Family Ch. 11 Summary and Questions
A family is a group of people related by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Each of us may belong to two families—the family into which we were
born and the family we create upon marrying.
The extended family and the nuclear family are two basic types of family
structure. A curvilinear relationship exists between family structure and
industrialization. In hunting and gathering societies, the nuclear family
was the most prevalent type. With the rise of agriculture as the means of
subsistence, the extended family came to prevail. The nuclear family
regained popularity in modern industrial society.
Whether the family is nuclear or extended, there are several important
dimensions of family structure. These dimensions pertain to descent and
inheritance, family authority, and residence pattern.
Mate selection is never a pattern of individual choice. Exogamous,
endogamous, and homogamous mate selection norms exist in all societies.
There are four basic types of marriages: one man one woman may marry,
one man and several women may marry, one women and several men may
marry, or two or more men may marry two or more women.
In all societies, the family has been the most important institution. It is the
institution that produces new generations, socializes the young, provides
care and affection, regulates sexual behavior, transmits social status, and
provides economic support.
Although functionalism emphasizes the benefits of the family for society,
the conflict perspective depicts the traditional family structure as the
instrument of male domination over women. Evidence of this domination,
they assert, is reflected in the traditional ownership of women by men,
family rules of power and inheritance, and the male dominated economic
division of labor.
Symbolic interactionism is used frequently in the study of the family. It is
within the family that socialization of children begins an children develop
a self-concept. Most of the interactions between families can be analyzed
within this theoretical perspective.