Types social disintegration : Social Development

Types social disintegration


Ost schoolteachers and social workers would agree that the children who give them the greatest trouble are those with family problems. Such children may have a father who, for various reasons, does not fulfil his fatherly functions – in all probability he will be simply displaying one of the many symptoms of anomie or egotely – or a mother with similar problems, or he may simply come from an incomplete, or one parent, family.

Whatever the exact situation, the child will have suffered from some form of family deprivation which is bound to affect him profoundly and colour every aspect of his behaviour throughout his life. Such children are often referred to as emotionally disturbed. However bright they may be, they will tend to find it very difficult to fit into their social environment, the reason being that the early and most important stages of socialization were badly impaired. The earlier family deprivation occurred, the more will this be the case, for as D. O. Hebb [1] shows, the effect of early experience on adult behaviour is universally correlated with age.

Sadly, it is rarely possible for socially deprived and emotionally disturbed children to be satisfactorily socialized. No amount of school education can do much for them.

Children who have grown up in isolation from their fellows are even further incapacitated. They are incapable of the normal familial and communal functions and sometimes seem indistinguishable from congenital idiots. This subject is treated in Zingg’s remarkable study, Wolf Children and Feral Man. [2] Experiments with animals, such as those conducted by Harlow with monkeys, lead one to the same conclusion. [3]

Emotionally disturbed children are characterized by inability to accept any social constraints. They are unable to concentrate on their work and are only interested in things which are of apparent immediate advantage to them. Regardless of their intelligence level, they are thus extremely difficult to educate. They are particularly concerned with the present, and the short-term, and are predisposed to all pathological forms of behaviour such as delinquency, drug addiction, alcoholism and schizophrenia.

What is worse, when they grow up, they are unlikely to be capable of fulfilling their normal family functions; their children consequently also deprived of a normal family environment, will in turn tend to be emotionally unstable.

John Bowlby went so far as to compare a delinquent with a typhoid carrier. [4] He is as much a carrier of disease as the latter – of a disease of the personality, which affect his family and his community for generations, until his descendants are eliminated by natural selection.

Socially deprived, emotionally disturbed youths are a feature of disintegrating societies. In the black ghettoes of New York and other large American cities, they are the rule rather than the exception. The low standard of achievement and the high rate of crime, and various forms of retreatism that characterize such societies, is mainly attributable to family deprivation.

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Routledge The Japanese Community in Pre-War Britain: From Integration to Disintegration
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