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

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Stern, Novak, Harlow, and colleagues say compensation due Californians forcibly sterilized under eugenics laws

Burgard and Seelye find job insecurity linked to psychological distress among workers in later years

Former PSC trainee Jay Borchert parlays past incarceration and doctoral degree into pursuing better treatment of inmates

More News

Highlights

Savolainen wins Outstanding Contribution Award for study of how employment affects recidivism among past criminal offenders

Giving Blueday at ISR focuses on investing in the next generation of social scientists

Pfeffer and Schoeni cover the economic and social dimensions of wealth inequality in this special issue

PRB Policy Communication Training Program for PhD students in demography, reproductive health, population health

More Highlights

Next Brown Bag

Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at noon:
H. Luke Shaefer

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