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To what extent does a universal family exist?

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Introduction

Emma Micallef Topic: Family To what extent does a universal family exist? First to argue in favour of universality within the family is Murdock. After studying a sample of 250 societies he came to a particular definition of the family. The family is a social group that share a common residence, co-operate economically and produces offspring. It is also important that it includes adults of both sexes whose sexual relationship is socially approved, with one or more children, be they biological or adopted. He believes that the nuclear family exists in every society and it is where more complex family structures stem from. Hence Murdock strongly believes that the family is universal. ...read more.

Middle

The girls were however allowed to have up to 12 sexual partners what was referred to as visiting husbands whilst men were allowed as many sandbanham wives as they pleased. Therefore we note that such relations were not life-long and that the duty to produce offspring does not exist. Also the husband and wife do not form an economic unit in any way. This is known as a matrilineal society which means that family grouping is based on female relatives. Under Murdock's definition no family exists in the Nayar society. This is as only the women lived with the children and those who maintained an approved sexual relationship formed no economical unit. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are those who also argue that since a female headed family isn't the norm, than why consider it a family? Then again, couldn't it be recognized as an alternative family structure? Sheeron after all believes that the 'female carer-care' is the most basic family unit. Along these same lines we find the argument of Gay families. Gay families may have children from a previous marriage or may even adopt a child. Callhan argues that the households mentioned should still be viewed as families and states that if marriage were available such partners would marry. From these different insights into the concept of the universal family I believe that there is no true definition for the word family. In addition to this, universality of the family depends on how the family is defined and since there is no fixed definition there is no concept of the universal family. ...read more.

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