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The Family as a Source of Relational Goods (and Evils) for Itself and for the Community

TitleThe Family as a Source of Relational Goods (and Evils) for Itself and for the Community
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDonati P
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published10/2016
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordsfamily forms, relational evils, Relational goods, Relational Sociology

What qualifies a family as a common good? The worldwide debate about ‘what is’ and ‘what makes the family’, and what are its outcomes in terms of common goods (or evils), needs a clarification. In this paper, the Author claims that only a relational perspective can deal with these issues properly. The common good is not a good of an aggregative type which consists of the sum of the well- being of the individuals belonging to a group or collectivity, but is instead a good of relational type, which consists in sharing the relationships from which derive individual and common goods. We need to draw a distinction between purely aggregative and relationally generative types of family forms. Of course, both of them can produce individual and common evils. It happens when they fail to adopt a relational steering which transforms the bad into the good relationships. In terms of social policies, the best welfare practices are those that resort to methodologies of networking which aim to promote the family through interactive relational networks which stimulate the development of the natural potentials of the same families.