By H. Brook
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Additional resources for Conjugality: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships before the Law
Detailed and specific understanding of the legal consequences [of marriage]. ”3 When we look a little closer at the hidden (or, at least, taken for granted) structures underpinning marriage, what emerges is a blueprint for the naturalization of gender dimorphism. That is, marriage has historically naturalized, produced, and protected the logic of the man– woman binary and its social corollaries, including heteronormative monogamy. The chief aim of this chapter, then, is to examine how marriage is made in places like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.
Mistakes of this kind are very rare indeed. Mistakes concerning the true personality, feelings, habits, or fortunes of one’s spouse are undoubtedly much more common (if not the norm) but do not, in general, offer grounds for annulment. Rather, the expectation is that where a person is a willing party to a wedding ceremony, the onus is on each party to ascertain the true character, history, and fortunes of his or her prospective spouse (Finlay 1980). “Identity,” here, means the person as known to the other party.
This suggests that we need to reexamine what marriage is and does. The task, here, is to find ways of theorizing marriage that build on the strengths of existing feminist critiques without replicating or exacerbating their shortcomings. We need an analysis that takes account of the long and valuable history of feminist marriage critique but also accommodates the diverse and plural nature of contemporary conjugality. Marriage might then be understood as a site of various and dynamic relations, in which new conceptual tools in feminist political and social theory might be put to work.
Conjugality: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships before the Law by H. Brook