Family, Marriage, and Parenthood

By Howard Becker; Reuben Hill | Go to book overview
Nevertheless, they have carried on their analyses within much the same frame of reference, for they know that little can be done with a mixture unless there is some knowledge of what its different ingredients are.Moreover, the succeeding chapters are also oriented toward the study of what the family does -- i.e., what its functions are -- in a world that has been shifting back and forth between sacred and secular for a long time. These functions, in the American sociological tradition, are commonly held to be seven: (1) reproduction of population; (2) protection and care of the child; (3) economic production of family goods and services; (4) socialization of the child; (5) education of the child; (6) recreation; and (7) affectional interaction. If the student in reading the text will perpetually ask himself this question: "What are the differences in the way each of these functions is carried on when a society is sacralizing and when it is secularizing?" he will have done much to organize his thinking about the family in a lastingly useful way.In the chapter on the future of the family the seven functions above listed are surveyed with special reference to the conclusions about them that can justifiably be drawn from the preceding portions of the text. Before that chapter is reached, however, the student should have made up his own mind about the problems raised and, it is to be hoped, will also have decided what he intends to do about them as they affect him personally. Science speaks in the declarative mode, not in the optative or imperative. It relieves no one of the responsibility of running his own life. If he shirks that responsibility, life will run him.
SELECTED READINGS
ARENSBERG CONRAD M., The Irish Countryman ( New York: Macmillan, 1937).
-----, and KIMBALL SOLON T., Family and Community in Ireland ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940).
BARNES HARRY ELMER, and BECKER HOWARD, Social Thought from Lore to Science ( 2 vols.; Boston: Heath, 1938), vol. 1, chap. 1, and notes.
BECKER HOWARD, German Youth: Bond or Free ( New York: Oxford, 1946), chaps. 1, 4.
-----, "Processes of Secularisation," Sociological Review (British) 24 ( April, July, and October 1932), pp. 138-154; 266-286. A mimeographed copy may be secured free (except for Railway Express Collect shipping charges payable on delivery) by writing to the Secretary, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
-----, "Interpreting Family Life in Context." A full mimeographed version of the present chapter, including many footnotes and examples omitted for lack of space, can be secured as above.
CARPENTER NILES, The Sociology of City Life ( New York: Longmans, Green, 1931), chaps. 6-10, 13, 14.
CURWEN E. CECIL, "The Hebrides: a Cultural Backwater," Antiquity 12, No. 47 ( Sept. 1938), pp. 261-289.
DODSON L. S., Social Relationships and Institutions in an Established Rural Community, South Holland, Illinois

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