Families are relationships in which people live together with commitment, form an economic unit and care for any young, and consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group.

Family & Marriage: Introduction

Definition of Family:

a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household (Google)

two or more people related by birth, marriage, or adoption residing in the same housing unit. (U. S. Census)


TERMS:  The following 5 terms are taken from Kendall, Sociology in Our Time, 11th Edition.

Nuclear Family:

 A nuclear family is a family composed of one or two parents and their dependent children, all of whom live apart from other relatives.

Extended Family:

 An extended family is a family unit composed of relatives in addition to parents and children who live in the same household.

 Kinship refers to a social network of people based on common ancestry, marriage, or adoption.

 The family of orientation is the family into which a person is born and in which early socialization usually takes place.

The family of procreation is the family that a person forms by having or adopting children.

Others Terms:

  • Monogamy

  • Polygamy

  • Polyandry

  • Matriarchy

  • Patriarchy

Family structures:

  • Marriage

    • Marital Happiness - Is Marriage a good thing?

    • Cohabitation

    • Racial & Ethnic Diversity

    • Gay & Lesbian Couples - Why marriage?

FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:  The primary function of the family is to ensure the continuation of society, both biologically through procreation, and socially through socialization. (Google)

Family as Agent of Socialization

Symbolic Interaction view of Family

Families and Social Interaction

Study by Mirra Komarovsky (1964).

Study by Lillian Rubin (1976).

The function of Romantic love in marriage.

End-of-Chapter Material