argument top image

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

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 has different meanings at different times Show more Show less

Because familial constructs change with social, economic and political constructs, any accurate sociological definition of a family can only apply at the time it is deduced.
< (6 of 6)

The family unit is constantly evolving

Social attitudes to families are constantly shifting. Therefore, any definition is only valid at the time it was written.
< (1 of 1)

Context

Because a family is a social construct, any definition can only be accurate for that time period. As social attitudes change so too does the sociological definition of a family.

The Argument

No definition of a family can hold weight for eternity. The sociological definition of a family can only be accurate for as long as social attitudes remain fixed. As social attitudes towards marriage, sex, property, and economics change, the sociological definition of a family must also change. [1] In pre-industrial society, most families were a traditional nuclear family with one woman and man bonded through marriage, and their offspring. This social construct no longer applies to many post-industrial societies, forcing sociologists to revisit their definitions of a family.

Counter arguments

Social and political attitudes change, but the core function of a family has remained the same since primitive family units roamed the Pangea supercontinent. Therefore, defining a family by what it does, rather than what it is, is still useful. A functionalist approach to defining a family can, therefore, effectively define a family.

Premises

[P1] Social attitudes towards the family unit are constantly shifting. [P2] Therefore, the sociological definition of a family is only valid at the time it was written.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] A functional approach is not dependent on social attitudes.

References

  1. http://www.sociology.org.uk/notes/AS4AQA_family_v2_2e.pdf

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

This page was last edited on Monday, 29 Jun 2020 at 00:44 UTC