The chapter discusses the social transformation that the city of Unayzah underwent. It analyzes several social changes that resulted from the growth of the new city due to influx of people during the development stage. It discusses social changes in family ties, neighborhoods, and visiting patterns that people adopted. Moreover, it proves that family ties and kinship are not the only factors that shape social life. It discusses the importance of neighborhood ties as a vital component of social life.
Finally, the chapter discusses occupational ties, employment ties, and peer group ties as manifestations of social life. The authors aim to show the reader that social life in Unayzah was not determined by only relationships among families but also by relationships between neighborhoods. They explore the social changes that have manifested in certain areas of social life due to the transformation of the old town.
The chapter starts by giving a snippet of the main cause of the changing social patterns in Unayzah. It describes how people who took loans and started building houses developed the city. Others sold their land in order to make quick profits. This resulted in influx of people into Unayzah as landowners and laborers in construction sites.
This influx resulted to the social transformation that is discussed in the chapter. The introduction to the chapter gives the reader enough and insightful background information regarding the origin of Unayzah. In addition, it gives sufficient information regarding the source of the current social structure of the new city.
The authors describe the old social structure and composition of the city. The traditional composition of many households was similar. A typical household comprised an old man and his wife, their sons, and the families of their sons. The authors then give a reason for the composition: male labor migration. The authors also reveal the existence of lack of consensus in the community regarding the issue of sons and their wives living with their fathers. Sons felt that they should live in their own homesteads while parents insisted on their sons living in their households.
The authors use examples of dialogue to augment their claims, which improve comprehension of issues under discussion. The evolution of the family structure is a reflection of a modern society. The concept of the extended family has been replaced by the concept of the nuclear families. Parents live separately from their sons’ families. This reflects the situation as it is in many societies today.
The authors are right in claiming that the traditional extended family played a critical role in the socialization of children. It is true that in the traditional model, children grew surrounded by their grandparents and other children. However, the new structure has eliminated this. Children have only their parents for socialization. Grandparents used to disseminate cultural knowledge. This aspect of socialization is greatly reduced in the nuclear family setup.
Nuclear families have embraced modernism that includes schools to impart scientific and social knowledge. The authors also note that the social changes have resulted from the fading away of the traditional family structure. I concur with them because the nuclear family promotes changes in values and norms without friction between parents and sons because they do not live together anymore.
It also true that the transformation has given young wives freedom to make decisions without interference from mother-in-laws. With such changes, social transformation was inevitable in Unayzah. The changes also freed them from the authority of their mother-in-laws who assigned chores and controlled family budgets. The authors also note that the concept of marriage changed because parents no longer interfered with their sons’ marriages. On the other hand, women are more empowered because they are educated and do not easily give in to their husbands’ commands.
The authors give an extensive discussion on how the socialization styles of men and women changed due to the social transformation in Unayzah. In the old town, people used to interact easily because neighborhoods were closely knit. However, visitation practices changed significantly. People use different means of transport to visit their friends and relatives in the new town. I agree with the authors because the shift from extended families to nuclear families is transformative.
Families gain freedom to do as they wish. The need for autonomy increases and consequently social interactions between people become minimal. The establishment of a new town led to dispersion of groups to new areas thus effecting changes in social patterns. Socialization for men also changed because of new developments. In the new town, they meet to discuss business, the welfare of their community, and their occupations. Men are the heads of their households.
Therefore, they ought to discuss important matters that affect their families and community. It is true that there are differences in socialization between men and women. The new town introduced new places for men to socialize. This changed their ways of socializing and interacting with each other. The changes in social patterns are well described because the authors tackle every aspect of the social life in Unayzah.
Their findings are true and valid. They reflect the situation in the modern society. The concept of extended families is slowly dying and being replaced by nuclear families. In addition, technology and education has contributed towards effecting these social changes.