Red Families v. Blue Families

Red Families v. Blue Families : Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture

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Red Families v. Blue Families identifies a new family model geared for the post-industrial economy. Rooted in the urban middle class, the coasts and the "blue states" in the last three presidential elections, the Blue Family Paradigm emphasizes the importance of women's as well as men's workforce participation, egalitarian gender roles, and the delay of family formation until both parents are emotionally and financially ready. By contrast, the Red Family Paradigm-associated with the Bible Belt, the mountain west, and rural America-rejects these new family norms, viewing the change in moral and sexual values as a crisis. In this world, the prospect of teen childbirth is the necessary deterrent to premarital sex, marriage is a sacred undertaking between a man and a woman, and divorce is society's greatest moral challenge. Yet, the changing economy is rapidly eliminating the stable, blue collar jobs that have historically supported young families, and early marriage and childbearing derail the education needed to prosper. The result is that the areas of the country most committed to traditional values have the highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates, fueling greater calls to reinstill traditional values. Featuring the groundbreaking research first hailed in The New Yorker, this penetrating book will transform our understanding of contemporary American culture and law. The authors show how the Red-Blue divide goes much deeper than this value system conflict-the Red States have increasingly said "no" to Blue State legal norms, and, as a result, family law has been rent in two. The authors close with a consideration of where these different family systems still overlap, and suggest solutions that permit rebuilding support for both types of families in changing economic circumstances. Incorporating results from the 2008 election, Red Families v. Blue Families will reshape the debate surrounding the culture wars and the emergence of red and blue America.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195372174
  • 9780195372175
  • 2,021,788

Review quote

Wonderful...The book is primarily a study of the way in which different family forms have emerged in different parts of the country, and the political ramifications of the polarized value systems that result. But the data it contains reveals a deep incoherence in the American government's family planning policies. * Andrew Koppelman, Balkinization * An illuminating analysis...Cahn and Carbone make a strong case for formulating family laws through the existing federalized family legal system so they are not victimized in culture wars inflamed by vote seeking politicians. * ForeWord Reviews * The book's illuminating (if very technical) statistical data and dispassionate approach render it invaluable. * Publishers Weekly * This fascinating and surprising book will change the way we think about the culture wars. Naomi Cahn and June Carbone reveal a series of unexpected truths about marriage, divorce, and sexual behavior in Red states and Blue states. Some highlights: College educated women are far less likely to divorce than those without college degrees. Only a quarter of evangelical teens abstain from sexual activity more than other teens. And expanding access to contraception, rather than abortion, is the best way to delay marriage and promote stable families. By using invaluable data to cut through the ideological posturing that has distorted American politics, Cahn and Carbone point us toward a less polarized future. * Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic * Red Families v. Blue Families is a fascinating, groundbreaking look at the ways in which the red versus blue political divide reflects an even deeper divide in family life and sexual values. Cahn and Carbone have updated the old maxim that the personal is political, and enormously enriched it, with hard data and subtle observations. * Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker *show more

About Naomi Cahn

Naomi Cahn is the John Theodore Fey Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School and a Senior Fellow at the Evan Donaldson Adoption Institute. She is the author of Test Tube Families and the co-author of several other books, including a leading family law textbook. June Carbone is the Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair of Law, the Constitution and Society at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She is the author of From Partners to Parents: The Second Revolution in Family Law and co-author of the third edition of Family Law, with Leslie Harris and the late Lee Teitelbaum.show more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION ; SECTION I: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? POLARIZATION AND THE REGULATION OF SEXUALITY ; SECTION II: CULTURAL DIVISION AND LEGAL POLARIZATION ; SECTION III: LAW AND THE RECREATION OF CULTURE? ; SECTION IV: FEDERALISM, LEGITIMACY AND THE ROLE OF LAW IN TIMES OF POLARIZATIONshow more

Rating details

126 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 22% (28)
4 37% (46)
3 28% (35)
2 11% (14)
1 2% (3)
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