Feminist Perspectives on The Foundational Subjects of Law by Anne Bottomley

By Anne Bottomley

First released in 1996. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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The economic model of consideration, however, has not worked well and contemporary case law has arguably reverted to an alternative conception of spiritual cause or affective exchange based upon the marriage contract and cognisant of the issues of hierarchy, duration and gender implied in the interpretation of any legally enforceable exchange. 61 The early modern law recognised that ‘advantage’ could comprise any of a number of material and immaterial benefits. 62 Recognised benefits from promising included promotion of charitable purposes; the marriage of a child or relative;63 the ‘natural obligation’ of father to son in another case was ‘apparent consideration of affection ...

At p 68: ‘Law in its general definitions, law as a form, does not exist in the heads and theories of learned jurists. It has a parallel, real history which unfolds not as a set of ideas, but as a specific set of relations which men enter into not by conscious choice, but because the relations of production compel them to do so’. For a general discussion of this issue, see P Goodrich et al, ‘Introduction’ in Douzinas et al (eds), Politics, Postmodernity and Critical Legal Studies (1994) Routledge.

While the doctrine of contract has been a privileged object or focus of critical theories of law, the concerns of feminist legal theory have remained by and large within the confines of feminist writings on law. While some critical accounts of the history of modern contracts recognise the fact that family law has been excluded artificially from contract theory,12 the analysis of doctrine is concerned most usually with principle and counter-principle played out in the domains of the market economy and commercial exchange.

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