Pakistan. Peculiarities of modernization process of “extended family”

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Junior Research Fellow, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 11

The article is based on a field study carried out in Karachi over February-July, 2017. It presents the contradictory nature of the modernization process of “extended family” in Pakistan. While trying to preserve its traditional structure, an “extended family” neglects the irreversible influence of capitalist economy and modern social trends on its functional as well as financial grounds. Occupational and income differentiations have eroded the community bonds, especially in big cities, but have not eliminated them completely. The society in general adheres strongly to the “extended family” model in formal matters but the maintenance of its traditional financial structure becomes challengeable.  Meeting basic modern needs which became familiar to the Pakistani society through the media, modernization process urges different social and economic framework.  The majority of the society believes in coexistence of modern standards of Western society which is based primarily on individual rights, and responsibilities and traditional society which is based on family-community collectivism. The Pakistanis in general seem not to consider these options as mutually exclusive and contradictory and follow traditional ways to get attributes of modernity thus creating mutant process in social life. The gradual transformation of one framework into another can hardly be achieved on Pakistani realities because the familycommunity  framework is still very holistic. It covers all the spheres of social life and it is not possible to rearrange one part putting others aside unaffected. The modern Western society is based on different family model and do not envisage the regulation of community bonds which are the cornerstone for the Pakistani social structure. Thus, the Pakistani society adjusts partly to modern western trends at different speeds at the same time rejecting the fundamental social changes which are  ontradictory to their traditional social structure

KeywordsPakistani society, modernization, extended and nuclear family, dowry/jahaiz, consumerism
Publication date05.12.2018
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