The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth

The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth

The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth

The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth

Excerpt

My aim in this volume is to help lay bare the organization of home life. Plato and Aristotle devoted attention to the household in ancient times, and since then analysts have examined it through a wide variety of lenses. My own is somewhat unconventional. I am a specialist in property law, a background that may confer some comparative advantage in analyzing the nature of personal entitlements around the hearth. On the other hand, I am, for a law professor, relatively skeptical about how much people look to law when shaping their ordinary affairs. Most of the rules that govern the hearth, I argue in this volume, are not derived from law but rather are household-specific norms that evolve from the repeated interactions of household participants. In this book, I address the factors that influence how individuals select their co-participants in home life (that is, how households are constituted) and how these clusters of individuals choose to govern themselves.

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