Nisbet: Role of Family in Society

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Robert Alexander Nisbet is an American sociologist. He was born in 1913 and died in 1996. His first important work The Quest for Community (published in 1969) stated that modern social science’s individualism denied an important drive toward community. The American family has evolved a olt in the past century.

If we put the quote back in its historical context, we note that nowadays children endure more emotional disruption in familial relations than ever before. The last 50 years have seen a sudden rise in divorce (the U.S. has the highest of any industrialized nation), cohabitation rather than marriage and children born out of wedlock. This marks a shift away from the ideal of the companion marriage popularized in the early 1920s to self-aspiration, enhanced freedom, and egalitarian relationships. Since the 1960s, society has become more inclusive and women more financially independent. This is the America in which Nisbet wrote his main works and this is why he emphasises the importance of having tied families. The family, not the individual, is the real molecule of society, the key link in the social chain of being. Robert Nisbet

Robert Nisbet opposes the individual to the family. He therefore creates a cleavage between the person as one self and the group. In the ways of a scientist, he explains the construction of molecules as a group of atoms put together. He clearly states that the family, as the source of moral education and as the environment in which children grow up, is a key to the construction of society. According to R. Nisbet an individual cannot carry the weight of society’s codes. Family appears as a necessary element in the construction of each and every one of us. It is indeed as we share lives with our elders that we learn the essential principles of life. We learn most of what we know in our families throughout the education that is conferred. Moral codes, respect, discipline, politeness, etc are taught during the youngest years of...
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