Advertisement

Replacement, renewal and redundancy

  • James Brown
Chapter

Abstract

In aristocratic societies, thought Alexis de Tocqueville, replacement by one’s heirs had something to recommend it: it led to the renewal of one’s family. Modern individuals are more likely to see replacement as threatening redundancy. Notwithstanding the way division of labour differentiates us, as Simmel, Marx and others have argued, modernity promotes an internalised vulnerability to substitution because of its tendency to atomised individualism. We may wish to be regarded as ends in ourselves, yet, especially in market transactions, we are apt to regard each other as substitutable means. Nevertheless, mortality ensures that in producing children we still practise self-replacement as renewal. The values attached to this kind of production are in revealing tension with attitudes to other kinds of production by which modern societies maintain themselves.

References

  1. Celello, Kristin, 2009, Making Marriage Work: a history of marriage and divorce in the twentieth-century United States (Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press)Google Scholar
  2. Durkheim, Emile, 1984 [1893], The Division of Labour in Society, tr. W. D. Halls (London: Macmillan)Google Scholar
  3. Gellner, Ernest, 1996 [1994], Conditions of Liberty: civil society and its rivals (London: Penguin)Google Scholar
  4. Hakim, Catherine, 2016 [2004], Key Issues in Women’s Work: female diversity and the polarisation of women’s employment, 2nd edn. (Abingdon: Routledge)Google Scholar
  5. Hirst, Paul, 1997, From Statism to Pluralism: democracy, civil society and global politics (London: Routledge)Google Scholar
  6. Manent, Pierre, 1996, Tocqueville and the Nature of Democracy, tr. John Waggoner (Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield)Google Scholar
  7. Marx, Karl, 2007 [1932], Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 [a.k.a. the Paris Manuscripts], tr. Martin Milligan (Mineola NY: Dover Publications)Google Scholar
  8. Shoumatoff, Alex, 1995, The Mountain of Names: a history of the human family, rev. edn. (New York: Kodansha)Google Scholar
  9. Simmel, Georg, 1997 [1903], ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ in Simmel on Culture, eds. David Frisby and Mike Featherstone (London: Sage), 174–185Google Scholar
  10. Solomon, Robert C, 2006 [1994], About Love: Reinventing Romance for Our Times (Indianapolis IN: Hackett)Google Scholar
  11. Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1994 [1835/1840], Democracy in America, 2 vols bound as one, tr. Henry Reeve (London: Everyman)Google Scholar
  12. Tönnies, Ferdinand, 2001 [1887, 1912], Community and Civil Society, ed. Jose Harris, tr. Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)Google Scholar
  13. Vestal, Stanley, 1989 [1932], Sitting Bull: Champion of the Sioux (Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press)Google Scholar
  14. Weber, Max, 2003 [1905], The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, tr. Talcott Parsons (Mineola NY: Dover Publications)Google Scholar
  15. Wolin, Sheldon, 2001, Tocqueville: Between Two Worlds: the making of a political and theoretical life (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press)Google Scholar
  16. Zelizer, Viviana, 1985, Pricing the Priceless Child. The Changing Social Value of Children (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations