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Familism

The New Social Order Of The Revolution

In political terms, familism can be associated with the new social order, inspired by the European Enlightenment in the eighteenth century—which stressed the ability of human reason to understand the world and to solve social and ethical problems, and citizens' right to participate in the process of governance—and the French Revolution. The new order broke with the old hierarchical and stratified ways of social organization, facilitating a democratic social model. However, the private domain, and, therefore, the family institution, remained within the old hierarchical pattern of relationships.

Alexis de Tocqueville, in De la démocratie en Amérique (Democracy in America, 1835), did not use the term familism specifically, but analyzed a tendency of general well-being and interest, remaining between the limits of the family and reference group. He called this feeling individualism. Familism, as a double moral behavior (competition in the public domain and cooperation in the private domain), appears in Herbert Spencer's evolutionism. Spencer's concept of empathy could be seen as a tool for softening the competitive mechanism that governs social matters. In his theory, the family is the only social context where the behaviors of help and protection are expected.

Colonial economics. The colonial economic pattern of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries is another antecedent of the current concept of familism. Colonialism, as a way of political and economic organization, developed an economy of subsistence and one that tended to export, and at the same time maintained a traditional cultural pattern, which guaranteed social stability. In the process of economic growth and decolonization, this traditional culture became an obstacle for the modernization of those societies.

Briefly, in the development of the democratic Western societies and the experience of the colonial economic pattern, familism could be seen in the family, clan, or village as a conservative element that impeded the economic and democratic growth of modem societies.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of FamiliesFamilism - The Antecedents Of Familism, The New Social Order Of The Revolution, Familism After World War Ii