January 1999, Polity
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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 work.