Adjustment and Hybridity in Turkish Family Change: Perspectives from Developmental Idealism

Serap Kavas, Suleyman Sah University
Arland Thornton, University of Michigan

Since the late Ottoman period, the family has been considered the central element in the modernization process in Turkey. Believing that changes in such institutions as marriage, divorce and fertility are indices of modern family and modern society, political elites formulated strong aspirations to change Turkish families along Western lines. Turkish families have been characterized by substantial changes in marriage, divorce, fertility, and gender roles over the past half-century. Although many explanations have been proposed for these changes, this study offers new explanations based on ideational influences. Our theoretical approach draws on the developmental idealism framework formulated by Thornton (2001, 2005), which throws new light on ideational factors that produce continuity and change in family and demographic behavior. This study, thus, fills an important gap in family studies in the Turkish context by offering new insights into the mechanisms of family change. Key Words: Fertility, Marriage, Family Change, Developmental Idealism, Hybridity, Modernity Project

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Presented in Session 11: Family Change and Continuity