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Smirnoff, V.N. (1964). The Family and Human Adaptation: Three Lectures: By Theodore Lidz. (London: Hogarth Press, 1964. Pp. 120. 25s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:602-606.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:602-606

The Family and Human Adaptation: Three Lectures: By Theodore Lidz. (London: Hogarth Press, 1964. Pp. 120. 25s.)

Review by:
Victor N. Smirnoff

Among many possible ways of clarifying the issue of human adaptation, Dr Lidz has chosen the clinical approach. He has made use of his extensive studies of schizophrenic patients' families to elaborate a general theory of the family's role in ego formation. Throughout these three lectures Lidz is searching for some major stabilizing factor in human development, some basic requirements indispensable in establishing 'normal' relationship between the parents and the child.

In his first lecture, 'The Family and Human Adaptation in the Scientific Area', the author examines the impact of 'modern' society on the family structure from a sociological viewpoint. The expanding American society having encompassed many cultural patterns has created a 'babel of cultural traditions'. Nothing is left over from the non-migratory, non-industrial, 'static' societies which provided their members with an extensive kinship system, clear-cut ethical values, well-established patterns of child-rearing and role-distribution in marriage. This structure had undergone little change over generations. The dilemma of the present-day American family is produced by the breaking down of large kinship groups, social mobility, and technical progress: such changes compel a continuing shifting of morals and mores, making family tradition of little use and creating a cultural lag that sets in within a generation.

Lidz studies the 'atomistic family in the atomic age' or the 'nuclear family in the scientific age', a family that consists of a couple and their child, isolated in the midst of society.

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