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Functionalist Socialization, Family and Character

Functionalist Socialization, Family and Character Abstract According to functionalism, the family internalizes and transmits society’s supposed value consensus from one generation to the next, and such socialization explains morality, social order, and cultural uniformities. I present three investigations that challenge the concept of functionalist socialization, and propose alternative theories that may better explain observations. First, I present evidence from developmental psychology based largely on American subjects and an ethnographic report from Burkina Faso which suggest that the characters of children are not formed by parental socialization. Second, I report data from Europe which suggest that the weaker is family and its supervision, the stronger is character and internalized morality. Third, I report an account of European modernization which suggests that weaker family ties broaden extrafamilial associations and generalize moral orientation. Finally, I suggest that Schelling’s game-theoretic account of social conventions is a better explanation of cultural continuities and discontinuities than is functionalism. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Analyse & Kritik de Gruyter

Functionalist Socialization, Family and Character

Analyse & Kritik , Volume 24 (1) – May 1, 2002

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by the
ISSN
0171-5860
eISSN
2365-9858
DOI
10.1515/auk-2002-0102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract According to functionalism, the family internalizes and transmits society’s supposed value consensus from one generation to the next, and such socialization explains morality, social order, and cultural uniformities. I present three investigations that challenge the concept of functionalist socialization, and propose alternative theories that may better explain observations. First, I present evidence from developmental psychology based largely on American subjects and an ethnographic report from Burkina Faso which suggest that the characters of children are not formed by parental socialization. Second, I report data from Europe which suggest that the weaker is family and its supervision, the stronger is character and internalized morality. Third, I report an account of European modernization which suggests that weaker family ties broaden extrafamilial associations and generalize moral orientation. Finally, I suggest that Schelling’s game-theoretic account of social conventions is a better explanation of cultural continuities and discontinuities than is functionalism.

Journal

Analyse & Kritikde Gruyter

Published: May 1, 2002

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