Variations in a Family System for Competitive Exams

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Variations In A Family System: Family Systems (Anthropology)

  • Family is a domestic group in which a couple (parents) and children own or adopted live together.
  • According to Bronislaw Malinowski, Family is the institution through which cultural traditions of society are handed over to new generation.
  • Some societies of the world follow different family norms. These are considered as variations in a family system.
  • Meyer Fortes (1941) studied the Ashanti tribe of Ghana. It was found in this society the husband and wife after marriage live in their respective family of orientation (family in which they were born) . The husband is a visiting husband and his role as a father is for procreation alone. The upbringing of his children lies with the kins of the wife՚s family while he takes cares of his sister՚s children
An Ashanti Family

An Ashanti Family

  • The Nayars of South India and The Garros of the Garo hills of Meghalaya in North East India have a similar system of visiting husband.
  • The Khasis of Meghalaya is a matrilineal society and after marriage the husband comes to live with the wife.
  • In Hopi Society, of Southwest America, another matrilineal society, the man is responsible and retains authority and leadership for his sister՚s son and is not responsible for his children.
Garo Tribe
Hopi Tribe

Garo Tribe Hopi Tribe

  • Bronislaw Malinowski studied the Trobriand Islanders. In the society of Trobriand islanders – a boy grows up in his father՚s family and after marriage when he sets up a house he is expected to live in the village of his mother՚s brother. Herein, the domestic authority lies with the father and the authority of distribution of property lies with the mother՚s brother.
Trobriand Society

The picture shows the Trobriand Society.

  • Likewise, among the Yao and Cewa of Malawi a man immediately after marriage has to live in his wife՚s home and later, he can setup a house at the village of his own matrilineal kin. In such a case, by the time his daughters are of marriageable age he becomes the head of the family to which the daughter՚s husbands come.
  • The ghost marriage as described by Evans – Pritchard in his study of the Nuers՚ Society is also a variation in the family system as it is not found in all societies. There is the practice of a woman usually a barren woman paying bride wea
  • lth and establishing the right to count other women՚s children as her own. In such a case, the barren woman is usually a diviner who thus, attains wealth to pay for bride price. The woman- husband in this case can select a man to co-habitat with her ‘wife’ and produce children who would be than known as her own.
  • Such practices are seen among the Zulus and the Yoruba societies.
  • With changing times, Societies have adopted few changes in the conventional or traditional family system:
    • Single Parent Family Systems is on a rise. Single Parent is referred to the father or mother who takes care of one or more children without the assistance of the other biological parent. In those homes where children are being raised by a parent, majority of children live their biological mothers as opposed to their biological fathers. In such a case the other biological parent mother or father might have died or might have been divorced.
    • Step Family System: In such a family structure, one or both spouses have been previously married and who may have children from a previous marriage. The step- mother or step-father take up the responsibility of the child after the second marriage. Step families, in particular, can face complex issues that a nuclear family may not have faced, like child support, visitation by the other biological parent and economic support. With these complex issues, I mean to say that children could have been better supported if both biological parents were involved in their up-bringing. When will the other biological parent meet the child or will not meet the child constitute the problem of visitation of the other biological parent? Also, economic support to the child is also in question.
    • Same- Sex Family System: With changing times, the modern society in some parts of the world has accepted same sex marriage. In some countries, it has been given legal recognition and the couple can adopt children and take its responsibility. Few countries have legalized same-sex couples raising of children while others have not. Different Parenting studies have shown that children of lesbian couples were shown to have slightly lower rate of behavioral problems and higher rates of self-esteem than children of gay couples.
    • Extended Family Systems: In such a family structure child aren՚t raised by either biological parent. These children may live with grandparents, uncles, or cousins. When a family is structured with people other than a biological mother and father, we call it an extended family structure.

# Variation in Family Systems.

#Family Systems

#Ashati, Neur, Nayar, Garo, Khasis, Trobriand Islanders.

#Single Parent Family, Step Family, Same Sex Family, Extended Family.



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