IS THE NUCLEAR FAMILY STILL RELEVANT?

  • January 22, 2014 · 7:00 PM

Let us define the traditional nuclear family as a mother, father and their children.  Any additional, related kinsmen would then make an 'extended family'.   An argument could be made that the nuclear family has been an existential reality for some time.  The question is whether or not that nuclear family is relevant today or if it even exists.  Given single parent households and gay marriages, plus attempts at removing the parent altogether as in the Israeli kibbutz program, are we not deviating from the structure of the traditional nuclear family concept?  Can we sustain such a deviation?  And what about the function of such a structure?  In many households both parents deem it necessary to work.  Thus, children spend time with nannies, babysitters, kindergarten teachers and elementary school teachers, not to mention neighborhood peer groups--and sometimes perhaps not even 'peer' groups.  So, if we examine the structure and function of the so-called nuclear family, can we say it is still relevant?  Or maybe it's still relevant, but impractical.  But wouldn't 'impractical' imply irrelevance?  


I'm sure you can think of many other issues that revolve around this question.  I look forward to having you share your thoughts and ideas with us at the next meeting.  See you then.     

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  • Gene R.

    3. Seems like "nuclear family" is another one of those concepts that we recognize, when challenged , as a mental fiction--a story that is not technically truth, but is useful in discourse and and in formulating an action or behavior.

    January 23, 2014

  • Gene R.

    1. A number of philosophers, esp. existentialists, argue that ontological analysis is incomplete when one fails to address relationships among the entities embodied in an object. That includes relationships with family and friends, society in general, and also one's self. Kinship is only one of the several operative relationships that exists in a family.
    2. Existentialists also have a distaste for history and tradition noting that human objects are always changing (becoming) so trying to define "nuclear family" as a static object is doomed to failure over time. Baudrillaird's Simulcra suggests that at some point in time society has a map of some domain drawn (metaphor for a culture or tradition) then goes on to live by the map while the physical world changes underneath.

    1 · January 23, 2014

  • Aydin

    Slipping & sliding on the back roads has persuaded me to remain at home for a far less interesting evening. Regrets...

    January 22, 2014

  • Larry

    The nuclear family is a relatively recent phenomenon, becoming common only within the last century. Before then, the "traditional" family was multigenerational, with grandparents often living with their children on farms as well as in urban environments, typically with other relatives living nearby. The nuclear family has evolved in response to a number of factors: better health and longer lives, economic development, industrialization, urbanization, geographic mobility, and migration to the suburbs. These changes have resulted in physical separation of extended-family members and in progressive fragmentation of the family.

    January 17, 2014

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