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Contested Definitions of Family Chapter 7: Culture Wars

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Secular Humanism Defined ... Excerpt from Council on Secular Humanism. 21. Orthodox: Challenges to Secular Humanism. Favors 'unbelief' over 'belief' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Contested Definitions of Family Chapter 7: Culture Wars


1
Contested Definitions of FamilyChapter 7
Culture Wars
2
Issues Surrounding Definitions of Family
  • Status of men/women
  • Proper gender roles
  • Control over reproduction (i.e. abortion)
  • Parental Authority
  • Societys Responsibility to Children
  • Role of State
  • And other concerns

3
Whats at Stake?
  • The contest over the family, in fact, reflects
    fundamental differences in the assumptions and
    world views of the antagonists.
  • James Hunter, Culture Wars (p. 177)
  • What are these different assumptions?

4
Dick and Jane Readers from the 1950s
5
Dick and Jane Series by the 1960s
6
Lesbian Couple with Children
7
Gay Couple with Children
8
Orthodox Definition of Family
  • Persons living together who are related by blood,
    marriage, or adoption.
  • Authority is patriarchal
  • Obligation and parental responsibility
  • Connected to biological determinism and gender as
    well as theory of natural law

9
Progressive Definition of Family
  • Traditional family definition is not
    necessarily the best or only way to think about
    family
  • Fosters inequality and oppression of women
  • Authority should be equally shared
  • Obligation and parental responsibility
  • Male normative language

10
The Family as Social Institution
  • Change and the American family
  • Ozzie and Harriet myth
  • Either/or definitions of family

11
Are Concerns About Family New?
  • Industrialization and fears about family
  • Basic agreement, however, on what constituted a
    family
  • How todays concerns are different

12
The Family and Public Policy
  • Mid-60s - social sciences begin raising the issue
    of family as a public policy concern
  • Mid-70s congress begins holding hearings on
    problems of family
  • How the 1980 White House Conference on Families
    changed the policy debate

13
Challenge of Homosexuality to Definitions of
Family
  • Homosexuality symbolizes either an absolute and
    fundamental perversion of nature, of the social
    order, and of American family life, or it is
    simply another way in which nature can evolve and
    be expressed, another way of ordering society,
    and an alternative way of conducting family life.
  • James Hunter, Culture Wars (p. 189)

14
Education, The Family, and Sexuality
15
Quote 1
  • The education of the public is not a neutral
    process of imparting practical knowledge and
    technical skill . . . Schools are the primary
    institutional means of reproducing community and
    identity.
  • James Hunter, Culture Wars

16
American Education
  • From Inception to 19th Century- promoted
    religious instruction- sectarian (Protestant
    control over curriculum, texts)
  • Challenges in 19th century by Catholic immigrants

17
The School Question 19th Century
  • Struggle over the moral content of public
    education
  • Essentially a two-sided conflict- Protestant
    vs. Catholic
  • How the School Question was resolved and what the
    two sides had in common
  • How the School Question differs today

18
The School Question Today
  • First half of 20th century- Both Protestant
    domination and Catholic alternative lessened
  • Reason changing structure of American
    pluralism- Problem now between moral
    traditionalists and secular humanists
  • Stakes the same who has power over public
    schools?

19
Quote 2
  • There is a great war waged in America . . . For
    the heart and mind and soul of children . .
    .the combatants are secular humanism and
    Christianity. Atheism, in the cloak of an
    acceptable humanitarian religious philosophy, has
    been subtly introduced into the traditional
    Christian American Culture through the public
    school system. The battle is over the minds of
    our youth.
  • National Association of Christian Educators as
    quoted in Culture Wars

20
Secular Humanism Defined
  • Does not look to god or supernatural forces to
    solve problems or provide guidance for human
    conduct
  • Applies reason, lessons of history, and personal
    experience to form an ethical/moral foundation
    and to create meaning in life
  • Methodology of science seen as the most reliable
    source of information about what is factual or
    true about the universe
  • Excerpt from Council on Secular Humanism

21
Orthodox Challenges to Secular Humanism
  • Favors unbelief over belief
  • Fosters a view of morality as relativistic
  • Threatens parental authority
  • Places the state in control of childrens moral
    values

22
Progressive Response
  • Schools are not secular humanistic but
    non-sectarian
  • Education must emphasize- individual autonomy-
    personal responsibility- pluralistic diversity
  • Counter-Claim Orthodox oppose teaching children
    to think critically

23
Solutions Home-School, Vouchers
  • Vouchers- How system works
  • - Problems
  • Home Schooling- Growing movement
  • - Problems

24
Higher Education
  • Multiculturalism- challenges traditional
    curriculum- problems it presents
  • Assimilation vs. Pluralism
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