The Family: Its Sociology and Social Psychiatry

The Family: Its Sociology and Social Psychiatry

The Family: Its Sociology and Social Psychiatry

The Family: Its Sociology and Social Psychiatry

Excerpt

This book aims to integrate the various scientific approaches to the study of family phenomena. It attempts to weave cultural anthropology, individual psychology, social psychology, history, sociology, economics, and psychiatry into a unitary science of the family. It aims to present: (1) a framework of thought or "point of view," (2) an adequate set of concepts, (3) the important facts and generalizations ascertained through research and other systematic observation, (4) stimulation and guidance toward further research.

The treatment begins with the cultural approach, and this point of view governs throughout. The subject matter, however, is concerned predominantly with the modern changes and problems of the family. Primitive and historical family data are presented not as detached bodies of information to be acquired for their own sake, but mainly to establish those modes of thinking which increasingly characterize modern sociology.

In consistence with this cultural point of view, the contemporary problems of the family are analyzed in terms of the logic of cultural change. The drama is not one of old "evils" attacked by new efforts at "reform," but of continuous social change with its ever new maladjustments, followed by readjustments. The picture is a dynamic one. There is never any real issue between change and no change, but only between any proposed change and alternative changes which might effect the necessary readjustment. The social engineer is not like the boatman upon the waters of a lake, holding the power and the duty to choose his course among the several directions of the compass and the additional alternative of anchoring where he is. He is rather like the boatman in the swift current of a stream, whose only real choice is to steer to right or to left, and whose responsibility is to prevent, the boat's upsetting.

If this view of the modern family and its problems should provoke in some readers a sense of individual helplessness in the face of the tremendous forces of social change, such persons are invited to give special attention to Part V, dealing with the social psychiatry of the family. It is there shown that the individual can do some-

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