The family and the law

Segmentation is the oldest form of social organization. Human families, clans, and tribes have lived together for a few million years. Modern functional differentiation (global society split into functional subsystems of politics, law, economy, education, mass media, science, healthcare, sport, etc.) has obviously not eliminated families; however, functional differentiation now overrules segmentation. Evidence for this is that children and spouses or domestic partners are now afforded legal protection. Children and women can no longer be beaten with impunity. This means that the law (the legal function system) now overrules family segmentation.

Below is a Google Ngram that shows when terms such as child abuse, child protection, child welfare, wife battering, and domestic violence first started to appear in books printed in English. Child welfare starts to appear in the early 20th century. The term child abuse first appears in about 1967. Domestic violence had been on the radar since the mid-19th century, but it only takes off after about 1976.



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