The Family as Resource of Society

A Comparative Analysis from a Global Perspective Nowadays, the general debate about family apparently revolves around a crucial question: Is the family founded on a marriage between one man and one woman still a resource for the individual and for society, or is it a bond from the past that hinders individual emancipation and the onset of a freer, happier, and more egalitarian society?[1] Those who affirm the inevitable decline of the family and question its social impact emphasize its constraining, discriminating, and merely private role: Family could actually hinder the human development of the individual, cause injustice and social discrimination between the sexes and generations, and “constrain” people in particularistic and binding relations which do not encourage social solidarity and prosocial behavior. Therefore, family would not produce virtues, be they private or public, but only raise social issues and generate public vices. The Pontifical Council for the Family has launched an international research project with the aim of ascertaining if family is indeed to be blamed for the loss of social virtues, or if “modernization processes, which have deviated from the traditional meaning and social functions of the family” are to be blamed instead.[2] The core hypothesis of this research project, which was launched in 2011, is that family—considered, in the light of a Relational approach, as a relationship of full and stable reciprocity between the sexes and generations—is still one of the greatest resources for society. The survey was carried out in eight countries in Europe and America: Italy, Spain, Poland, the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.[3] The outcomes were presented during the World Meeting of Families in Milan (2012) and Philadelphia (2015), as well as in several papers and books. There have been three main publications: Famiglia risorsa per la società, published in Italy in 2013, and featuring the outcome of the res
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