"The 'Generation Gap' Reconsidered." Global Youth, Peace, and Development: The Role of Science and Technology in Contemporary Society, Yedla C. Simhadri (ed), Delhi: Ajanta Publications, Vol. 1 (1991), pp. 383-399.

by Gordon Welty
Wright State University
Dayton, Ohio 45435 USA

[//383] The 'generation gap' has been widely discussed in Western social science. This discussion is central to the topic of 'youth,' since the 'generation gap' is a phenomenon which affects adolescents, youth between puberty and adulthood.1   Adolescents are a group in transition between what the social scientist calls their consanguine families and their conjugal families. On the one hand, it is argued that their relatively weak attachment within the social structure, their rapid organic and psychosexual development, etc. tend to orient them towards social change. Thus a 'gap' can develop between them and their relatively more stable elders. On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that their relative isolation from the processes of social production tend to make youth suggestible, prey to reactionary doctrine. The conflict of generations is by no means the harbinger of societal progress.

Some Modern Views of the 'Generation Gap'
Lewis Feuer is a well-known proponent of the doctrine of the 'generation gap,' holding that "generational conflict, generational struggle has been a universal theme in human history."2   Indeed, Feuer has indicated that he seeks "to work out a general law under which ... diverse generational phenomena" can be subsumed.3   He has attempted in particular to explain revolutionary change in the modern world -- the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, etc. -- not in terms of the political consequences of class struggle, but in terms of the conflict of generations. As an example of his scientific endeavors, Feuer presents the "Law of the Generational Cycle." This 'law' characterizes an 18-20 year cycle of student {383/384] unrest in nineteenth century Russian universities.4   Unfortunately for his scientific pretensions, however, this is not a law, by any stretch of the scientific imagination -- it is at best an empirical regularity. The confusion of these two -- statistical patterns and scientific laws -- characterizes much of the discussion of the 'generation gap' in Western social science.

    In the late thirties, Kingsley Davis provided a major contribution to the discussion of the 'generation gap.'5   His conception involved both biological ("universal") factors and social factors, and sought thereby to explain "parent-adolescent conflict." On the biological side, Davis included the "birth cycle" (which he held to be "biological and inescapable," as though the postponement of marriage was not a significant consideration), the "constantly decelerating rate of socialization" from infancy to adulthood (as though primary or childhood socialization had no complement in secondary or adult socialization), and the contrast between a generation "just reaching its full powers" and another "which is just losing them" (a straightforward reification of the male's 'libidinal energy'). On the social side, he included the rate of social change, the cumulative nature of culture (resulting in a varying cultural content in the time-span between generations), and the differing "social contexts" in which persons of differing ages are enmeshed. These factors, Davis maintained, were sufficient to explain "certain differences in orientation between parent and youth," and thereby the conflict between generations. The stress on the organismic, the biologic, to the point of overlooking the material and historical basis of social phenomena is characteristic of much of the twentieth century discussion of the 'generation gap.'

    But this discussion is not simply a peculiarity of twentieth century social thought. The topic of generations in social science -- ignoring, for the most part, the issue of the 'gap' -- was considered at least as early as Auguste Comte, and was continued by John Stuart Mill, Antoine Cournot, and Emile Durkheim; positivists all.6   The 'generation gap' was treated in the Germanic tradition as well. In his hackneyed The Ego and His Own, Max Stirner wrote in 1844 that the 'youth' must 'vanquish' his parents, as a necessary stage of ontogeny.7   At a quite abstract level which anticipates [384/385] certain twentieth century formulations of personality development, Stirner indicated that childhood is the struggle for physiological self-control, for mastery in the object-domain. Youth is the struggle for affective and cognitive self-control. Adulthood is the struggle to resolve the antithesis of childhood and youth in the 'embodied mind.' When he moves to the level of particulars, however, Stirner suffers seriously from petty bourgeois narrowness. As Marx and Engels commented, Stirner "inflates the consciousness predominant in the class nearest to him in his immediate environment into the normal consciousness of 'a man's life'."8   Thereby he is inclined to conflate epiphenomena with phenomena and appearances with essence.

Some Classical Views of the 'Generation Gap'
    Much earlier, social philosophers had recognized that the relationship between the generations was complex and even contradictory. Aristotle had maintained that the relationship between the generations was one of the three basic relations of society, along with the relationship between the sexes and that of master and slave (Politics, 1252 b 10-20). This relationship was the basis of natural domination, as the elders 'naturally' ruled the younger -- a domination which he held no one found disagreeable (1332 b 35). Yet Aristotle devoted considerable space to the difference between youth and the elderly (Rhetoric 1389 a 2 - 1390 a 25). And Aristotle's comments to the effect that the education of the youth should be the prerogative of the state, not the parents (1337 a 21-26), suggests that some 'gap' between the generations may have emerged even in Classical times.

    At about the same time, Mencius held that serving one's parents (filial piety) was the most important duty and the root of all other duties. One could fulfill this duty only if one maintained his integrity. This presupposed correct education; but the student's failure to follow the teacher's precepts could anger the teacher, and anger itself violated those precepts. Thus the student resented the teacher's hypocrisy. But Mencius pointed out that it was important that the generations not become alienated from one another. Hence he too recommended that the father not educate his son.9  [385/386]   

These classical comments on the relationship between the generations are suggestive both of the etiology of the 'generation gap' and its remedy. The 'generation gap' tends to emerge with the antagonistic social order,10 with the development of property relations, as the child becomes the possession, the property of one (or even both) of the parents. As property, the child is an object to be used or abused -- to the extent it isobjectified, it is not a person to be humanly appreciated. The child's personal space -- sometimes referred to as 'personal property' in distinction from alienated 'private' and socialized 'public property' -- is negated by the elder's privated space or private property.

Let us consider two illustrations of this objectification.11 (1) William Mariner tells of a Tonga war party which committed sacrilege and sought to appease the gods. The priest indicated that the child of a chief must be sacrificed. A two-year old child was selected with the concurrence of his father. His mother, importantly not a member of the ruling class, sought to hide the child. He was discovered, the mother restrained, the child dutifully strangled by two men. This is the objectification of the offspring in primitive society. The child might as well have been a pigeon. (2) This objectification is not always masked by religious ideology. Lawrence Stone relates the story of the "man near Wakefield in 1674 who hanged his own child to death for taking a piece of bread to eat it; another child said, 'father, you'll not hang me, I took no bread'." This is the bottomless degradation of early capitalism, the objectification of youth in our own antagonistic society.

The contradiction between youth as person and as property carried over into the educational process. As a person, the child was to be nurtured; as an object, it was to be molded. As the child matured, achieved self-mastery, became a youth, the contradictory relationships with the older generation became the source of resentment. In the United States today, where over 90% of parents hit their children, youth retaliates violently.12 In American schools, teachers acting in loco parentis inflict corporal punishment on an estimated million students annually; in return, over 200 teachers are physically assaulted by students each day.

These contradictions, so destructive of familial and intergenerational relations, tended to be displaced to the level of [386/387] the community and the state. This is reflected in Mencius' proposal to alleviate domestic intergenerational hostility by shifting it from the family to the wider community, where the relationship would be simply generational, not kinship. It is also reflected in Aristotle's proposal to ensure 'natural' domination by homogenizing the educational process, hence the educational product, within the state apparatus. But neither of these proposals are sufficient for the resolution of the contradictions, which requires that society self-consciously transcend the holding of child and youth as parental property. Neither Aristotle nor Mencius ever attained that insight, due to the social conditions under which they thought and wrote.

    The position of youth within the antagonistic social order is not an enviable one. They are clearly oppressed in their upbringing. Their natural curiosity is stifled, their gregariousness misdirected, their learning corrupted, their minds filled with superstition, sexism, racism, national chauvinism and pious cant. Their popular culture is thoroughly commercialized and debased. Alain Touraine has presented a subtle argument to the effect that "the extension of domination to the whole of social and cultural life" obliges us to reconceive class relations. A new importance has accrued to the class relations of age groups, including "the young."13 Does this mean that youth is a class, in the sense of historical materialism?

Youth is Not a Class
 The 'generation gap' is not a class phenomenon. This has been recognized by the proponents of the concept -- indeed its opposition to class analysis is its very raison d'etre.14 Moreover, the category `youth' per se does not stand in a class relationship to any exploiting class, nor is it a class which exploits another.15 Consider the first possibility. Are youth exploited as a class? Many youth have been and still are exploited in their labor by others -- by tribal patriarchs, the Oriental despot's officials, slave-masters, feudal lords, and capitalists.16 But not all youth are exploited; moreover, those who are exploited, are so as members (and along with other members) of some specifically `exploited' class -- domestic slaves, chattel slaves, serfs, and wage-laborers. Thus youth per se is not an exploited class, even though many young people are exploited in their labor.  [387/388]

Consider the second possibility. Are youth an exploiting class? Children, certainly, and many youth depend for their subsistence upon the labor of their parents and kin. But the content of a relationship of dependency can be nurturant or neglectful or oppressive or exploitative; the dependency of children and youth upon parents tends to be nurturing, neglecting, or oppressing of the offspring, but not exploiting of the parents. On the one hand, both parents and offspring are members of the same class -- most parents and offspring in the several forms of antagonistic society are members of one of the specifically exploited classes mentioned above. And exploitation is a relationship between classes, not among persons.17 For instance, it is not the case that the capitalists and working class youth are both exploiting working class adults. The capitalist class is exploiting the working class -- adults and youth; employed, underemployed, and unemployed; all the members of this class thereby have a lower standard of living. On the other hand, youth cannot be a class which exploits another, by virtue of the exploitation of the labor of many youth, already noted. Exploitation is, on the classical formulation, not a transitive relationship. Thus youth per se is not an exploiting class. If the `generation gap' is not a class phenomenon, is it instead a 'cultural universal'? 

The 'Generation Gap' is Not a 'Cultural Universal'
This is politically and ideologically a significant question, especially if social unrest, conflict, etc. can be attributed to an ahistorical factor rather than to strictly historical social antagonism. Does every culture incorporate the conflict of generations within its `patterns of behavior'? There are two significations of universal. (1) The term can mean `all known cases.' That is an `empirical universal,' and can rather easily be established by descriptive techniques.18 But empirical universality is a rather weak claim. The claim "all swans are white" was the schoolman's famous example of a `universal.' It proved to be only empirical, and in modern times even to be false, when the species Cygnus atratus was discovered in Australia. The inadequacy of empirical universality leads to the other signification of the term. (2) 'Universal' can mean 'necessary in all cases.' That is a 'true universal' and, compared with the empirical universal, it can be established only with [388/389] difficulty. Depending on one's scientific or ideological purposes, establishing a true universal may be worthwhile.19   Let us return now to the question of the universality of the 'generation gap.'

Bearing in mind the difference between empirical and true universality, there are two ways to address this question. On the one hand, we can inquire if every culture at some point in time -- say today -- incorporates the 'generation gap.' That is a synchronic approach to the question. On the other hand, we can ask the more difficult question whether all cultures through history and pre-history have incorporated the 'generation gap.' That is a diachronic approach to the question. Let us consider each in turn.

Margaret Mead has provided an affirmative answer to the synchronic question. She claims that "the generation gap is world wide." But someone might inquire further whether the world wide appearances of the generation gap are evidence of the same latent conflict between the generations, or are there several sorts of conflict? Mead acknowledges that the conflict between the generations has "particular forms" in "different countries," yet they are united, she continues, since "youthful activism is common to them all."20   But that is an empirical claim, therefore relatively weak. Moreover, Mead's claim can hardly be strengthened by the establishment of necessity. Because the universality she describes, whether accurately or not, is unique. "The situation that has brought about this radical [rupture between the generations] will not occur again in any such drastic form in the foreseeable future."21

Hence we conclude that Mead's affirmation of the universality of the generation gap, here and now, is at best an empirical claim. Its necessity cannot be established due to her historicist position. In particular, the appearances of the `generation gap' likely have a plurality of "explanatory principles." In some locations such as the United States, these appearances manifest the conflict of generations. In other locations, these appearances are `show,' i.e. emulative behaviors rather than manifestations of conflict. Youth around the world wear `Bluejeans.' Hence we have no basis for affirming that the `generation gap' is a synchronic `cultural universal' in any strong sense of the terms. 

What about the diachronic question? Again Mead responds affirmatively. She speaks of "the reappearance in every generation [389/390] of the oedipal challenge to male authority."22 Here we see the obverse of the inadequacy of the treatment of the synchronic question. Dissatisfaction with mere empirical universality leads to attempts to establish true universality at the organismic, the biological level. And this has typically meant a turn to the formulations of Sigmund Freud. In 1928, Karl Mannheim had criticized "the usual kind of theory which starts from naturalism and then abruptly lands in the most extreme kind of spiritualism."23   Freudianism provides an excellent illustration of the way `naturalism' gives rise to spiritualism.

The `generation gap' requires, on Mead's account, a diachronically universal oedipal complex. And her account is illustrative of the prevalent approach to this topic. Freud held that the human organism was a libidinal `economy' which maintained a long-term physiological and psychic equilibrium by accumulating energy and periodically discharging a series of `innate drives.' In the `pre-genital' stage of ontogeny, the organism lacks an object of cathexis. Instead, the organism discharges (his) energies towards the competitor for the desired cathectic object, viz his own father.24   Thus the "oedipal challenge" and its `biologically based' pretense to universality.

But the universality of the "oedipal challenge" is surely dubious, in two senses. On the one hand, Freud reified his concepts, including those of the oedipal complex. Even so sympathetic a Freudian as Philip Reiff comments that "Freud's habit of synecdoche ... puts a grave limit on his theory of knowing."25 Thus it was necessary that Freud's interpretations be subjected to the most substantial revisions -- even by psychoanalysts such as Erich Fromm who had faith that Freud was "ever the sincere thinker" and that he "always offers us undistorted data."26

On the other hand, it has recently become evident that Freud was not a sincere thinker -- he systematically distorted his data. The Freud archives, recently opened, reveal that Freud knew full well that "Dora" and his other case studies, limited in number though they were, represented the widespread incidence of childhood sexual abuse. But Freud's published accounts of these cases rejected the real etiology of neurosis, actual child neglect and abuse (especially sexual abuse), for the fantastic doctrine of an oedipal complex.27 [390/391]   Social scientists might well study the etiology of Freud's bizarre doctrines and frauds -- but scarcely can they utilize his falsifications in their own scientific work.28 Thus we have no basis for affirming that the `generation gap' is a diachronic `cultural universal' on the basis of the "oedipal challenge."

Hence the `generation gap' does not seem to be a `cultural universal' any more than a class phenomenon. What then are generations? They are the moment of finitude within the continuity of the species. Perhaps the consideration of the `generation gap' within the sphere of productive (class) relations and that of cultural objects is misguided. Let us consider instead its place among the conditions of societal reproduction.

The Necessity of the Rupture for Antagonistic Society
It is necessary for youth in the antagonistic social order to break with their consanguine families so they can establish their own conjugal families. This rupture is a necessary condition of societal reproduction. There are several characteristics of the antagonistic social order which tend to necessitate this rupture: (a) patriarchal relations and (b) spatial limitations.29 Moreover there is an additional characteristic which contributes to the rupture, perhaps as significantly as the pair just mentioned, but specifically within capitalism: (c) ubiquitous occupational change.30 Let us consider each of these in turn.

Patriarchal relations tend to necessitate the rupture between youth and parents for two reasons. First, the young man cannot act autonomously when he is dominated by the patriarch. Only by a material rupture -- either through the death of the father or the migration of the son -- could the youth act out his manhood. Second, without that sort of rupture, disaffection tended to occur between the generations anyhow, since the youth would become increasingly resentful as he became increasingly frustrated. Recall Absalom's revolt against his father, David (II Sam. XV-XVII). Only through the break with patriarchy can the societal reproduction of patriarchy be assured.

Spatial limitations of a social formation which observes property in land also tend to necessitate a rupture between youth and parents. The patriarchal demand for an heir and for laborers [391/392] could generate a surfeit of sons. Only by a material rupture -- through the migration of the excess sons -- could the estate be inherited intact, and societal reproduction be assured. Again, the anticipation by the many of the inheritance by the one could generate disaffection. 

Finally, the occupational change which accompanied capitalism tended to necessitate a rupture between parents and youth. In pre-capitalist social forms, domestic relations were the material conditions for the intergenerational transmission of knowledge. As objectionable as it may have been to the social philosophers, father instructed son while mother instructed daughter. The apprentice system shifted the persons but not the personae; the apprentice became a `family member' in the master's household. Intergenerational occupational change was still unusual; intragenerational change of occupation was almost unknown. But the coming of early capitalism transformed all this. Thereafter, the constant "revolutionizing of the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society" meant continuing occupational change.31   Both inter- and even intra-generational change became frequent if not popular. But this necessitated a break between young and old, many times vicinally as well as socially. As though making a virtue out of necessity, Western sociologists praise the `functional adequacy' of the `nuclear family' and the residential pattern of `neo-locality.'32

Hence general characteristics of the antagonistic social order, plus the intergenerational occupational change which is endemic to capitalist society, tend to necessitate a rupture between youth and their parents, as a condition of societal reproduction. But there is another side to this dialectic.

The Sufficiency of the Rupture for Antagonistic Society
The rupture between youth and their parents tends to be sufficient for the societal reproduction of the antagonistic social order. This sufficiency can be considered in its objective moment and in its subjective moment. On the objective side, the estrangement of parents from youth creates conditions of civil society and ultimately of commodity exchange, which contribute to social antagonism. On the subjective side, the articulation of patterns of [392/393] descent with patriarchal domination also contributes to social antagonism. We will consider both.

By the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Hegel had already schematized the emergence of civil society out of the intergenerational transfer of the family estate. The family estate is partitioned among the heirs, the children, at the appropriate time in the family-cycle. 33  This process of partition and individuation within the consanguine family develops into the diremption of civil society.34   Notice that Hegel has only indicated necessary conditions for the `system atomistic' of civil society. It is the reduction of `personal space' which generates the sufficient conditions.

On Hegel's conception, woman's "surrender" of her personal property, her personal space, through marriage on behalf of the conjugal family's estate gives rise to the privatized property of civil society.35 This society has an external moment in which the male family heads interrelate, and an internal moment in which patriarchal domination prevails. Thus it incorporates the dehumanized social relations of civil society on the one hand, and those of the crippled and mutually "mysterious" personalities of the nuclear family on the other.

Although Hegel only briefly alludes to it, the supersession of personal property and its willful alienation into family property, and the increasingly necessary alienation of labor power in civil society ultimately entail the transformation of the commoditization of the thing into the commoditization of the person and the human's capacities -- i.e. into human alienation.36 `Personal space' tends to be supplanted by the `metrical space' of the value form. Thus social antagonism is reproduced by the objective processes of society -- by `objective Geist'.

Let us turn to the subjective side, where the articulation of descent and domination can be seen to promote social antagonism. There are several patterns of descent, two of which are of particular interest: matriliny, where descent is traced through the mother's side, and patriliny, where it is traced through the father's side. There are also several patterns of domestic domination, including matrifocality, where egalitarian conditions prevail between the sexes, and patriarchy, where male dominance prevails. These patterns combine into three social forms: [393/394]

matriliny X matrifocality = the `egalitarian gens;'

matriliny X patriarchy = the `avunculate;' and

patriliny X patriarchy = the `patriarchal form.'

We will return in the conclusion to an assessment of the first of these possibilities.

As David Schneider has pointed out, the second of these possibilities results in the alienation of the young male from his consanguine family (his `matrilineal descent group') as well as from his conjugal family (his offspring).37 Likewise, the third of these possibilities results in the equally severe alienation of the young woman from her consanguine family; as Schneider has put it, under the patriarchal form, "the bonds between a woman and her own unit can be practically severed."38 Moreover, the patriarchal form tends to alienate women from their offspring through the transition to patrilineality; the child becomes the possession of the male.   

Either of these alienations, that of the young man or the young woman, can contribute to social antagonism. The alienation of the young man in the avunculate is illustrated by the tale of Jacob and Esau in Genesis. Esau came to be alienated from his parents, Isaac and Rebecca, when he married the "daughters of Canaan," i.e. he married outside his matrilineal descent group (Gen. XXVI:34-35). Indeed, this episode provides a cogent rationale for the transfer of Esau's birthright to Jacob, first by barter for a bowl of lentil soup, then by outright fraud (Gen. XXV:29-34; XXVII). The struggle over property rights is direct evidence of social antagonism.

Young Jacob was alienated from his conjugal family through the machinations of his maternal uncle Laban. Recall that Laban exploited his nephew throughout Jacob's sojourn in Padan-aram. During that period Jacob married Laban's daughters, first the fecund Leah and then the favored Rachel (Gen. XXIX-XXXI). Jacob came to be alienated not only from Laban and his sons, but from Leah and Jacob's offspring by her. Jacob favored Rachel's son Joseph over his firstborn by Leah, Reuben (cf. also Gen. XXXIII:1-2). Little wonder Joseph's brothers sent him down to Egypt. Thus Esau's `generational revolt' against Isaac's wishes, [394/395] conjoined to Jacob's against Laban, tended to maintain the antagonistic social order.

The alienation of the young woman within the patriarchal tribal form is related to primitive warfare, and thereby to the reproduction of the antagonistic social order. In their cross-cultural studies of residency patterns in primitive society, Carol and Melvin Ember have shown that patrilocality is associated with intratribal warfare, while matrilocality is associated with intertribal warfare. Mobilization for war is more problematic when enemies are near, as presumably they are in the case of intratribal warfare. The warriors must therefore be concentrated, hence the need for patrilocality.39 This would tend to alienate young women from their consanguine families. 

The conjunction of intratribal warfare and patrilocality raise the likelihood that the young woman will find her husband pitted against her kin. Will she join the fray? If so, on which side? This contradiction is resolved by systematically disarming women -- under those conditions, they are excluded from participating in primitive warfare. Thus women in the patriarchal tribal form are alienated not only from their consanguine family but from their conjugal family as well. Once subordinated, their relation to the men of the formation remains that of an exploited group. Thus the rupture between youth, both male and female, and their parents tends to be sufficient, both in objective and subjective terms, for the reproduction of the antagonistic social order.

The relationship of the `generation gap' to the antagonistic social order is thus both intimate and intricate. The `generation gap' does not appear to be a `cultural universal' in any stong sense of the term, so the conflict of generations can be expected to decline and eventually vanish with the progress of humanity. But the elements of generational relations -- youth and elders, parents and children -- do not constitute classes per se, hence are not the agents of historical change. Only the working class has that potential.

When private property in the means of production is abolished, parental possession of children as property will begin to disappear as well. Childrearing will become fully humanized; child abuse [395/396] and neglect will become nothing more than stunning historical reminders of the decadence of capitalism. Thereupon the rupture of youth from their consanguine and conjugal families will become unnecessary, along with patriarchal domination and the ownership and inheritance of land. The forms and variety of family life will flourish, undoubtedly including both the `single parent family' and the `pairing family,' as well as other sex-egalitarian forms as well. And the healing of that rupture will mean that the `system atomistic' of civil society will be transcended at last.



1. Peter Blos "The Generation Gap: Fact and Fiction" in Adolescent Psychiatry: Annals of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 1. NY: Basic Books (1970); also Vern Bengston "The Generation Gap: A Review and Typology of Social-Psychological Perspectives" Youth and Society Vol. 2 (1970), pp. 7-32.

2. Lewis Feuer The Conflict of Generations NY: Basic Books (1969), p. 10. 

3. Lewis Feuer "Generations and the Theory of Revolution" Survey (1972) No. 3 (84), p. 163; he introduces a `scientific' notion of "generational equilibrium" in Conflict of Generations, pp. 318-319.

4. Feuer Conflict of Generations, pp. 126-127.

5. Kingsley Davis "The Sociology of Parent-Youth Conflict" American Sociological Review (1940), Vol. 5, pp. 523-534.

6. See Auguste Comte The Positive Philosophy (trans. H. Martineau) London: John Chapman (1853), Vol. 2, pp. 152-154; John Stuart Mill A System of Logic [1843], Bk. VI, Chap. x, in Collected Works Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1974), Vol. VIII; Antoine Cournot Considrations sur la marche des idees Paris: Hachette (1872), Bk. I, Chap. 8; and Emile Durkheim De la division du travail social [1893] Paris: Presses universitaires de France (1973), pp. 279 ff. But see the positivist Vilfredo Pareto A Treatise on General Sociology NY: Harcourt, Brace and Co. (1935), 2230.

7. Max Stirner [Caspar Schmidt] The Ego and His Own NY: Dover Books (1973), pp. 9-11.

8. Karl Marx and F. Engels The German Ideology, in Collected Works, NY: International Publishers (1976), Vol. 5, p. 129; see also V.I. Dobrenkov Neo-Freudians in Search of `Truth' Moscow: Progress Publishers (1976), pp. 18-20 for a similar comment about Freud.  [396/397]

9. James Legge (ed.) The Works of Mencius Oxford: Clarendon Press (1895), Bk. IV, Pt. I, Chaps. xviii-xix; pp. 308-309.

10. By "antagonistic social order," we mean the series of social formations which move in their antagonistic social relations: the patriarchal tribal, the Asiatic, the Ancient slave, the feudal, and the capitalist formations; see Marx and Engels Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 32-35, 64-74: "These different forms are just so many forms of the organization of labor, and hence of property." Also K. Marx and F. Engels Selected Works, Moscow: FLPH (1962), Vol. 1, p. 363. This series is preceded by a pre-antagonistic social order and is followed by a non-antagonistic social order; see Gordon Welty "The Materialist Science of Culture and the Critique of Ideology," Quarterly Journal of Ideology, Vol. 5 (1981), pp. 7-8.

11. See William Mariner An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean London: Constable and Co.(1827) and Lawrence Stone The Family, Sex and Marriage in England: 1500-1800 NY: Harper and Row (1979), p. 471.

12. Murray Straus et al, Behind Closed Doors NY: Anchor Books (1981), pp. 102-121. 

13. Alain Touraine The Self-production of Society Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1977), pp. 160-161; see the suggestive remarks of Karl Mannheim "The Problem of Generations" Essays in the Sociology of Knowledge London: Routledge & Kegan Paul (1952), p. 288 ff.

14. E.g. Feuer "Generations and the Theory of Revolution" p. 171: "underlying the manifest content of the Bolshevik Revolution, the class and socialist revolutions, there was a latent reality, scarcely avowed, of a generational revolution." Yet Feuer had earlier held that "generational struggle demands categories of understanding unlike those which enable us to understand class struggle," and "the dynamic of generational revolt ran a course different from that of working class discontent;" cf. Conflict of Generations, p. 10 and p. 126. Davis likewise sought a generational unity of "revolutions" (which he defined as "an abrupt form of societal alteration"), and thereby postulated the similarity of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany; see his "Sociology of Parent-Youth Conflict," p. 524.

15. We use "exploitation" in the classical sense of the term; see Frederick Engels Anti-Duhring Moscow: FLPH (1962), p. 287.

16. The labor force participation rate in the United States for a random sample of young men aged 16-17 in 1968 was 66-69%; for young women aged 15-19, it was 38-42%. See U.S. Department of Labor Manpower Research Monograph Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office (1971), No. 16, Vol. 3, pp. 17-18, and Manpower Research Monograph Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office (1978), No. 24, Vol. 4, pp.14-19. See also Robert Michael and Nancy Tuma "Youth Employment: Does Life Begin at 16?" Paper presented before the Population Association of America, Pittsburgh, PA (1983).

17. Marx and Engels Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 364 point out that they do not use "antagonism" (or "exploitation") in the sense of individual antagonism, but in the sense of collective antagonism -- that "arising from the social conditions of life."

18. For instance, Steven Goldberg has asserted the universality of patriarchy, of male dominance, and of marriage. On close inspection, he means that every [397/398] culture so far described by the ethnographers, approximately 1200 out of a universe of more than 4000 known cultures, presents these three characteristics; see his Inevitability of Patriarchy NY: William Morrow (1973), p. 31-33, p. 61.

19. Thus Goldberg is evidently uncomfortable with the weakness of the empirical universality of his claims about patriarchy and male dominance. So he seeks to find hormonal differences between the sexes which would necessitate these universals; see Inevitability of Patriarchy, Chaps. 3-5 Unfortunately for his argument, Goldberg depends upon the work of John Money, who flatly repudiates such patriarchal apologetics; see John Money Love and Love Sickness Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (1980), Chaps. 7-8, esp. p. 142: "There is no conclusive evidence that either chromosomes or hormones have a direct part to play in regulating the ratio of dominance and submission in an erotic partnership between a man and a woman." 

20. Margaret Mead Culture and Commitment NY: Natural History Press (1970), pp. 53-54. There is an important ideological implication of such a quest for universals, even if only empirical ones -- these universals are sought on the basis of antagonistic society; this amounts to the denial of existing socialist societies.

21. Mead, p. 61.

22. Mead, pp. 13-14.

23. Mannheim "The Problem of Generations" p. 311.

24. See also Otto Fenichel The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis NY: W.W. Norton (1945). This `hydraulic' conception of an economy was quite popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The reactionary economist, Irving Fisher, even constructed a working model; see his Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Price [1892] New Haven: Yale University Press (1925).

25. Philip Reiff Freud: The Mind of the Moralist Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1979), p. 51.

26. Erich Fromm The Crisis of Psychoanalysis Greenwich, Conn: Fawcett (1970), p. 91; Fromm's "Comments on the Case of Little Hans," loc. cit. is an excellent example of such an `de-reifying' reconsideration of a Freudian case study.

27. See Jeffrey Masson The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1983); also Ralph Blumenthal "New Light Shed on Freud's Sex Theory Reversal" The New York Times (August 25, 1981), Section III. Freud first publicly rejected the role of sexual abuse of children in the development of neuroses in a September 21, 1897 letter to Wm. Fliess; his first published statement of that rejection was in "My Views on the Part Played by Sexuality in the Aetiology of the Neuroses" [1906] Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works London: Hogarth Press (1966), Vol. 7, p. 271 ff.

28. An excellent case in point is that of the celebrated British psychologist, Sir Cyril Burt, who has recently been revealed to have fabricated his data on intelligence [398/399] and class; see D.D. Dorfman "The Cyril Burt Question" Science Vol. 201 (1978), pp. 1177-1186.

29. Cf. Oscar Handlin and Mary F. Handlin Facing Life Boston: Little, Brown and Co. (1971), pp. 7-10.

30. Cf. also Mead, p. 52.

31. Cf. Marx and Engels Collected Works, Vol. 6. p. 487; Engels had provided an early discussion of this transformation and its sequelae in The Condition of the Working-Class in England [1845]; see Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 307 ff. and Steven Marcus Engels, Manchester and the Working Class NY: Random House (1974), p. 134 ff.

32. See Wm. Goode World Revolution and Family Patterns NY: Free Press (1970).

33. G.W.F. Hegel Werke Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp Verlag (1970), Bd. 7 [1821], 178; see also Adam Smith The Theory of Moral Sentiments Oxford: Clarendon Press (1976), p. 223.

34. Hegel, 181.

35. Hegel, 167.

36. Hegel, 66.

37. David Schneider "The Distinctive Features of Matrilineal Descent Groups" in D.M. Schneider and K. Gough (eds.) Matrilineal Kinship Berkeley: University of California Press (1961), p. 10, pp. 22-23.

38. Schneider, ibid, p. 18.

39. Melvin Ember and Carol Ember "The Conditions Favoring Matrilocal Versus Patrilocal Residence" American Anthropologist Vol. 73 (1971), pp. 571-594; see also David Adams "Why There Are So Few Women Warriors" Behavioral Science Research Vol. 18:3 (1983)