His only rival for this label would be his friend, occasional coauthor, and colleague Pitirim Sorokin. Sorokin grew up in Russia, became a peasant revolutionary and a young minister in the brief Kerensky government, and barely survived the Bosheviks, choosing banishment in over a death sentence. They were teamed up at the University of Minnesota in to teach a seminar on rural sociology. Five years later, this collaboration resulted in the volume Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, and a few years thereafter in the multivolume A Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology. In all this activity, Zimmerman focused on the family virtues of farm people. Ogburn and Joseph K.
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He was off in his prediction of the collapse of the West he thought end of 20th century but his analysis that the West can not rejuvenate itself until and unless the family unit is delivered from its current hyper atomism was spot on.
Zimmerman comments that healthy families will prioritize proles children , fidelity faithfulness and Sacramentum indivisibility of family ties as a consequence of faith in God. This suggests that the restoration of the family can not happen without restoration of Biblical Christianity and the restoration of Biblical Christianity will be identified, in part, by a return to Christian marriages having many children. The role of the family is too-often neglected, and Zimmerman makes a compelling case that as the family goes, so goes civilization.
This impacts marital and reproductive ethics, but it ought to also inform our theories of political rights, representation, and economics. Zimmerman goes into extensive detail on every aspect of the family and how family structure relates to civilization. He explains that civilization always begins with what he calls the trustee family structure, where the family is the law and is the self-contained governing unit of society. The danger of the trustee family structure is the likelihood of blood feuds between families since there is no higher This is an extensive and comprehensive review of family structure throughout human history.
The danger of the trustee family structure is the likelihood of blood feuds between families since there is no higher law than the family itself. He cites one prominent example of two families that all but wiped each other out in medieval France. The trustee family always evolves into the domestic family, where the state or church has the final say in marriage law, and where society tends to be more concerned with prosperity and building civilization.
Prosperity and the domestic family always evolve into the atomistic family, where personal pleasure and desires take precedence over family responsibilities and the family begins to disintegrate until civilization collapses. He traces the rise and fall of both Greek and Roman civilization while bringing other civilizations in for comparison. The pattern is always the same: the trustee family creates a civilization, becomes a domestic family as civilization grows and prospers, and the then disintegrates into an atomistic family as civilization collapses.
He does a very good job of explaining how and why the feudal system developed and recreated the trustee family structure after Rome collapsed. If you want to understand family structure in a deeply historical context, this book will give you that understanding.
Family and Civilization
In this unjustly forgotten work Zimmerman demonstrates the close and causal connections between the rise and fall of different types of families and the rise and fall of civilizations, particularly ancient Greece and Rome, medieval and modern Europe, and the United States. Zimmerman traces the evolution of family structure from tribes and clans to extended and large nuclear families to the small nuclear families and broken families of today. And he shows the consequences of each structure for the bearing and rearing of children; for religion, law, and everyday life; and for the fate of civilization itself. Zimmerman purports to present a comprehensive understanding of European history. Professor Hsu held degrees in Sociology, Economics LSE , and Anthropology, specializing in kinship patterns and cultural comparisons between large, literate societies, namely, the United States, China, India, and Japan. He received a B. A in sociology from the University of Shanghai and worked as a social worker in the Peking Union Medical College Hospital after graduation.
How Families Contribute to the Rise and Fall of Civilizations