One of the more difficult topics on the families and households specification is how globalisation influences family life. Below are some examples. I’ve also tried to take these examples from different areas of the families and households specification (e.g. marriage, childhood etc.)
Whether you regard the points below as positive or negative is open to interpretation!
Some positive/ neutral consequences of globalisation for family life
- Global optimists argue that economic globalisation has resulted in increasing trade which in turn has resulted in huge economic growth and rising prosperity, correlated with declining birth rates and family size.
- Immigrant families to the UK have on average higher birth rates than non-immigrant families. A positive effect of this is that it reduces the dependency ratio, however a claimed negative consequence is an increased strain on public services, mainly schools.
- Increasing migration to the U.K = increasing cultural diversity and diversity of family structures. After several generations, more ethnic diversity.
- Increased migration means more families are stretched across national borders and have family members living abroad, which in turn reinforces globalisation as more families maintain contacts through media and physical visits.
- Cultural globalisation means more people create friendship groups based on shared interests online. Many people regard these friendship networks as ‘family’, if we follow analysis from the Personal life perspective.
- There seems to be a globalisation of ‘single person households’. There seems to be a global trend of increasing numbers of people choosing to live alone (not necessarily not being in relationships.
Some negative consequences of globalisation for family life
- Part of globalisation is people displacement following conflict, which sometimes results in the breaking up of families, U.K. policy has focused (to an extent) on taking in orphan refugee children, meaning more ‘global step/ foster families’.
- Globalisation = increasing inequality in family life and increasing cost of living for the poor. Property price speculation has driven up prices in London meaning the basic costs of maintaining a family household had doubled in the last 30 years relative to inflation, this helps explain why so many young adults today ‘choose’ to live with their parents.
- Globalisation = more diversity, choice, uncertainty, resulting in decline of people committing to long term relationships and more ‘pure relationships’. (Giddens)
- Globalisation = more media flows – children more active users of media, more exposed to global media events can have negative effects:
- More difficult for parents to prevent radicalisation (e.g. Shameena Begum)
- More exposure to global media events (mass shootings in USA, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, war and conflicts) children are more risk conscious – anxious kids, more mental health issues. (More ‘toxic childhood’)
- Parents are more paranoid, more restrictive parenting, less outdoor
This post has primarily been written for students studying the families and households topic for A-level sociology.
Students may also like to read this broader introduction to Globalisation.