The Social Virtues of the Family


  • Pierpaolo Donati Università degli Studi di Bologna, Dipartimento di Sociologia “Achille Ardigò”


In the globalized society the lack of social virtues becomes apparent day by day in the private as well as in the public realms. The thesis, advanced by some scholars, that this phenomenon is due to the persistence of the family, understood as a place where social  inequalities, discriminations and violence are ‘normal’, is basically biased. Just the contrary is true. The fundamental reasons for the loss of social virtues in our societies are to be found in the crisis of the family, which, in turn, is due to the fact that modernization processes have distorted and deviated its social functions. The incessant privatization of the family undermines its role as a social subject where social virtues are generated. In this sociological essay, the Author introduces the distinction between personal and social virtues and aims at demonstrating that the family is the privileged locus for the production of social virtues, in so far as they are relational properties. As most empirical investigations show worldwide, the family becomes more and more, not less and less, the decisive factor for the wellbeing of people. The paper presents a sociological analysis of the dynamics through which the family
generates the social virtues which are necessary for the vitality of any civil society.



How to Cite

Donati, Pierpaolo. “The Social Virtues of the Family”. Acta Philosophica 19, no. 2 (September 30, 2010): 267–296. Accessed July 24, 2024.