2 IntroductionThe most universal social institution is the family- every society organizes its members into families.What constitutes a family varies widely from culture to culture.Families throughout the world follow similar organizational patterns and fulfill common functions.
3 Family SystemsA family is a group of people who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption and who often live together and share economic resources.A nuclear family consists of one or both parents and their children.The nuclear family is the family form most recognizable to Americans,
4 Family SystemsAn individual’s family of orientation is the nuclear family into which the person is born or adopted.This family is composed of the individual and his or her siblings- brothers and sisters- and parents.
5 Family SystemsWhen an individual marries, a new nuclear family is formed.The new nuclear family is now a family of procreation- consisting of the individual, his or her spouse, and their children.
6 Family SystemsIn many societies the nuclear family is embedded in a larger family group.Sociologists refer to this family unit as the extended family.An extended family consists of two or more generations (grandparents, parents, and children) who may live in the same house, a cluster of homes, or separate homes.
7 Family SystemsNuclear families and extended families are often part of a much larger kinship system.Kinship refers to a network of people who are related by marriage, birth, or adoption.Kinship systems can be quite large (in some kinship systems there are close to 200 possible categories of relatives).
8 Family SystemsKinship categories can be organized into 3 broad groupings-Primary- Mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, daughter, and son.Secondary- The primary relatives of an individual’s primary relatives. Grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces.Tertiary- Primary relatives or an individual’s secondary relatives. Great-grandparents, great-grandchildren, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins.
9 Marriage and Kinship Patterns Some form of family organization exists in all societies.However, the exact nature of the family varies from society to society and even within societies.Family organization is determined by how a society or group within a society answers four questionsHow many marriage partners may a person have?Who will live with whom?How will family membership be determined?Who will make the decisions in the family?
10 Marriage and Kinship Patterns Before we get into the 4 questions, let’s define what we mean by marriage.Sociologists use the term to refer not to the married couple but to the set of norms that establishes and characterizes the relationship between married individuals.
11 Marriage PartnersNo universal norm limits the number of marriage partners an individual may have.In most industrialized nations, however, an individual is allowed to be married to only one person at a time.