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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 9 – Family and Household One of the basic functions of family is to meet the challenge of raising children. Because each upcoming generation will become responsible for maintaining a group’s overall well-being and advancing its collective interests, children are an essential investment for a group’s long-term survival. Each group has to work out the best possible and most effective arrangements to pass on the necessary cultural know-how and thus ensure enduring success. Adjusting to distinct environments and facing specific challenges, they work out their own arrangements in terms of child-rearing tasks, gender relations, household and family structures, and residence patterns. Changes in these conditions may produce constant social tensions and thus require adjustments. Although the idea of family means different things to different people, in anthropological terms it is a group of two or more people related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The family may take many forms, ranging from a single parent with one or more children, to a married couple or polygamous spouses with offspring, to several generations of parents and their children. The particular form is related to particular social, historical, and ecological circumstances. Households are task-oriented residential units within which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and accomplished. In the vast majority of human societies, a household consists of a family or part of a family or their core members, even though some household members may not be relatives of the family around which it is built. In some societies, families may be less relatives of the family around which it is built....
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