SOC208 2019 Tut 2 Fri 1230 – Industrial cities and families – the seeds of suburbia?

For many of us who grew up in suburban families, we take their existence for granted as a normal, ahistorical way of life. Few of us might be aware of the history of the suburb and the family, and the Industrial and agricultural/ feudal ways of life that preceded it.

Pre-industrial society was comprised of families in a variety of extended and nuclear forms. People lived and worked amongst extended kinship groups in communal villages and towns, and both men and women had a role in the localised, small-scale, production that characterized this time.

These forms changed in the Industrial Revolution. Middle class families became more nuclear-oriented in form, with a clearer gender divide of labour into male wage-workers and female child carers. Meanwhile, working class men, women and children worked long hours in urban factories and lived in over-crowded urban cottages and apartments. This created the terrible mix of poverty, disease, and pollution that was captured so vividly in the writing of Frederick Engels on the Great Towns of England.

In Australia, the 19th century middle classes arriving from England and the working-classes families renting the cramped terraces that dominated the cities of Sydney and Melbourne dreamed of a better life. Many Australian workers went on to organise collectively, form associations, communities and political parties, and strikes for better working conditions began in earnest in the 1890s. However, it would be their children for the most part who were to find that better life in the rollout of 20th century suburbia.

S208UOW19 #Tut2 #Fri1230

Posted in SOC208 - Cities, Communities and Families, UOW.

6 Comments on SOC208 2019 Tut 2 Fri 1230 – Industrial cities and families – the seeds of suburbia?

Braden Clark @Braden67683942 said : Guest Report 4 weeks ago

Late 18th Century in Britain, dawn of the Industrial revolution, the world was exposed to major cultural changes in both the workplace and life at home. Increased employment in factories saw families flooding into the cities, resulting in a high urban density. During this, occupation sorting and the division of labour between sexes shifted to meet demands for efficiency rather than it being arbitrary (Burnette, 2008). This, in turn, shaped the social norms of family structure.

Nicholas Michell said : Guest Report 4 weeks ago

The industrial revolution which began in the 18th century, was the process of going from an agrarian economy built on handcrafts, agriculture and rural living to one that was later taken over by a more industrial and urban lifestyle. During this time, social class and standards of living radically changed due to the process of industrialisation. During this time, living quality according to Engels was tremendously appalling especially for those who were a part of society known as the ‘working class’. This was due to the over population of large cities because of families moving into urban areas for factory work. This brought along terrible pollution, disease and poverty amongst the population during the 18th century. The division of labour in the working class was not very large as both men and women worked long and strenuous hours in factories and more often than not their children also did (Coontz 2000). However, these terrible times for the working class were what allowed for the rise of suburban living. Working class families attempted to escape the horrific conditions of the city and moved to other outlying districts which created what is known today as suburbia. Moreover, the industrial revolution had been somewhat of a catalyst that allowed for the people of the working class to escape the harsh and abysmal living conditions and created a new quality of life in the suburbs. In addition to this, the living standards of today are something that not many people give much thought. This does not however mean that they should be taken for granted.

Gracie said : Guest Report 4 weeks ago

During the transition into the industrial revolution, the dependence on agriculture as the main source of income gradually shifted to much more labour intensive work in factory settings. According to Engels, this change to mass production was introduced due to farming restrictions resulting in a heightened number of cases of rural-urban migration, where families would move to the more industrialised centres where they had greater opportunities for work and a steady income. This movement resulted in cases of the cities to gradually sprawl, and these growing towns ultimately lead to wider connections through modes of transportation and infrastructure, adding to the size of these urban centres. The structure of families and the type of living experienced during this time were heavily influenced by the working conditions. Men were the main ‘breadwinner’ of the family as the women and children would work at much lower wages, and especially for the lower-class families, child labour was extremely common. The living conditions were far from comfortable, with heightened risks of disease and death due to poor hygiene and overall integrity of the surroundings. However, today, the thought of living such harsh livelihoods and struggling to raise a family in such an insecure environment is something that is far from a reality for the majority. The large towns and populated areas that came out of the industrial society have further grown into large areas of suburbia and the family dynamic has changed significantly. As addressed by Coontz (2000) the concept of marriage and relationships has been altered significantly, where divorced and raising a child as a single parent is becoming much more common. As is a change in the expectation of when and who to marry, or there is no longer the requirement to live with parents for the remainder of an individuals life, thus, allowing them to “experience a protracted period of life” (Coontz, 2000) based on their own choosing.

Karissa Zantiotis said : Guest Report 4 weeks ago

The industrial revolution has influenced a huge change in our lives today compared to what the living standards once were. The hardships during the industrial revolution period that were faced were horrendous as described by Fredrick Engels ‘The condition of the working class in England’. The working class especially were subjected to such poor living conditions where it was heavily polluted, overly crowded and very dangerous all because of underprivileged work options and often slave labour. This heavily impacted their overall life and health status also with death rates rising. These people had a lack of power over the wealthy people and had no other option but to face such conditions just to barley survive. In the late 1950’s is when we started to see change in the family structure especially the nuclear family. We started to see change in society where the mother and father are not working long hours in factories but rather the parents will work 9-5 jobs while children attend school and they experience an overall suburban lifestyle more readily occurring. Coontz identifies the changes in families and the recent delays in marriage rates and child baring rates. Our lives as a family are vastly different today with our experiences shaped and progressed on from the industrial revolution era. Overall our life expectancy has increased and our privileges are exceptional, with many challenges faced in the past that has allowed for such freedom.

Tamika said : Guest Report 4 weeks ago

The industrial revolution was a time-period where the standards of living changed through the production of labour (Davies 2011). This was viewed when technological advances at the time, created machine manufacturing equipment, which produced resources at a faster pace and bigger quantity, than what the hand made agricultural economy could provide (Augustyn et al. 2019). But, did this increase the quality of living standards within the economy? The new industrial workplaces had consisted of factories located in the main cities. This drew people from rural areas into an urban life setting, and gave them an opportunity to work and receive a "real-income" (Jaffe 2013). However, this eventually caused an overcrowding of the population, which eventually led into an increase in pollution, diseases, and poverty throughout the 1800's. Not only did this cause problems to the society, but the working conditions were horrific and exploited child labour (Hopkins 1984). Engles (2000, p.80) further describes this as people who have been, "forced to sacrifice the best qualities of their human nature". Hence the reason why the rise of suburbia had formed, people fought to escape the corruption of the cities and seek a new life just on the out-skirts (Jaffe 2013). Therefore, the poor quality of living standards and exploitation of workers of the industrial revolution had created a platform for people to shift from the corrupted cities and retreat into the suburbs, which ultimately, the next generations would come to embrace. Unknowingly, today's society do take for granted the suburbs as a, "historical way of life", however this sprouted out of the social conditions of the industrial economy. Further more, the conditions of the industrial revolution has still continued, in few ways, to influenced the attitudes of society today, as most people prefer living in the suburbs or rural areas, due to the crowded and business of the city.

Kathy Miller said : Guest Report a month ago

SOC208 Tut 2 Fri 12.30 Life as we know it today has evolved with great change since pre-industrial society and that makes it very hard to truly understand the challenges faced by our predecessors. Suffering was vast as described by Engels. The structure of the family is now understood to be directly influenced by working conditions, fairness within the industrialised setting and time available to devote to building those bonds within the family. Was the family structure just simply influenced out of necessity and survival? The 1950s saw an increase in the nuclear family form with couples and their children residing as their own individual group with the sit down meal for dinner becoming common place. In more recent times declines and delays in marriage rates or delays in child bearing is identified to be a significant change in the family structure identified by Coontz. However is this simply due to the prosperous times we have seen in modern day that provides both men and women more choices to live life as it suits their wants and needs? Life expectancy is extended and the ability to have children later in life is now possible allowing the individual more years in their life to explore their own wants and desires before settling down and starting a family. The privileges we have today are exceptional and not to be taken for granted, nor should we forget the great challenges faced and overcome to allow us such freedom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked