This study seeks to explore longitudinally the changing behaviors and meanings of the symbols bound to family creation, size and unity in order to understand why and how they changed. The research method fuses historical facts collected from historical literature, the data from the participant’s interviews, and the ethnology of the American family made by David Schneider (1980), using symbolic anthropology as the guiding theoretical framework. The imposed gender differentiation, religious precepts, the shifting economic models, economic recessions, World War I and World War II, intellectual and technological developments, and the ideologies accompanying these events caused changes of human behavior and the redefinition of main cultural meanings of the symbols bound to family creation, size and unity. These resulted over time in a systematic shrinking of family creation and size and caused the re-conceptualizing of family unit. Yet, numbers of American family creation and size did not reach negative extremes, as they did in other developed nations. The resisting behavior emerges from the rich ethnic diversity in the nation that offers behavioral alternatives, the people’s trust their government and the American identity rooted on the founding ideals of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Cultural anthropology, Individual & family studies, Social structure|
|Keywords:||Cultural changes, Family creation, Family size, Family unity|
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