Changes in the Family and the Position of Older Persons in Germany by GERHARD BAUMERT Frankfurt am Main, Germany The Changing Social Position of the Young and the Old A comparison of empirical knowledge about modern society with the pic- ture of social life that we can derive from different literary sources of the past reveals basic changes in the structure of the family. This comparison also reveals basic changes in the role and status of the old. It appears that these two tendencies are strongly interrelated: the changes in the role and status of the old affect the structure of the family, and the changes in the family in turn affect the position of the old. Our focus will be upon the changes in the family as far as they affect the old. However, at least passing consideration should be given to some changes in the relative position of the young and the old in the society. In pre-industrial civilisations, in which the economic and social conditions remained almost unchanged from one generation to the other, experience was most important for the functioning of the society. Since experience accumulates with increasing age, older persons were accorded positions
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1960
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