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SOSIALOGY

SOSIALOGY

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Published by: Beniamin بنیامین on Apr 18, 2011
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MARRIAGE,FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN SOCIOLOGY
COLLECTED BY
: SEIIED BENIAMIN HOSSEINI
SUBMITTED TO :
MAESTRO
MOHAN KUMAR.H.S
l.FAMILY FORMATION 
The beginning of family formation may be either marriage or parenthood. It should not be concluded fromthe fact that sexual intercourse is a prerequi-site for pregnancy that all peoples regard marriage or theestablishing of a man-woman relationship as the first step in family formation. Indeed, according toBohannan (1963, p. 73) the matricentric family, consisting of a woman and her children, is “both morenearly universal and more elementary than is the nuclear family,” consisting of a marital couple plus anychildren they may have. In some societies it is thought proper that marriage should precede pregnancy,while in others the reverse sequence is regarded with favor; in the extreme case marriage is viewed asirrelevant to family formation. However, it seems safe to assert that in most societies the nuclear family isthought to be well launched only when both conditions are met.Cultures also vary according to whether they emphasize marital solidarity over lineal solidarity or viceversa. Societies with strongly developed extended family systems emphasize lineal solidarity over maritalsolidarity. In such societies family formation is scarcely a meaningful concept: since the marriage of a manand woman and the coming of their progeny represent the carrying on of a continuous line, these eventsmay signal the establishing of a new household but not the formation of a new family.In this article the topic of family formation will be treated with reference to the nuclear family. Marriage willtherefore be considered as the focus of the process of family formation, and mate selection as one of itsmost problematic features.
Definitions
From the functional point of view, the family is the one social system that all societies look to for thereplacement of their members. However, from the structural point of view, the word “family” is used to refer not only to the marital couple and their children but also to the larger kin group; accordingly, it will benecessary to draw some structural distinctions. The “extended family” includes a nuclear family plus linealand collateral kinsmen; to the extent that a society emphasizes rights and obligations among kinsmen whoare not in the same nuclear family, it is spoken of as having an “extended family system.” On the other hand, a “nuclear family system” is said to exist in a society in which the rights and obligations among thosein the larger kin group are given little emphasis relative to the claims among members of the same nuclear family.It should be emphasized that the term “family,” whether it applies to a nuclear or an extended family, is notequivalent to the term “household”—the aggregate of persons occupying a common dwelling unit, whether or not those persons are kinsmen. In Western societies the nuclear family is frequently also a householdwhile the parental couples are in their younger and middle years and before their children attain adulthood.However, many other arrangements are possible, and some are institutionalized. For example, in South
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MARRIAGE,FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN SOCIOLOGY
COLLECTED BY
: SEIIED BENIAMIN HOSSEINI
SUBMITTED TO :
MAESTRO
MOHAN KUMAR.H.S
Africa it has been the practice for decades for the husband-father to be away from his nuclear family for years at a time. A common type of household among Negroes in the Caribbean and in the United Statesconsists of a working woman, her children, and her mother. In traditional China the ideal house-holdincluded the nuclear family of the head of the household plus his unmarried daughters, his sons with their nuclear families, his sons’ unmarried daughters, his sons’ sons with their nuclear families, and so onthrough all living generations; in practice, however, not many Chinese families could afford households of such size.Marriage may be defined as a culturally approved relationship of one man and one woman (monogamy), of one man and two or more women (polygyny), or of one woman and two or more men (polyandry), in whichthere is cultural endorsement of sexual intercourse between the marital partners of opposite sex and,generally, the expectation that children will be born of the relationship (“polygamy” is the term thatsubsumes both polygyny and polyandry). “Homogamy” refers to the marriage of persons of similacharacteristics, which is also known as “assortative” or “assortive” mating; “heterogamy” is the marriage of persons of different characteristics; and “hyper-gamy” is a marriage in which the husband is of higher social status than the wife. The term “endogamy” refers to marriage between persons belonging to thesame social group, whereas in “exogamy” the partners come from different groups.
Marriage and legitimacy
By definition marriage is a relationship within which sexual inter-course is legitimate. In general, a womanwho cohabits with a man has a legitimate status in relation to that man only if she is known to be marriedto him. Common-law marriage (recognized in the United Kingdom and in the United States) and theconsensual union (recognized in the Caribbean) are forms of man-woman relation-ship that carry less thanfull cultural approval and legitimacy. Points of interest to American, as well as to English, courts inestablishing whether or not a common-law marriage exists include: mutual agreement of the man andwoman to take each other as husband and wife; cohabitation and presentation of themselves as a marriedcouple to friends, neighbors, and the general public; and reputation, that is, the recognition by thecommunity that the two are husband and wife.The Caribbean pattern of the consensual union differs from the common-law marriage of Anglo-Saxoncountries in that the former is not a legally recognized marriage. Various writers have held that except for this lack of legal sanction the con-sensual union carries no social stigma and therefore is quite asacceptable among the people practicing it as is legal marriage. More recent analyses by Blake (1961) andby Goode (1960), however, have concluded that there is general recognition among Caribbean societiesthat consensual unions are less legitimate and hence less desirable than legal marriages. Goode arguesthat whereas legal marriage is recognized throughout Caribbean societies as the legitimate form, there isvariation among the social strata of these societies in the degree of norm commitment, with theconsequence that persons in the lower strata tend to be generally less committed to familial norms thanpersons in the upper strata. The more frequent occurrence of consensual unions among the lower socialstrata than among the upper is seen as a reflection of the class-linked variation in the degree of commitment to familial norms.[
See
CaribbeanSOCIETY.]
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MARRIAGE,FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN SOCIOLOGY
COLLECTED BY
: SEIIED BENIAMIN HOSSEINI
SUBMITTED TO :
MAESTRO
MOHAN KUMAR.H.S
Legitimacy affects the offspring of the marriage as well as the spouses themselves. In asserting what hecalled the “principle of legitimacy,” Malinowski (1929) stated that in all societies a socially recognized father has been regarded as indispen–sable to the child. A legal marriage, then, gives a woman a sociallyrecognized husband and her children a socially recognized father. According to Zimmerman (1947), thepenalties attached to il–legitimacy vary directly with the power of the extended family; thus, the penaltiesare heavy in societies characterized by the extended-family system and light where the nuclear familyprevails. From a sociological point of view, the significance of legitimacy is that it is a necessary conditionfor the family to carry out its function of position-conferring. In this sense, the critical meaning of bastardy isnot that the child has
low 
status but rather that he lacks
any 
position and status in his society.
Variations in familial organization
Cultural expectations pertaining to marriage are affected by variations in familial organization. In Westerncivilization it appears that the power of the family and the size of the effective kin group (i.e., of the familialstructure) have varied inversely with the complexity of the society of which the effective kin group is a part.Zimmerman (1947), who extensively analyzed the civilizations of ancient Athens and Rome, reports that inthe early stages of both of these civilizations (i.e., when both societies were relatively simple) there existedwhat he calls the “trustee” type of familial organization; whereas in their late (and, to Zimmerman,decadent) stages, Athens and Rome developed much more complex societies and simpler familialstructures, which he describes as “atomistic.” The kernel of Zimmer- man’s distinction lies in the locus of power. Where the trustee type of family exists, much power is located in the extended family. The head of the family, as the responsible center of familial authority, influences the behavior of the family members,and the extended family feels responsible for the behavior of its members. Where the atomistic type of family prevails, much power is located outside the kin group in specialized institutions. As the family losespower, its structure shifts from the extended family system to the nuclear family system. In the process of making this shift, according to Zimmerman, the divorce rate goes up and the birth rate goes down. Arguingthat there are other lines of development than those of the West noted by Zimmerman, Goode (1963)holds, as we shall see below, that whether the divorce rate goes up as a society becomes more complexdepends on the nature of the familial structure at the start of the process.One way of formulating variation in the family’s power and size is to speak of its functioning as a politicalunit. Moreover, the family may show variation in other kinds of functioning. In some settings the family isthe basic economic unit that creates and distributes goods and services. In many settings it is the principalsocial unit responsible for socializing and educating the young. And in some settings, especially whereancestor worship is practiced, the family carries out the religious function. In general, as societies becomemore complex, specialized societal structures develop for the carrying out of these functions, with theresult that the family loses some of its functions; indeed such a state of affairs is the meaning of societalcomplexity.Taking account of Asian and African as well as Western societies, Goode (1963) agrees that most familysystems of the world are moving toward a small-family system based on the nuclear family. Because the
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