definition of family

It is an emotional and / or blood bond between at least two people, whose recognition evolves in the legal and socio-cultural field according to a dynamic of plurality of options, while religion presses to maintain the traditional precepts governed by the bond declared before God between the man and woman, and the projection of their descendants. Family comes from the Latin "famulus", translated as servant or even understood as slave as a clear message of possession of the owner of the home. An origin that describes the "pater familia" as a king, a man at the head, who must be served, exposing a sharp inequality with reminders even in current times.

How is the family formed?

Sociologists study the different social structures and one of the most relevant forms of social organization is the family, which is sometimes defined as the basic cell of the whole of society. What we finally are as individuals depends on many factors: our genetic programming, the social environment and between one and the other would be the family. The family as an institution fulfills different functions: it has a formative and educational nature and, at the same time, is oriented towards mutual help among its members.

As individuals we are born into a family and over time we create a new family structure. This means that it would be very difficult to understand humans outside of their family relationships.

Different models of family union

Sociology addresses the issue of the family by analyzing the degrees of kinship between the members that make it up. Thus, there is the nuclear family, which includes parents and children. We can also talk about all the members of a family nucleus (uncles, cousins, grandparents ...).

Understand the Single Parent Family

The term single-parent family has recently been coined, which is one in which the children live with one of their parents. Let us not forget, on the other hand, that in recent years new concepts of family have been appearing based on models of coexistence different from the traditional ones (de facto unions with or without children, merger of two families from a previous divorce, unions between people of the same sex, etc.) In any case, the concept of family is not uniform and depends on each culture and tradition.

Evolution of the postulate at the religious, social and cultural level

The concept of family has changed over time. In Roman civilization there was the figure of the pater families or father of the family, who financially supported his wife and children and was the most responsible from a legal and social point of view. This concept has had historical consequences of the first order, particularly the conception of the patriarchal family (the figure of the father is key to understanding the social role of each of the members of the group).

It could be affirmed that the vision of the Romans on the family has conditioned its later historical development. In fact, when we think of the concept of family, we automatically associate it with a shared residence, a relationship, an institutional union (civil or religious marriage), domestic relationships and an affective element. This general idea is not exclusive to the Western world, since in the East there is also a patriarchal structure and the father is the true "head" of the family nucleus.

The affective component

A family nucleus is, in short, a set of affective, economic and social ties. Kinship ties represent a formal aspect of the family, that is, they are a way of understanding and structuring it with a certain order. However, the essential aspect of any family is the emotional relationship between its members (the role of a biological father may not be accompanied by a feeling of love and, on the contrary, a stepfather can be considered as a true father).

Other families

Sometimes the term family is not associated with any consanguinity bond or a form of coexistence in the home. In fact, we say that co-workers make a big family or we consider a pet as one more member of the family. If I say, for example, that my friends are part of my family, I am expressing a strong sense of belonging between my friends and myself.

Family and language

In ordinary communication we use many ideas and expressions that refer to the family. If a child belongs to a family with few emotional ties or with obvious social and economic problems, it is said that it comes from an unstructured family. The proverb incorporates all kinds of references (from the family and the sun, the further away the better, from singing parents, goldfinch children, or laundry is washed at home). In many parts of the world the concept of "being of a good family" is used, which implies that someone is part of a well-off family.

Finally, it is worth remembering that language acquisition can only be understood as a learning process within the family.

Photos: iStock - visual / svetikd

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