This book explores two contemporary combative views regarding the search for just families. These views arise from the conundrum of the family being seen as a supportive, nurturing “haven” versus a grievously unjust, harmful institution that violates the rights and freedoms of any individual family member.
Triggered by anti-family movements, which have been inspired by the ideas of some theorists and writers, the book addresses the question: Is family destined to wither away? It challenges the radical idea that the solution to the problem of unjust families is their complete replacement by purportedly just anti-familial alternatives.
Chhanda Gupta advances a distinct reformist and reconciliatory view that the expulsion of either side of the family-anti-family binary is not the answer. She seeks to syncretize the seemingly irreconcilable ideas propagated through that philosophical binary. Furthermore, she urges that the search for just families must find its answer in clarifying how the term “just” applies to the characters, behaviors, and attitudes of people who comprise actual families.
The search is not for a perfectly just society or polity, or even for a perfectly just family. Instead it is a search for ways to redress the remediable injustices that occur in families, in order to benefit and uplift individuals and families and the societies in which they live.
In moving beyond the binary of pro-family and anti-family theorization, Chhanda Gupta probes a wider domain of philosophical discourse on human wrongs and institutional responsibilities in the quest for justice. The chapters explore several leading philosophical ideologies and competing ethical theories from a variety of perspectives, with admirable clarity, impressive depth, and sharply contested arguments. The book constitutes an innovative and important contribution to our understanding of the reach of justice within the family that has profound implications for our time, especially as we begin to grapple with the slogan: the personal is political.