Family Change over the Past 100 Years.

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How has the family changed in the past 100 years? In the early stages of the 20th century during the social stage of solid modernity, a typical family would have consisted of a bread-winning husband, a stay at home wife and several children. Now, in the 21st century, our society has entered the social stage of liquid modernity, and the preconceived stereotype about families has changed. Aspects of the family life style such as high divorce rates, cohabitation as a substitute for marriage, and children born out of wedlock would have been seen as great issues in the 20th century. In the present century, however, these issues are quickly becoming the norm in society. Additionally, more radical ideas introduced through liquid modernity are being implemented into modern-day families like gender and age equality, and technology use in the household. Bauman’s vision of our liquid modernity state is of individuals who must be ready to adapt and be willing to make changes easily. These individuals must draw together a long series of short-term endeavours that don’t necessarily result in a career, but rather a series of events through-out their lives. This fragmented lifestyle requires an individual to be constantly changing (Bauman 2007). This means that some aspects of the solid modernity society should have no relevance to an individual living in a society of liquid modernity. A good example of this in relation to families is the institution of marriage. Marriage, traditionally between a man and a woman, is a lifelong commitment to a single partner. This means that theoretically, most marriages should fail in the 21st century due to the sociological age of liquid modernity. Bauman states that an individual living in our current society must be ready to abandon all commitments and loyalties without regret and pursue further opportunities (Bauman 2007). However,
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