Basics in Social Science
What is Family?
Family is considered to be one of the oldest institutions of the society. Sociologists have traditionally viewed the family as a social group whose members are related by ancestry, marriage, or adoption and live together, cooperate economically, and care for the young. (Murdock, 1949)
❖ When we think of a family, we picture it as a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without children or of a man or woman alone with children. (“Marriage and the Family”-Ogburn & Nimcoff).
❖ The family is a group defined by a sex relationship sufficiently precise and enduring to provide for the procreation and upbringing of children. (“Society: Its Structure and change”-MacIver & Page)
❖ The family represents the unit of social order. Within it people are trained for larger social life. Not only are they schooled in the art of producing wealth and trained in right of property, but is in the home that the beginning of all forms of culture appear. (“Out line of sociology”-Gillin & Blackmer)
❖ “A group of people who love and care for each other”-(Seligmann, 1990). American people picked the legalistic definition for “family” who thinks, ‘a group of people who related by blood, marriage and or adoption’
What are the functions of a family in earlier societies?
Family functions vary widely. In most traditional societies, pre-industrial societies, the family performs four central functions. • The regulation of sexual activity
• Socialization of children
• Providing for the physical needs of both young and old members, including food, shelter, protection and health care.
Major characteristics of family:
2. Emotional basis
3. Formative influence
4. Limited size
5. Nuclear position in the social structure
6. Responsibility of the members
7. Social regulation
8. Its permanent and temporary nature
(N.B. Please go through the books to understand the elaboration of the above characteristics of the family).
Forms/Types of the family:
I. According to the degree of power/authority:
a. Patriarchal family
b. Matriarchal family
c. Egalitarian family –when power and authority are equally distributed between husband and wife. II. According to post marital place of residence:
a. Patrilocal family
b. Matrilocal family
c. Neolocal family
III. According to size of descent and property inheritance: a. Patrilineal
c. Bilineal- under the bilineal arrangement, both sides of an individual’s family are equally important.
IV. According to size of family:
a. Nuclear family
b. Joint family
c. Extended family
V. According to the number of spouses:
a. Monogamous family
b. Polygynous family
c. Polyandrous family
d. Family based on group marriage
VI. According to principles of the selection of marriages: a. Exogamous family
b. Endogamous family
Functions of Family:
i. Biological functions ii. Psychological functions iii. Educational functions iv. Economic functions
v. Maintenance functions vi. Political functions vii. Religious functions viii. Socialization functions ix. Recreational functions
• The functionalist perspective of family
Functionalist theorists stress that if a society is...
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