How Family Systems Vary From Culture To Culture

1035 words - 4 pages

Family structures are very different between cultures. That fact is obvious, but how and why is the question. As time progresses, the views of various cultures modernize. During this time the 20th century has seen the greatest change in family structures. Northern Europe and North America have been experiencing a decrease in extended families, and an increase in nuclear families. Over the previous 20 years, there has also been an increase in divorced families, unmarried families, and homosexual families. The point of this paper is to delineate the various types of family structures and why they’ve changed through time. In Cross-Cultural psychology the idea is to explore similitude and dissimilarities in values, norms, history and traditions of different cultures. Hence, I will analyze the family as a social system across various cultures.

Sociologists and Anthropologists practice two ideas in exploring the family, which include its function and structure. Family structure pertains to familial status, and the quantity of members in a family. Familial status being grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, son, daughter, aunts, uncle, cousins, and etc. An extended family which is organized of about three generations, for instance, the parents, grandparents, children, and maybe other kin. Moreover, the nuclear family consists of only two generations, the parents and the children. The family function regards how the families fulfill their emotional and manual requirements fitting to sustain the family and their well-being. Considering this, families in every culture all maintain some form of shelter, whether it is a tent, igloo, home, or non-permanent place of residence. Each member must contribute to the sustaining of the home, whether it be cleaning, watching, repairing it or etc. Members must also contribute some form of work in the maintenance of the home and the families needs. This work may differ culture to culture, whether it be fishing, hunting, herding, working in a store, or being a computer specialist. In the emergence of adulthood, the families join in the marriage of a daughter or son. Each major function mentioned above, serve to be the same in societies across the globe. The differences of these functions from culture to culture are what anthropologist and sociologist observe and study. Some determining factors of family varieties that have been observed are religion, the methods of maintenance of the society, and ecological features.
Anthropologists have recorded how each factor goes hand and hand. Humans have survived through millions of years based solely on the availability of fertile land. Agriculture served as a way to grow crops, and etc. suitable to survive. In areas such as the desert, and also fertile land the herding of animals took place. Societies near water subsisted by fishing, gathering, or hunting. In modern societies humans make a living by providing services, in commerce, or working in industry. The type of family...

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