FOOTHOLDS: Understanding the Shifting Family and Sexual Tensions in Our Culture by Philip Slater

FOOTHOLDS: Understanding the Shifting Family and Sexual Tensions in Our Culture

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A series of provoking articles, strung together in loose association, which make many valid observations on American middle-class family life and related issues. A former sociology department chairman at Brandeis, Slater states his opinions with a minimum of jargon and provides evidence from a variety of sources and specialties, often with a strong psychoanalytic orientation. Examining modern attitudes toward sexuality, he finds an engineer's concern for performance and product in the preoccupation with ""adequacy"" and orgasm. He looks at domestic arrangements and discusses their significance for children regarding identification and internalization of values. Exploring the Freudian contention that sexual repression facilitates cultural development, he formulates his own index of variables, finds support for the theory, and discovers a correlation to narcissism as well. Other areas under scrutiny: treatment of the elderly, the implications of child-centered households, sources of militarism and sadism in warlike cultures, the impact of geographical mobility on American values, the effects of libido diffusion and contraction on group membership. The nuclear family has become such a ready target of late that it's refreshing to find a plain-spoken social scientist with no smoking gun in hand. Penetrating arguments from an astute observer.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1976
Publisher: Dutton