Abstract 摘要

This paper explores the social and cultural implications of different conceptions of marriage and family life. It compares traditional understandings of marriage and family, set within particular religions and cultures, to a Western secular liberal understanding, which seeks to recast marriage as a sort of egalitarian social contract between autonomous individuals. Rather than appreciating the family as a normative form of social being constituted around the monogamous marriage of husband and wife and their own biological (and perhaps adopted) children, here the family is to be appreciated as an institution legally to be molded more closely in line with currently popular Western principles of social justice and gender neutrality. Claims regarding individual autonomy, gender neutrality, and rights to sexual freedom have come to possess a commanding place within the West’s recasting of the family.