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Family Autonomy and Class Fate / Gideon Calder

Symposion, Volume: 3, Issue: 2, Pages: 131 - 149

Swansea University Author: Gideon, Calder

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Abstract

The family poses problems for liberal understandings of social justice, because of the ways in which it bestows unearned privileges. This is particularly stark when we consider inter-generational inequality, or ‘class fate’ – the ways in which inequality is transmitted from one generation to the nex...

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Published in: Symposion
ISSN: 1584-174X
Published: 2016
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa30224
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Abstract: The family poses problems for liberal understandings of social justice, because of the ways in which it bestows unearned privileges. This is particularly stark when we consider inter-generational inequality, or ‘class fate’ – the ways in which inequality is transmitted from one generation to the next, with the family unit ostensibly a key conduit. There is a recognized tension between the assumption that families should as far as possible be autonomous spheres of decision-making, and the assumption that we should as far as possible equalize the life chances of all children, regardless of background. In this article I address this tension by way of recent liberal egalitarian literature, and consideration of the different dimensions of class fate. I argue, firstly, that the tension may not be of the a priori nature which liberals have tended to identify – and secondly, that as well as distributive and recognition-based aspects, the notion of contributive justice provides a particularly illuminating way of analyzing what is wrong about class fate, and the role of the family in promoting it.
Keywords: family autonomy, contributive justice, inter-generational inequality, families, life chances
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Issue: 2
Start Page: 131
End Page: 149