The ‘classical’ interpretations appear to be inadequate for explaining the very low fertility in southern Europe. The volume “Strong Family and Low Fertility: a Paradox”, edited by G. Dalla Zuanna and G.A. Micheli, contains two different possible interpretations, which, though departing from similar premises, reach quite distinct conclusions. Micheli’s interpretation, in particular, supplements the anthropological continuity of the strong-tie models with an alternative way of interpreting the change, whereby the normal process of rational decision-making is superimposed by mechanisms which are “completely or largely based on normative/affective considerations, not merely with regard to selection of goals, but also of means” (Etzioni, 1988). The author advances the hypothesis that in order to understand the shifts, which have marked Italian demography at the end of the twentieth century, it is necessary to descend beneath the surface-crust of the processes of rational decision-making and dig down into our deep psychology. Indeed, there are increasing signs of a growing hesitation (or fear) among the younger generations when they are faced with irreversible choices. Ginsborg (1998) maintains “very often, it has not been the lack of a sense of responsibility, but on the contrary an excess of it which has been the main contribution towards the decline of the rate of fertil-ity”. What meaning should we attribute to this increased sense of responsibility? Is it really a sign of greater control over one’s own choices, or is it perhaps sometimes the sign of a loss of the ability to “let go”, to expose one’s own actions to the risk of consequences which cannot be entirely controlled? The author certainly doesn’t deny the existence of a broad range of structural factors - economic, sociological and anthropological -, which is decisive in stimulating the rational assumption of ‘parsimonious’ choices. Rather, he questions the self-sufficiency of the dominant psycho-economic keys of interpretation. In particular, it is suggested that the crucial demographic choices of a life course are often “decisions not to choose”, in which there is no direct link between result and intention, and the completion of the transition from preferences to action requires a relaxation of the control of reason. The rarefaction of procreative behaviour may then be read as the result of a mechanism of interception between the preference system and the decisions, so that the individual appears lacking in reactivity, with no reasonable motives. The growing tendency to remain inside the niche of a pre-adult state would therefore find an added (though not exclusive) explanation in a kind of blocking of dispositional states: something like the letting out of the clutch, which makes it impossible to make a vehicle move forward, however desperately we put our foot down on the accelerator. Bowlby’s theory of attachment (1968) provides us with a possible translation of the concept of ‘interceptor’: if a cohort’s experience of attachment has been in some way disturbed in the early years of life, it may actually produce a change (anxious insecurity) in this cohort or a partial de-activation (avoidant insecurity) of the instinct of attachment and also of its interface, the caring instinct. And an anxious or avoiding assumption of the caring instinct may also explain the recent changes in transition to the adult state.
Micheli, G.A. (2004). On the verge of a familistic interpretation: familism, moods and other alchemies. In G. Dalla Zuanna, & G.A. Micheli (a cura di), Strong Family and Low Fertility: a Paradox? (pp. 127-160). Dordrecht : Kluwer Academic.
|Citazione:||Micheli, G.A. (2004). On the verge of a familistic interpretation: familism, moods and other alchemies. In G. Dalla Zuanna, & G.A. Micheli (a cura di), Strong Family and Low Fertility: a Paradox? (pp. 127-160). Dordrecht : Kluwer Academic.|
|Titolo:||On the verge of a familistic interpretation: familism, moods and other alchemies|
|Tipo:||Capitolo o saggio|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2004|
|Titolo del libro:||Strong Family and Low Fertility: a Paradox?|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in libro|