Aristotle, one of the eminent scholars of the times, has regarded humans as social animals. This is primarily because of the fact that humans are dependent on one another for the fulfillment of their needs and wants. Connecting with other people for the accomplishment of social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical needs, is indispensable for an individual. This connection and association forms the very basis of a society. Hence, penning it down in a different way, society is imperative for man. Since the evolution of human civilization, individuals have been living in groups with family being the smallest group and the largest one constitutes a nation or a federation of nations.
Narrating the idea through a more rational approach leaves the reader with the concept of society as being made out of people, who are born, age and then die, providing ever changing structures of societies, thus, resulting in remodeling of social institutions. Social institutions, system of social relationships in order to suffice human endeavors, are the founding stones of any society. Perhaps, in the known history of mankind, the oldest and the most adaptable social institutions, happen to be marriage and family.
Family marks the beginning of human existence on earth. All human communities around the globe see families as the basic social units. The ingredient of a healthy society points towards the generation of healthy families, nurturing healthy individuals. Social disorganization in society can be a result of disturbance in family as pedestal of society is dependent on family.
The influence of American family structures on the social lives of individuals forms the basis of the arguments presented in Cahn and Carbone’s book, Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and Creation of Culture. The book presents an apt example of how American family paradigm results in bringing about socio political changes in the society. The main thesis of this literature focuses on reflecting that how Republicans and Democrats’, two power contenders in the political circles of American society, geographical dissimilated voters are affected by the distinctive family belief systems and values. In lieu of this, the undertaken essay is an attempt on the part of the writer to review the ideas presented in this book. Hence, the writer will start by addressing the main theme of the book, following other critical issues involving writers’ inspiration behind this well researched and well drafted document, along with a note on the critical reception of the book, etc.
Red Families v. Blue Families: A Critical Analysis
It is really interesting to note that almost fifty years from now; family anatomy in American society was characterized with uniformity. The marriage rate was almost the same in this class driven society, with low divorce and occasional out of wedlock births in almost all regions of the country. However, the changing times have resulted in changing these structures and it can be safely said that family values and belief systems have resulted in nurturing an inharmonious political polarization, as is manifested from the evidences presented by Cahn and Carbone. The authors in their socio political debate have highlighted a number of important factors that have resulted in revolutionizing the sexual relationships in the said society including but not limited to, economic restructuring, educational enhancements, reduced religious participatory trends, redefining gender stereotypical roles, technology, etc, thus, instrumental in engaging America in the cultural war context, being the central theme of the under discussed literary document.
The findings of the book present an ample evidentiary material, suggesting that authors have done extensive research in the realm of using legal analytical tools, social science statistical indicators and qualitative and quantitative data in helping the readers to foresee the main distinctions that are there in the American family structures. The book presents a divide in the American demography, being labeled as either red or blue. It is really interesting to note that the Blue family compositions are characterized with liberty, equality, advocating distinctive lifestyles, boosting governments in helping people walk on the paths of educational and economic success. On the other hand, the one linear for the red families is marked by conservatism henceforth, valuing the centuries old religious traditions and beliefs, expecting the governments to respect these values, the way they do.
Keeping in view the sensitivity of the material presented thereof, the writers have decided to divide the book in three main chapters, in an attempt to better understand the subject matter of this literature. The first part of the book, titled as family maps, is the most crucial part of the book as it sets the ambiance for the entire fragment by proclaiming critical data and statistics, thus, setting the overall mood of the reader. The second segment, titled as the legal map, highlights the political efforts and legal consequences that have resulted in varying family laws throughout the country. Finally, the map to the future is the last chapter of the book, where the authors have presented certain important policy guidelines and policy implications, thereof, the individuals, voters and law makers are supplemented with policy solutions of how to breed healthier family paradigms.
The above discussion leads the writer to identify the most important and significant themes that are presented in this evidentially enriched document. The present American society is permeated with two types of family structures, where one is depicted as the one in crisis needing legal and social help, while the other is doing sufficiently well. The formation of the blue families rest with middle class urban population, believing in equality, thus investing in women and men alike, stressing the need to have emotional maturity and financial independency as the main ingredients for the family formations, therefore, viewing sexuality as a private affair. The red families, being conventional in nature, focus more on abstinence and the traditional rule of early marriages. Blue families are the byproducts of the post industrial economies, while the red ones are the net results of long lasting religiously held beliefs thus, sealing these families into a war against the modern ones. These systems have resulted in deepening the line of ideological division in American politics, making family as a subject of intense contestation, producing counterproductive results in the shape of abstinence literacy having polarized outcomes for poor females, hence, a redefinition of the concept of values at the state and national level is presented as the possible solution .
In wake of the heavy and significant themes supplemented in this book, it is really worth understanding the inspiration that led the writers to pen down this literary pageantry. Carbone and Cahn, when investigated, narrated the story of the 2004 Presidential Elections, as the main inspiration for writing this book. The authors are of the view that they had gone through the commentary on moral values in 2004 elections. The statistics were a proof of the fact that high divorce rates characterized red states, for which there is a possible explanation that since early marriages are the custom in red states and age is the most critical risk factor of divorce. But, when the authors probed into the issue, it was pretty obvious that differences were much greater and intense in their layout and hence, a detailed account was the need of the hour and the main inspiration for writing this book.
Cahn and Carbone’s volume helps in delineating the relationship that exists between the contemporary American culture and law. The authors of the book have been successful in making the readers belief that there is more to this cultural conflict and the Red Blue divide happens to be high rated in its intensity. Since, the red states have altogether rejected the value system of the other end; the country is divided into the implementation of two varied legal systems. The authors have accurately depicted with evidential substance suggesting the reason of America being polarized in the realm of economics, geography, culture, politics and religion. It is because of this reason that America’s oldest and most prestigious nonprofit publishers stepped towards printing this book. The book is published under the head of Oxford University Press, committed at publishing material that works towards organization’s objective of enhancing excellence in the field of research and education. The book is rightly a valuable addition in achieving the objectives of the organization.
The emergence of the book on the scene of the literary front resulted in generating warm receptions for this material, as is evident from the reviews of many scholars. The New Yorker, The New Republic, Publishers Weekly, ForeWard Review, Balkinnization, Law and Social Inquiry, etc are the few organizations that have posted their reviews on this well researched and well documented manual. Almost all the reviewers unanimously agree on the fact that it is a very interesting and fascinating book that has resulted in altering the usual thought processes about the concept of cultural wars in America. The resource and evidence based statistical data is the most prominent highlight of this book. The presence of different family structures in different parts of America has been completely and accurately captured by the authors . Summing it up, the reviewers agree on the fact that book is a though provoking friend in the intellectual debate of how family laws have become increasingly polarized with changing times ahead.
The Blue Families v. Red Families is a piece of literature that helps in bringing about new model of family structures following the post industrial economy. The authors have provided an ample evidentiary material from the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, sufficing the differences between and Red and Blue family paradigm, where the blue ones are typically liberal in nature, while the red ones are typically conservative in practice, thus rejecting the belief system of the Blue ones, giving birth to the implementation of two varied family law systems in these states.
The perspective put forth by the authors are convincing enough, the amount of statically backed data for every said assertion being the main reason, and confirm to the already held beliefs of the writer, while adding new and enhanced insights in the existing knowledge base of the writer.
Cahn, Naomi and June Carbone. Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture. New york: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Rebouche, RacheL. "A Tale of Two Families—Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture by Naomi Cahn & June Carbone." Family Law Quarterly (2010): 375-390. print.