Changing Social Structure and Institutions
Changing Social Structure and Institutions
Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical and technological change, education and globalization. Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
Industrialization has replaced the simple family production units by the mass production and the factory. Economic transactions are now between individuals. Individual jobs and earnings give rise to income differentials within the family. Push factors such as population pressure and pull factors such as wider economic opportunities and modern communication cause young people to migrate especially from rural to urban areas.
With the rapidly increasing number of aged compounded by disintegration of joint families and ever increasing influence of modernization and new life styles, the care of elderly has emerged as an important issue in India. Providing care for the aged has never been a problem in India where a value based joint family system was dominant. However, with a growing trend towards nuclear family set-up and increasing education, urbanization and industrialization, the vulnerability of elderly is rapidly increasing. members are now being
The coping capacities of the younger and elder family challenged under various circumstances resulting in neglect and abuse of elderly in many ways, both within the family and outside. from one set of social roles to
Sociologically, ageing marks a form of transition another and such roles are difficult. Among all role transformation in the course of ageing, the shift into the new role of the ‘old’ is one of the most complex and complicated. In an agriculture based traditional society, where children followed their parent’s occupation, it was natural that the expertise and knowledge of each generation were passed on to the next, thus affording older persons a useful role in society. However, this is no longer true in modern society, in which improved education, rapid technical change and new forms of organization have often rendered obsolete the knowledge, experience and wisdom of older persons. Once they retire, elderly people find that their children are not seeking advice from them anymore and society has not much use for them. This realization often results in feeling of loss of status,worthlessness and loneliness.
The growth of nuclear families has also meant a need for changes in role relations. Neither having authority in the family, nor being needed, they feel frustrated and depressed. If the older person is economically dependent on the children, the problem is likely to become even worse.
Nuclear households, characterized by individuality, independence and desire for privacy are gradually replacing the joint family, which emphasizes the family as a unit and demands deference to age and authority. Children who migrate often find it difficult to cope with city life and elect to leave their old parents in the village, causing problems of loneliness and lack of care givers for old parents.
Parents in this circumstance cannot always count on financial support from their children and may have to take care of themselves. They continue to work, although at a reduced pace.
Another development impacting negatively on the status of older people is the increasing occurrence of dual career families. Female participation in economic activity either as workers or as entrepreneurs has increased considerably in the recent past in the urban informal sector and the middle class formal sector, as well as in the rural areas. In the rural informal sectors, increased expenditure on education, health and better food require high incomes. This development has implications for elderly care. On the one hand, working couples find the presence of old parents emotionally bonding and of great help in the caring for their own children. On the other hand, high costs of housing and health care are making it harder for children to have parents live with them. This is true both in rural and urban areas
Hence the changing factors in the family in its structure and function are undermining the capacity of the family to provide support to elderly and the weakening of the traditional norms underlying such support’ leading to neglect and abuse of older people in family.
With the increasing age and decreasing health, the older person begins to depend unknowingly physically and psychologically on either the kinship group or the existing social support network.