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We hear all kinds of things about what family looks like today. Here, we’re going to take a look at the facts about what we can call the postmodern family.
First, marriage is still important to Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans wants to get married, and many of them do-sometimes repeatedly. At the same time, fewer people are married today, for a number of reasons.
The first thing we think about to explain the lower rate of marriage is the high proportion of divorced people. Yes, the divorce rate is high. A couple getting married in 2012 has a 43% chance of getting a divorce. However, we should also note that the divorce rate has been stable since the 1980s. It is high, but not rising. Another reason is that people wait longer than before to get married. Marriage is postponed until after college, and often the establishment of a career. Couples also choose to cohabitate rather than get married. Some of them cohabitate as a try-out period before marriage, but others do so permanently, as an alternative to marriage to avoid the trauma of divorce. Finally, the remarriage rate, although still significant, has declined, so that widowed or divorced people are more likely to remain single.
Women now have fewer children, partly because of the feminist movement that has made contraception more available and acceptable over the past decades, as well as legitimating their focusing on a career first. The high cost of raising children is another contributing factor. The decline in fertility is also due to people’s decisions to postpone parenthood, either because of the postponing of marriage, or because they want to be financially stable first. With cohabitation becoming more widespread and acceptable, more children are born out of wedlock today. Some single women, usually who are successful in their career, also make the choice of raising a child as a single mother.
Gay couples are more and more becoming part of society, and a large part of the agenda of gay rights movements focus on family rights: the right to marriage, the right for partners to receive benefits such as social security, and the right to adopt.
Finally, because our population is aging, more families have members who are elderly. On the positive side, this means that grandchildren are more likely than ever to know their grandparents. On the negative side, many middle-aged children now find themselves supporting college-aged children, and taking care of aging parents.
Do the trends discussed in the postmodern family above show a decline of the family?
Which sociological theory best describes your view of education? First, state your view of education and then connect it to the theory that best describes it.
Just feedback from the teacher on out last discussion questions: HEADS UP
What if you got it for free, and you needed transportation but did not have the money to get a vehicle? Is there a way you could paint it up and redecorate it so that no one would figure out what it was? Does everyone even know what this vehicle looks like and what it is used for? Are hearses universal across every nation in the world? Maybe in some places this is not how they transport the dead. Can you imagine a point in time where in the US, cremation becomes so common that hearses stop being made, and everyone forgets what they were even used for? Remember, as some of your peers have pointed out, deviance is socially constructed so it varies by place, time, audience, actor, etc. A question for you or anyone else: can you think of something that may be considered deviant right now in the US, but perhaps to our great grandchildren it will no longer be deviant? And how about vice versa– some things that were deviant in the past in the US that today we no longer consider deviant? Also, how about material objects that were deviant but now are so obsolete that most people would not know what they were even used for anymore, so they don’t bring up the same deviant context they once did?
Reply to the discussion questions?