In various societies across the globe, the society might differ but the fundamental structure of the family
remains the same. Family is the fundamental unit in the entire social structure. Society is a web of relationships between individual members and also between individuals and social organizations and social institutions. The Definition of Family is given in various ways in various societies, but the crux is the same. Family Definition can be found in any book of Sociology, but it is much more than a mere definition in a book. It is the unit which binds one human being to another and forms a blood tie between two members within a family. Definition of Family mentions that a family is formed when a group of people live in a domestic environment.
A common ancestor, adoption and marriage are the basic source of a family. In a very intimate and close environment, a group of people share space with each other.Affinity, blood kinship and cohabitation are the three primary aspects which are reflected in the Definition of Family. A family performs an array of functions which includes both political functions as well as economical functions. These functions are extremely important as without these functions, a family cannot function in the way it is supposed to.
Reproduction is the primary function of any society, either socially or in a biological way, or both. The family serves as a great tool to locate children within a particular social environment. Enculturating and socializing children are two of the prime functions of a family, in regard to children. For children a family is a family of orientation and for adults and parents it is a family of procreation. The Definition of Family maintains that a family can be of three kinds, namely, matrifocal, consanguinal, and conjugal. A household has to be productive in order to provide sustenance to the members of the family. In recent times, families are formed even without children.
The family structure is usually build on the relationship between children and parents and between husband and wife, or may be both. In matrifocal families, a mother and her children are the primary members. The children are biologically born to the women. This type of family is usually found in societies where the mother are more capable of rearing their children or their husbands are often away from home. In a consanguinal family the members are usually the mother, the children and the mother`s family members. The structure is reversed too, and in such families, inheritance plays a very important role. The inheritance determines who will be the head of the family, the husband or the wife. In a conjugal family, the family comprises one or more mothers and their respective children, or one or more husbands. The men exercise control on their children, in this type of family, or the family is generally mobile.
According to anthropologists, the unit of family forms the elementary economic unit. However, much of this function has changed with time. Politically too, a family has a very important role to perform.