Friday, 1 July 2011


Reader-Deptt. Of Sociology, MGKVP Varanasi .

The family in India is been changing its appearance from ‘joint family’ due to various factors that exist in the society due fast industrialization and globalization. Nowadays, nuclear family is appearing faster in cities and villages, moreover, the norms of joint family disappearing in the same manner due to modernity. ‘Family’, now losing its value and recently changed ‘joint family’ has taken different direction, which is debatable issue that whether the changed family condition is better or was it previously, when ones discuss about ‘family sanctity’.      

Family is a group of people or animals, affiliated by consanguinity, affinity or co-residence. Although, the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by ‘blood’ and, one must understand the idea of ‘blood’ metaphorically and many societies understand family through other concepts rather than through genetic distance.
One of the primary functions of the family is to produce and reproduce persons, biologically and socially. Thus, one’s experience of one’s family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is a form of its orientation: the family serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization[i]. From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a family of procreation, the goal of which is to 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, it is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.
A conjugal family includes only the husband, the wife, and unmarried children who are not of age. The most common form of this family is regularly referred to in sociology as a nuclear family. A consanguineal family consists of a parent and his or her children, and other people. A matrilocal family consists of a mother and her children. Generally, these children are her biological offspring, although adoption of children is a practice in nearly every society. This kind of family is common where women have the resources to rear their children by themselves, or where men are more mobile than women.
Family: The History
The diverse data coming from ethnography, history, law and social statistics, establish that the human family is an institution and not a biological fact founded on the natural relationship of consanguinity. Early scholars of family history applied Darwin’s biological theory of evolution in their theory of evolution of family systems. American anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan published Ancient Society in 1877 based on his theory of the three stages of human progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization.
Family is a loosely based term. The subject of family is very perspective based. Animalistic behaviorism due to mental retardation caused by drug and alcohol inundation of a society places a different perspective on such subject matter. For instance, the term ‘family’ can be used in the context of a biological similarity gained from parents; that means nothing in regard to relations. In another instance especially with alcohol and drug use in association with religious affiliations it can be construed just like the Manson Family. This is a very good indicator with structure of society, involving bars, pubs, breweries, drug inundations of street and pharmaceuticals would make one logically conclude that the term ‘family’ in many instances is merely a biological reference.
Family: The Origin
The history of the family crosses disciplines and cultures and precedes recorded history. In its basic form it explains the sociocultural evolution of kinship groups from prehistoric to modern times. Modern family studies aim to understand the structure and function of a family from many viewpoints. For example, sociological, ecological or economical perspectives are used to view the interrelationships between individuals, their relatives and the historical time.
For the definition of family, residency is carefully examined and the family is described in terms of the household. A co-residential group that makes up a household may share general survival goals and the roof, but may not fulfill the varied and sometimes ambiguous requirements for definition as a family; e.g., regulate sexuality or educate and socialize children. Co-residence and organization by kinship are both integral in the development of the concept of the family.
The family has a universal and basic role in all societies. Study of family history proves that family systems are flexible, culturally diverse and adaptive to ecological and economical conditions.
Early scholars of family history applied Darwin’s biological theory of evolution in their theory of evolution of family systems. American anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan (1818–1881) published Ancient Society in 1877 based on his theory of the three stages of human progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization.
Since the early 20th century, scholars have begun to unify methods of gathering data. One notable book by W.I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918), was influential in setting the precedence of systematical longitudinal data analysis. Gathering church files, court records, letters, architectural and archeological evidence, art and iconography, and food and material culture increased objectivity and reproducibility of family reconstruction studies.[9] Studies of current family systems additionally employ qualitative observations, interviews and focus groups, and quantitative surveys.
Genealogy, the search for one's origin, seems to be a universal desire. In most cultures of the world, the beginning of family history is set in creation myths. In his Works and Days, the ancient Greek poet Hesiod describes the epic destruction of four previous Ages of Man. The utopia that was the Golden Age was eventually replaced by the current Iron Age; a time when gods made man live in ‘hopeless misery and toil.’ Hesiod’s second poem Theogony described the Greek gods’ relationships and family ties. Ancient Greeks believed that among them were descendants of gods who qualified for priesthood or other privileged social status.
Evolution of household
The organization of the pre-industrial family is now believed to be similar to modern types of family. Many sociologists used to believe that the nuclear family was the product of industrialization, but new evidence proposed by sociologist Peter Laslett suggests that the causality is reversed, and that industrialization was so effective in Northwestern Europe specifically because the preexistence of the nuclear family fostered its development.
Family types of pre-industrial Europe belonged into two basic groups, the simple household system (the nuclear family) and the joint family system (the extended family). A simple household system featured a relatively late age of marriage for both men and women and the establishment of separate household after the marriage or neo-locality. A joint family household system was characterized by earlier marriage for women, co residence with the husband's family or patri-locality, and co-residing of multiple generations.
Many households consisted of unrelated servants and apprentices residing for periods of years and at that time belonging to the family. Due to shorter life expectancy and high mortality rate in the pre-industrialized world, much of the structure of a family depended on the average age of marriage of woman. Late marriage, as occurred in the simple household system, left little time for three-generation families to form. Conversely, in the joint family household system, early marriages allowed for multi-generational families to form.
The pre-industrial family had many functions. These included food production, landholding, regulation of inheritance, reproduction, socialization and education of its members. External roles allowed for participation in religion and politics. Social status was also strictly connected to one's family.
Additionally, in the absence of government institutions, the family was the only resource to cope with sickness and aging. Because of the industrial revolution and new work and living conditions, families changed, transferring to public institutions responsibility for food production and the education and welfare of its aging and sick members. Post-industrial families became more private, nuclear, domestic and based on the emotional bonding between husband and wife, and between parents and children.
Archaeologist Lewis Henry Morgan performed the first survey of kinship terminologies in use around the world. Although much of his work is now considered dated, he argued that kinship terminologies reflect different sets of distinctions. For example, most kinship terminologies distinguish between sexes (the difference between a brother and a sister) and between generations (the difference between a child and a parent). Moreover, he argued, kinship terminologies distinguish between relatives by blood and marriage (although recently some anthropologists have argued that many societies define kinship in terms other than ‘blood’).
Morgan made a distinction between kinship systems that use classificatory terminology and those that use descriptive terminology. Morgan's distinction is widely misunderstood, even by contemporary anthropologists. Classificatory systems are generally and erroneously understood to be those that ‘class together’ with a single term relatives who actually do not have the same type of relationship to ego. (What defines ‘same type of relationship’ under such definitions seems to be genealogical relationship.
This is problematic given that any genealogical description, no matter how standardized, employs words originating in a folk understanding of kinship.) What Morgan's terminology actually differentiates are those (classificatory) kinship systems that do not distinguish lineal and collateral relationships and those (descriptive) kinship systems that do. Morgan, a lawyer, came to make this distinction in an effort to understand Seneca inheritance practices. A Seneca man's effects were inherited by his sisters' children rather than by his own children.
Economic functions
Anthropologists have often supposed that the family in a traditional society forms the primary economic unit. This economic role has gradually diminished in modern times, and in societies like the United States it has become much smaller, except in certain sectors such as agriculture and in a few upper class families. In China the family as an economic unit still plays a strong role in the countryside. However, the relations between the economic role of the family, its socio-economic mode of production and cultural values remain highly complex.
The different types of families occur in a wide variety of settings, and their specific functions and meanings depend largely on their relationship to other social institutions. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of these forms in stratified (especially capitalist) societies.
The term ‘nuclear family’ is commonly used, especially in the United States and Europe, to refer to conjugal families. Sociologists distinguish between conjugal families (relatively independent of the kindred of the parents and of other families in general) and nuclear families (which maintain relatively close ties with their kindred).
The term ‘extended family’ is also common, especially in the United States and Europe. This term has two distinct meanings. First, it serves as a synonym of ‘consanguinal family’. Second, in societies dominated by the conjugal family, it refers to kindred (an egocentric network of relatives that extends beyond the domestic group) who do not belong to the conjugal family.
These types refer to ideal or normative structures found in particular societies. Any society will exhibit some variation in the actual composition and conception of families. Much sociological, historical and anthropological research dedicates itself to the understanding of this variation, and of changes in the family form over time. Thus, some speak of the bourgeois family, a family structure arising out of 16th-century and 17th century European households, in which the family centers on a marriage between a man and woman, with strictly-defined gender-roles. The man typically has responsibility for income and support, the woman for home and family matters.
According to the work of scholars Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was ‘fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation’.
In contemporary Europe and the United States, people in academic, political and civil sectors have called attention to single-father-headed households, and families headed by same-sex couples, although academics point out that these forms exist in other societies. Also the term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family.
Sociological views: Family in Contemporary Society
Contemporary society generally views family as a haven from the world, supplying absolute fulfillment. The family is considered to encourage ‘intimacy, love and trust where individuals may escape the competition of dehumanizing forces in modern society.’ During industrialization, the family as a repository of warmth and tenderness (embodied by the mother) stands in opposition to the competitive and aggressive world of commerce (embodied by the father). The family’s task was to protect against the outside world.
Still others argue that whether or not we view the family as ‘declining’ depends on our definition of ‘family.’ The high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births indicate a decline in the institution of the family. No longer are marriages arranged for political or economic gain, and children are not expected to contribute to family income. Instead, people choose mates based on love. This increased role of love indicates a societal shift toward favoring emotional fulfillment and relationships within a family, and this shift necessarily weakens the institution of the family.
Nuclear Family: The Changes in the Society
A nuclear family is a family group consisting of only a father and mother and their children, who share living quarters. This can be contrasted with an extended family. Nuclear families can be of any size, as long as there are only children and two parents. Nuclear families meet their individual members’ basic needs because available resources are divided among only a few individuals or the family would be known as an extended family.
In China, the most populous nation in the world, the nuclear family has become the most common family arrangement. In the more urban parts of India, the second most populous nation, the number of nuclear families is overtaking other forms of family arrangements, although unpopular among Hindu orthodoxy who advocates a form of extended family structure called the joint family. In the United States, the third most populous nation, 70% of children live in traditional two-parent families.
History of Nuclear Family
Historical records indicate that it was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the nuclear family became prevalent in Western Europe. With the emergence of Proto-industrialization and early capitalism, the nuclear family became a financially viable social unit.
After the Second World War the United States experienced a renewed interest in 'the home' and building family units. The family unit became a symbol of security and a return to traditional gender roles. Distinct from the wartime period in which women held jobs conventional for men, the postwar era encouraged the notion that men should be the primary wage earners and women should spend their time cultivating the home and exerting their energy towards raising children.
At least one study suggests that the nuclear family is natural to Homo sapiens. A 2005 archeological dig in Elau, Germany (analyzed by professor Wolfgang Haak of Adelaide University) revealed genetic evidence suggesting that the 13 individuals found in a grave were closely related. Haak said, ‘by establishing the genetic links between the two adults and two children buried together in one grave, have established the presence of the classic nuclear family in a prehistoric context in Central Europe.’ However, even here the evidence suggests that the nuclear family was embedded with an extended family. The remains of three children (probably siblings based on DNA evidence) were found buried with a woman who was not their mother but may have been an aunt or a step-mother.
Merriam-Webster dates the term back to 1947, whilst the Oxford English Dictionary has a reference to the term from 1924; thus it is relatively new, although nuclear family structures itself date back thousands of years. The term ‘nuclear’ is used in its general meaning referring to a central entity or ‘nucleus’ around which others collect.
In its most common usage, the term ‘nuclear family’ refers to a household consisting of a father, a mother and their children all in one household dwelling (siblings). George Murdock also describes the term in this way:
The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It contains adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults. Some also use the term to describe single-parent households and families in which the parents are a cohabiting, unmarried couple.
The term ‘nuclear family’ can be defined simply as a wife/mother, a husband/father, and their children. However, this straightforward structural definition is surrounded by a cloud of ambiguity and controversy. Most of the debates have centered around three questions. First, is the nuclear family universal—found in every known human society? Second, is the nuclear group the essential form of family—the only one that can carry out the vital functions of the family (especially, rearing the next generation) or can other family patterns (e.g., single mothers, single fathers, two women, or two men) be considered workable units for fulfilling these functions? The third issue concerns the link between the nuclear family household and industrial society. In the old days, before work moved outside the home to factories and offices, did parents and children live together under one roof with grandparents and other relatives? Did the nuclear family break away from this extended family system as a result of industrialization?
The debate over the universality and necessity of the nuclear family began in the early twentieth century. Pioneer anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowsk stated that the nuclear family had to be universal because it filled a basic biological need—caring for and protecting infants and young children. No culture could survive, he asserted, unless the birth of children was linked to both mother and father in legally based parenthood. Anthropologist George P. Murdock elaborated on the idea that the nuclear family is both universal and essential.
The debate about the nuclear family and industrialism centered around the writings of one of the leading sociologists of the post-World War II era, Talcott Parsons (1955)[ii]. The nuclear unit, he argued, fits the needs of industrial society. Independent of the kin network, the ‘isolated’ nuclear family is free to move as the economy demands. Further, the intimate nuclear family can specialize in serving the emotional needs of adults and children in a competitive and impersonal world.
In later years, the assumptions about the family held by Malinowski, Murdock, and Parsons have been challenged by family sociologists as well as by anthropologists, historians, feminist scholars, and others. Research in these fields has emphasized the diversity of family not only across cultures and eras but also within any culture or historical period.
Anthropologists have pointed out that many languages lack a word for the parent-child domestic units known as families in English. For example, the Zinacantecos of southern Mexico identify the basic social unit as a house, which may include one to twenty people (Vogt 1969)[iii]. In contrast, historical studies of Western family life have shown that nuclear family households were extremely common as far back as historical evidence can reach, particularly in northwestern Europe—England, Holland, Belgium, and northern France (Gottlieb 1993)[iv].
These countries have long held the norm that a newly married couple moves out of their parents' homes and sets up their own household. Despite the continuity of form, however, different social classes, ethnic groups, religious persuasions, and geographical regions have had different practices and beliefs with regard to parent-child relations, sexuality, family gender roles, and other aspects of family life.
Family life also has changed in response to social, economic, and political change. Many scholars believe that in the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century, the modernizing countries of Western Europe witnessed a transformation of family feeling that resulted in ‘the closed domesticated nuclear family.’ The new family ideal, Lawrence Stone (1977)[v] argued that the prescribed domestic privacy and strong emotional attachments between spouses and between parents and children.
Alternatively, some scholars have argued that strong emotional bonds between family members have existed for centuries, and others have argued that the ‘closed domesticated nuclear family’ was a middle-class ideal that came to be applied slowly and incompletely outside that class. In Eastern Europe, however, the nuclear norm did not prevail. Households were expected to contain other relatives besides the nuclear unit (i.e., a third generation or a parent's sibling and possibly that person's spouse and children). It is true that in those parts of Europe about half of the households at any particular time were nuclear, but this unit served as just a stage the family might pass through.
As these examples show, it is important to distinguish between the nuclear family as a cultural symbol and as an observable domestic group (Schneider 1968)[vi]. The nuclear family is a symbol deeply rooted in Western culture; it is represented in art, family photographs, advertising, and television. However, the family ideal of any particular culture does not necessarily describe the social realities of family life. For example, the nuclear family remains the preferred cultural pattern in the United States despite the fact that the proportion of nuclear family households is smaller than in the past (Skolnick 1991)[vii].
The persistence of this ideal is reflected in the fact that most divorced people remarry. Further, there is no evidence that most single mothers prefer to raise their children by themselves. In most Western nations, particularly the United States, the wish to become a parent at some time in one’s life is virtually universal. Today’s longevity means that the parent-child relationship can last fifty years or more. It remains a central attachment in most people’s lives.
In any particular time and place, families have always been more varied than the prevailing image of what the ideal family should be. However, although family types are even more diverse than in the past, most contemporary families are still variations on the traditional nuclear family pattern (e.g., the two-job family, the empty nest couple with grown children, or the blended family). An unsettled period of family transition has resulted from major shifts in economic, demographic, political, and cultural trends in the industrialized world and beyond. These changes have altered people's lives dramatically, but other institutions of society—government, business, religion—have not yet caught up with the new realities.
The traditional Western concept of the nuclear family as the only normal, natural family has had a profound influence on research, therapy, and public policy. It has encouraged the tendency to define any departure from that arrangement as unhealthy or immoral. This concentration on a single, universally accepted pattern has blinded students of behavior to historical precedents for multiple legitimate family arrangements.
Family Structure in India: Joint and Nuclear
In India the joint family has endured for as long as many records exist.  Even about 1000 BC, in the time of the Mahabharata, the joint family existed more or less as it exists today. A joint family is a group of people who generally live under one roof, who eat food cooked in one kitchen, who hold property in common, participate in common family worship and are related to one another as some particular type of kindred. The definition of a joint family needs clarification necessitated by the expression “who generally live and eat together”. Those people who subsisted solely by agriculture, did, as a matter of fact, live and eat together; but in the case of others who were engaged in trade or were in the armed forces or civil services, some members of the joint family remained away from home for an indefinite period.
A joint family has always an ancestral seat or locality. However humble an Indian might be, he will always refer to his ancestral village as his home. As all services were paid for in land in ancient days, every Indian had a small family holding in some village- may be just a strip of land or for an artisan, just a small house. This connection of a family with a locality lingers even after the family has finally migrated out of its village. Such families keep on worshipping the gods of their former locality or come back time and again to keep certain vows made to these gods. The kin group making up a joint family is of two types.  In the northern type those men who trace descent from a common male ancestor form the core of the family; with them are associated women who are brought as brides and the young unmarried daughters of the family. Thus there are three or four generations of males related to the male ego as grandfather and his brothers, father and his brothers, own brothers and cousins, sons and nephews and wives of all these male relatives, plus the ego’s unmarried sisters and daughters. The northern type of family is thus patrilineal and patrilocal and the married women in such a family live in the house of their father-in-law.
The beauty about the Indian culture lies in its age-long prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It’s a system under which even extended members of a family like one’s parents, children, the children’s spouses and their offspring, etc. live together. The elder-most, usually the male member is the head in the joint Indian family system, who makes all important decisions and rules, whereas other family members abide by it dutifully with full respect.
Importance Given to Protocol in Joint Family System in India
A major factor that keeps all members, big and small, united in love and peace in a joint family system in India is the importance attached to protocol. This feature is very unique to Indian families and very special. Manners like respecting elders, touching their feet as a sign of respect, speaking in a dignified manner, taking elders’ advice prior taking important decisions, etc. is something that Indian parents take care to inculcate in their kids from very beginning. The head of the family responds by caring and treating each member of the family the same.  
Discipline in Indian Joint Family System
The intention behind the formation of any social unit will fail to serve its purpose if discipline is lacking and the same applies to the joint family system as well. Due to this reason, discipline is another factor given utmost importance in the joint family system in India. As a rule, it’s the family head that prevails upon others. In case of any disagreement, the matter is diligently sorted out by taking suggestions from other adult members. One usually also has to follow fixed timings for returning home, eating, etc.
As joint families grow ever larger, they inevitably divide into smaller units, passing through a predictable cycle over time. The breakup of a joint family into smaller units does not necessarily represent the rejection of the joint family ideal. Rather, it is usually a response to a variety of conditions, including the need for some members to move from village to city, or from one city to another to take advantage of employment opportunities. Splitting of the family is often blamed on quarrelling women-typically, the wives of co-resident brothers. Although women’s disputes may, in fact, lead to family division, men's disagreements do so as well.
Despite cultural ideals of brotherly harmony, adult brothers frequently quarrel over land and other matters, leading them to decide to live under separate roofs and divide their property. Frequently, a large joint family divides after the demise of elderly parents, when there is no longer a single authority figure to hold the family factions together. After division, each new residential unit, in its turn, usually becomes joint when sons of the family marry and bring their wives to live in the family home.
Variations in Indian Family Structure
Some family types bear special mention because of their unique qualities. In the sub-Himalayan region of Uttar Pradesh, polygyny is commonly practiced. There, among Hindus, a simple polygynous family is composed of a man, his two wives, and their unmarried children. Various other family types occur there, including the supplemented sub-polygynous household--a woman whose husband lives elsewhere (perhaps with his other wife), her children, plus other adult relatives. Polygyny is also practiced in other parts of India by a tiny minority of the population, especially in families in which the first wife has not been able to bear children. Among the Buddhist people of the mountainous Ladakh District of Jammu and Kashmir, who have cultural ties to Tibet, fraternal polyandry is practiced, and a household may include a set of brothers with their common wife or wives. This family type, in which brothers also share land, is almost certainly linked to the extreme scarcity of cultivable land in the Himalayan region, because it discourages fragmentation of holdings.
The peoples of the northeastern hill areas are known for their matriliny, tracing descent and inheritance in the female line rather than the male line. One of the largest of these groups, the Khasis--an ethnic or tribal people in the state of Meghalaya-are divided into matrilineal clans; the youngest daughter receives almost all of the inheritance including the house. A Khasi husband goes to live in his wife’s house. Khasis, many of whom have become Christian, have the highest literacy rate in India, and Khasi women maintain notable authority in the family and community.
Perhaps the best known of India’s unusual family types is the traditional Nayar taravad , or great house. The Nayars are a cluster of castes in Kerala. High-ranking and prosperous, the Nayars maintained matrilineal households in which sisters and brothers and their children were the permanent residents. After an official pre-puberty marriage, each woman received a series of visiting husbands in her room in the taravad at night. Her children were all legitimate members of the taravad. Property, matrilineally inherited, was managed by the eldest brother of the senior woman. This system, the focus of much anthropological interest, has been disintegrating in the twentieth century, and in the 1990s probably fewer than 5 percent of the Nayars live in matrilineal taravads. Like the Khasis, Nayar women are known for being well-educated and powerful within the family.
Malabar rite Christians, an ancient community in Kerala, adopted many practices of their powerful Nayar neighbors, including naming their sons for matrilineal forebears. Their kinship system, however, is patrilineal. Kerala Christians have a very high literacy rate, as do most Indian Christian groups.
The joint family is no longer has kept its norms, the modernity and change due to global culture is paving the way ‘nuclear family’. In India, the nuclear family is common is cities and villages. The tradition and pattern of the society has changed its shape drastically in the late 20th and in the 21st century. Recently, in November 2009, in Pune, most household women preferred nuclear family in comparison to joint.[viii] This outcome shows the changing family values in the contemporary Indian society.
The trend that has been began in the urban and rural areas of India would not stop. Family norms would no longer remain same as it was in the ancient Hindu tradition. The impact of modernity and globalization is linked to changes in the social values of the ‘family’. In India, the future of ‘nuclear family’ is preeminent in comparison to ‘joint family’. 
[1] Forbes, Scott (2005). A Natural History of Families, Princeton University Press.
[1] Parsons, T. (1955). ‘The American Family: Its Relations to Personality and the Social Structure.’ In Family Socialization and Interaction Process, ed. T. Parsons and R. F. Bales. New York: Free Press.

[1] Vogt, E. Z. (1969). Zinacantan: A Maya Community in the Highlands of Chiapas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[1] Gottlieb, B. (1993). The Family in the Western World. New York: Oxford.

[1] Stone, L. (1977). The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500–1800. New York: Harper & Row.

[1] Schneider, D. M. (1968).  American Kinship: A Cultural Account. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Schneider, D. M., and Smith, R. T. (1973). Class Differences and Sex Roles in American Kinship and Family Structure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[1] Skolnick, A. (1991). Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty. New York: Basic Books.

[1]72-city-women-prefer-nuclear-families/articleshow/5197741.cms (05 November 2009),

[i] Forbes, Scott (2005). A Natural History of Families, Princeton University Press.
[ii] Parsons, T. (1955). ‘The American Family: Its Relations to Personality and the Social Structure.’ In Family Socialization and Interaction Process, ed. T. Parsons and R. F. Bales. New York: Free Press.

[iii] Vogt, E. Z. (1969). Zinacantan: A Maya Community in the Highlands of Chiapas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[iv] Gottlieb, B. (1993). The Family in the Western World. New York: Oxford.

[v] Stone, L. (1977). The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500–1800. New York: Harper & Row.

[vi] Schneider, D. M. (1968).  American Kinship: A Cultural Account. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Schneider, D. M., and Smith, R. T. (1973). Class Differences and Sex Roles in American Kinship and Family Structure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[vii] Skolnick, A. (1991). Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty. New York: Basic Books.

[viii]72-city-women-prefer-nuclear-families/articleshow/5197741.cms (05 November 2009),