ERIC Number: ED151287
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Sep-23
Reference Count: 0
Future of the American Family: A Comparative Analysis of Public Policy Research Definitions of the Family.
This paper presents a review of commonly used family models which illustrate the wide range of differences in definition of the American family. Its purpose is to help assure that national family policy is based on a definition of family made in the broadest possible context. The major part of the paper discusses five commonly used models. The legalistic model is that which is set out by law. Although family law varies from state to state, it is commonly held to mean a group consisting of married heterosexuals and their children. The structural model comes from definitions and variables used by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here, family is defined as two or more persons residing together who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The normative or moral model is based on the rightness of biological links, legal recognition, and a patriarchal hierarchy within the family (nuclear family). The social tasks required of a family, i.e. reproduction, protection, socialization, and control, define the family in the functional model. The social psychological model is based on the interaction among people who live in the same residence and/or have frequent contact. The last part of the paper offers a new and broader definition of the family: "a group of people who are bound by their common work efforts, from which their common consumption derives." This definition allows for a wide variation in family forms. (Author/JK)
Descriptors: Definitions, Extended Family, Family Characteristics, Family Life, Family Problems, Family Programs, Family Relationship, Family Role, Family (Sociological Unit), Family Structure, Fatherless Family, Federal Programs, Futures (of Society), Life Style, Marriage, Models, Nuclear Family, One Parent Family, Political Issues, Public Policy, Social Systems, Social Values
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wakefield Washington Associates, Inc., Washington, DC.