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Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law$
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Elizabeth Brake and Lucinda Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786429.001.0001

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Regulating Child Rearing in a Culturally Diverse Society

Regulating Child Rearing in a Culturally Diverse Society

(p.273) 13 Regulating Child Rearing in a Culturally Diverse Society
Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law

James G. Dwyer

Oxford University Press

Common complaints against state agencies that regulate parental conduct are that they are insensitive to cultural diversity, unfairly force adult members of cultural minorities to conform to majoritarian norms, and consequently both disrupt parent–child relationships to children's detriment and threaten the very survival of minority cultures. This chapter will address the difficult question of whether and to what extent state agencies should modify child-welfare standards to fit different practices of minority cultural groups. Answering this question entails: clarifying the state’s role generally in the lives of non-autonomous persons, considering who is the best alternative decision maker for them, articulating the value commitments of modern liberal societies, assessing the appropriateness of applying those commitments to state regulation of care for non-autonomous persons, and critically examining claims of adult entitlement to dictate the course of particular young persons’ lives.

Keywords:   parental rights, cultural minorities, cultural imperialism, multiculturalism, child-rearing, liberalism

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