By exploring such diverse issues as the management of child abuse, legal reforms following sex abuse enquiries, moral explanations for the actions of child murderers, the impossible task faced by social workers and the limitations of children's rights campaigns, Michael King examines the revolutionary ideas of the social theorist, Niklas Luhmann. He demonstrates how Luhmann's theory of authopoietic systems compels readers to re-examine exactly what they mean by society.
Questioning the relationship between personal morality and political will, it challenges the assumption that changing society is merely a matter of changing attitudes and highlights the pitfalls associated with formulating social reform.
Michael King is Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Law, the Child and the Family at the University of Brunel
'An interesting, stimulating, original and eminently readable book.' - International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
'The substantive analysis is perceptive, powerful and, to the reviewer, largely persuasive...there is much to be learned from this book.' - John Eekelaar, Journal of Law and Society
'King has succeeded in producing an accessible and readable book in a theoretical field which is often, for the uninitiated, bordering on the indecipherable ... clearly provides an important antidote to much in the child care field which is often theoretically unsophisticated, over-pragmatic and utilitarian.' - Nigel Parton in The Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
'This is a book which stretches the mind and forces us to look at problems surrounding child protection, children's rights, family support and so on, in new ways.' - Journal of Social Policy
'Provokes one to re-think one's assumptions ... a welcome addition to the literature.' - British Journal of Social Work
'Opens up new ways of thinking about familiar issues.' - LCCJ Newsletter