Family: Definitions Introduction Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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  • “Biological social unit composed of husband, wife and children.” – Elliot and Merrill
  • “Family is a group of persons united by. Ties of marriage, blood or adoption constituting a single household interacting with each. other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, brother and. sister creating a common culture.” - Burgess and Locke
  • “Family is more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without child, or of a man or woman alone, with children.” – Ogburn and Nimkoff


  • Universal Human Grouping – G. P. Murdock
  • Outstanding Primary group
  • Basic, elementary form of society
  • Links individual to larger social structure
  • Socialization
  • Social institution and social system
  • Meeting societal needs
  • Norms, values, household, relationships


  • Universal
  • Members have a responsibility
  • Economic provision
  • Social regulation
  • Mating relationship or procreation
  • A form of marriage
  • Common residence
  • Nomenclature
  • Mate selection


  • Nuclear family
  • Joint family
  • Extended family
  • Matriarchal family
  • Patriarchal family


  • According to K. Davis,
    • Reproduction
    • Maintenance
    • Placement
    • Socialisation
  • According to Ogburn and Nimkoff,
    • Essential and non-essential functions
  • Economic
  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Recreational
  • Procreation
  • Home
  • Rearing of children
  • Cultural transmission
  • Affection
  • Ascribed status


Q. 1. Which of these are the institutional functions of the family, according to Ogburn?

i. Educational

ii. Economic

iii. Protective

iv. Recreational

v. All of these

Ans: v

Q. 2. Which of the following is NOT a feature of the joint family system?

(i) Family size is very large

(ii) each unit of the family has its own head

(iii) head of the family commands high respect

(iv) all the members have common kitchen

Ans: (ii)

Q. 3. Who out of the following is the writer of these lines?

“It does not matter whether marital relations are permanent or temporary whether there is polygamy or polyandry or sexual license, whether conditions are complicated by the additions of members not included in our family circle; the one fact stands out beyond all other that everywhere the husband, wife and immature children constitute a unit apart from the reminder of the community.” These words explain the universality of a family.

(a) Ogburn

(b) Lowie

(c) Murdock

(d) Maclver and Page

Ans. b

#Sociological Concepts

#Social Institutions




0: 00 Family

0: 21 Definitions of Family

0: 29 Introduction of Family

3: 10 Characteristics of Family

5: 11 Forms of Family

5: 52 Functions of Family

8: 07 MCQ about Family

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