Social clock

The social clock is a concept that dictates the expectations of society for the appropriate times in its member’s lives that each member should be accomplishing a particular task or maintaining a certain lifestyle (Feldman, 2006). The social clock implicitly imposes notions such as appropriate dating and marrying ages among many others.

However, the constant of evolution of society also influences the social clock itself, changing previous expectations of society to conform to how society’s members have evolved. In the area of early adulthood, the concept of marriage is no longer expected of a man and woman once they reach the fully fertile stages of their physiological development, which is an expectation of the social clock back in the more conservative 60s and earlier.At present, society is generally accepting of the various alternatives that young adults have preferred over marriage, such as habitual dating contrary to the expectations of the 60s social clock in which people in their early 20s were expected to either get married or enter a seminary/nunnery.

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This notion was especially true for women. Women passed their early 20s were generally seen as unmarketable old maids. According to Wickman (2001), the Bible has various influences on the creation of the social clock concept. In the Old Testament, several legal and social discussions were given by Biblical characters such as Moses on how man is supposed to “leave his parents to be with woman, and they will be one” as soon as one is of proper age. 

Author: Lillian Adkins


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