steve sailer posted about the curious distribution of todd’s absolute nuclear family (the yellow bits on the map over here) — this family system, according to todd, is found in the eastern parts of england and scotland, denmark and southern norway, what looks like frisia to me, and brittany. steve points out that all of these were anglo-saxon lands back in the day — except for brittany.
todd (in “The Explanation of Ideology”) describes the absolute nuclear family as having these characteristics:
- no precise inheritance rules, frequent use of wills;
– no cohabitation of married children with their parents;
– no marriage between the children of brothers.
here are a couple excerpts from his chapter on nuclear families:
“Peter Laslett, with the help of household lists, has thus studied household composition as far back as the sixteenth century, and Alan Macfarlane has extended the analysis back to the thirteenth century by reinterpreting medieval documents about inheritance customs. The result of this research is clear: extended families have never existed in England where, at least since the Middle Ages, the nuclear model has been the dominant form…. What the research conducted in England in the 1960s and 1970s shows is that the individual, in the sociological sense of the word, has always existed in certain regions of Europe.”
well, not always but, rather, since at least the medieval period.
i’ve got alan macfarlane’s “The Origins of English Individualism” sitting on the shelf here. i’m hoping he can shed more light on this anglo individualism/nuclear family thing.
more from todd. pg. 101:
“The dislocation of traditional English and (northern) French societies by a complex process of ubanization, industrialization and the spread of literacy, has been comparatively less painful than in cultures dominated by a family ideal that emphasizes the complementary qualities of parents and children. The rural exodus separates the generations and erodes the core of complex families of the exogamous community and authoritarian models. It has no effect on a system dominated by nuclear households, where the early breakdown of domestic groups is socially acceptable and prepared for by an apprenticeship in individual autonomy from childhood. Urbanization in England started early and was soon complete. By comparison with Germany and Russia which developed later, the process in England seems to have been an easy one. It occurred in a peasant society which was already very flexible.”
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