Hat Familie Zukunft? Analysen und Perspektiven aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum
Is there a future for the family? Analysis and perspectives in German-speaking area
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The number of families is waning; and what is more, they are smaller and smaller, less stable and diversified. Nevertheless, desire for family in young people is extremely high. Politicians and people of the Church emphasize the importance of the family for the future of the society. But, does the family itself have the future? Demographic data seem to speak against it. They prove (1) declining and biographically held off propensity to marry, (2) increasing number of divorce and (3) decreasing number of births. In consequence, they speak about pluralisation of life forms, in addition, family life forms are constantly decreasing compared to non-family forms. From the point of view of the sociology of the family, multidimensional modernization processes of the past dozens of years constitute a basic attempt to explain these family turning points. Changed courses of women’s biographies, who are not focused only on families anymore, completely changed living standards of today’s families, and also ways to start a family. The question is whether structural, cultural and individual processes of pluralisation expressed in social transformations in their immediate consequence mean that in future an ordinary family, that is married parents who with their own children live in the same household, will become a borderline case and will be replaced by an unexpected mixture of family and non-family life forms. Some sociologists interpret it in this way and they cannot see that from the individual perspective an ordinary family isn’t treated as a borderline case in any way, but it is considered to be a regular case. In this way contemporary family transformations should be treated as a symptom of difficulties that allow to live the family life in the context of contemporary society. It is a challenge for the integral family policy which in the best manner possible would counteract the “structural ruthlessness” of fashionable social systems so as to find suitable conditions for craving for a family. First of all, there is a need for a new assessment of family benefits and a new division of family functions according to gender. The economic burden for people who undertake the parental responsibility should be also taken into consideration as a hindrance to a new family and should be overcome. Success of the family is determined by the external and internal general conditions. Specifically family logic of self-love, which allows both marriage partners and children to discover unempirically a form of humanity, should be shaped and deepened in a responsible way. It is there that the matrimonial and family form of life is deeply rooted, it is what makes the family united and what determines its success. The family is never a system which is shaped by external conditions, but it is shaped from the inside as well.
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