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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 23 No 1 (2005) Work, Family and the Law

Deconstructing the Heteronormative Worker or Queering a Jurisprudence of Labour: A Case Study of Family and Personal/Carer’s Leave in Australian Labour Law

Marc Trabsky is a student of the Law School, University of Melbourne, and a student editorial assistant with the Australian Journal of Labour Law.

This chapter deconstructs the positioning of the family and (hetero)sexuality in current work/family scholarship. The primary contention is that labour law is a relation of power that (re)produces and normalises the ‘sexuality’ of the worker. The chapter explores the interconnections between relations of sexuality, family and labour. The idea of ‘liberating’ the pre-given ‘family’ of the work/family conflict is rendered problematic and dubious. Through a case study of the Family Leave and the Personal Carer’s Leave test cases, this chapter reveals the worker as productive of and produced by an array of heteronormative discourses, which foreclose certain employment entitlements for non-heterosexual workers and more importantly, recon­stitute an idea(l) of the worker as always-already heterosexual.

(2005) Volume 23 No 1 Law in Context 202

   
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