An Essential Lens through Which to Understand Human Flourishing

27 Mar 2018

As the home is a living deposit of the human culture of care and transmission of values, it plays a crucial role in the wellbeing of all members of society. The Home: Multidisciplinary Reflections addresses the many facets of this contribution.

STI Publications
STI Experts Meetings

This volume is in several senses more than the sum of its parts. The individual chapters highlight different aspects of the home, yet they avoid treating aspects or shareholders in isolation, and they have in common a treatment of the home itself as the unit of analysis.

Chapters consider the home as: the environment for forming internal relations and relations with the external environment; “a space open for the quiet flourishing of human essence and personal identity”; the place in which  the first definitive encounter between the self and the other takes place; the site of economic, social and moral factors that affect the life course of members; the place for acquiring knowledge, skills, abilities and values; the basis for the economic theory of the family; an intergenerational community; and a geographical reality.

The book’s editor, Antonio Argandoña, posits that taking the home as the unit of analysis serves as a guide to give consistency to any efforts to address any home-related issue, and to avoid the risk of partial solutions that improve one area at the cost of another. Furthermore, he says, this project proposes that “the analysis of many societal and human problems can be given added width and breadth if the home is put at its core.”

Approaching problems from the viewpoint of the home, Argandoña says, goes beyond combining the viewpoints of different disciplines – sociology, psychology, philosophy, economics, law, and communications. A proper study of the home, then, requires a “multidisciplinary, multidimensional, integrated, open, action-oriented framework of analysis,” he asserts. “The differential feature lies precisely in the existence of this community of people, with shared goals, an explicit or implicit function focused on the home’s members, and an important projection into the society they belong to.”

The Home: A Multidisciplinary Approach is the result of the work done at an experts meeting co-sponsored by the Social Trends Institute with the Home Renaissance Foundation in London. STI President Carlos Cavallé explains the Institute’s interest in the matter:

All of STI’s work shares a root philosophy that while specific social conditions are mutable there exist underlying permanent conditions of the human person that can serve as a foundation from which to respond appropriately to changes in the environment.  Amidst all of these changes, some values, principles and practices remain the same, or at least should remain the same, no matter what innovations come along.  They are unshakeable because they correspond to universal human nature, to the very essence of human beings. The impetus for this volume on the home, then, was the desire to reconcile these two realities: recognizing, supporting and preserving what is essential, while at the same time understanding and adapting to what is changing.