By Eileen Hunt Botting
Compares the function of the family members within the political considered Rousseau, Burke, and Wollstonecraft.
Read or Download Family Feuds: Wollstonecraft, Burke, And Rousseau on the Transformation of the Family PDF
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Extra resources for Family Feuds: Wollstonecraft, Burke, And Rousseau on the Transformation of the Family
56 Rousseau defends sex-role differentiation on the grounds that the proximity of the sexes to each other in society, and the corrosive influence of amour-propre, sparks the sexual passions between men and women to flare dangerously high. 57 The segregation of the sexes into different educational tracks and social roles helps to encourage the practice of modesty, control women’s dangerous sex drives, and maintain civility, order, and a balance of power between the sexes. For Rousseau, the power struggle between the sexes is an inescapable facet of human society that can be sublimated (into marital love, for example) but never eliminated.
45 The Second Discourse on the Origins of Patriarchy and Sex-Role Differentiation To understand why Rousseau thinks the family must possess a patriarchal, sex-roled structure in order to instill virtue and prevent the spread of moral corruption, one must return to his account of the transition from the state of nature to society as set forth in the Second Discourse. Rousseau argues that man in the “state of nature” (or life before organized society and government) is solitary, peaceful, and minimally social.
ROUSSEAU 37 Writing Home: Rousseau’s Public Letters to, and about, Geneva In his public letters to the city-state of Geneva, Rousseau inscribes this Swiss republic as both a paradigm of patriarchal, sex-roled family life, and a sign of its demise. By writing to his homeland, Rousseau literally writes his home—and his hopes and fears for its future—into his thinking on the ideal structure for the family. In the Letter to the Republic of Geneva, which was attached to the beginning of the Second Discourse, Rousseau praises the republic of Geneva for its long-standing practice of sex-role differentiation, in the tradition of the exemplary ancient republics like Sparta: Could I forget that precious half of the republic which produces the happiness of the other and whose gentleness and wisdom maintain peace and good moeurs?