Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock cited in amicus brief for Supreme Court case on citizenship rights for foreign-born children of unwed parents

Levy, Buchmueller and colleagues examine Medicaid expansion's impact on ER visits

ISR data show large partisan gap in consumer expectations for economy

More News

Highlights

MiCDA Research Fellowship - applications due July 21, 2017

U-M awarded $58 million to develop ideas for preventing and treating health problems

Bailey, Eisenberg , and Fomby promoted at PSC

Former PSC trainee Eric Chyn wins PAA's Dorothy S. Thomas Award for best paper

More Highlights

Arland Thornton photo

Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life

Publication Abstract
Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life cover image

Thornton, Arland. 2005. Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life. Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press.

European and American scholars from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries thought that all societies passed through the same developmental stages, from primitive to advanced. Implicit in this developmental paradigm—one that has affected generations of thought on societal development—was the assumption that one could "read history sideways." That is, one could see what the earlier stages of a modern Western society looked like by examining contemporaneous so-called primitive societies in other parts of the world.

In Reading History Sideways, leading family scholar Arland Thornton demonstrates how this approach, though long since discredited, has permeated Western ideas and values about the family. Further, its domination of social science for centuries caused the interpretation of Western trends in family structure, marriage, fertility, and parent-child relations. Revisiting the "developmental fallacy," Thornton here traces its central role in changes in the Western world, from marriage to gender roles to adolescent sexuality. Through public policies, aid programs, and colonialism, it continues to shape families in non-Western societies as well.

Reading History Sideways book site

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next