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Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development
By Marian F. Zeitlin et al.
This book explores the characteristics of families that strengthen the family unit and promote the development of its individual members. Following upon an earlier research project on the development of children in poverty (published as a United Nations University Press book in 1990 under the title Positive Deviance in Child Nutrition), the present study examines how family social health improves the well-being of children and how family functioning interacts with national and international development. The authors argue that the smallest unit of analysis for sustainable development is neither the household nor the individual, but rather the family; and they stress that the success of development policies and programmes closely depends on a recognition of this. To test their hypotheses concerning associations between family health, child development, and general social development, the authors study two very different family types - the Javanese of Indonesia and the Yoruba of Nigeria. The book also considers the effects of modernization on the family; the usefulness of mathematical models in quantifying the effects of family change on economic development and human welfare; psychological studies of the family; and development assistance programmes. In the concluding section the authors present a unified cross-disciplinary paradigm of the socially well family, and also suggest policy and programme priorities.
Commenting on this study, one reviewer has written: "The great strength of this work is its sweep, bringing in new ideas from such an array of theoretical and applied fields. (The work) will contribute to a sea change in how people in a variety of fields of endeavor are looking at families."
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