These notes are the second in a series of fifteen lecture for my class Dynamics of the Family.

  1. Why should "we" be concerned with "the family"?
    1. From personal concerns
      1. about relationships with people closest to us:
        1. parents
        2. friends and lovers
        3. children
    2. to concerns about the State, its laws and regulations (as they apply to us and we find out about them)
      1. about marriage
      2. child care, schooling, etc.
      3. about health
      4. ? ? ? ? (much of the State interest in familial issue remains hidden until one is confronted to it)
    3. to ideological choices and political activitism for or against this or that State intervention
    4. to different types of resistance (from all people, whatever their personal beliefs or class position).
    5. to advocacy for state policies to help change other people's families
  2. Thus, this is not an issue of consensus or "values" to discover (here or there, now or then) but of ongoing production given an inscribed (in myth, custom, regulation, etc.) past.

  3. Issues of politics: from ideology to state action
    1. who can have sex with whom and at what age?
    2. who can marry whom at what age and following what kind of regulations?
    3. who controls when a new being becomes human with state rights and protections?
    4. who controls when a human being dies?
  4. Issues of policy: On (social) science and state regulation
    1. A perennial issue in Euro-American: what should be done about families in poverty, and by whom?
    2. The place of the social sciences as the State has been asked to "do something that works"
    3. The "Black family" as a classic case
      1. from Lyndon Johnson, the Great Society Programs, and the Moynihan report
      2. to the next three quarter century and the continuing debates about the relationship between poverty, its psychological impacts, and its reproduction across the generations
Some questions in the context of this lesson
  • identify two themes that are common in Moynihan and Wilson
  • identify two major differences in approach between Moynihan and Wilson
  • is marriage mostly a personal matter? a communal matter? a state matter?