Law's role in democratising the family

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1348

Keywords:

family law, mediation, Durkheim, constitutionalism, human rights, Giddens, derecho de familia, mediación, constitucionalismo, derechos humanos

Abstract

This paper explores the dynamics of family law’s transformation over the past 50 years as the result of interactions of two autonomous systems: the law and the family. The interesting feature in the change of family is its democratisation. Equality, consent, freedom of partners, participative governance have become ideals of the Western family. Law is a motor of this family transformation through its own internal transformation on two points: the transformation of legal reasoning, based on human rights; the use of mediation in judiciary conflict resolution. This U turn can be explained by the new mechanisms of social order in modern differenciated societies. Following Anne Rawls’ reading of Durkheim’s insights, the article argues for the centrality of “constitutive practices” in modern societies. Legal framework can no longer derive and perform social order through moral rituals. Modern law must fit the procedural morality (instead of a moral consensus) of family interactions in order to be able to solve conflicts. This explanation of the success of mediation in family law is also the key to understand the constitutionalisation of family law via the use of principles (instead of rules) in legal reasoning. Intercultural conflicts arise inside families as well as inside societies. New flexible family law becomes a factor of pluralization of family forms. On this basis, transnationalization of family law can develop, even if state sovereignty remains a powerful brake of this evolution.

Este artículo explora la dinámica de transformación del derecho de familia en los últimos 50 años como resultado de las interacciones de dos sistemas autónomos: el derecho y la familia. La característica interesante del cambio de la familia es su democratización. La igualdad, el consentimiento, la libertad de las parejas y el gobierno participativo se han convertido en ideales de la familia occidental. El derecho es un motor de esta transformación familiar a través de su propia transformación interna en dos puntos: la transformación del razonamiento jurídico, basado en los derechos humanos; el uso de la mediación en la resolución de conflictos judiciales. Este vuelco, a su vez, se explica por los nuevos mecanismos de orden social en las modernas sociedades diferenciadas. Siguiendo la lectura de Anne Rawls de las ideas de Durkheim, el artículo defiende la centralidad de las “prácticas constitutivas” en las sociedades modernas. El marco jurídico ya no puede derivar y realizar el orden social a través de rituales morales. El derecho moderno debe adaptarse a la moralidad procedimental (en lugar de a un consenso moral) de las interacciones familiares para poder resolver los conflictos. Esta explicación del éxito de la mediación en el derecho de familia es también la clave para entender la constitucionalización del derecho de familia mediante el uso de principios (en lugar de normas) en el razonamiento jurídico. Los conflictos interculturales surgen tanto en el seno de las familias como de las sociedades. El nuevo derecho de familia flexible se convierte en un factor de pluralización de las formas de familia. Sobre esta base, puede desarrollarse la transnacionalización del derecho de familia, aunque la soberanía estatal siga siendo un poderoso freno de esta evolución.

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Published

01-02-2024

How to Cite

De Munck, J. (2024) “Law’s role in democratising the family”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 14(1), pp. 213–229. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1348.