Traditionally, family was considered one of the main constituting parts of American society to the extent that family was associated with the basis of the whole social structure. At the same time, in recent years discussion concerning ‘cultural wars’ in which family was perceived in different ways are getting to be increasingly more important. I found out that this trend is really strong enough and involves the whole American society, including political leaders of the nation.
In fact, it is not surprising that nowadays the problem of cultural wars and family values is getting to be one of the burning problems of the contemporary society. First of all, it is the result of the growing impact of new lifestyle which is dramatically different from what was observed half a century ago, for instance. It is also obvious that the increasing number of divorces and single parent families raises the discussions concerning the future of the family as a traditional social institution. Not surprisingly that in such a situation, ‘cultural wars’ target at reevaluation of family values.
In this respect, it is possible to state that in general it is really possible to divide American society into two distinguishable parts: conservatives and liberals. The former basically argues that the governmental policy and the current socio-economic development of the society produce a negative impact on the development of family as a social institution, while the former argues that the problem is within the families which suffer from decline of family values and weakening of parental character. In such a way, both parties agrees that family is in a serious crisis but liberals basically focus on external factors while conservatives are more concerned about the inner side of the family.
In such a situation, it is really important to realize that both parties agree that the problem exists and has to be solved somehow. At the same time, it seems to be quite strange that the whole society is divided into such strict categories without practically any opportunities to alternatives. In fact, I believe that the problem should be treated larger and, being a subject of ‘cultural wars’ family values cannot be perceived identically by all people. In actuality, I rather admit that all happy families are happy in the same way while unhappy families have their own unique problems. This is why I would not agree that all people that had problems in family relations perceived them in the same way. What I mean is the fact that family values may differ dramatically even within a very little community while in such a multinational state as the US the cultural diversity is enormous, and consequently, there are no strict family values that could be accepted by absolutely all members of our society.
Nonetheless, in conclusion, I could not fail to agree that the future of the family and the evolution of family values in terms of the whole society are really disturbing but the pessimism about the future of the family is basically caused by the dramatic gaps that exist between generations and children will not build up families identical to those of their parents.
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Howe, N. and W. Strauss, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, New York: Routledge, 2000.
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