Family Diversity Is a Natural Part of Postmodern Society
Beck-Gernsheim argue that such choice and diversity has led to the renegotiation of family relationships as people attempt to find a middle ground between individualization and commitment to another person and/or children. They trace the origins of the process of individualization back to a range of factors, including the influence of urbanization and secularization in post-modern societies.
Stacey identified a new type of family “the divorce-extended family” – members are connected by divorce rather than marriage, for example ex in laws, or former husband’s new partners.
The era since 1973 is characterized by an economic structure wherein high-paying jobs exist for the well educated, while low-paying jobs exist for the modestly schooled and those with little schooling. These changes are linked to dramatic changes in the family in the 21st century, including a rise in the number of women entering the labor force, an increase in the share of children living with single mothers, the rise of cohabitation, and growth in the number of non-European immigrants (Massey 1996, Lichter 2013).
Interestingly, the views of postmodernists are very similar to premodernists especially when it comes to family. Whereas modernist values set the traditional family as a mother, father and children, both premodern and postmodern views on what a family is are much broader. In the premodern era (prior to the eighteenth century) the core family group consisted of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and sometimes friends as well as the immediate family members. Postmodernists take this same expansive view to the definition of family.
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Schwartz, Christine R. 2013. Trends and variation in assortative mating: Causes and consequences. Annual Review of Sociology 39:451–470.