Variations of the Word Family

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Alyssa Niss
Cultural Anthropology
Section 02
Research on Family

Today, people in society share many variations of the word family. Anthropologists describe this as "a social group of two or more people related by blood, marriage, or adoption who live and reside together for an extended period, sharing economic resources and caring for the young" (Scupin 137). More specifically, the word family is narrowed down to two major types, nuclear and extended family. Nuclear Families are the ones most Westerns feel are the 'right' kind of family. They are formed by two married parents and their offspring. According to our book Cultural Anthropology A Global Perspective, “in the United States, some African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, and Asian Americans enjoy the loyalty and support of extended family ties, enhancing their economic and social organization within the larger society” (Scupin 247). They are able to adapt to our way of living by gaining knowledge and experience in how we live. Once this is accomplished the formation of family can begin. Religion and tradition play huge roles in this development. With the many forms of family, some examples I have found are: Nuclear family, extended family, polygynous family, polyandrous family, and matrifocal family. Today fully half of all families do not meet the definition of nuclear family. We have stepfamilies; single-parent families; families headed by two unmarried partners, either of the opposite sex or the same sex; households that include one or more family members from a generation; adoptive families; foster families; and families where children are raised by their grandparents or other relatives.. Here in our U.S. society, we see the many different forms of family due to the fact that each and every one of us is individualistic. Perhaps if you were to travel to America, you would see a single gender raising a child on their own, or come along an ally way to find a street gang full of children...
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