This article is about family relations among humans. For other use, see Family (disambiguation).
Family denotes a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence.
Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by "blood,"
many anthropologists have argued that one must understand the notion of "blood"
metaphorically, and that many societies understand 'family' through other
concepts rather than through genetic distance.
Many sociologists and anthropologists believe the primary function of the family
is to perpetuate society, either biologically, socially, or both. Thus, one's
experience of one's family shifts over time. From the perspective of children,
the family is a family of orientation: the family serves to locate children
socially, and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From
the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a family of procreation the
goal of which is to produce and enculturate and socialize children. However,
producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a
sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two
people, is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.
A conjugal family consists of one or more mothers and their children, and/or one
or more spouses, usually husbands. The most common form of this family is
regularly referred to as a nuclear family.
A consanguineal family consists of a mother and her children, and other people —
usually the family of the mother, like her husband. This kind of family is
common where mothers do not have the resources to rear their children on their
own, and especially where property is inherited. When important property is
owned by men, consanguineal families commonly consist of a husband and wife,
their children and other members of the husband's family.
A matrifocal family consists of a...