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Approaches to Understanding Families

  • Bahira Sherif Trask
Chapter

Abstract

Mainstream approaches to globalization primarily focus on its economic and ­political manifestations. However, it is within families that globalization is realized. Ideological and material changes in the national and transnational arena ­intersect with personal decisions that are arrived at in family contexts. As globalization accelerates, so do the choices, dilemmas, opportunities, and outcomes that are accompanied by this dynamic process. Given the volatility of markets, the speed of communication, and the intersection of labor force demands with transnational forces, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict familial responses to fluctuating economies and policies, as well new representations of alternative lifestyles and roles. The traditional blueprints, that so many individuals rely on in their societies, are increasingly challenged, negotiated, and revised.

Specific phases of the life course, crossgenerational and intergenerational relationships, and accepted forms of private living arrangements are in the process of transformation. As women and men negotiate breadwinning and domestic labor, and as children, youth, and the elderly increasingly occupy new ideological and productive roles, family arrangements are modified and reconceptualized. These transformations, however, are not happening in an equivalent or sequential manner. In the West, differences exist between and within countries in attitudes toward varied lifestyles such as single parenthood, same sex couples, and cohabitation. However, more stark are the differences between the West and the developing world. While representations, ideologies, and even practices, pertaining to different family forms and lifestyles are spreading globally, in some areas, they have been met with nationalistic and fundamentalist responses. This has resulted in a worldwide focus on the intimate arrangements of individuals in the family arena.

Keywords

Labor Force Family Life Labor Force Participation Nuclear Family Family Form 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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