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Stalled de-standardization of partnerships: Case of young people in Serbia

Author(s): Bobić Mirjana

Journal: Sociologija
ISSN 0038-0318

Volume: 54;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 351;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: family formation | life course perspective | young people | transition to adulthood | Serbia | individualization

The paper tackles reasons for the delay of family formation in contemporary Serbia in the cultural context of pro-familism and standardized life course. Life course perspective is applied as the most suitable one because it fruitfully reconciles structure and agency, demography and sociology. Young people’s transition to adulthood in Serbia is assessed as protracted, somewhat like in Mediterranean and CEE countries (e.g. Slovenia). The empirical evidence is based on various sources of data, combining quantitative (surveys and demographics) and qualitative approaches. The main conclusion is that structural barriers mostly hamper individualization and emancipation of young people from the family of origin, although personal reasons are not negligible (lack of a “proper partner”). Entry into marriage and start of childbearing are tightly related and compressed processes in a life course of young people in Serbia, thus identifying markers of adulthood. If we expect these groups of population to be the forerunners of (post)modernization, then more social, political support and action is needed for the sake of fostering: empowerment (employment, housing, and development of welfare state), services aimed at institutionalization of parenthood and care work, as well as gender equality in everyday life.

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