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affinal kin

people related through marriage

binuclear family

family unit made up of two households formed by divorce, usually consisting of children and new spouses of the divorced parents

blended family

consists of two or more participating adults and their children as well as children from previous relationships

blood bond

relationship based on genetic ties tracing familial descent

blood relative

family member with biological relationship to others in their kinship


living with a romantic partner without being married

conflict theory

theory that society is characterized by conflict between social groups. Groups with unequal power and competing interests compete for scarce resources.

consanguineal kin

people related to each other through biology


ending of a marriage through annulment or divorce

domestic partnership

legally defined relationship between two people who live together and who share domestic responsibilities to manage their relationship but who are not joined by civil union or marriage

extended family

includes relatives beyond the family of procreation, based on blood and kinship bonds

family of procreation

family people are born into

fictive kin

people who consider each other to have a family bond although their relationship involves neither biological nor marriage bonds


approach that views society as a system of parts working together to maintain a social equilibrium


group of people living together within one housing unit


ties among families or networks of families

kinship bond

link based on close ties

nuclear family

unit consisting of at least one parent and one child

social institution

complex set of interdependent social forces that meet basic needs and serve to reproduce patterns of behavior

social policy

government plan or action aimed at improving society


process through which people learn the values, norms, beliefs, and expectations of their culture

symbolic interactionism

view of social behavior that emphasizes subjective understanding and the interactions of the individual and society