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What is the sociological definition of a family? Show more Show less
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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?

Family means a shared residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction Show more Show less

A classic sociological definition of the family was put forward by George Peter Murdock. He asserted that families shared a residence, were somewhat economically integrated, and are built around the reproductive relationship of the parents.
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The family is responsible for producing new members

Families create new family members through procreation. Producing offspring is a fundamental necessity for life, and the family fulfills the role of procreation, raising children, and furthering human life for generations.

Context

Family heritages can be traced for generations and connect to a broader name or identity. Families have a responsibility to continue their family name through their posterity.

The Argument

Producing offspring is a fundamental necessity for life. A species must be able to reproduce in order to survive. Moreover, a species must reproduce with genetic variation to most successfully survive.[1] Human genetics are finite. The only way to pass down genetics, characteristics, phenotypes, or other hereditary traits is to have children. Families have a duty to continue their family name by producing offspring.[1] Giving birth to children brings value to the world. Valuable people (having special genetic features) produce offspring with similar valuable genetic traits. In addition, the creation of life itself is the most valuable characteristic of life. One’s progeny “carries its share in society” for future generations to benefit.[2] Families have a duty to produce offspring. Procreation is not only a defining characteristic of a family but of life in general.

Counter arguments

Families can still make an impact on society without leaving offspring. Some families may not be able to have children, have financial limitations, or may choose to not have children. For example, Mother Teresa and Sir Isaac Newton both bettered humanity with their respective contributions, all without starting a family or leaving offspring. They still left a valuable impact—albeit not children—on society for generations to come. [1] In addition, humans can procreate without being a part of a family. People can choose to have a child in traditional means, yet not start a family. Similarly, mothers can give birth to a child with other means (such as a sperm bank) but still choose to not form a family.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2007/05/the-moral-obligation-to-have-children/54313/
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24354037?seq=6#metadata_info_tab_contents
This page was last edited on Sunday, 27 Sep 2020 at 22:17 UTC

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