10 Comments

  1. In terms of family structure, historians initially drew a conclusion that traditional (extended) family households experienced decline due to modernisation and industrialisation. This conclusion was found to be outdated and inaccurate. Instead, industrialisation saw an increase in this family structure. Historians later amended their findings, stating that due to shorter lifespans prior to the 1950s, very few families had enough living, multi-generational members to become an extended-family household.
    The 1950s saw a significant shift in family structure, moving toward private, nuclear families. Families no longer preferred external assistance such as nannies and servants, instead preferring to divide responsibilities between the parents. Modern Australian nuclear families conducted three main functions, considered vital to the upbringing of children at the time. These were socialisation, regulation of sexual activity, and providing material and emotional security. Families were also becoming younger as the marriage age fell and fertility rates rose.
    Despite an increasingly ageing population today, and the severe cost and demand on aged health care services, it is surprising that family structure has not begun to shift back toward extended family households. Instead, we once again rely on external services and assistance to meet the needs of our elderly, extended family members.

    • In a sense I disagree with the last statement (Grace Lynch, March 16), as I believe a shift toward extended family households is occurring from ‘The ‘Special’ 1950s’ (mentioned in Lecture 3). Though this is dependent on contextual factors as well as cultural norms held (especially by some migrant Australians).

      In regards technological advances now allowing families to provide medical care at home, Coontz (2000, p. 289) notes that “fewer people are put in nursing homes, and hospital stays are shorter… unprecedented is the responsibility that adult children bear for their parents, who in previous generations were unlikely to live long enough to require substantial and prolonged assistance”. Coontz (2000) also identifies a shift from 7 to 21 million people providing free care to a family member/friend from 1987 to 1997.

      While reliance on external services and assistance to meet the needs of elderly extended family members may be necessary, I feel that it is also important to recognise that this is not always the case. Extended family households (from my experience and observations) are occurring for a variety of reasons. For some Australians, it is a cultural norm to bring elderly family members into the household to care for them if/when possible.

      Extended family households also seem to be appearing with children moving back home/staying home for longer, which Coontz (2000, p. 289) identifies as “help with home buying or subsidised boarding in the parental home”. When considering the family in general, distribution of care-giving roles can also work both ways – not only with children caring for elders, but also older family members taking on a greater role in caring for younger children within the household.

      #S208UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1130

  2. Following the commercialisation of the motor car, suburbia maximised it reach. Houses sprawled greater distances than those already along the train and cablecar lines. Along with the sprawl of houses and people, suburbia also began to become dominated by the nuclear family. However, today these key elements are no longer sustainable and could lead to its demise. As stated in Roger’s blog post, the continuous spread of housing is unsustainable and infrastructure is insufficient with congestion clogging up vital roadways every day. Furthermore, problems arise out of the patriarchal design of the traditional nuclear family.

    I would argue that Australia is moving away from the nuclear family structure. The median marriage age has risen steadily from the 1990s to currently stand in the 30s, compared to 23 in the 1950s. Similarly, divorce rates have increased greatly also. Careers tend to take priority over marriage and children and both women and men participate significantly in the workforce. In Sydney, and assumedly other of the Australian cities, the phenomena of ‘Double Income, No Kids’ (or DINKS) households have also become increasing evident. Finally, I agree with Justin Luzuriaga’s comment about extended families in Australia. Families are no longer just ‘mum, dad and a few kids’. Families in Australia are diverse and no longer bound by a rigid structure.

    As a final note, Australia in my opinion is turning its back on some aspects of the traditional suburban life but continue to clutch onto the dream of the unsustainable quarter-acre block.

    #S208UOW17 #Mon1130 #Tut3

  3. There is no denying that the industrial revolution has brought about many changes to the ‘norm’ of society. With the emergence of ‘cities’ there have been significant shifts in living arrangements, and more specifically changes to the nature of building families (Cootz, 2000). The cities resulting from the industrial revolution became unpleasant places to live with city slums becoming the norm (Engels, 1845). Fischer (1967) argued three theories which attempt to explain the effects of the city; the determinist, compositional and subcultural. I believe the most relevant theory that applies to a contemporary society is the subcultural theory. Resulting from globalisation there has been a dramatic increase in migration, creating diversity (Fischer, 1967). I believe this has allowed for sub-cultural groups to be formed, allowing for individuals in an isolated city to feel like they belong to a group. However, I also believe that these sub-cultural groups are in fact alienated from each other.

    Although the emergence of subcultures allowed for the disconnect and alienation in cities to subside, the city remained an undesirable place to live (Fischer, 1967). With limited options of either the city or the country, there emerged an “in-between”; suburbs. During the emergence of the suburbia, there had been many disruptions to familial norms. The median age of marriage declined dramatically, fertility rates increased, the number of children with employed mothers decreased and nuclear families took precedence over extended families (Cootz, 2000).

    When considering a contemporary Sydney city, it can be argued that the idea of Satellite (garden) Cities is becoming increasingly relevant, with certain areas proving to follow the path of upcoming CBDs. This is specifically the case with Hurstville, which has become Sydney’s second CBD as well as plans for Parramatta to become the third. The idea of having multiple satellite cities surrounding Sydney’s most central business district, with train lines connecting them, has become the reality (Parker, 2005). For example, Hurstville was originally an innercity suburb, proving the difficulty to distinguish between cities and suburbs in society today. A growing concern is whether the rapid progression and spread of the ‘city’ will replace what is left of the suburbs globalised world.

    #S208UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1130

  4. There is no denying that the industrial revolution has brought about many changes to the ‘norm’ of society. With the emergence of ‘cities’ there have been significant shifts in living arrangements, and more specifically changes to the nature of building families (Cootz, 2000). The cities resulting from the industrial revolution became unpleasant places to live with city slums becoming the norm (Engels, 1845). Fischer (1967) argued three theories which attempt to explain the effects of the city; the determinist, compositional and subcultural. I believe the most relevant theory that applies to a contemporary society is the subcultural theory. Resulting from globalisation there has been a dramatic increase in migration, creating diversity (Fischer, 1967). I believe this has allowed for sub-cultural groups to be formed, allowing for individuals in an isolated city to feel like they belong to a group. However, I also believe that these sub-cultural groups are in fact alienated from each other.

    Although the emergence of subcultures allowed for the disconnect and alienation in cities to subside, the city remained an undesirable place to live (Fischer, 1976). With limited options of either the city or the country, there emerged an “in-between”; suburbs. During the emergence of the suburbia, there had been many disruptions to familial norms. The median age of marriage declined dramatically, fertility rates increased, the number of children with employed mothers decreased and nuclear families took precedence over extended families (Cootz, 2000).

    When considering a contemporary Sydney city, it can be argued that the idea of Satellite (garden) Cities is becoming increasingly relevant, with certain areas proving to follow the path of upcoming CBDs. This is specifically the case with Hurstville, which has become Sydney’s second CBD as well as plans for Parramatta to become the third. The idea of having multiple satellite cities surrounding Sydney’s most central business district, with train lines connecting them, has become the reality (Parker, 2005). For example, Hurstville was originally an innercity suburb, proving the difficulty to distinguish between cities and suburbs in society today. A growing concern is whether the rapid progression and spread of the ‘city’ will replace what is left of the suburbs globalised world.

  5. I think an interesting consideration is the human drive to escape pollution and industrialisation to the “suburbs” which contrasts starkly to social and economical constructs which create these environments in which we spend a good part of our lives working.

    In Australia, the 1950s demonstrated strong social and cultural influences informing peoples movements towards the suburbs to meet the innate human need to be included and belong. This need was harnessed and marketed by corporations and political agenda to “create an idea and sell it”- i.e. ¼ acre suburb life.

    While the evolution of the automobile played a huge role in enabling this sprawl however, as people consider their lives and desires in a modern context, individual choices are now also having an impact and for some people, cars are no longer a functional commodity.

    #SOC208UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1130

  6. I think an interesting consideration is the human drive to escape pollution and industrialisation to the “suburbs” which contrasts starkly to social and economical constructs which create these environments in which we spend a good part of our lives working. In Australia, the 1950s demonstrated strong social and cultural influences informing peoples movements towards the suburbs to meet the innate human need to be included and belong. This need was harnessed and marketed by corporations and political agenda to “create an idea and sell it”- i.e. ¼ acre suburb life.
    While the evolution of the automobile played a huge role in enabling this sprawl however, as people consider their lives and desires in a modern context, individual choices are now also having an impact and for some people, cars are no longer a functional commodity.

    #SOC208UOW17 #Tut3 #Mon1130

  7. A biological reference drawn from Burgess’ readings illustrates everyday community interactions and the introduction of the motorcar as though referring to the human body. Where mobility was regarded as the “pulse of a community” more or less referring to the community/city as whereby the people, their culture and livelihoods make out an integral part in keeping the city alive and fluid. The car allowed for connections to be made more regularly and easily and over further distances then before, it was a time where people began to change, develop new interests and branch out into suburbia, chasing part of the Australian dream. I believe that whilst the motor car contributed greatly in shaping and forming pathways for early cities acting as the pulse that allowed growth in creating suburbs, it in more contemporary times is viewed as a necessary evil. For people who now live further away there is a necessity for a car to travel from place to place rather than a desire, convenience or want for one. With more occasions then not, the large influx of cars contributes to congestion, traffic, accidents and delays especially for those who travel further distances to reach working and living locations. As mentioned previously, the car is no longer a functional commodity. In society the changing notion of families, cities and community constructs makes the busy bustling streets filled with cars more constrictive and drawn in rather than making it feel like the space is growing. However being viewed as a pulse the incredibly jam packed, fast paced moving vehicles can also be representative of our continuity, connectivity and ever-changing lives in modern society.
    #S208UOW17 #Tut3-Wed1430 #WK4

  8. Changes in family structures is nothing new. As highlighted at the beginning of our lecture last week, over the centuries we have moved from patriarchal families where married couples and their children live under the same roof as their extended family, to nuclear family structures where a married couple and just their children live together. Cootz’s (2000) article also eluded to the ways in which household roles and responsibilities have evolved; from pre-industrival revolution times when women needed to rely on the income of their husbands and brothers, to post-industrial revolution where women and children became more active members of the workforce.
    We are seeing yet another major shift in family structures in todays modern society. As Chloe mentioned above, in the 1950’s Australians centred round the nuclear family form, where there was also a strong social and cultural influence that made families desire to live in the suburbs on a ‘1/4 acre block of land’.As discussed in the lecture and our tutorials, Australia is experiencing a decline in couple families living with multiple dependent children, and an increase in smaller family sizes and single parent families. In my opinion I see this trend continuing into the foreseeable future, and hence makes me wonder whether Australian cities and suburbs need to be altered to better cater to the new family structures we are now seeing? For example should smaller homes be built over the coming years to better suit smaller families? Should suburbs be modified in a way that makes life easier for single parent families? To conclude I feel urban planners should be taking these modern day family structures into consideration in order to keep up with our ever changing Australia.
    #S208UOW17 #tut3 #wed1430

  9. Throughout the lectures and tutorials so far, it has become quite clear that everyone is relatively on the same page, whereas we all understand that families are everchanging. In the modern day now, you rarely find people especially millennials that are aiming for that “normal life” with the “normal nuclear family”. We now find that people aim for a high paying 9-5 job that comes with lots of benefits, but hopefully with the possibility of limited effort. There are more likely people that aim to get an education, usually tertiary level, then to acquire a steady job. Also to most likely travel and experience the world before settling down for marriage and children. Rarely is it found a millennial that aims for marriage and children at a young age. Young meaning before 25.
    It is also interesting that housing is distinctly changing throughout the 21st century as well. As Suzanne mentioned, we are continually moving from families that are run in a patriarchal way where there are large families of married couples with children and extended families, to now where it it just a married couple and their immediate children, or even just the married couple.
    These new aims of the younger generation need to be taken into consideration when taking about the ‘suburbs’. Is is really an aim for today’s generation to aim for a block of land with a generic house in the suburbs with a marriage and 2 children? Or is it more likely an aim to live in the city, most likely an apartment where they are close to work or education? Therefore the role of the automobile would be less if the second scenario was the first aim.
    #S208UOW17 #Tut1 #mon1130

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