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In: The Social Thought of Georg Simmel

Chapter 5: Evolution: The Family and Private Life

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Evolution: The Family and Private Life
Evolution: The family and private life
The Bond Between Mother and Child

In order to get an impression of how Simmel approached the topic of evolution of family life, we will take a look at his article “Toward a Sociology of the Family,” which appeared in 1895 in two consecutive weekend editions of a German daily newspaper (Simmel, 1895b). His overriding methodological interest is the evolution of culture. In this text, he addresses the then-new and, in many respects, sensational findings of cultural anthropology on how family life and sexual relations were conducted in native tribal societies.

Some writers constructed an evolutionary theory that assumed that in an early stage of human development, there were various forms of polygamy and even promiscuity. ...

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