Sociology of the family


The sociology of the family is the study of the behavior of individuals who live in the same space and are united by an affective bond or blood relationship.

Thus, the sociology of the family focuses on the consequences of the coexistence relationship and the legal figures that are generated based on it, as well as the roles that each member plays, within the life cycle of those who make it up.

Characteristics of the sociology of the family

The essential element of analysis is the family, seen as the primary support network par excellence. Since it is the first bond that an individual has in the first stage of his life and at the same time the last of his life.

It should be borne in mind that there are individuals who lose that bond either due to incapacitating illness, death, voluntary abandonment or going to jail.

Although nothing can supply the affective needs of the individual in his first stage of life. It is also true that when there is a lack of accompaniment from parents or a guardian, this lack is psychologically perceptible in adult stages of the individual.

The individual models his behavior by his relationship in certain spheres of society. However, the family is undoubtedly the shaper of the individual's behavior, since it is there where the first regulations of conduct are established.

There are thinkers who attribute to the existence of the family not only the place where the individual's values ​​are born, but also the inspiration for the achievement of personal goals.

The family is in itself a primary nucleus of community life that influences society and this in turn influences it, as well as the economic, political and cultural environment. In that sense we can mention some examples such as the following:

  • The inheritance of a company to a son.
  • The inherited preference of a political inclination in which the security of all family members is compromised.
  • Professing a religion by family custom.
  • The gender role that is imposed in the family that promotes or limits the possibility of working for a member of the family without the freedom of choice.
  • Arranged marriages, in which the parents agree, with whom their child will marry in order to suit their interests, without the opinion or consent of the child.

There are elements that determine some behaviors such as the age difference in the family, which generates a financial dependence that limits the possibility of choice. Similarly, there are opportunity costs for the financial manager.

Importance of the sociology of the family

Understanding the factors that explain family dynamics, their affective ties, in turn allows us to know its structural order. Which, due to its interrelation with society as a whole, helps to explain individual decision-making and how family development transcends life in society. This, over time, in different ethnic groups, cultures and geographical extensions.

Types of family

It is necessary to recognize the family models because this will determine the dynamics that it lives, the changes in the tendencies that influence it and the consequences of it in society. The most recognized by the type of organization are shown below.

  • Patriarchal: Authority is exercised by the father.
  • Matriarchal: Authority is exercised by the mother.
  • Equal: The authority is shared between father and mother.
  • Patrilineal: Only male members of the family can be inherited.
  • Matrilineal: Only female members of the family can be inherited.
  • Bilinear: Belonging can be transmitted to all members of the family.
  • Support: When parents, due to their work responsibilities and long hours, do not have enough time to dedicate to their children, they delegate part of their obligations to their older children for the care of their younger siblings.

By the way they cohabit, families can be:

  • Long or extensive: Families are organized according to the older couple who are usually the parents of one of the family members (one of the spouses).
  • Nuclear: Made up of parents and their children.
  • Patrilocal: It is the family that lives with the husband's parents.
  • Matrilocal: It is the family that lives with the wife's parents.
  • Neolocal: It is the family that lives in a different place than the husband or wife's parents.
  • Monogamous: Family in which the marriage is made up of a husband and a wife.
  • Polygamy. Family in which the marriage that forms it has two or more husbands or two or more wives or romantic partners.
  • Unipersonal: Made up of a single person, generally they are people who live without the company of other people because they are single, separated, divorced, widowed or the couple does not live with them.
  • Dinks: They are married couples or people who live as a couple without children.
  • Single parent: Family that lives with a single parent, either the mother or the father and with one or more children. Either by widowhood, separation, abandonment, divorce, he never married or the male parent is unaware of his paternity.
  • Extended single parent: Family living with only one parent, children and with grandparents, cousins, uncles or nephews.
  • De facto couples or concubinage: They are people of the same or different sex who have a romantic relationship and who live together but have not contracted marriage.
  • Homosexual or homoparental: Families made up of sentimental couples of the same sex who live together, having or not married. It may be the case that you live with children of one of the members of the couple having conceived them before joining the current relationship, without children or with adopted children.
  • Assembled: Family in which one or both parents have children from a previous relationship and all live in the same property, whether derived from a previous divorce, separation, abandonment or widowhood.
  • Adoptive: When the couple does not have the possibility of having biological children or does not want it and legally adopts a minor individual, who is abandoned by his parents or orphaned.
  • Composed: Derived from a separation or divorce, people due to lack of financial resources or by mutual agreement live with their new partner and the children of the first couple, so that the children live with their parents, with their parents' partners and even with his stepbrothers.

Dysfunctions as an object of study in the sociology of the family

Within the different types of family there are conflicts that concern them and that directly or indirectly affect society itself, among which can be exemplified are:

  • Couple disagreements due to financial problems, lack of understanding due to differences in characters, loss of work, disabling illness, addictions, infidelity, bad relationship with the couple's parents, long working hours that limit coexistence, violent behavior.
  • Fights between family members, due to the generational difference between parents and children.
  • Difficulty in achieving an upbringing according to the needs of the children and at the same time their maintenance.
  • If the children are not biological, there is a loss of identity due to ignorance of their origins and the feeling of abandonment. What puts the family in crisis.
  • When one of the parents has a new partner and the children go through an adaptation process that can be a conflict over loyalty to the biological father or mother. What can trigger disorders such as anxiety, depression, aggression or apathy.
  • Poor handling of grief; derived from the death of a close family member, which can cause, in the children or parents, emotional conflicts that will inevitably affect the whole family.

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