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Variations of the Word Family Essay

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Today, people in society share many variations of the word family. Anthropologists describe this as “a social group of two or more people related by blood, marriage, or adoption who live and reside together for an extended period, sharing economic resources and caring for the young” (Scupin 137). More specifically, the word family is narrowed down to two major types, nuclear and extended family. Nuclear Families are the ones most Westerns feel are the ‘right’ kind of family. They are formed by two married parents and their offspring.

According to our book Cultural Anthropology A Global Perspective, “in the United States, some African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, and Asian Americans enjoy the loyalty and support of extended family ties, enhancing their economic and social organization within the larger society” (Scupin 247).

They are able to adapt to our way of living by gaining knowledge and experience in how we live. Once this is accomplished the formation of family can begin. Religion and tradition play huge roles in this development.

With the many forms of family, some examples I have found are: Nuclear family, extended family, polygynous family, polyandrous family, and matrifocal family. Today fully half of all families do not meet the definition of nuclear family. We have stepfamilies; single-parent families; families headed by two unmarried partners, either of the opposite sex or the same sex; households that include one or more family members from a generation; adoptive families; foster families; and families where children are raised by their grandparents or other relatives..

Here in our U.S. society, we see the many different forms of family due to the fact that each and every one of us is individualistic. Perhaps if you were to travel to America, you would see a single gender raising a child on their own, or come along an ally way to find a street gang full of children orphaned by disease that had nowhere else to go. Though it may not be legal, there are people in our United States that marry more than one partner secretly. This is morally wrong! In our society, you are to give your faithfulness to one individual only.

In many societies, kinship relationships are beyond the most significant role throughout the world. Many parts of life in all societies are impacted by kinship, and in most society’s kinship relations influence things like who one can and cannot marry, who one must show respect to, who one can joke with, and who one can count on in a crisis. Your relatives are in your life from birth to start, and are able to help you in situations that can become overwhelming at times. When you experience argumentation that seems to intensify, family may be the best people to talk to. They are there to listen as well as to socialize within the community. They know who you are, and have watched you grow, fail, succeed, etc. To fully understand and grasp the concepts linked to family, one needs to comprehend how individual thought and behavior are influenced by these interacting aspects of human communities.

Human needs are almost addicting in nature and in many cases, the reason for universality in a family. These needs can be met when families provide a social environment in which they can exchange opinions and items and then learn and grow from them. As we mature we develop many functions, some of which include nurturing, enculturation of children, regulation of sexual activity, and also those who serve to protect and support their members through emotions, physically and also economically. The main function is to produce and reproduce persons, biologically and socially. Without reproduction, the world would be a lost cause, and the word family would either be non-existent or have a different meaning.

Throughout our lifetime, we keep developing and changing our perspectives. As a child, our perspective is known as “family of orientation,” this is one who serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in enculturation and socialization. A child, for instance, would be interacting socially with another person in order to learn about all other cultures. From the inner eye perspective, an adult is known as the “extended family.” Here individuals are composed of parents, children, and other relatives bound together as a social unit. There are several benefits to having a family formed in this way, the obvious one being that all the children have more than just their parents’ eyes watching them and raising them.

Family is key in my opinion. Whether they are there for your stability or just to converse, they are there until they separate. An example of this could be known as a step father and mother being divorced which leaves them removed from each other’s families. As indicated earlier about the different marriages in society, I believe that the act of polygamy is morally wrong and in many ways a burden to our culture. Why should an individual be married to two different significant others? In my culture, we don’t see this act; however, many other cultures may allow and even encourage polygyny and polyandry.

Through enculturation, people are able to learn the expectations that make up our society. Religious traditions are shaped through this process by evolution and natural selection. Natural selection is merely when an organism is best adapted to their environment in order to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics. The number in the area will begin to rise while the less adapted organisms will begin to eliminate due to the changes in the society. In saying this, I leave you with a quote from Confucius, “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”

Meyerhoff, Michael. “Understanding Family Structure and Dynamics.” Discovery Health “Health Guides” Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/parenting/understanding-family-structures-and-dynamics-ga1.htm>. Scupin, Raymond. Cultural Anthropology A Global Perspective. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Nancy Roberts, 2012. Print.

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