Chapter

What Children Really Need: Towards a Critical Theory of Family Structure

Shelley Burtt

in The Moral and Political Status of Children

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199242689
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598715 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199242682.003.0013
 What Children Really Need: Towards a Critical Theory of Family Structure

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The ’new familists’ argue that sociological evidence on the relation between traditional two‐parent nuclear family and positive outcomes for their children justifies public‐policy measures aimed at promoting this type of family. But the success of such families is due to the fact that many other institutional arrangements advantage this type of family. Such a family typically involves a sexist division of domestic labour. A ’critical theory of family structure’ identifies the developmental needs of children and examines the ways in which various family structures can function to meet these needs.

Keywords: children; critical theory; developmental needs; division of labour; domestic labour; family structure; new familism; nuclear family; public policy

Chapter.  10712 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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