and 5 are explicitly concerned with theorising masculinity, drawing out the themes, issues and implications for legal scholarship of developing a perspective from which analysis of the construction of masculinity in legal discourse may take place. Informed by the theoretical developments in Chapters 1 - 5, Chapter 6 - 9 examine the legal construction of sex and gender in relation to the formation and annulment of marriage, focusing on transsexualism and the non-consummation of marriage. Conclusions relate (a) to the construction of marriage and sexuality in legal discourse, and (b) generally, to the theorising and study of masculinity, law and the family. The thesis brings together a number of themes within the study of law and the family to present, I hope, an original and challenging analysis of a neglected and important dimension to the study of law and gender.