By Elizabeth Abbott
What does the "tradition of marriage" relatively appear like? In A background of Marriage, Elizabeth Abbott paints a frequently incredible photograph of this so much public, but so much intimate, establishment. Ritual of romance, or social legal responsibility? everlasting bliss, or cult of domesticity? Abbott finds a posh culture that comes with same-sex unions, prepared marriages, dowries, self-marriages, and baby brides. Marriage--in all its loving, unloving, decadent, and impoverished manifestations--is printed right here via Abbott's infectious interest.
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Additional info for A History of Marriage
The affective and intellectual faculties it is used to explain is better explained by (phrenological) physiology. Psychology, then, is reducible to physiology. But only partly. Human beings are social beings and the main bulk of human action is part of society. What cannot be explained by physiology, therefore, must be explained by sociology. In addition to being a physiological reductionist, then, Comte was a sociological reductionist; the founder, not just of sociology, but of sociologism. Like many other social theorists in the nineteenth century, Comte conceived of society as an organism and like most of them, he saw the social organism as a whole which must be investigated as such: ‘viewing each element in the light of the whole system’ (p.
Knapp. The Younger Historical School had thrown off most of the romanticist baggage, but retained the view of economics as political economy. It was characterised, above all, by detailed empirical investigation of economic institutions. 12 To sum up my presentation of historicism, so far, I suggest that it comprises the following holistic doctrines: I Organicism: The state and/or society is conceived of as an organism. This idea has two elements: (1) Organisms are wholes, where each part depends for its existence and functioning upon the other parts and upon its place in the whole.
At the beginning of history, social phenomena may be explained in terms of human nature alone. As soon as human beings have been modified by social develop- Background 29 ment, however, this is no longer possible. Biological reductionism, therefore, is wrong. ‘The consequence of this error is that social modifications proper to certain periods, and passing away with them, are too often supposed to be inherent in human nature, and therefore indestructible’ (Comte [1836–42] 1974: 488). This argument has lost none of its topicality.