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Ctrl Alt Del 12-16-2009 06:51 AM

Family
 
The capitalist definition of family follows a role model that comprises the following elements: Father, mother and children. With the first element being the title role, a friend institituition of the capitalist family called "patriachy". These points are easily exemplified by looking at almost every family around.

The biological function of a family is to reproduce and increase the odds of genetic perpetuation. The social function a family is to create individuals that share the same values of their parenting individuals, efectively recreating them, if you will. ["One of the primary functions of the family is to produce and reproduce persons—biologically and socially." - Souce]

We now skip fact and dive into theory.

Family is an invention. At least family as we know it, the aforementioned capitalist families, which, although present in more than one way, was cleverly designed to maintain order and enshrine bourgeois values. And this model, widely present on western societies, is rarely criticized. The ordinary individual fraternizes and even blindly agrees that there's no alternative to this role model. This can be observed by how an appointment with a conservative psychologist goes; the professional will base some of his or her treatment based on questions relating the subject's familiar structure. If the patient's family doesn't match the "natural", this will add up to his/her emotional unbalance charge. That is, according to the psychologist, of course.

The restraining effects of the capitalist family wouldn't be too damaging if it was just excluding by nature, but it's also the model that has seen almost universal acceptance by now, effectively shunning any possible alternative. This leads to individuals whom don't compact with this order to be treated as social unfits, since that's what they're supposed to do. The model won't bent for individuals, but the inverse is, and should always be, true, according to the model.

Extrapolating, since any model that escapes the capitalist definition of family is condemned and instantly rejected or frowned on, family would be the core pillar that makes elements of society (and, if we truly are being realistic here, the vast majority of society) disapprove and fight against other family variants, such as the differences that results from gay marriage, or children raised exclusively by one of the parents.

The thread is, as always, open for discussion and new thoughts.

mur'phon 12-16-2009 07:20 AM

Kudos for an interesting and original topic.

I take issue with calling it "capitalist family" as it's not necessary for capitalism to function, you don't need such a family to accumulate and reinvest wealth. I', not saying it isn't helpful, as females tend to end up doing a lot of unpaid work in the family thus helping the male accumulate capital.

Also for the purpose of this thread, do you mind providing a definition of bourgeois values?

I'll reply more fully once that is out of the way

Jae Onasi 12-16-2009 09:32 AM

I'll dispute that the concept of a nuclear family is a recent capitalist invention in the first place. There have been families long before capitalism came into being. A nuclear family (father, mother, children) is described in a variety of ancient documents and legal codes--Bible (Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus being one of the more famous ones), Roman and Greek documents, etc. The nuclear family has existed for thousands of years.

The reason that this model is the preferred one is that it one that appears to work the best. Many studies show that children are more stable, happier, and have a much lower incidence of poverty when they grow up in a two-parent household. Do children grow up well in other households? Sure, many do, but they may not have the same advantages they might have had in a 2-parent household. Growing up in poverty does not afford the same opportunities. No family is perfect, but the traditional nuclear model at its best appears to work in a superior way to other family models at their best.

Sabretooth 12-16-2009 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi (Post 2694353)
I'll dispute that the concept of a nuclear family is a recent capitalist invention in the first place. There have been families long before capitalism came into being. A nuclear family (father, mother, children) is described in a variety of ancient documents and legal codes--Bible (Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus being one of the more famous ones), Roman and Greek documents, etc. The nuclear family has existed for thousands of years.

Perhaps in the West, but the East has a completely different story. Joint families were considered the norm in Eastern cultures, such as India or China and their prevalence is noticeable in ancient texts and epics as well.

In fact, the changing nature of families from joint to nuclear is something we were asked to comment on in school. It's generally believed here that modernisation and industrialisation led to the formation of nuclear families - the direct causes being a need to be independent, easier economic management and migration. Migration is something I'll elaborate here, as it is something you can witness in modern India and China today.

If you look at the hinterlands of the two countries, you'll find that villagers live in joint families whenever possible, but economic conditions have forced them to move to cities. Villagers then usually send the able member of their family to earn in the city and send back money to support the family. The breadwinner creates a family in the city, and due to his already dire economic conditions, is forced to keep it as limited as possible.

Additionally, cities are running out of space. The householder has no choice but to ask his sons and daughters to make their homes elsewhere as their homes would most likely cap at 4-5 members. All of this works towards the glorification of the nuclear family model, which is seen as capitalist by our good Ctrl Alt Del.

Good thread, by the way, can make for a ton of discussion.

jrrtoken 12-16-2009 11:20 AM

I'd definitely say that the "default" arrangement in Western society is nuclear, but I feel that it is simply a Western trait that has been perpetuated due to the societal norm that it has become. Arguably, I'd also say that the de facto family arrangement is dependent on current economic matters. After all, when more income is pooled together, the easier it is to survive; it's basic economics. One could also claim that it would benefit the welfare of the eldest generation; by ensuring more people to care for seniors, I'm sure that the lifespan for those individuals in-question would increase dramatically as opposed to single or married senior households.

mimartin 12-16-2009 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi (Post 2694353)
Sure, many do, but they may not have the same advantages they might have had in a 2-parent household.

So a two parent household is better than a two parent household with a grandparent or two? If a two parent household is so good, wouldn't a three or four guardian household even be better.

Also does this “2-parent” household have to be the biological mother and father?

I am under the opinion that it is more important as to who the parent/parents are and how the care for the child and less to do with the number of parents.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi (Post 2694353)
No family is perfect, but the traditional nuclear model at its best appears to work in a superior way to other family models at their best.

I disagree. I believe the extended family model is superior. Then again, it is my belief that it is the parent/parents that can make any model superior. Just having and staying married to a woman would not make me a good parent. It is the effort the parent puts in to his/her children that makes for a superior family, not the numbers.

Web Rider 12-16-2009 03:39 PM

I certainly agree that it is your goals as a person, and those advocated by your society, that define how your family is going to be, however, I think an important aspect to note, especially in modern society, is that there are variations on nuclear and extended families. While living on my own with my family technically makes me nuclear, if my parents live next door, and my aunt is across the street, I am now somewhat of a mixture between the two. I have my normal nuclear independence and control of my own home, however, I also have the support of an extended family not more than 20 feet away.

Like all things, I don't think either family style is the absolute solution, people NEED social support, more than that too, they NEED family support, which is an entirely different variety than social support. However, there is a lot of independence and freedom lost when the youth are required to take care of the elderly, and when an adult has to give up control of their household to another. People need social support, but people also need space.

I disagree that the nuclear family is the source of capitalist success, I think it is a capitalist wet dream, as the more households there are the more duplicates of things people need. However, many households that have multiple members have greatly reduced costs, as "employees" can be paid in room and board and family support than actual wages.

Darth333 12-17-2009 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sabretooth (Post 2694358)
Perhaps in the West, but the East has a completely different story.

I agree with you but it's not just a "West" thing...Several communities/cultures that are part of the Western world do not use that same notion of family as is prevalent nowadays in North America or many countries of Western Europe. Even in the "West", the notion and extent of "family" can vary greatly from a culture to another...from the Inuit to some other European influenced cultures.

Quote:

Growing up in poverty does not afford the same opportunities.
So what does that has to do with the North American-European so-called dominant notion of family? Single parent does not necessarily equals poverty (and why would poverty itself be a "disqualification"...a lot of people made it out of nothing too). I know quite a lot of children living with a single parent who earns well above the average salary of a "normal" couple. Of course, on average a single person will likely make less than a couple but that has nothing to do with the 'traditional" family in the North American general meaning of the word not does it means that poor parents are not as good as others. Lots of factors come into play.

Quote:

No family is perfect, but the traditional nuclear model at its best appears to work in a superior way to other family models at their best.
I'd take other models with many other multiple members (cousins, etc.) well before this one. I suppose that the majority of the publications you refer to are made according to this "dominant model" in "western" society. But what about other models elsewhere?

Having been constantly moving and living with different cultures I find it hard to see how someone would think they hold the absolute solution or truth in this regard. When I use the word family in another country than mine (or even withing mine depending who I am addressing to), I can expect that the person with whom I am talking may perceive a different meaning of the word). What is fitting for one is not necessarily good for the other IMHO and there might be many other valid models.

Darth Avlectus 12-18-2009 03:17 AM

Family. Well let's see...

I've known dysfunctional families whose biological connection is there but it serves no practical purpose. I also am by proxy familiar with the concept of street family. Where people turn to when their own flesh and blood is not on their side. Also there is similarly family friend, of which I directly have many.

I'm not convinced blood is the thickest bond in every case. Though it is the truth of my family bond, and I'm very fortunate to be where I am.

Still, in any case I think everyone needs influence of a motherly and fatherly figure for in lacking either I've seen the detrimental conditions as a result.

In terms of capitalism, a nuclear family is not strictly needed. And as time goes on I am also growing more and more convinced that capitalism=/=free market enterprise.

I don't agree that single parent families are necessarily poor. Especially where the parent is well to do.
Families of close friends sticking together and doing quite well for years; street families where nobody may be related. These are in all classes, though yes primarily in low to middle class.
I've seen: 2 parent families be poor. Most of these are "working poor"--like my family was. We work, we have homes but the government puts us in the poor class, and other institutions look at us the same.
Have seen "moving curcus" or "all under one roof" extended families which are generally poor, but in a couple cases very rich.

There's nothing to definitively tell me that one family model is necessarily more wealthy or successful than another--or functional for that matter. Dysfunctionality is present in all economic classes.

Pavlos 12-18-2009 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi (Post 2694353)
I'll dispute that the concept of a nuclear family is a recent capitalist invention in the first place. There have been families long before capitalism came into being. A nuclear family (father, mother, children) is described in a variety of ancient documents and legal codes--Bible (Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus being one of the more famous ones), Roman and Greek documents, etc. The nuclear family has existed for thousands of years.

There are several schools on this and, as ever, the rivalry between renaissance scholars and medievalists can take precedence over the facts of the matter but: I'd dispute the idea that the nuclear family has been knocking about for "thousands of years". It's not really until the 17th century in Europe (although some medievalists would argue to the contrary) that the idea of the nuclear family emerges as something which is incredibly important and then (as now) it was very much a bourgeois obsession; something which is "done" and proper.

I don't think the many members of the upper classes who sent and send their children away to public schools on the other side of the country from the family home really think much about how that affects family relations. The primary concern is that it helps in building a network of contacts to be called upon when the need arises, a much more old fashioned view of familial relations: the extended family constructed of "aunts" of no relation whatsoever and other members of the same social class. Similarly so, you have to understand that the way in which medieval texts deal with marriage is not in terms of love or lust but of financial transaction and economic necessity. Men pay their marriage "debt" to women through sex. Women bear the children of men to perpetuate the feudal society (an economic model which is engaged entirely in self replication, something which capitalists can find quite difficult to understand). Female virginity is referred to as "treasure" (as it may still be done today in some of the more eccentric Dorsetshire pubs). The female body is constantly paralleled to the economic or social state of a city (with hang-overs in the early English renaissance: the violation scene in The Rape of Lucrece is dealt entirely by the simile of a city being overwhelmed).

vanir 12-19-2009 04:56 AM

There may be some confusion about protocols to determine psychological health as well here.

In most developed nations the mental health facility is two-pronged. Generally speaking, at their core, psychologists are concerned with counselling, whilst psychiatrists are concerned with biochemical medicine. The main change introduced in recent times has been the advent of psychology and menial counselling services as opposed to psychotherapy, which is more expensive and unsuitable for mundane, although serious personal issues (because of cost-benefit ratio).

The mental health facility essentially works towards mental competency in this fashion, followed by concerns of social health and well being.

The primary requisite for mental ill health is simply that the patient is pathologically distressed. It is really that simple and the patient, not any social standards whatsoever are the measure here.

Some interesting observations however, cultural sociology influences individual psychological well being, as do personal outlooks and beliefs, perceptual adoptions, self hypnosis, intellectual assumptions, schooling, peer group pressure, drug use of any kind (including coffee and cigarettes), habits, lifestyle and living environment...

It is indeed an American phenomenon to describe psychological well being with terms like "charge scale" and "colour grades" or similar. It does not sit nicely with me either, it infers a complete lack of any individual role in personal well being, as though it is all mechanical and someone must pay a mechanic if they want it fixed when it breaks.
In any case the yankocentric terminology is used in substitute for simple terms like "patient discomfort" or "distress" which some may say places too much responsibility on the shoulders of the patient.

Regardless cultural differences in terminology, the same core is used which identifies circumstances for patients so they may make informed decisions about their lives.
Psychologists do not instruct patients to adhere to social standards for good health. They tell them, in certain cases contradicting the cultural expecations and community standards of your particular area may be contributing to personal distress, or otherwise complicate issues of psychological discomfort. Social anxiety is frequently a feature of poor psychological well being and if it cannot be curbed to get at the root issues (typically with counselling) it needs to be medicated to get it out of the road that way (a more extreme measure with potential side effects).

Also mental health workers of all kinds would be frequently frustrated with the observation a good portion of mental health patients cause the majority of their own issues needlessly, whilst the rest cause the majority of their own issues unavoidably and it is the latter the institution is really designed to assist.

Poor mental health can sometimes be characterised by that joke about the fly in the soup.
"Shhh, not too loudly Sir," the waiter replies, "Or else everybody will want one."

Here is the maxim of good mental health. Regardless of all other issues, presuming no involvement of criminal behaviour (which in the modern age defines aberrant), if you feel good about yourself, okay with the world, are a functioning human being and don't frighten small children on contact, you can see little fairy godmothers and still epitomise good mental health. That's the truth.
Patient distress is the core prerequisite for any and all mental health issues (although patient distress may not exhibit until say, the police are telling you strangling kittens is illegal, but that's beside the point, it has nothing to do with social standards since criminal law deals with that).


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