Swennen and Croce, ‘Family (Law) Assemblages: New Modes of Being (Legal)’

This article advances a new model for family law to address emerging non-conventional family formations, particularly between parents and children. We contend that the conventional model of kinship categories as static, predefined statuses should be replaced with a model whereby the state accommodates kinship categories the law users themselves produce within their fluid and nomadic family assemblages and that they actively revise when negotiating state recognition. We claim that this model would better reflect and govern the emerging kinship system. We corroborate this by drawing on insights from family research that takes issue with the fragmentation of kinship, particularly the fragmentation of motherhood. We then elaborate on a conception of state recognition as the capacity to trace connections and identify normative frameworks, one that valorizes the self-organizing force of social practices but at the same time holds onto the filtering role of the state.

Frederik Swennen and Mariano Croce, Family (Law) Assemblages: New Modes of Being (Legal), Journal of Law and Society, Volume 44, Issue 4, December 2017, Pages 532–558.

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