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wThursday, April 24, 2003


A lesson in the history of family life

I’m going to sum-up a bit of “The Transformation of the Family” by Kenneth Keniston with my own thoughts strewn in.

In the past, family ties were important because the family on a whole served as an economic unit. Every member of the family helped to produce a product (or products), which would sustain the family. Education was unimportant, because the family would train children for a specific task, and thus children were economic units. If there was a divorce, labor units would be lost and poverty could follow, so even loveless marriages became tolerable due to sheer necessity to marry to survive.

Due to the industrial revolution, however, products have become easier to produce, and families began to weaken as economic units, and became less necessary to survive. However, the human need to procreate the species, as any species would do to prevent dying out, made families needed, and children became dependants as opposed to economic assets—a major change in the formation of family.

Another interesting note is that the industrial revolution is heavily responsible for our modern concepts of time—we need to know when to clock in and clock out to keep the factory going.

I went on further to theorize that the development of modern education being necessary and heath chare being necessary is a result of the industrial revolution. When the family no longer served as it’s own economic unit, and people began to become cogs of a far greater economic unit, it became vital to the system that all the cogs run fluently and efficiently to keep the production line going. Thus come the importance of college degrees—when a company can choose between a cog that runs slowly or isn’t as efficient or a cog that is fast, efficient and shiny, the shiny one will be chosen.

After the woman’s revolution, and women started to “put up with less and expect more” (Keniston), and jobs became open for women, the function of a family as it had been in the past crumbled completely. The woman no longer needs the man for financial support, and that was the last remaining function the family had, economically speaking.

So now, the economic function of the family is almost gone, aside from the procreation of a species and training of future cogs for the machine.

Of course, this discourse didn’t prevent people in my class from being complete idiots, as always. “My mother didn’t give birth to me just so I can be a cog in some system devoid of personality.” “First off, I didn’t say anything about personality, you being devoid of it is your own damn fault. Secondly, the reason your parents gave birth to you is to propel the species. You can’t deny that.”

Hehe, no one in logic likes me ^____^ If I didn’t rattle anyone’s cages in that class, I failed my job.

posted by Violet at 6:15 PM



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