Globalization and the Arab Family System: A Critical Analysis of Perceived Threats and Challenges

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- Fakir Al Gharaibeh - подписаться на статьи автора
- Islam, M. Rezaul - подписаться на статьи автора
Журнал: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 15, Number 1 / May 2024 - подписаться на статьи журнала


Fakir Al Gharaibeh, University of Sharjah & The University of Jordan

M. Rezaul Islam, University of Dhaka

The objectives of this research were threefold: 1) to investigate whether globalization and Islamic religiousness conflict each other; 2) to examine how globalization has changed the family system in the Arab world; and 3) to provide some examples and life stories of the influence and transformation of family relations. The findings indicate that globalization has had both positive and negative effects on values, beliefs, and gender roles, resulting in changes in education, economics, entertainment, marriage, and parenting, and leading to an increase in single-parent, blended, mixed-race, and mixed-nationality families. Furthermore, the influence of social media and globalization had eroded traditional moral and family values. These findings could have been valuable to sociologists, policymakers, and researchers working on the issue.

Keywords: globalization, Arab world, family system, traditional values and norms, women empowerment.


Globalization has been a hot topic in recent years, with many experts debating its effects it has on different aspects of society (Islam and Burmester 2020). One area of concern is its impact on the family system in the Arab world. Research suggests that globalization has led to a number of changes in the traditional family structure in the Arab world (Ahmed and Donnan 1994; Giddens 2003; Miller 2007). These changes include increased mobility and migration, as well as greater access to education and employment opportunities for women. As a result, many women in the Arab world are now able to work outside of the home and support themselves financially, which has led to a shift in traditional gender roles (Al-Bakr et al. 2017; Baker 2002; Moghadam 2003).

However, some experts argue that globalization has also led to a decline in the traditional family system in the Arab world (notably cited in Kheir 2008; Cherlin 2012; Al-Khraif et al. 2020; Moghadam 2003; Metcalfe 2008). They argue that increased mobility and migration have led to a breakdown in traditional social networks and support systems, making it more difficult for families to stay connected and support each other. Additionally, changes in gender roles have led to increased pressure on women to balance work and family responsibilities, which can lead to increased stress and strain on the family unit (Hall and Richter 1988). Despite these concerns, there is also evidence that globalization has had a positive impact on the family system in the Arab world. Increased access to education and employment opportunities for women has led to greater equality and empowerment for women, which can ultimately strengthen the family unit (Khalil 2016; Weir et al. 2019). Additionally, the ability to migrate and access new opportunities can also lead to greater financial stability for families, which in turn can improve their overall well-being.

Overall, the roles of globalization and modernization in shaping the Arab family system are often mixed, leading to a lack of clear distinction and analysis. The paper touches upon various factors influenced by globalization and modernization, such as education, urbanization, the rise of working women, and migration within the Arab world. There are many positive changes brought about by globalization that have improved the lives of individuals and families in the Arab world. For example, globalization has led to increased access to healthcare, education, and technology, which can have positive impacts on the physical and mental well-being of individuals and families (Call et al. 2002; Javed et al. 2016). There are also the specific impacts of each factor on the Arab family structure and dynamics. For instance, the influence of globalization on education and the influx of global ideas into educational systems may interact differently with the changes in curricula and values brought about by modernization. Additionally, while the paper acknowledges the increase in the number of working women that globalization-driven economic changes and evolving societal norms associated with modernization. Such blurring of roles hampers the ability to isolate the distinct effects of globalization on the Arab family system, leaving important aspects unanalyzed. Below we will give some examples.

Firstly, it is imperative to categorize and differentiate the influences of globalization, modernization, and foreign influences that are not necessarily part of global processes. By clearly identifying these factors, the paper can provide a more refined analysis of how each contributes to the perceived threats and challenges faced by the Arab family system. For instance, distinguishing global processes and influences from foreign influences can help highlight the unique ways in which globalization affects family dynamics and traditions within the Arab context. Moreover, clarifying the role of modernization in lifestyle changes, societal norms, and urbanization can shed light on the specific drivers behind shifts in family structures and values (Al-Krenawi and Graham 2005). Once these factors were clearly separated, the paper then focused on exploring the individual and combined impacts of globalization on the Arab family system. This targeted analysis enabled a deeper understanding of the consequences and implications of increased interconnectedness and global interactions for traditional family structures and practices within the Arab world.

Additionally, globalization has facilitated greater economic opportunities, which can lead to improved living standards and financial security for families (Bryceson 2019; Amin et al. 2012; Benería et al. 2012). Furthermore, it is important to consider the agency and resilience of individuals and families in relation to globalization. Many families in the Arab world have been able to adapt and find ways to maintain their traditional values and practices while also embracing the opportunities that globalization brings (Stromquist and Monkman 2014; Kamla 2012; Alserhan 2010). For example, some families have been able to maintain strong social networks and support systems through the use of technology, such as social media and video conferencing. Additionally, many families have been able to find a balance between traditional gender roles and the opportunities that globalization brings, by supporting each other in their education and career aspirations.

Research Context: Family System in Arab World

The family is a central and revered institution in the Arab world. The family is considered the foundation of society and is highly valued. The traditional Arab family is patriarchal, with strong loyalty and solidarity among family members, and with the extended family playing a significant role in the daily lives of its members (Barakat 2005; Haj‐Yahia 2000; Kabasakal and Bodur 2002). The traditional Arab family is patriarchal, with the father or eldest male considered the head of the household. Religion is also an important aspect of the Arab family. While the traditional family structure is changing in some Arab countries, the family remains an important part of Arab society and culture (Haj-Yahia 1995; Barakat 2005; Azaiza 2013). In the Arab world, the family is defined as a social unit that includes not only the nuclear family (parents and their children) but also extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The extended family remains an important part of Arab society and culture, providing support and protection for its members. The main functions of the family include pro-viding for and protecting its members, maintaining social ties, and preserving cultural and religious traditions.

Marriage is highly valued in the Arab world, and it is common for families to arrange marriages for their children (Lavee and Katz 2003). Divorce is less common and can carry a social stigma. The Arab family is also characterized by strong loyalty and soli-darity. Family members are expected to support each other in times of need, and
disputes are often resolved within the family rather than in a court of law (Al-Ramahi 2008; Keshavjee 2013). Religion plays a significant role in the Arab family, with most families being Muslim. The family is expected to perform religious duties together, such as daily prayers and fasting during Ramadan (Ali et al. 2004; Mazumdar and Mazumdar 2004). Women are expected to be responsible for the domestic duties and childrencare, while men are the breadwinners (Rashad et al. 2005; Elamin and Omair 2010). In some Arab countries, the traditional family structure is changing, with more women entering the workforce and more nuclear families forming (Olmsted 2011; Lavee and Katz 2003).

However, despite the strong emphasis on the family in the Arab world, poverty, unemployment and lack of housing can put a strain on families, forcing the family members to move away, which can weaken the bonds between them (Amin et al. 2012; Shvedova 2005; Frantz 2013). On the other hand, family values and norms in the Arab world generally place a strong emphasis on the importance of the family, respect for elders, and traditional gender roles (Beitin and Aprahamian 2014; Spierings et al. 2010). The extended family is often considered the backbone of society, and loyalty and obedience to family members are highly valued (Sidani and Thornberry 2010; Lambert D’raven and Pasha-Zaidi 2016). In many Arab societies, the father is seen as the head of the household and the primary provider for the family, while the mother is responsible for managing the household and raising the children (Zaidman-Zait et al. 2016). In some cases, traditional gender roles may be more rigid, with men expected to be the breadwinners and women expected to take care of domestic responsibilities. However, in recent years, there has been a shift towards greater gender equality in some Arab societies, particularly in terms of education and employment opportunities for women.

In the Arab world, parents often have high expectations of their children, particularly in terms of education and academic achievement. Many parents place a great deal of emphasis on their children receiving a good education, with the goal of securing well-paying jobs and improving the family's economic situation. Furthermore, respect for elders is an important aspect of Arab culture, and parents often expect their children to be obedient and respectful towards them (Kulwicki 2021). It is not uncommon for parents to have a strong influence on their children's lives, including their education and career choices. In addition to academic and professional success, many parents in the Arab world also place a strong emphasis on traditional values and customs. This includes preserving their cultural heritage, customs, and religious beliefs and passing them on to their children. However, it is worth noting that different Arab countries have different cultural and social norms, so these expectations may vary depending on the specific society and family.

Research Methodology

This article aims to investigate whether globalization and Islamic religionism contradict each other; how globalization has changed the family system in the Arab world; and to provide some examples and life stories of the influence and transformation of family relations. To achieve these aims, the study utilized a content analysis of the existing literature and followed the methods outlined by Islam (2023), Islam and Hossain (2014), Chowdhury et al. (2019), and Islam and wa Mungai (2016). A two-phase literature search was conducted to reduce researcher bias. The search began by utilizing various electronic databases, such as Academic Search Premier, Academic Common, Aseline, Informit, Ingenaconnect, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Social Science Citation Index, SSRN, and PsycARTICLES, using keywords related to ‘globalization in the Arab world’, and ‘globalization and family system in Arab world.’ The study also employed the ‘snowball’ method, which involved searching for journal articles, reports, and conference papers that were cited in already-read articles.

By January 31, 2023, a total of 136 publications had been reviewed, and 64 of them were discarded as irrelevant to the research objectives. The final selection consisted of 72 publications (62 journal articles, 2 reports, 4 books, and 4 other sources), which were considered most relevant to the study. The researchers also reviewed relevant published and unpublished national and international reports, which are included in the reference section. The researchers did not simply summarize the findings of previous research, but critically analyzed the selected articles and documents to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of globalization on the family system in the Arab world. This research utilized substitute names and events while drawing on actual occurrences in the Arab world. The life stories and examples provided served as illustrative scenarios to depict common trends and experiences influenced by globalization in the region.

Review Results and Discussion

Globalization and Islamic religionism: Do they contradict?

Globalization and the Islamic family system may have some areas of potential conflict, as the values and beliefs of the two systems may not always align (Rosenmann et al. 2016; Samier 2016; Fulu and Miedema 2015). For example, some aspects of global culture may be seen as incompatible with traditional Islamic values, such as gender roles or the acceptance of certain forms of entertainment or social behavior. However, it is important to note that the relationship between globalization and the Islamic family system is complex, and different interpretations and practices of Islam may lead to different perspectives on the issue. Additionally, it is important to consider the agency of individuals and families in interpreting and navigating the intersections between these two systems.

One potential conflict between globalization and the Islamic family system is the issue of gender roles (Khaki and Gousia 2015; Metcalfe 2008; Fulu and Miedema 2015; Worthington 2013). Traditional Islamic societies may have distinct gender roles and expectations, with men and women expected to fulfill specific roles in the family and community. Globalization, on the other hand, may promote more liberal ideas about gender roles and equality, which could be seen as challenging or conflicting with traditional Islamic values. Another potential conflict is related to the acceptance of certain forms of entertainment or social behavior. Globalization may bring Western ideas and practices that may be seen as incompatible with traditional Islamic values, such as the consumption of alcohol or the mixing of genders in social settings (Adas 2006; De Cordier 2009).

Additionally, globalization can also be seen as a threat to Islamic values and culture as it can lead to the erosion of traditional cultural practices and beliefs as people adopt more Westernized ways of living (Arnett 2002; Jafari and Süerdem 2012). However, it is important to note that not all Islamic societies and families may view these issues in the same way, and different interpretations and practices of Islam may lead to different perspectives on the relationship between globalization and the Islamic family system. Additionally, it is important to consider the agency of individuals and families in interpreting and navigating the intersections between these two systems (Ferrer et al. 2017).

How globalization changes the family system in Arab world

Globalization has had a significant impact on the overall family system in the Arab world. The process of globalization, characterized by the increasing interconnectedness of the world through the exchange of goods, services, ideas, and people, has brought about many changes to the traditional family structure and values in Arab societies (Eriksen 2014; Wilson 2012). One of the major changes brought about by globalization is the shift towards a more individualistic and nuclear family structure. The traditional extended family, which was once the backbone of Arab society, is now giving way to smaller, nuclear families. This is partly due to the increased mobility and migration of people, as well as the changing economic and social conditions that make it more difficult for extended families to live together.

Another way in which globalization has impacted the Arab family that we have partially mentioned earlier is through the changing roles of men and women. With increased access to education and employment opportunities, women in the Arab world have been able to enter the workforce in greater numbers (Abdulla and Ridge 2011; Calvert and Al‐Shetaiwi 2002; Amin et al. 2012). This has led to a shift in traditional gender roles, with women becoming more financially independent and playing a more active role in the workforce. Moreover, the impact of globalization on the Arab family can be seen in the increased exposure to Western cultural influences (Ashencaen Crabtree 2010). With the proliferation of Western media and easy access to information through the Internet, Arab families are exposed to new ideas and values that may be at odds with traditional cultural norms. This exposure has led to a growing sense of identity crisis among many Arab youth, as they struggle to reconcile traditional values with the influences of the West.

Additionally, globalization has brought about changes to the way families interact with each other. The increased use of technology, such as social media and instant messaging, has made it easier for families to stay in touch despite being physically separated. However, this has also led to a decrease in face-to-face interactions and a loss of the traditional sense of community among Arab families (Gunawardena 2014; Jamil and Kumar 2021; Fox and Mourtada-Sabbah 2006). Moreover, globalization has also affected the marriage traditions in the Arab world (Elshenawy 2017; Timmerman et al. 2009). With the rise of the internet, many Arab youth now use online dating platforms to find potential partners (Rochadia et al. 2018; Bedi 2015). This has led to a decline in the traditional practice of arranged marriages, and an increase in the number of people who choose to marry partners they meet online. This shift in marriage practices is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the structure of the Arab family.

Furthermore, globalization has also led to an increase in the number of single-parent families in the Arab world (Al-Barwani and Albeely 2007; Ayandele and Popoola 2019; Al-Khraif et al. 2020). With the increasing number of women in the workforce, many are choosing to raise children on their own, without the support of a partner. This has led to a shift in traditional gender roles, with more women taking on the role of primary breadwinner and caregiver for their children (Metcalfe 2008; Mandaville 2007; Karam and Jamali 2013). Additionally, globalization has also brought about changes to the way families interact with their communities. With the increased mobility of people, many Arab families now live in different countries, leading to a loss of traditional community ties. This has led to a decline in the sense of belonging and community among Arab families. Globalization has also led to a growing number of mixed-race and mixed-nationality families in the Arab world (Singla 2015).

Furthermore, globalization has also led to a growing number of ‘blended families’ (Schwartz and Scott 2011) in the Arab world (Cherlin 2017). With the increasing number of remarriages and stepfamilies, traditional family structures are becoming more complex, and families must navigate the challenges of blending different family cultures and values. Additionally, the economic effects of globalization have also had a significant impact on the Arab family. With the increased competition and pressure to succeed in the global economy, many families face financial difficulties, leading to increased stress and strain on family relationships (Guazzone and Pioppi 2022; Henry and Springborg 2010). Moreover, the impact of globalization on the Arab family can also be seen in the changing attitudes towards marriage and childbearing (Al-Barwani and Albeely 2007; El-Kak 2013). With the increasing economic and social pressures, many Arab youth are choosing to delay marriage and childbearing, leading to a decline in the traditional family structure. Furthermore, the cultural effects of globalization have also had a significant impact on the Arab family. The increased exposure to Western cultures has led to a growing sense of identity crisis among many Arab youth, as they struggle to reconcile traditional values with the influences of the West.

Globalization has eroded the moral values in the Arab families. Globalization has brought significant economic, social, and cultural changes to Arab families, affecting traditional moral values and customs (Tlaiss 2015; Metcalfe 2008; Elshenawy 2017). Increased exposure to foreign cultures and ideas challenges traditional ways of thinking and living, potentially eroding traditional values as people adopt new beliefs and practices in line with global trends (Oliver-Smith 2004; Jensen et al. 2011). The influence of globalization, particularly through consumerism and social media, has led Arab youth to adopt new behaviors and attitudes that deviate from traditional moral values related to family, gender roles, and sexual behavior (Zamil 2013; Jabareen 2022).

However, it is essential to acknowledge that globalization also brings benefits like economic opportunities, access to new ideas, technologies, and cross-cultural connections. Traditional moral values and customs can adapt and continue to play an important role in Arab societies. Nevertheless, the impact of globalization on traditional values is evident, leading to concerns about potential threats to the social and cultural fabric of Arab communities (Mayer 2018). Western cultural influences through media and technology can dilute traditional values related to modesty, family, and social norms (Ayish 2011; Elshenawy 2017). The spread of liberal ideologies challenges traditional beliefs, causing cultural identity and moral convictions to be questioned (Hashemi 2009). Moreover, the commercialization of goods and services can foster materialism and consumerism, potentially conflicting with Islamic values of simplicity and self-discipline (Shafqat et al. 2023). Additionally, the changes brought about by globalization can also contribute to social and moral decay, affecting the stability of Islamic societies and communities.

Here are a few examples of how globalization has negatively affected Islamic values and morals:

·    Dilution of modesty and dress codes: Increased exposure to Western fashion has led some individuals in Islamic societies to adopt more revealing styles of dress, which can clash with traditional values of modesty.

·    Disintegration of the family unit: Globalization has led to increased migration, which can result in family separation, leading to a decline in the importance of family values.

·    Commercialization of religious events and practices: The commodification of religious practices and events, such as the Hajj, can lead to a focus on com-mercial gain rather than spiritual fulfillment, which can detract from traditional Islamic values.

·    The spread of secular and liberal ideologies: Globalization has facilitated the spread of secular and liberal ideologies that can challenge traditional Islamic beliefs and practices, leading to confusion and a loss of cultural identity.

·    Economic instability and moral decay: Globalization has resulted in economic changes that can increase poverty, unemployment, and social inequality, which can contribute to moral decay and a decline in traditional Islamic values.

Globalization and media on youth generation. Globalization and social media have had a negative impact on the youth generation in the Arab community and other communities as well. Social media platforms enable cyberbullying, leading to severe mental health problems like depression and anxiety (Tripathi 2017; Alduailej and Khan 2017; Al Hosani et al. 2019; Choi 2018). The idealized beauty standards presented on social media can also cause body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among the youth (Rodgers and Melioli 2016; Fardouly and Vartanian 2016; Holland and Tiggemann 2016). Excessive social media use can lead to a reduction in face-to-face communication, affecting real-world relationship building and social skills (Twenge 2019; Kolhar et al. 2021; Köse and Doğan 2019). It has been linked to a reduced attention span and sleep disturbance, with poor sleep quality and insomnia being more common among heavy social media users (Salo et al. 2019; Bozzola et al. 2022). Social media addiction can have negative impacts on a young person's mental and physical health, as well as their academic and professional success (Lissak 2018; Ferrell 2022).

The effects of social media on young people can vary among individuals, and negative impacts can be mitigated by setting healthy boundaries around social media use, such as setting time limits and being aware of the content they are exposed to. Misinformation spread on social media can lead to confusion and misunderstanding of important issues and events, which can affect education and decision-making (Wang et al. 2019). The collection and sharing of personal information by social media platforms can put young people at risk of identity theft and cybercrime, and may not be fully understood by them (Nyoni and Velempini 2018; Cain and Imre 2022). Social media pressure can lead to a lack of self-expression and individuality, affecting self-esteem and self-worth. Heavy social media use has been associated with a reduced ability to cope with stress among young people, negatively affecting their mental and physical health (Tugtekin et al. 2020). The overall situation creates many pressures in the family.

Influences and transformations of family relations in Arab world: Examples and life stories

There are many examples and life stories that illustrate the potential impact of globalization and modernization on family relations within the Arab context. This article explores how these changes are perceived as threats or challenges, and how families across the Arab world navigate the complexities of preserving their cultural heritage while adapting to the forces of globalization.

Influence of Global Education on Family Values. With increasing globalization, access to global education and ideas has expanded within the Arab world. This access to diverse knowledge and perspectives may lead to transformations in family values and dynamics. For example, in countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, where there has been a strong emphasis on education and internationalization, younger generations exposed to global concepts of individualism and equality may challenge traditional hierarchical family structures and demand more autonomy in life decisions. This change could lead to intergenerational conflicts and shifts in the power dynamics within Arab families. The influence of global education can also be observed in countries like Lebanon and Jordan, where the younger generation's exposure to different cultural norms and value systems through education may result in a reassessment of traditional family roles and expectations.  

Transformation of Gender Roles due to ModernizationGlobalization and modernization have contributed to changing gender roles and expectations in the Arab world. With greater exposure to ideas of gender equality from the global stage, more women may be encouraged to pursue education and career opportunities. For instance, in countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman, where there have been recent efforts to empower women and enhance their participation in the workforce, traditional gender roles are being challenged and redefined. Women who have traditionally been homemakers may now become working professionals, changing the traditional division of labor within Arab families. This transformation of gender roles is also evident in countries like Tunisia and Morocco, where a growing number of women are breaking societal norms and pursuing careers outside of traditional family roles. We can mention Nadia's journey to empowerment (United Arab Emirates) as a life story.

Nadia, a young Emirati woman living in Dubai, grew up in a traditional family where women's roles were primarily confined to the domestic sphere. However, with the advent of globalization and modernization in the UAE, opportunities for education and career advancement became more accessible to women. Nadia pursued higher education and excelled in her studies. When she entered the workforce, her family initially struggled to accept her choice to work outside the home. Over time, Nadia's achievements and financial independence challenged traditional gender roles within her family. Despite initial resistance, her success and determination inspired her younger siblings and cousins, encouraging them to pursue their own dreams and aspirations beyond societal norms.

The Impact of Migration on Family Structure. Globalization and modernization have facilitated migration within the Arab world. As people move to urban centers or even abroad in search of better economic opportunities, family structures can become fragmented. Extended families may be geographically dispersed, leading to challenges in maintaining close family ties. In countries like Egypt and Algeria, where urbanization and internal migration are prevalent, the traditional extended family system may be gradually giving way to more nuclear family units. This change can have both positive and negative effects on family relationships, as economic opportunities may improve, but the sense of community and support from extended family members may decrease. Ali's migration and family bonds (Egypt) is a good life story about this.

Ali, a young man from a rural village in Egypt, decided to move to Cairo in search of better job prospects and educational opportunities. His decision to migrate marked a significant shift in his family's dynamics. With Ali away from home, the traditional support system of the extended family was no longer as accessible. Despite the challenges of being apart, the family recognized the importance of Ali's pursuit of a better life for himself and the potential benefits for the whole family. While their bonds were tested by distance, the family remained connected through regular phone calls and holiday visits. Ali's journey illustrates how migration can both affect and strengthen family relations as they adapt to the changing realities of modern life.

Influence of Global Media and Communication. Globalization has opened up avenues for widespread access to media and communication in the Arab world. Increased exposure to global media, including television shows, movies, and social media, can introduce new ideas and lifestyles to Arab youth. This exposure may lead to a generation that aspires to emulate global trends, potentially impacting their life stories, values, and aspirations in ways that are different from previous generations. In countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where access to global media is widespread, young people may adopt attitudes and behaviors influenced by global pop culture, shaping their individual identities and challenging traditional family norms and values. Amira's struggle for independence (Saudi Arabia) can be a good example of this.

Amira, a young Saudi woman, grew up in a conservative household where women were expected to prioritize marriage and family over personal ambitions. However, as globalization brought new ideas and opportunities to Saudi Arabia, Amira was exposed to stories of empowered women from around the world. Inspired by these examples, she pursued higher education and dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Her pursuit for independence clashed with traditional family expectations, leading to tensions at home. Despite facing resistance, Amira's determination and the gradual acceptance of societal changes slowly transformed her family's perception of women's roles. Her journey highlighted the complexities and challenges that arise when traditional values collide with the evolving aspirations of the younger generation.

Transformation of Marriage and Partnership. Globalization has facilitated cross-cultural interactions and connections within the Arab world and beyond. This increased intercultural exposure may lead to changes in preferences and expectations regarding marriage and partnership. Young people may seek partners who fit their globalized worldviews, rather than adhere strictly to traditional familial and cultural expectations. In countries like Lebanon and Jordan, where cosmopolitan urban centers promote cultural diversity, intercultural marriages are becoming more common, and are reshaping the definition of family and partnership norms within Arab societies. Additionally, countries like Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have witnessed an increase in the number of mixed marriages, where individuals from different cultural backgrounds come together, further contributing to the transformation of family relations and life stories. Here is an example of how the intercultural love of Khalid and Layla (Lebanon) has changed their lives.

Khalid, an Arab Muslim, and Layla, a European expatriate, met in Beirut while studying at the same university. They fell in love, but their relationship faced challenges due to their different cultural backgrounds. Khalid's traditional family initially had reservations about accepting a non-Arab partner for their son, while Layla's family was concerned about her marrying into a different culture. Despite the initial hesitations, Khalid and Layla's love and determination to be together prevailed. Their marriage bridged two cultures, and, over time, their families learned to accept and celebrate their diverse union. Their story reflects the influence of globalization and intercultural interactions on family relations, as families adapt to changing societal norms and embrace love that transcends cultural boundaries.


In conclusion, the impact of globalization on the family system in the Arab world is a complex issue that requires further research. While there are certainly challenges and concerns that need to be addressed, there are also potential benefits that should not be ignored. It is important to consider the different ways in which globalization is affecting the family system in the Arab world, including the role of government policies, and to take steps to mitigate any negative effects while promoting positive changes. It is also important to recognize the agency and resilience of individuals and families in the Arab world, as they find ways to adapt and maintain their traditional values and practices.

This article has examined the impact of globalization on the family system in the Arab world. Through a critical analysis of the available research, it is clear that globalization has led to a number of changes in the traditional family structure in the Arab world. These changes include increased mobility and migration, as well as greater access to education and employment opportunities for women. However, globalization has also led to a decline in the traditional family system in the Arab world. It has led to the breakdown of traditional social networks and support systems, making it harder for families to stay connected and support each other. In addition, changes in gender roles have led to increased pressure on women to balance work and family responsibilities, which can lead to increased stress and strain on the family unit.

Despite the challenges posed by globalization on the Arab family, it has also brought about significant positive changes. These include improved access to healthcare, education, technology, and greater economic opportunities for individuals and families. It is essential to acknowledge the agency and resilience of people in the Arab world who find ways to adapt and maintain their traditional values while embracing the opportunities of globalization. While the impact of globalization on the Arab family is not entirely negative, conducting country-specific research is crucial to understanding its impact and finding ways to mitigate any adverse consequences while promoting positive change. Policymakers, researchers, and individuals should work together to address these issues and promote the well-being of families in the Arab world amidst the ongoing process of globalization.

Based on the findings of this article, it is clear that there are several policy implications and suggestions that can be made to overcome the negative impacts of globalization on the Arab family. These include:

·    Promoting gender equality: Efforts should be made to promote gender equality in education and employment opportunities. Ensuring that women have equal access to economic opportunities and can participate fully in the workforce will reduce the burden on them to balance work and family responsibilities.

·    Encouraging family-friendly policies: Governments and organizations should implement family-friendly policies, such as parental leave, flexible working hours, and childcare facilities. These policies can provide support to families and enable them to maintain their traditional values and practices.

·    Fostering social networks and support systems: Building strong social networks and support systems for families is essential. Community-based programs and initiatives can be established to facilitate connections and mutual assistance among families in the Arab world.

·    Investing in education and training programs: It is crucial to invest in education and training programs that help individuals and families adapt to the changes brought about by globalization. These programs can include training in new technologies and guidance on adapting to evolving cultural and social norms.

·    Encouraging research and data collection: Promoting research and data collection on the impact of globalization on the Arab family is vital. This information will enable policymakers and individuals to make informed decisions and imp-lement strategies to mitigate any negative effects while fostering positive changes.


We would like to acknowledge the Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (RIHSS), University of Sharjah, UAE for organization of this research.

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest among the authors.


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