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					Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

 Outline
  1. Introduction: (a) a short account of the historical changes
     accompanying love, marriage and family; (b) highlighting the
     unique features of the modern family; (c) a preview of the
     major issues to be tackled in the course
  2. Theoretical components: (a) structural changes in society; (b)
     demographic trends; (c) changes in values and norms
  3. Love, marriage and family in the pre-industrial period: (a) the
     ancient times; (b) the feudalism period; (c) the 18th century
  4. The modern industrial society: (a) the 19th century; (b) the
     modern nuclear family of the 1950s; (c) the advanced
     industrial society of the late 20th century
  5. Love, marriage and family: historical changes summarized
  6. The major issues identified through the historical survey
  7. Some theoretical reminders
  8. Suggested readings
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  1. Introduction


      a. A brief account of the historical changes accompanying
         love, marriage and family


          • from the ancient times to the late 20th century
          • long-term trends and important turning points
          • primarily the western societies

      b. Bringing out the unique features of the modern family

           • diversities of norms and practices in the pre-modern
           families
           • modern family as a specific combination/configuration of
           norms and practices; its notions of love/marriage are not
           universal
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

    c. Anticipating the major issues to be examined

        • the emergence of romantic love and its implications
        for sexuality, intimacy and marriage
        • the gender roles in modern family
        • the ideal/ideology of domesticity
        • childhood
        • modern parenthood
        • socialization
        • the relation between family cycle and individual life
        course
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family


   2. Theoretical considerations embedded in our historical
      survey

         a. The overall structural changes in society: providing
            new opportunities/resources or imposing new
            constraints; different groups are affected differently
         b. The long-term demographic trends: infant mortality,
            general life expectancy, fertility rate, marriage and
            divorce rte, age at marriage/family formation, age at
            leaving home
         c. Changes in values and norms: the idea of beauty and
            relation to love, the notion of sexuality and relation to
            woman, the value placed on privacy and home as a
            private sphere, etc.
         d. Class: classes are affected differently by the structural
            changes; some classes as the bearers or carriers of
            new values and ideals which become pervasive in the
            larger society
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   3. Love, marriage and family in the (long) pre-industrial period

       a. Ancient society

            • love is not the typical or normal path to marriage;
            marriage as something separate
            • women as locked up in family, and family as
            households owned by the men
            • Greek men entertained themselves with cultivated
            prostitutes; sexuality as satisfaction of aesthetic taste
            • love as praised by philosophers is homosexual love;
            mainly about masculine passion; the passion of the
            older men for the young adolescent boy, love as
            yearning and admiration for (physical) beauty;
            combination of purely physical and extremely spiritual
            • love is separate from marriage; the (modern) idea of
            love as mutual closeness and sympathy/understanding,
            and as basis of marriage/family, is quite alien
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  Ancient times, cont’d

     • the ideal love as found outside marriage and family, and is
     homosexual rather than heterosexual
     • among the upper classes, marriage was more likely dynastic
     marriage (preserving prestige, purity of line…), and among the
     lower classes, marriage and family formation more likely
     shaped by status (free men/citizen or slaves), and by
     economic needs and opportunities
     • thus love, marriage and family seem to be rather separate
     spheres of life, with each serving different purposes
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  b. The medieval period (500-1450)

       • The upper classes (aristocracy) conducted dynastic
       marriages; forging political alliances; preserving breeding;
       individuals (particularly women) have little choice
       • girls of upper classes tended to marry early, whereas
       for common people, age at marriage was comparatively
       late
       • common people married not for love, but for economic
       reasons: a young man wanting to run his own farm or
       small enterprise had to get married, i.e. finding a wife
       who could help him with the work, supervise servants
       and apprentices, and preferably bringing in a little capital
       to start the business
       • women married because marriage provided her with
       (the only) economic security, an establishment that she
       could share; if her husband died, she could inherit the
       farm/enterprise and have her own ‘career’
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

Medieval period, cont’d

   • most families are NOT large: either people could not afford it
   economically, or infant mortality was high, or short life expectancy
   (especially among women) meant the chance of many members
   (of different generations) living under the same roof was slim
   • the image of large extended family as the norm in pre-industrial
   society was often an ideal, and not reality
   • later in the 16th and 17th centuries, the dominant family form
   was a little like the modern nuclear family: father and mother and
   dependent children; once children were old enough to work, they
   left home and set up their own families
   • BUT the difference is that in the traditional society, it was a
   collective view of family; family seen as a collective enterprise,
   where all (including young children) participated in its production
   and social activities
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   Medieval period, cont’d

     • a new notion of love appeared in this period: the emergence
     of courtly love among the aristocratic families in western Europe
     • love as inseparable from loyalty; kissing was originally an
     emblem of loyalty between noble and follower
     • love expressed by the knight towards his upper class lady;
     woman was idealized and loved as a woman (new ideal of
     male-female relations); courtly love as poetic love affairs and as
     new status of chivalrous knights; as pledge of subordination and
     undying loyalty to the lady
     • love affairs as real (adulteries); love again was extra-marital
     • courtly love as developing into amorous pastimes of the upper
     class: hedonistic and culturally refined
     • courtly love as alien to the common folks: the importance of it
     is in idealizing woman, especially when she is unobtainable
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

 c. The 18th century: on the eve of the modern industrial revolution

     • there remained great differences between the family of the
     upper class and that of the common people; but slowly the
     middle classes emerged, together with their non-working
     wives
     • the decline of the patrimonial household and the
     emergence of a more private home: the separation of
     (political) office from the noble’s manors and mansions; the
     separation of place of work from home among the enterprise
     owners
     • these make for increasing separation of spheres: the public
     and the private; work and home
     • there are diversities even among western societies; some
     societies have predominantly small nuclear families
     (England), while some still have many large extended
     families (eastern Europe, rural France)
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  The 18th century, cont’d


    • the small nuclear families were a product of a greater
    freedom in individual choice (young men set up
    business/farm and get married; they marry women who could
    help their business; together they take advantage of the
    economic opportunities made available); such individual
    choice was more limited in those societies where extended
    and complex families existed
    • many young people started out as apprentices (learning
    trade or skills) and servants; but often these are not life-long
    destinations; once they had the resources, they set up their
    cottage/farm/shop and set up family; a more diversified and
    dynamic economy made that possible
    • in terms of individual life course, starting out and ‘making it’
    (in the world of work and business) is closely connected with
    marriage and family formation
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family


   The 18th century, cont’d


       • as long as workshops prevailed (and families/households
       often serving as both home and workplace), families tended
       to include ‘strangers’: boarders, apprentices, lodgers..; such
       diversities in household composition had an effect on
       childhood experience (more involvement in the adult world,
       more models to identify with, more diffused emotional
       investment….)
       • little age and sex segregation, as all (children as young as
       seven could be put to work) had to participate in the family
       enterprise; older siblings (especially daughters) as look after
       younger siblings; family tasks are not tied to age as there is a
       longer age spectrum among the children
       • adolescence is not a separate stage for children; childhood
       was just a brief probationary period before children finished
       their apprenticeship and started working
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

 The 18th century, cont’d

       • demographically, life expectancy low, infant mortality high:
       not many could live to see children enter adulthood; many of
       those who did live to old age lived alone (e.g., wives died
       because of childbirth); family structure was rather similar to
       the modern nuclear family (though the experiences are
       different)
       • the family structure was kept small and simple also by
       migration: the flow to the cities/factories depleted the family
       in the countryside, but kin relations were reconstructed in the
       urban setting, mainly for initiating and sheltering kins’ entry
       into the strange environment (initiation into the factory
       regime or the government bureaucracy)
       • families on the eve of the 19th century were still primarily a
       collective economic unit, although among the middle
       classes, there emerged separation of spheres, and more
       women did not participate in paid work; but a lot of people,
       especially during hard times, could not marry and set up
       families
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   4. The modern industrial era

       a. The Victorian period (19th century)

           • as work was separated from home, family became
           more ‘private’: more individualized, more child-centred,
           especially among the middle classes
           • childhood is now a distinct and treasured stage; it is
           about nurturing, as dependent subjects of tender nurture
           and protection, gentleness, affection, etc.
           • together with this new notion of childhood, the modern
           wife emerged; woman as the object of adoration and
           protection (romantic love), and she was then the
           custodian of family/home as a sanctified sphere
           • women’s child-nourishing responsibilities were
           elevated to supreme virtues, and true womanhood was
           about piety, submissiveness, gentleness and purity; sex
           (to be hidden from the innocent children) is to be
           confined to marriage and family
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  The Victorian woman, cont’d
     • the domestic roles of woman became predominant: as
     wife, mother, daughter…; not as a sex object
     • it was putting woman high on a pedestal and also confining
     her to a separate sphere of life
     • women themselves had a motive in going along with this:
     they need the economic security provided by ‘till death do us
     part’ marriage when they could not have individual careers in
     the larger society
     • with the conjoining of love and marriage, people married for
     love (‘till death do us part’) and not setting up a family to take
     advantage of economic opportunities, etc.
     • the separation of work and home, and the new idea of
     womanhood, strengthened the separation of men and women,
     as they lived and represented different realms (public vs.
     private); gender roles at home became a reflection of their
     different positions in the society, with men as active in the
     public realm, and women in the domestic one
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   The Victorian period, cont’d

       • this is the origin of the ‘instrumental man –
       expressive woman’ idea in our modern society
       • the middle class families (where the wives could
       afford not to work) particularly emphasized the
       importance of family (as the core of their respectability)
       • but family was also a defense for them: sheltering
       themselves and their children from the chaos, fierce
       competitiveness and impersonality of the city; family
       was a refuge, a ‘haven in a heartless world’
       • family life as focused on parents and children
       relations; other relatives were more selectively
       engaged; family life became both more intensive and
       isolated
       • as families became more focused on the married
       couple and their young children, functions were tied to
       sex and age
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  The Victorian period, cont’d

      • children (helpless, innocent) lived in a
      protected/pampered setting, where the diversity of
      models and experiences was now absent
      • families developed an inward-turning character, and it
      was thought that better control and training of children
      could be achieved in this isolated and private conjugal
      family
      • family structure is not just about composition; it is also
      about clusters of conditions of existence: children’s
      capacity for facing the adult world could be significantly
      shaped by family experiences (the diversity, depth and
      pool of experiences that their families/fathers could
      provide)
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family


   The 19th century concluded


      • the linkage between work and family, between larger kin
      groups and family, between community and family became
      weakened
      • middle class families developed or pioneered new woman
      ideals, new family ideals: the middle class men wanted not
      an economic partner, but a sexual and domestic partner; but
      the cost is the confinement of women to restricted home life
      • working class families were different; many women were
      engaged in paid work, though they did not have rights over
      their incomes; childbearing tied them down further
      • many did not have a ‘normal’ family cycle (leaving home,
      marriage, family formation, childbearing, launching and
      surviving at 50 with first spouse still alive): only 40% of
      American women achieved that in the 19th century
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   b. The modern nuclear family of the 1950s


        •   The 1950s was seen as the golden age of
            modern family: neat distinct roles of
            ‘breadwinner and homemaker’; post-war
            stability, affluence, property-owning, self-
            sufficient, suburban living, and child-centred
        •   This period in US society was unique: the long
            term trend was older age at marriage, lower
            fertility, and rise in divorce; the 1950s saw a
            reversal of these trends; it was the ‘familistic
            generation’, the ‘baby boom’ years
        •   Men and women in this period married younger,
            and tried to raise a family as soon as possible;
            many women were married before they turned
            20
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  The 1950s, cont’d

     • this reversal of trends was due to two reasons: stability
     and affluence in the immediate post-war period meant that
     many could afford to indulge their familistic concerns; and
     suburban development meant that working class people
     could also obtain their own houses and tend their own
     backyards, etc.; self-sufficiency and broad economic
     advances for all created a suitable cultural environment
     • it was like a return to tradition (something approximating
     the (myth of) large cohesive family of the past), but only
     superficially
     • it was still conjugal pair and their young children; it was
     still a private, intense, and relatively isolated setting
     • the ideology of romantic love and the sanctity of
     marriage/home made the couple more anxious as they
     expect/demand more from marriage and family life
     (practically from the other)
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

  The 1950s concluded

     • looking back from the late 20th century, with its high
     divorce/separation rate, its many non-marital childbirths,
     delaying or abstentation of childbirth, etc., the 1950s was the
     golden age of modern family (family values stressing
     commitment, caring and cohesion)
     • but it was a unique and short-lived period: for the first time,
     working class people could do what the middle class did:
     homeownership and a more privatized lifestyle, with help from
     labour-saving domestic machinery; for the first time, the
     cultural atmosphere was such that working class men did not
     want their wives to work outside
     • despite its uniqueness, the 1950s was also representative
     of many features of modern family:
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

     Modern nuclear family
      because of better health and modern medicine, life
     expectancy, infant mortality, and death due to childbirth were
     greatly improved: this means it is more likely for people to
     enjoy a normal family cycle
      in terms of individual life course, this means couples
     would tend to spend longer time with each other, invest a
     shorter period (concentrated) of their lives in childrearing,
     followed by a long empty nest period (as much as one-third
     of their life), and by widowed/solitary living
      family and work separation leading to family as a private
     retreat, with women being the custodians of this sphere
      more uniform family cycle: more orderly sequence of
     progression along stages of the family cycle (partly because
     of voluntary choice, and partly because of less interruption
     from deaths, migration, desertion, poverty…); transition into
     occupational roles often timed with transition into marital
     roles
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   Modern nuclear family concluded

       greater voluntary choice in major life transitions (when
      to marry, when or whether to have children, earlier and
      more concentrated period of childrearing or not, and
      marriage not necessarily tied to parenthood, etc.); this
      becomes the most prominent feature in families of the late
      20th century (the ‘post-modern family’)
       the private, relatively isolated sphere, and the value
      placed on love-marriage, generate pressure on the family:

            ‘…..that Americans love marriage too much. We
            rush into marriage with abandon, expecting a micro-
            Utopia on earth. We pile all our needs onto it, our
            expectations, neuroses, and hopes… Once, people
            found companionship among their old high school
            buddies, and got help with child raising from
            granddads and aunts. Marriages lasted because
            less was expected of them.’ (B. Ehrenreich)
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   c. Families in the late 20th century

     • the longer trends of lower fertility rate, higher median age at marriage,
     and high divorce (and remarriage too) rate continued, after the 1950s’
     ‘interlude’
     • sexual liberation made possible by feminist movement, by the
     pervasive use of contraception, by a new discourse on love and
     sexuality; love and sex are uncoupled
     • we are still expected to ‘marry for love’, but the ‘till death do us apart’
     part is weakened; serial marriage and other alternatives appeared (e.g.
     cohabitation, LAT (living apart together), etc.)
     • although divorce rate is high, marriage as an institution still strong,
     because remarriage rate is also high
     • the result is ‘recombinant families’: children could actually be living in
     a ‘large’ family consisting of step-parents and step-children
     • biological parenthood also separate from social parenthood (social
     family) where adoption and artificial semination are possible
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

 Families of the late 20th century, cont’d

      • marriage also uncoupled from family: a sharp rise of
      outside-wedlock childbearing and single parenthood
      (especially single mothers)
      • domestic division of labour (more egalitarian sharing of
      domestic responsibilities) on the agenda now that more
      and more women (even those married with children)
      continued their participation in the world of paid work
      • the value of housework is put on the agenda
      • notions of fatherhood and motherhood subject to more
      negotiation; more choice and initiative are exercised, as
      different alternative are being explored (the emergence of
      flexitime, work-at-home, etc.)
      • these alternatives could cover living arrangements,
      caring practices, childrearing, housework, etc.; in some of
      these alternatives, the ‘traditional’ family practices are
      ‘revived’ or made more visible (e.g., pooling resources
      among kins)
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   Families of the late 20th century, cont’d


     • ‘elective families’ among the gays and lesbians: the core
     meanings of family being negotiated
     • ‘family crisis’? --- often, it is not decline but diversity
     • class still matters: some families are more vulnerable to
     poverty, to violence and abuse
     • caring for the elderly (from both the individual and from
     the state) becomes more urgent as more and more people
     would have a longer period of empty nest and/or
     solitary/widowed living
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family


  5. Love, marriage and family: historical changes
     summarized

      • over the long term, we could see changing
      relationships between love/sexuality, marriage and
      family: from separation to convergence/fusion and
      then to (some) separation
      • over this long time span, some significant
      turning point has left an important legacy (e.g., the
      idea of romantic love, that we marry for love), and
      which has contributed to that powerful appeal of
      the modern nuclear family (‘the family’)
      • the traditional family form is often not what we
      thought: it is often not large, complex/multi-
      generational or stable; instead, in terms of family
      structure and family cycle, it is often short, erratic
      and unstable; demographic factors take a heavy
      toll
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

   Historical changes summarized, cont’d

      • in the past, the upper classes and the working
      classes seem to live in different worlds: the interests
      that propel them in conducting love, marriage and
      family are different
      • the emergence of the middle classes in the 19th
      century carried new ideals of domesticity, fused love
      and marriage into the value of (class) respectability,
      and contributed to the separation of private and public
      spheres (and the associated gender division)
      • the modern nuclear family could equally be
      understood in terms of these factors: demographic
      conditions, class, and ideals/values
      • with the rise of individualism, the possibilities of
      contraception/artificial semination, and the removal of
      taboo over divorce and over different sex-orientation,
      etc., family practices become even more diverse in
      the late 20th-century
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

    6. Some major issues identified through the historical
       survey


        • if family is still a ‘haven in a heartless world’
        (providing the fundamental sense of security and trust
        from early on), then at what/whose cost?
        • if family has as its foremost task socialization, what
        values are being inculcated/transmitted? Is family the
        only site for important relationship/character formation?
        • is modern family being ‘overloaded’ with
        expectations and needs? What are the reasons for
        this?
        • are ‘post-modern families’ a solution to the problems
        of the modern nuclear families, or just variations on the
        problems?
Family Time, Industrial Time: the making of the modern family

    The above issues will be tackled in our discussion of


       • the nature of the private, ‘isolated’ nuclear family
       • the anti-family tradition
       • childhood and the mothering role
       • caring, intimacy and sexuality in modern families
       • socialization and parenthood
       • diversities of family practices in the 21st century

				
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