Chapter 1 Marriage & Family Overview(2) - Chapter One...

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Chapter One OverviewContemporary family arrangements are becoming increasingly diverse and deviating from the ‘traditional’married couples with kids image. These changes have been in motion for a long time, as adjustments tolarger societal transformations that have gradually shaped and altered individual preferences.The family is defined in the text as an intimate group of two or more people who (1) live togetherin a committed relationship, (2) care for one another and any children, and (3) share activities and closeemotional ties. Definitions of family have become broadened in recent decades to include the growingnumber of nontraditional families, including ties with fictive kin. They may become more complicated inthe future, to include an egg donor, for example.Every society has social norms, or culturally defined rules for behavior. Families have many formsand structures, but the functions that families fulfill are very similar: legitimizing sexual activity (betweenmarried couples) and limiting sexual activity (between non-couple family members, i.e., incest taboo),bearing and raising children (socialization), providing emotional support (a distinction is made between aprimary group and a secondary group) and economic security to family members, and social classplacement.Marriage is a socially approved mating relationship that people expect to be stable and enduring,and is also universal. Marriage has many variations based on social norms, culture, and legal restrictions.

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