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Worldwide State of the Family: Reports and Observations

Worldwide State of the Family: Reports and Observations
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includes over 70 countries

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The fundamental building block
The family, the fundamental building block of society, has exhibited a variety of forms throughout the world. Despite this wide variety which socialize human beings into the world’s many cultures and ethnic groups, several factors have begun to impact families everywhere. These include industrialization, urbanization, rapid transportation, and global communication. From the Eskimo in Alaska to the Maasai tribes in Kenya to the Hindu family in India, these global phenomena are making their impact.

The pluralism present in modem life has led numerous traditional national or ethnic groups to take extraordinary measures to protect a “pure culture.” However, the attempts to return to traditional families, the simple agrarian life of the past, or a homogeneous culture are doomed from the start. One reason is that the world is too populated today. Secondly, people throughout the world desire the conveniences of modern life and are not willing to return to a life of subsistence and constant manual labor. Thirdly, global radio and satellite television continually provide awareness of the possibilities of modern technology and the styles of life led by other people throughout the world. Fourthly, war, famine and global trade have led to great migrations and growing pluralism in ail parts of the world.

Families throughout the world are being forced to adapt to modem life, pluralism, and globalization. Religious traditions seem relativized, social security for the elderly is uncertain, and many families are in crisis. The family is being affected profoundly and globally.

This book is a compilation of responses from people from over eighty countries who were asked to provide reports on the state of the family in their own country. It provides insight into how families in cultures around the world are affected by modern industrial and post-industrial life, and how they are each trying to find their way to adapt to new social conditions. The chapters are “insiders views,” rather than those of an anthropologist imposing an outside paradigm. The authors are writing about the situation in which they find their own families and societies, and what they are doing in response.

DR. GORDON L. ANDERSON is Secretary General of Professors World Peace Academy, and Editor of International Journal on World Peace. He earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion at the Claremont Graduate School. He is editor of The Family in Global Transition and co-editor of Morality and Religion in Liberal Democratic Societies. He has published numerous articles on Religion and Society.

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