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12.1A: The Nature of a Family

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    8291
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    In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Differentiate between conjugal family and consanguineal family

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • As a unit of socialization, the family is an object of analysis for sociologists, and is considered to be the agency of primary socialization.
    • A conjugal family includes only the husband, wife, and unmarried children who are not of age. This is also referred to as a nuclear family.
    • Consanguinity is defined as the property of belonging to the same kinship as another person.
    • A matrilocal family consists of a mother and her children, independent of a father. This occurs in cases when the mother has the resources to independently rear children, or in societies where males are mobile and rarely at home.
    • The model of the family triangle, husband-wife-children isolated from the outside, is also called the Oedipal model of the family and it is a form of patriarchal family.
    • A matrilocal family consists of a mother and her children.
    • The model, common in the western societies, of the family triangle, husband-wife-children isolated from the outside, is also called the Oedipal model of the family and it is a form of patriarchal family.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • matrilocal: living with the family of the wife; uxorilocal
    • A conjugal family: a family unit consisting of a father, mother, and unmarried children who are not adults
    • consanguinity: a consanguineous or family relationship through parentage or descent; a blood relationship

     

    Families

     

    In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies, it is the principal institution for the socialization of children. Occasionally, there emerge new concepts of family that break with traditional conceptions of family, or those that are transplanted via migration, but these beliefs do not always persist in new cultural space. As a unit of socialization, the family is the object of analysis for certain scholars. For sociologists, the family is considered to be the agency of primary socialization and is called the first focal socialization agency. The values learned during childhood are considered to be the most important a human child will learn during its development.

     

    Conjugal and Consanguineal Families

     

    A “conjugal” family includes only a husband, a wife, and unmarried children who are not of age. In sociological literature, the most common form of this family is often referred to as a nuclear family. In contrast, a “consanguineal” family consists of a parent, his or her children, and other relatives. Consanguinity is defined as the property of belonging to the same kinship as another person. In that respect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.

     

    Other Types of Families

     

    A “matrilocal” family consists of a mother and her children. Generally, these children are her biological offspring, although adoption is practiced in nearly every society. This kind of family is common where women independently have the resources to rear children by themselves, or where men are more mobile than women.

    Common in the western societies, the model of the family triangle, where the husband, wife, and children are isolated from the outside, is also called the oedipal model of the family. This family arrangement is considered patriarchal.

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    Adults and Child: As a unit of socialization, the family is the object of analysis for sociologists of the family.