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Households

In recent years, much social theorizing has focused on changes in personal life. In particular, structural changes associated with late modernity, including especially globalization and individualization, are recognized as having had a profound effect on the routine construction of the life course and the patterning of family commitments and relationships. Most noticeably, in Westernized countries, albeit with significant national variation, there is far greater diversity in patterns of family formation and dissolution than there was in the mid-twentieth century. In particular, there have been substantial shifts in the social patterning of sexual relations, partnership, cohabitation and marriage, and childbirth. In turn, the timing of key life markers has been altering. Not only are marriage rates declining, but the fewer marriages that there are now ...

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