Murdock• Some form of family exists in every society.• “social group characterised by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children, own or adopted.”
Variations of this…Britain and Ireland• Traditional nuclear• Extended• Reconstituted• Cohabiting
Banaro of New Guinea• The families live in a communal house, divided into apartments for each nuclear family• Husband does not have sexual relations with his wife until she has borne a child by a friend of his father.• The parent child relationship therefore is not biological.
Nayar of Kerla• The Nayar have sets of relationships different from those common in Britain.• Kathleen Gough carried out a detailed study of this group.• Before puberty all girls married to a suitable man – however after marriage the husband does not live with his wife and is under no obligation to make any contact.
• The only duty of the wife is to attend his funeral and mourn his death.• Nayar girls can take on many ‘visiting’ husbands.• The husbands spend much time away from the villages so on return choose a wife to stay the night with.• These husbands have no duty towards their offspring.• Husbands may give their wives ‘tokens’ but it is frowned upon if they do this regularly.
Is Murdock’s definition too narrow?• Growth of same sex relationships to include children.• Growth of matriarchal families – high in western societies. (particularly low income black communities)