George Peter Murdock (Social Structure 250 societies)
“A social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted of the sexually co-habiting adults”.
The family thus lives together, puts resources and produces offspring.
Nuclear family is the smallest group.
Extended family is Nuclear family plus vertical and horizontal extensions.
See the Kibbutz (pg. 455, Haralamabos).
Pg. 257. New World Black Family
Herskovits – polygamy causes matrifocality
M.G. Smith – slavery formed mother and child as one unit, excluding father.
Liebow – desertion of males due to inability to support family.
Oscar Lewis – matrifocal families are so prevalent that they are not simply with product of poverty, but also a culture – subculture.
Support for G. P. Murdock
1) statistics show matrifocal families are not the norm.
2) matrifocal family is a broken nuclear family.
3) Blacks regard the ‘ideal’ mainstream family as ideal.
4) Matrifocal families is the family ‘gone wrong’, it is full of disorganisation and thus not an alternative to the nuclear family.
1) statistics don’t mean its not recognised as an international family structure. In many societies, polygamy, polygamous marriages are a minority, yet sociologists accept them a form of extended family.
2) In low-income areas, the matrifocal family is expected and accepted.
3) Matrifocal family members regard the unit as a family
4) Female-headed families are well organised and are an adaptation to the economic circumstances of poverty. Common - law, visiting unions.
5) The supposed harmful effects of the matrifocal family are far from proven.
“While it can be argued that all societies have beliefs and rules on mating, sexuality, gender and age relations, the content of rules is