Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm

By Anthony Walsh | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
Love, Marriage, and the Family

A mother cradling her child, bent over in a posture of loving solicitude: If there is another image that will immediately be recognized by human beings of any age or culture and arouse in them comparable feelings of identification, we cannot think what it could be.

-- Brigitte and Peter Berger

The family is the basic unit of any society; it produces its new members and socializes them in its ways. Marriage is a legal contract conferring society's blessing on the reproductive couple and signifying the couple's pledge of fidelity to one another. Although there have been and are a myriad of marriage forms and motivations for marriage in different cultures and in different times, when not constrained by economic, political, or social considerations, the primeval motivation is love between man and woman. We have been fashioned by natural selection to pair-bond, and the epoxy of that bond is love.

There is something of a crisis in the nuclear family that concerns those who value it, but it is too rooted in human nature not to remain the predominant family form in the Western world and in much of the rest of the world also. Adjustments have been made to the nuclear family over the years, and others will be made according to environmental contingencies. Mating and parental patterns in all animal species have always been dependent on the interrelationships between organisms and their environments, with the general pattern being set by the ecology existing in their environments of evolutionary adaptation ( Rees & Harvey, 1991).

No naïve claims are made that there are genes coding for a particular form of family system. Family forms and marriage patterns are cultural, with the dominant forms and patterns presumably offering the "best fits" with a par-

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Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Note xv
  • Chapter 1 the Case for Biosociology 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 Genetics and Human Behavior 19
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 3 the Brain and Its Environment 43
  • Notes 66
  • Chapter 4 Emotion and the Autonomic and Endocrine Systems 69
  • Notes 90
  • Chapter 5 Intelligence and Society 93
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter 6 Sexual Dimorphism and Sex-Role Behavior 121
  • Notes 142
  • Notes 144
  • Chapter 7 Human Sexuality and Evolution 145
  • Notes 170
  • Chapter 8 the Nature and Nurture of Criminality 173
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 9 Love, Marriage, and the Family 201
  • Notes 224
  • References 227
  • Name Index 259
  • Subject Index 269
  • About the Author 273
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