2.Bellah-Habits of the Heart Ch 1-2

2.Bellah-Habits of the Heart Ch 1-2 - Habits of the Heart...

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Habits of the Heart Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, Steven M. Tipton 1 The Pursuit of Happiness Brian Palmer Living well is a challenge. Brian Palmer, a successful businessman, lives in a comfortable San Jose suburb and works as a top-level manager in a large corporation. He is justifiably proud of his rapid rise in the corporation, but he is even prouder of the profound change he has made recently in his idea of success. “My value system,” he says, “has changed a little bit as the result of a divorce and reexamining life values. Two years ago, confronted with the work load I have right now, I would stay in the office and work until midnight, come home, go to bed, get up at six, and go back in and work until midnight, until such time as it got done. Now I just kind of flip the bird and walk out. My family life is more important to me than that, and the work will wait, I have learned.” A new marriage and a houseful of children have become the center of Brian’s life. But such new values were won only after painful difficulties. Now forty-one, his tall, lean body bursting with restless energy, Brian recalls a youth that included a fair amount of hell-raising, a lot of sex, and considerable devotion to making money. At twenty-four, he married. Shouldering the adult responsibilities of marriage and children became the guiding purpose of his life for the next few years. Whether or not Brian felt his life was satisfying, he was deeply committed to succeeding at his career and family responsibilities. He held two full-time jobs to support his family, accepting apparently without complaint the loss of a youth in which, he himself reports, “the vast majority of my time from, say, the age of fifteen to twenty-two or twenty-three was devoted toward giving myself pleasure of one sort or another.” Brian describes his reasons for working so hard after he married quite simply. “It seemed like the thing to do at the time,” he says- “I couldn’t stand not having enough money to get by on, and with my wife unable to contribute to the family income, it seemed like the thing to do. I guess self-reliance is one of the characteristics I have pretty high up in my value system. It was second nature. I didn’t even question the thing. I just went out and did it.” Brian and his wife came to share very little in their marriage, except, as he thought, good sex, children, and devotion to his career. With his wife’s support, he decided to “test” himself “in the Big League,” and he made it, although at great cost to his marriage and family life. “What was my concept of what constituted a reasonable relationship? I guess I felt an obligation to care for materially, provide for, a wife and my children, in a style to which I’d like to see them become accustomed. Providing for my family materially was important. Sharing wasn’t important. Sharing
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This note was uploaded on 06/28/2009 for the course SOC 160 taught by Professor Stockinger during the Spring '07 term at Berkeley.

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2.Bellah-Habits of the Heart Ch 1-2 - Habits of the Heart...

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