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Reading History Sideways : The Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life - Arland Thornton

Reading History Sideways

The Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life

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European and American scholars from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries thought that all societies passed through the same developmental stages, from primitive to advanced. Implicit in this developmental paradigm-one that has affected generations of thought on societal development-was the assumption that one could "read history sideways." That is, one could see what the earlier stages of a modern Western society looked like by examining contemporaneous so-called primitive societies in other parts of the world.

In Reading History Sideways, leading family scholar Arland Thornton demonstrates how this approach, though long since discredited, has permeated Western ideas and values about the family. Further, its domination of social science for centuries caused the misinterpretation of Western trends in family structure, marriage, fertility, and parent-child relations. Revisiting the "developmental fallacy," Thornton here traces its central role in changes in the Western world, from marriage to gender roles to adolescent sexuality. Through public policies, aid programs, and colonialism, it continues to reshape families in non-Western societies as well.

"An exceptional work. Thornton''s intellectual breadth is remarkable, as is the creativity of his argument and the evidence he marshals for it. His ideas are strikingly original and extremely important, and his argument is careful and thoughtful. This book should be read by policymakers, members of the diplomatic community, those connected with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, heads of NGOs working around the world, family planning organizations, and anyone concerned with America''s role as a world leader."--Linda Waite, University of Chicago

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction and Approaches
Introduction and Overviewp. 3
Models, Data, and Methodsp. 13
Influence on Family Scholars
Views of Changes in Family Life from Reading History Sidewaysp. 47
The Fertility Decline in Northwest Europep. 73
Changes in Family Life in the Northwest European Historical Recordp. 81
The Scholarly Legacyp. 103
The Legacy of Datap. 123
Influence on Individual and Community Actors
Developmental Idealismp. 133
Freedom, Equality, and Consent in Northwest European Family Relationshipsp. 161
Fighting Barbarism in the United Statesp. 180
Government Pathways of Influence outside Northwest Europep. 197
Social and Economic Pathways of Influence outside Northwest Europep. 214
The Power of Developmental Thinkingp. 230
Postscript: Dealing with the Language of the Developmental Paradigmp. 244
Referencesp. 249
Indexp. 301
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226798608
ISBN-10: 0226798607
Series: Population and Development Series
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 1st April 2005
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 16.1  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.58