Kinship and Family Organization

Kinship and Family Organization

Kinship and Family Organization

Kinship and Family Organization

Excerpt

This book depicts the family from a sociological perspective. First, it presents several definitions of the family in the sociological literature and shows how these definitions are related. It views the family as one of the kinship groups in society and indicates how the nuclear family is influenced by the structure of the kinship system. The book then relates the type of kinship and family system to the total community and society. Next, it focuses on kinship and family in contemporary society and then specifically on courtship and on relationships within the nuclear family. Materials on the socialization of children are included, for the transmission of the culture of the family and society depends on childrearing. In the concluding section change in family organization is discussed. Although this book was not designed to accompany my Family: Organization and Interaction, much of the material supplements that book. The major difference between Family and this book is the increased emphasis on age-grading in American kinship relations. Probably no one will agree with me that the papers in this volume are arranged in the most appropriate sequence. Articles on socialization appear next to articles on lineage characteristics; investigations based on limited samples are presented next to others resting on cross-cultural analysis. My only defense is that papers are arranged by chapter topics rather than by scope or technique of analysis. The aid and advice of colleagues and friends should be acknowledged. David L. Harvey, William C. Jenne, Efrosini John, Harry M. Johnson, Aleksandras Kulikauskas, Jerry M. Lewis, and Michael Lewis, all of the University of Illinois, have commented on selections and introductory statements for various chapters. Louis Schneider provided invaluable assistance in the translation of the Schelsky paper. Credit for the clarity of the translation belongs to him; responsibility for ambiguities is mine. I wish also to express my appreciation to Daniel Glaser, Joseph Gusfield, Bernard Karsh and Joseph Meyerowitz for many stimulating discussions of family and society and to Jerry Lewis for preparing the index.
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