“Family Values” And Domestic Economy By: Gerald W. Creed LONG BLOG POST

Creed, Gerald W. 2000. “Family Values and Domestic Economies.” Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol.29, pp.329-355.


– Living arrangements are essential to concepts of the family.

– Proper families are constituted with particular types of blood and conjugal relations.

  • –       Gays and lesbians claim that their domestic relationships constitute as “chosen” families.
  • –       Such actions give defenders of family values more proof of how far the family has degenerated.
  • –       Family values begin with the value of the family
  • –       Domestic arrangements are meaningful everywhere studied by anthropologist.
  • –       There is no universal understanding of family, however there are ideas of how

o      Relationships of blood

o      Marriage

o      Sex

o      Residence

  Should relate and articulate with processes of social reproduction.

–       Different economic experiences in different cultures leads to; different family forms, different family relations, and varied family commitments.

–       The value of the family begins with its everyday economic significance.

This article reviews:

–       Literature that illuminates the interaction between domestic arrangements

–       The cultural value attached to the family

–       Examines work published since Yanagisako’s (author/anthropologist) magisterial trek over similar terrain.

o      Yanagisakos believes most researchers have given up the search towards defining family and household.

o      Instead researchers have given into contingent characterizations in different cultural context.

– Author of this article agrees with those researchers. He doesn’t want to define “family” and “household”.


–       There are two opposing views of relationship between family and economy

-Value of family is associated with a particular family form that is conducive to capitalist development.

– Value of family is seen in its complete adaptability to economic opportunities and exigencies.

– The two opposing view imply that that cultural commitments to the family were non-existent or completely determinant.

 Domestic Economies

–       Studies of contemporary domestic economies show the value of the family in different places and different economic circumstances. They can be grouped in these categories:

o      The family farm.

o      Households and development

o      The family business

o      Working-class families

Family Farms and Development

–       The concept of family farms gives proof of the relationship between family culture and economy.

–       The more family oriented the farm, the better the performance even though there might be sufficient self-exploitation.

–       Although income diversification, migration, and education are seen as the death of the family farm, it can actually sustain a family farm in periods of difficulties.

Households and development

–       In situations where there are many people but land is scarce, small holding intensive agriculture is more effective than industrial.

–       Household produces its own workers, often their own kids.

Family business

–       Studies done on family business demonstrates the economic value of economic commitments but don’t show how economic success can create family sentiments.

–       Small family business are often passed on from one generation to the next, issues arise when a family member wants to pursue his/her own career.

Working Class families

–       According to Stacey’s analysis of Working-class family in Silicon Valley, women in the labor force challenge family patriarchy.

–       Women wages are essential to their family’s economy.

–       Many workers turn family idioms to their own advantage by criticizing owners for failing to fulfill familial obligations.


–       The family seems to be increasing economic significance.

–       The rise of small family businesses has to do with the now flexible global economy and working from home.

–        Migration changes family values

–       Migrant families adapt to their new environment, but shape the structure of family left behind.

–       Economic security is needed now more than ever; this is made evident by global phenomenon of female-head households.

–       There is a new value of family arrangements in an economic context where multiple incomes are needed to sustain a family.


–       Author believes that there are many flaws in many family studies.

–       Past studies have made the household an actor itself and have ignored social relations between family members.

–       Studies have also only focused on family conflict based on the economy.

–       He believes family considerations effect individual decisions about activities of a family business.

–       Strategic behavior varies with the family development cycle because interest of different generations and genders vary as well.

–       Technology and globalization has affected family strategies.

o      Has made it easier for people and money to move around the world.

o      Has increased communications and real-time interaction has made it easier for migrants.

–       We will never understand domestic economies without situating them within larger context of communities and states.

–       Families take on all emotional and material responsibility, previously shared BETWEEN families.

–       In the past decades family have become the sole real community, supplemented by imagined or virtual ones. 

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