family and househols

Families and households



George peter Murdock: the family a universal social institution

notes from haralambos sixth eddition


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Sociology Mariya Kothanikkal
Families and households
George peter Murdock: the family a universal social institution
Study off entitled social structure (1949), Murdock examined the institution of the family in a
wide range of society. He took a sample of 250 societies ranging from small hunting and
gathering bands to large scale industrial societies. He claimed some from of family existed in
every where and his evidence from sample that the family is universal.
The family lives together and share its recourses and work together and produce offspring,
two of the members have sexual relationship according to the row of their society.
Variation in family structure
The smallest family unit is known as the nuclear family there will be a father and mother and
two children. Larger than nuclear families are called extended family like family can be seen
as extension of the basic nuclear family is called vertical ­extension. The third generation
living together is called horizontal extension like the spouses, such as the husband's brother
or an additional wife.
Murdock found that the nuclear family was presented in every society either on its own or in
the basic unit within an extended family.
Kathleen Gough The Nayar
Different from Britain that the some societies set of relationship between the kin. One of the
societies was that the Nayar of the Kerala in south India .sociologist disagree about the fact
that these societies have a family system, which claims to disprove Murdock's claim the
family is universal.
Gough (1959) description of Nayar societies says that the in Nayar societies the girls were
ritually married to suitable Nayar man in the tali rite before reaching the puberty. But they
didn't have to live with their tali husband but they had to go and their tali husband when they
died and participate in his funeral to mourn his death.
Once the girl reached herb puberty she will expect numbers of visiting husbands. The Nayar
Men usually a professional warrior and they spend most of their time outside the village.
During their time in the village they are allowed to visit any Nayar women in the village or the
same caste or the lower caste women. With the agreement with the women he will arrive at
her house after her supper, had sexual intercourse with her and left the next morning before
the breakfast. During his visit he should leave his weapons outside the house where the
veranda is. If he is too late then they were free to sleep in the veranda .the men could have
number of sandbanham wives.
An exception to the family

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Sandbanham relationship marriages are different from other societies in number of ways:
1) It is not a life long commitment and the party could terminate the relation ship at any
2) Sandbanham husband had no responsibility towards the offspring of their wives.…read more


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