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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
|Introduction and Approaches|
|Introduction and Overview||p. 3|
|Models, Data, and Methods||p. 13|
|Influence on Family Scholars|
|Views of Changes in Family Life from Reading History Sideways||p. 47|
|The Fertility Decline in Northwest Europe||p. 73|
|Changes in Family Life in the Northwest European Historical Record||p. 81|
|The Scholarly Legacy||p. 103|
|The Legacy of Data||p. 123|
|Influence on Individual and Community Actors|
|Developmental Idealism||p. 133|
|Freedom, Equality, and Consent in Northwest European Family Relationships||p. 161|
|Fighting Barbarism in the United States||p. 180|
|Government Pathways of Influence outside Northwest Europe||p. 197|
|Social and Economic Pathways of Influence outside Northwest Europe||p. 214|
|The Power of Developmental Thinking||p. 230|
|Postscript: Dealing with the Language of the Developmental Paradigm||p. 244|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Population and Development Series
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
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