Thereis a great diversity in the family and marriage arrangements. The globalizationof societies, and with the emerging chances in Pakistani society one couldexpect further variations in this institution. Pakistani society is certainlyexperiencing the changing trend toward industrial-urban way of life. Everythird person in Pakistan is presently living in a locality, which has beendeclared as urban; thereby these urbanites are likely to experience diversitiesaround. A variety of social and economic forces become instrumental in the erosionof traditional family and marriage values. We are trying to hold on to thesacred values of this institution, though we cannot ignore the secular inroadsthat are already taking place. Are these positive developments or are thesethreatening? Nevertheless, the dramatic changes in the social norms and values havetransformed the family life. Though we do not have empirical evidence tosupport the observed changes yet it may be worth mentioning and it mightgenerate curiosity for future research. Therefore, let us look at some of thechanges that are being experienced by the family and marriage nationally and internationally.

1. Family is losing functions. Except for procreation of children, for all other functions it appearsthat other institutions are taken over the traditional functions of the family.In the developed countries families have accepted such a take-over whereas inPakistan such a change is fast coming. For example educational institutions andmass media of communication are becoming powerful agents of socialization ofchildren. Health care, matrimonial arrangements, maternal services, and manyother family responsibilities are being taken over by professionals.

Weare heading towards a situation where right from the birth till our burial thewhole of our life is likely to be handled by the professional functionaries.

2. Families are exerting less influence over the livesof their members. Modern society is an “otherdirected” society where the behavior of a person is much influenced by the peergroup (contemporaries) who is found outside of the family. Of course thefamilies try to have a control on the kinds of friends their children arelikely to have but the variety of peers the children come across while out inschool may be beyond the limits of families. Nevertheless, these very peergroups might become strengths for the socialization of children. Such a situationmight be well experienced by the families where both the parents are working.Even these parents are likely to pick up many of their styles of life fromoutside.

3. Shift toward nuclear/conjugal families. As an outcome of empirical regularity, there is a postulateduniversality of nuclear family. As the traditional family systems break down,though with different speed, in industrial society hiring is on the basis ofcompetency; efficiency is measured by individual performance; job marketrequires mobility; none of these requirements need strong kinship network.Industrializing societies create their other formal agencies to replace helpfrom kinship networks. Individuals have independent careers, and “go their own way”ignoring extended kinship ties. Even in stress nuclear family appears to bequite responsive to provide emotional support.

4. Kin networking fading and being replaced by friendsnetworking. People either depend on their own self or ontheir social capital of friends.

5. Declining size of families. With the societies moving towards modernization, there is a decline inthe fertility of women. In Pakistan from 6.3 children per woman in the 1970 wehave come down to around 4 children per woman in 2004. Some of the reasonscould be: the rise in age at first marriage; decline in infant mortality(140/1000 live births in 1970 to around 85/1000 in 2004); increasing number ofwomen especially older women not desiring to get pregnant and younger wantingto space births; decline in desired family size; use of contraceptives. Allthese reasons may have strong link with the education of families.

6. The rise of symmetrical families. There is an increase in dual earner families. One could find a trend inthe families where both husband and wife are working and sharing the household work.Or if the wife is busy in the second shift at home, the husband might also behaving a second job.

7. Patriarchy on the decline. As the proportion of dual earners marriages continues to increase, women’sfinancial dependence on their husbands declines, leading to a decline inpatriarchy. In

Source: Introduction toSociology – Virtual University of Pakistan

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