Re: about this 'nuclear family' thingie

karl h schwerin (schwerin@UNM.EDU)
Wed, 1 May 1996 13:32:57 -0600

On Thu, 25 Apr 1996, Mark A. Nadler wrote:

> On Thu, 25 Apr 1996, Daniel A. Foss wrote:
> > So, when/what is the "nuclear family"?
> It is still a dearly held cultural ideal. At a recent dinner party,
> where most of the people present were free market liberals who believe in
> less government, I advocated the deregulation of marriage practices in
> the US. In particular, I said that government should get out of the
> business of recognizing and legimatizing particular marriage practices.
> A riot practically broke out. Everyone, including my
> first (and so far) only wife, wanted to "kick my ass." So much for free
> market principles when applied to cultural practices outside of the
> market place. This little ditty also tells me how important the nuclear family
> is to the psyche of American society.
> Mark A. Nadler Internet:
> Ashland University Phone: (419) 289-5912
> Ashland, OH 44805 Fax: (419) 289-5949

On the symbolic importance of the family in the United States, see David
M. Schneider. 1968. American Kinship. (rev. ed. 1980). Though some
things have changed, and particularly (as Foss notes) attitudes about
divorce, much of Schneider's analysis still resonates in contemporary
U.S. society.

Karl Schwerin SnailMail: Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131

There are people who will help you get your basket
on your head because they want to see what is in it.
-- African proverb