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Title: Timeless considerations : an historical analysis of the development of residency and contract law, gender and parenting
Author: Sinclair, Elizabeth Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 7777
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis engages with historical issues of infant custody laws that have a particular focus in contemporary times. Over the last three decades, complex socio-economic changes have reshaped traditional employment patterns and challenged gender understandings of social relationships, parenting practices and the structure of the family. The outcomes have raised concerns about the effects of these changes on children, the stability of the family and questions of wider social cohesion. Social policies and legal reforms have reflected these changes, for example in relation to ideas of formal gender equality, and a rethinking of parental responsibility. This is particularly relevant after parental separation and the law now encourages shared parenting. However, gendered divisions relating to the roles of men and women as parents remain entrenched within many aspects of parenting cultures. This thesis adds to the contemporary debates through an exploration of the historical context of the development of the laws regulating the care of children post-separation. The methodology follows emerging ideas around the uncovering of personal experiences of separated parents and ways that might add depth of knowledge to research findings. The primary focus is on the inter-war period of the nineteen twenties and thirties. The implications of the massive socio-economic upheavals and legislative reforms following the First World War signalled a new age and a key period in women’s history and struggle for formal legal equality. Despite legal reforms and social change, the evidence shows for some parents the reality was different and rooted in gender politics. Via a critical analysis of primary resources, including original and up until now, unseen testamentary evidence, the case studies provide a snapshot of the experiences of mothers and fathers after separation dealing with the contradictions in their gendered roles in the care of children. The thesis sets out to argue that in the legal regulation of the care of children post-separation the issues of parenting are timeless considerations underpinned by gender politics and need to remain within political, legal and public debates.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available