By Ulrich Beck
This can be a fabulous research of the character of affection in sleek society. Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim argue that the character of affection is altering essentially, developing possibilities for democracy or chaos in own lifestyles
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Extra resources for The Normal Chaos of Love
The next stage starts when the individual is confronted with a range of new questions; this is particularly evident in the second half of the twentieth century, largely because there are so many new lifestyles and educational opportunities to choose from. The standard of living in the lower strata of the population improved in the 1950s and 1960s to a degree described as 'spectacular, comprehensive and a revolution in social history' (Mooser 1983: 286). Where earlier generations often knew nothing but the daily struggle to survive, a m o n o t o n o u s cycle of poverty and hunger, nowadays broad sections of the population have sufficient income to take advantage of a whole range of possibilities on how to live their lives.
If one takes into account all the latest technological advances and the associated breakdown of taboos - subjecting children to special educational or psychological programmes, intervening during gestation, not to mention the science fiction realities of genetic engineering (see chapter 5 below) - then it becomes apparent that what used to be a united family is being divided into different camps, man against woman, mother against child, child against father. Traditional family agreement is breaking down under the pressure of the decisions which have to be taken.
The option to take no decision at all is vanishing; having the chance to choose puts one under pressure to do so. So there is no evading going through the mills of weighing up our feelings, our problems and the possible consequences. But decision-making in itself becomes a sort of consciousness-raiser; one suddenly sees the implications and contradictions which interfere with possible solutions. This often begins with a quite ordinary decision to move house. The job market demands that employees are mobile irrespective of their family circumstances.