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  2. Traditional Families • Heterosexual relationship between 2 parents • Married (preferably first marriage) • Children (2.4) • Live together • Father head of the family • Division of labor by sex • Father = breadwinner • Mother = homemaker • Wife and Children take father’s name • More than merely a social unit. It is given almost “holy” status. Any questioning of this unit is rejected

  3. The family is a social group characterised 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’ Murdoch 1949 a now-married couple (with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both spouses), a couple living common-law (again with or without never-married sons and/or daughters of either or both partners), or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one never-married son or daughter living in the same dwelling. Statistics Canada

  4. Nuclear Family Consisting of husband and wife and their children, the nuclear family is a two generation family formed around the conjugal r marital union. Ferraro 2006

  5. ‘The nuclear family is a universal human social grouping. Either as the sole prevailing form of the family or as the basic unit from which more complex forms compounded, it exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every society’. • Murdoch 1949 Is the nuclear family Universal? Family Ties 1982-1989

  6. Kibbutz • The early idealists felt that the nuclear family unit was obsolete, and the entire kibbutz should be one big family unit. • Children slept in communal children's houses with a caretaker to tend to their night needs. • Parents and children alike found it distressing. • Today, children on every kibbutz live and sleep with their parents, at least into their teen years • The children's houses have become day care and activity centers. Most of their waking hours are still spent with their peers in facilities adapted specifically for each age group. Kibbutz children’s house

  7. The Mundurucu • live in isolated communities in Brazil. • Men all live together in a single house with all boys over the age of 13. • Women live together with their children and younger boys in 2 or 3 houses grouped around that of the men • Whenboys are 13 they move in with the men of the village • Because men and women do not live together as members of discrete residential units, it cannot be said that families are present in their society.

  8. What is meant by “family” is culturally, socially and historically defined and therefore cannot be universal all the time and in all places. • The functions of the nuclear family can be equally performed in different family structures. • SO • What are the functions of the family • And what are the various family structures

  9. Functions of the Family • Sexual: the family provides environment for regulating sexual desires. • Reproduction: essential for survival of human society • Socialisation and education: learning the norms and values of society. • Economic: shelter, division of labour. • To give emotional security • Care of the sick and aged • Recreation and companionship • protection

  10. Functionalist Perspective • Focuses on stability and cooperation • Each partner performed certain functions • Husband worked outside the home • Wife did housework and childcare • Breadwinner-Homemaker Model

  11. Functionalists believe that the traditional/nuclear family is essential for performing these functions Functionalists often seen as pessimists (the family is “in decline”) What functions of the family are now handled by other institutions in our society? From a functionalist perspective, such changes have weakened the family unit. The fewer functions that family members have in common, the fewer are their ‘ties that bind.’ With these bonds removed, or weakened, the family more fragile. Divorce, then, is common—the inevitable consequence of eroded functions in a context of great social strain” (Henslin 2002:376).


  13. Nuclear family • adapted to a life that requires high mobility. • neolocal residence tends to isolate husbands and wives from their kin. • kin unavailable to help look after the children and so arrangements must be made to have the children looked after by non-kin. • an independent unit that must fend for itself; this creates a strong dependence of individual members on one another Cosby Show: 1984-1992

  14. Nuclear family • nuclear family is impermanent - goes through a cycle. • nuclear family disintegrates with the death of the senior members • once children gone, who cares for parents in their old age? • problem does not arise in extended families where care is from womb to tomb. Leave it to Beaver 1957-1963

  15. The Single Parent Family • Majority are female headed households • Generally poorer than other family types • for comparative purposes the basic domestic unit from which others constructed consists of mother and her children Gilmore Girls: 2000-

  16. The Reconstituted Family • formed by adults who have married previously and who bring children from their previous marriage to the new marriage, forming a new family unit Brady Bunch 1969-1974

  17. Extended family • based on common descent • consists most commonly of a married couple and one or more married children • all living in the same house or household. • the constituent nuclear families are linked through the parent-child tie. • newlyweds are assimilated into an existing family unit. • in-marrying spouses must conform to the expectations of the family in which they now live. The Waltons: 1972-1981

  18. Extended family • extended perpetuates itself • family is always adding new members who eventually become the senior members of the household. • extended families prevent the ruinous division of property especially land • found where the work a woman must do makes it difficult to look after the children and also other household chores. i.e. it makes for an effective division of labour. • Advantages: • Companionship • Economic stability • Help with elder care and child care • Flexibility • Capital accumulation • Disadvantages • Loss of privacy • Authority of elders

  19. Complex Family • co-wives's economic and political interests, especially with regards to their children, their labour, and their allegiances to their kin, often conflict. • causes organizational problems Thomas Arthur Green, loving father and husband to five women, was charged with four counts of bigamy April 2000.

  20. Complex Families • most common solution is for each wife to have her own household • husband plays a secondary role in each. • households seldom fully independent economically • a principal motive for polygyny is to create a joint work force and pool the productive efforts (as well as the reproductive efforts) of several women. • Each household may be a partly separate unit in production and consumption. • in many ways they are separate social units. • polygynous households represent a control by the established senior men over both the labour and the fertility of women and over junior men.

  21. Household: Consists of people who occupy the same housing unit; Apartment, house, etc. While most families live in households, not all households correspond to a family unit Three’s Company: 1977-1984 Will & Grace: 1998-2006

  22. Family is... a cross-culturally universal social institution cross-culturally variable in its constitution the basic unit of social organization in terms of identity construction economic production distribution of goods labor demands inheritance reproduction biological cultural Beverly Hillbillies 1962-1971

  23. Father Knows Best 1954-1958 Leave it to Beaver 1957-1963 Ozzie and Harriett1952-1966 How have family relationships changed? Malcolm in the Middle 2000-2006 Family Guy 1999-2002, 2005- The Simpsons 1989-

  24. All in the Family 1971-1979 Andy Griffith Show 1960-1968