The Family as “Little Commonwealth”: The Role of Mimetics

in Family, Law, and Community

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226074993
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226075020 | DOI:
The Family as “Little Commonwealth”: The Role of Mimetics

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This chapter turns to questions of how trust in particular, or social capital in general, is created in families, and how that same mechanism of mimetics, or imitation, may, as it does in larger communities, become destructive through scapegoating. It takes models worked out for macroeconomic behavior (on the labor force, country, or societal level) and applies them to the microeconomic level of family units, concluding with some ways in which the destructive path may be avoided and some roles that public policy and especially law can take to promote the creation of social capital. The discussion revisits some scholars the authors have treated before, especially Richard McAdams and Francis Fukuyama, and adds some new ones, particularly Robert Frank, René Girard, and Gil Baillie.

Keywords: trust; social capital; families; imitation; scapegoating; Francis Fukuyama; Richard McAdams; Robert Frank; René Girard; Gil Baillie

Chapter.  8542 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Family Law

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