Abstract of The Family, the Child, and Social Change. Paper presented at a conference of the International Sociological Association (ISA), 1978.
Factors relating to social change, nationally & internationally, are normally conceptualized in terms of national & global events, nation states, & international relations. Family is rarely conceptualized as a social change agent. It is regarded as too small, too powerless, too unorganized to influence social change in any significant way. It is seen as a conserver & transmitter of traditional values & behavior patterns. But the family is not only supportive of traditional culture & contemporary social systems. It can be conceptualized as an agent of social change. A current theory of peace research-action is used in investigating some aspects of the family as change agent. This is the humanistic (Galtung) theory of peace research-action based on a positive philosophy of human development & human fulfillment, which sees socialization of the human being as crucial in determining the direction of human development & resultant social life. The human being is seen as being as predisposed to the development of cooperative relations with others as to the development of antagonistic relations. The family can begin from the birth of the child to socialize in a positive way so as to combat direct & structural violence, which is prevalent not only nationally & internationally, but also locally & domestically. In such a schema, the family is a potential social change agent, since it is the primary socializing agent capable of tipping the balance of personal development in the direction of cooperative &/or antagonistic values & behavior.
Floyd M. Martinson