Family: A Sociological Point of View

Essay by iicrystyleiiCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2007

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What is a family? When most people think of a family, they immediately think of the nuclear family model of a father, mother, and their child or children. According to the U.S. census, a family is two or more people who share a household, which is residing together, and who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption (Lamanna 3). In today's society, we have learned to adapt and change what we consider a family to be. Many people live with extended family, there are co-habiting couples, and some people consider close friends and even pets as family. There are many types of families which include, but are not limited to, single parent families, families without children, stepfamilies, and homosexual couples. So what makes a family a "family"? A family must have an identity, a sense of belonging, communication, and boundaries. Using the interactionist perspective while examining families in today's society shows how interaction between family members, such as communication, gestures, and actions, construct or create a family (Lamanna 64).

Not every family today includes each role in a traditional family. A traditional family, also known as a nuclear family, usually consists of a husband, wife, and children. A husband and wife that choose to remain childless or single parent households are also families. Many of the roles that each member of the family takes on are also less traditional. There are dual-career families as well as reversed role families. Many mothers's and wives get an education and work full time, while there are also fathers that stay at home and tend to the house and children.

A family must create an identity and sense of belonging. The archival family function is important when thinking about families' identity and sense of belonging. Families create an identity by their culture, boundaries,