[LMB] OT: ish, the nuclear family

Deborah Dempsey deborahsdempsey at gmail.com
Sat Feb 15 18:36:38 GMT 2020


Stephanie Coontz's book is the one I rely upon in these discussions, which
happen fairly frequently among people of my (old) age who tend to see the
past as a lost Eden.


On Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:31 PM Katherine Collett <kcollett at hamilton.edu>
wrote:

> On Feb 15, 2020, at 8:55 AM, Alex Kwan <litalex at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Just finished this rather interesting article.
> >
> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-nuclear-family-was-a-mistake/605536/?utm_source=share&utm_campaign=share
> >
> > It reminds me of all the family and relationship structures in Lois’s
> books.
>
> My niece (who is an Episcopal priest) says that what jumped out at her was
> that Brooks doesn't seem to know what "rectory" means (might he have
> actually meant "factory"?).  That aside, she and her friends discussing the
> article recommend reading When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of
> American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins; Tightrope:
> Americans Reaching for Hope, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn; and The
> Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, by Stephanie
> Coontz.  Brooks is of course right that the nuclear family as the one right
> way is a fairly brief phenomenon (you don't have to know much history to
> realize that), but blaming the more recent lack of local networks on lawns
> having gotten bigger, which he seems to do, does not hold water (for one
> thing, most people live in houses already built before the 1980s, and
> except in some very exclusive neighborhoods, even more recent, larger
> houses are mostly on fairly small lots).  There's lots more to the article,
> and he's right about a lot of what has happened and what is happening,
> though he may not always be getting causality right.
>
> The families in Lois's books do run the gamut, don't they?  The most
> isolated nuclear family might be Ekaterin and Tien's -- not really a
> recommendation for the nuclear family, though of course that's Tien's fault
> (doesn't Ekaterin point out how "alone together) they are?).  In contrast,
> look at Vorkosigan House, and even just Miles ("he's not a man, he's a
> mob").  Fawn's family includes her aunt and is very much networked with the
> local community, and Dag and Fawn accrete family/patrol/community as they
> go.
>
> Katherine
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