General Introduction to Major Trends
The institution of family is a basic unit in the society, and the multifaceted functions performed by it makes it a much-needed institution in a society. Some of the important functions performed by the family include, reproduction of new members and socializing them, and provision of emotional and physical care for older persons and young. Family in fact, is an institution which resolves or eases a large number of social problems.
The term family had been defined by various sociologists and anthropologists. Murdock (1949), after studying over 250 multi-cultural societies defines family as a “social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children - own or adopted - of the sexually cohabiting adults. The “household” is said to be the “living arrangement” of such a family unit.
Haralombos and Herald (1997), define family as a procedure for socialization, economic activity and sexual activities that consists of two persons of opposite genders who will indulge in sexual activity at least for the sake of pleasure and would also consist of children and a group of decedents. Most definitions refer to family as a universal social institution, which is constituted of persons directly linked by “kin” connection where the adult members, assume the responsibility of caring for the children (Marsh et al., 1996). Interconnectedness of individuals in family relationships through bonds of affection and/or obligation leads to joint decision making, budget – pooling, cooperative work roles and altruistic parenting within a framework of culturally accepted notions about the division of rights and responsibilities by sex and generational position (UN, 1996).
There are two main family types introduced by the sociologists. One is the nuclear family, which consists of two elders and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document