The life cycle of a joint family depends on economic factors rather than social values. Discuss.

Published: January 17, 2015

The life cycle of a joint family denotes the different phases that a family goes through. A joint family evolves into a nuclear family, and then goes back to being a joint family. For example, parents and their child live together till the child reaches marriageable age. Once the child grows up, he/she leaves home to start his/her own family. At this stage, the joint family evolves into a nuclear family. At a later stage, the old parents might move back in with their son/daughter for various reasons.

The phases of a joint family can be explained by various factors, which were mostly cultural and at times, social, till now. However, as of late, economic considerations have been a major influencing factor. The economies of sharing and running a common household make it simpler for extended families to share a living space. By sharing accommodation, members of the same extended family can save their expenditure on rent, which can be quite substantial in big cities. Rising property prices also makes it difficult for people of the lower and working classes to afford a home of their own; which, again, makes a joint family an economic necessity. Hence, though cultural and social perspectives that attached importance to living in a joint family have changed, the economic challenges of the 21st century has been a major influence of the life cycles of joint families.

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Comments

  • Ankit Shubham
    Reply

    The joint family is synonymous with the traditional Indian society whose characteristics include presence of common household, multi generational members, more than one socially approved couple, common social and ritual practices.Other than carrying common social obligations, it provides economic protection to its members. Lately, economic factors are playing a decent role in formation of numerous nuclear family after disintegration of the joint ones.
    1. Feminism: Goran Therborn in his study Between Sex and Power (2004) assessed the increasing role of women due to their participation in workforce during the world war and feminist movements of the 1970s and held that this increased their role in families as well. Working women tend to live away from homes with the family which leads to disintegration of joint families.
    2. Urbanisation: It is assessed that the number of nuclear families in urban areas are on rise. William Bolsche stated in his study stated that the declining joint families could be attributed to scare and expensive resources which makes a nuclear family economically viable.
    3. Land Reforms: The set of land reforms led to fragmentation of lands into smaller unit thus giving rise to nuclear families which were otherwise bound by the common household and property.
    4. Migration: Rural-Urban migration due to urbanisation and poor resource availability in rural areas are leading to fragmentation of joint families.
    5. No individual recognition of achievements: The Marxist views on joint family held that joint family results in individual achievements resulting into collective one and Mergret Benston has held the work of house making wives as unpaid labour. The increasing number of nuclear families are result for individualism.