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Jann-Michael Dornseiff and Reinhold Sackmann (2002)

Between Modernisation and Re-traditionalisation: The Transformation of Family Formation Patterns in the Life Courses of Eastern German Women Taking the Birth of the Second Child as an Example*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 27, 1/2002, p. 87-114, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

The fall in the birth trends in Eastern Germany after the "changes" gives rise to the question of whether the transformation process in Eastern Germany relates to a long-term change in the form of the population. When first children are born, a similarity can now be recognised with Western German family formation patterns: Trends towards polarisation into a family and a non-family sector can be observed in that people are postponing the first birth to a later point in their lifespan, and given indications of a degree of childlessness as yet unknown in Eastern Germany. Interest now focuses on the processes of family expansion.

Using a longitudinal analysis which was largely implemented using the data of the Careers Study East, the intention is to examine the degree to which the manner of entrenching the birth of two children into the careers of Eastern German women permits one to recognise indications of a traditional restructuring of the family sector, as implied by the pan-German institutional framework. To what degree one must expect greater approximation of the patterns of family expansion in Eastern Germany in this sense in future is estimated on the basis of a microsimulation based on individual data.

One sees here a clear persistence of specifically Eastern German patterns which is especially expressed in coordination between family and employment phases during a lifespan. The younger training cohorts however permit one to identify trends towards long-term approximation towards Western German patterns.

* Original title: Zwischen Modernisierung und Re-Traditionalisierung: Die Transformation von Familienbildungsmustern im Lebenslauf ostdeutscher Frauen am Beispiel der Geburt des zweiten Kindes (full text in German only)

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