Janet L. Dolgin


The next Part of the Article (Part II) provides a brief overview of the ideology in terms of which society understood the family during the nineteenth, and most of the twentieth, century. Part III then summarizes the increasing readiness of society and of lawmakers since the 1960s, openly to premise delimitations of family on values once associated with the marketplace, but not the home. Parts II and III provide background to Part IV. Part IV, the heart of the Article, focuses on contemporary understandings of family that preserve a central role for the biological correlates of domestic relationships. The Part describes four social responses to the widespread presumption that biology (now generally, though not always, read as “DNA”) is significant to understandings of family in light of society’s commitment to autonomous choice in family settings...Finally, Part IV considers a fourth distinct form of family that depends centrally on presumptive biological (genetic) facts. This form of family (referred to here as a “medicalized family”) is remarkable in that it largely precludes choice while safeguarding individualism. It suggests a novel and potentially troubling notion of family.

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