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< Back to question What is the sociological definition of a family? Show more Show less

The concept of “family” has evolved in recent decades. The intolerant view of a nuclear family, where a man and woman in wedlock have children and the male provides while the female undertakes child care responsibilities, no longer applies to many modern family units. So, what is a family?

It depends on the type of family and approach Show more Show less

The sociological definition of a family varies depending on the type of family.
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Families of orientation vs families of procreation

There is an important difference between the family you are born into, and the family you create with a lover.
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There are two types of families and each one has its own sociological definition.

The Argument

A family of orientation is the family that a child is born into. This may be characterized by blood relations. A family or procreation is one that is formed through marriage. These distinctions are important when defining the sociological constructs of a family. Each family has its own criteria and must be considered as different sociological groupings. [1]

Counter arguments

While the distinction between families of orientation and procreation makes sense on an individual level, it does not make sense on a macro level. Beyond the individual, both families likely function the same way. They probably interact with society in the same way, and have many similar characteristics. Therefore, a sociological definition can be developed that is inclusive of both types of family.


[P1] The family you are born into has a different dynamic to the one you enter into when you procreate. [P2] Therefore, one sociological definition of a family cannot apply to both. [P3] Therefore, the sociological definition of a family depends on the type of family under consideration.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The two types of family are different from the perspective of the individual, but not in the way they function or interact with wider society.



This page was last edited on Monday, 29 Jun 2020 at 00:34 UTC

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