Sociology: social activity. It is a social unit


Sociology is the
scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture

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The family is generally regarded as a major social
institution and a locus of much of a person’s social activity. It is a social
unit created by blood, marriage, or adoption, and can be described as nuclear
(parents and children) or extended (encompassing other relatives)


Is a group of social positions connected by social relations, performing
a social role

Social institutions are a system of behavioral and
relationship patterns that are densely interwoven and enduring, and function
across an entire society. They order and structure the behavior of individuals
by means of their normative character.

term “institution” commonly applies to both informal institutions
such as customs, or behavior patterns important to a society, and to particular formal
institutions created by entities such as the government and public services.
Primary or meta-institutions are institutions such as the family that are broad enough to encompass other institutions

Major Social Institution:

v The

v Education

v Religion

v Economic

v Government
as a Social Institution

v Economy

v Language and Media.




The concept of family is
one with which almost every individual can identify.

v  A Family is a social group characterized by
common residence economic cooperation and reproduction.

Family is a micro unit of social system

Family is an institute of social system

Family is a key of social system

An institution is a part of social system


The Family
is a Universal Institution:

family as the foundation of society it forms the basic unit of social
organization and it hard to imagine how society could function without the
family. The family is considered a good thing for individuals and

I think that the family is a universal institution, because the family can have
many different structures for different cultures and societies, which all meet
the family functions in different ways

In functionalist
thought, the family is a particularly important institution as this is the
‘basic building block’ of society which performs the crucial functions of socializing
the young and meeting the emotional needs of its members. Stable families
underpin social order and economic stability.

Functionalists focus on the positive functions of the nuclear
family, such as secondary socialization and the stabilization of adult personalities.


The family performs several essential functions for society. It
socializes children, it provides emotional and practical support for its
members, it helps regulate sexual activity and sexual reproduction, and it
provides its members with a social identity.

Family problems stem from sudden or far-reaching changes in the
family’s structure or processes; these problems threaten the family’s stability
and weaken society.

According to functionalism, society is a system of interconnected parts
that work together in harmony to maintain a state of balance and social
equilibrium for the whole.  

For example, each of the social institutions contributes important
functions for society: Family provides a context for reproducing, nurturing,
and socializing children; education offers a way to transmit a society’s
skills, knowledge, and culture to its youth;



Family and Conflict

v Conflict theory is a tool used in identifying
family issues in order to find ways to fix them

v Conflict theorists agree
that the family serves the important functions just listed, but they also point
to problems within the family that the functional perspective minimizes or
overlooks altogether.

v First, the family as a social institution
contributes to social inequality. Because families pass along their wealth to
their children, and because families differ greatly in the amount of wealth
they have, the family helps reinforce existing inequality.

v As it developed
through the centuries, and especially during industrialization, the family also
became more and more of a patriarchal unit (since men made money working in
factories while women stayed home), helping to reinforce men’s status at the
top of the social hierarchy.


v Second, the family can also be a source of conflict
for its own members. Although the functional perspective assumes the family
provides its members emotional comfort and support, many families do just the
opposite and are far from the harmonious, happy groups   Instead,

They argue, shout, and
use emotional cruelty and physical violence.


v  The conflict
perspective emphasizes that many of the problems we see in today’s families’
stem from economic inequality and from patriarchy. The problems that many
families experience reflect the fact that they live in poverty or near poverty.
Money does not always bring happiness, but a dire lack of money produces stress
and other difficulties that impair a family’s functioning and relationships.





v Symbolic interactionism
emphasizes that human behavior is influenced by definitions and meanings that
are created and maintained through symbolic interaction with others.

v The symbolic
perspective arises when:
Human beings have the capacity to create symbols with different meanings associated with each. 

Symbols are used as means communication and 

Thereby become part of our language.                                                   
Even the buildings, dress, the flag, and a type                         of color may be taken as symbols indicating some aspect of

Human behavior as well as society’s outlook.

v These based on the development that takes place in that instituition
with the passage of time.

Symbolic interactionism also suggests that our
identity or sense of self is shaped by social interaction. We develop our
self-concept by observing how others interact with us a label us.


Types of family:

Joint family:

two or more nuclear families live together under a common shelter, and share a
common hearth, and a common purse, then this type of family is known as joint

Nuclear Family:

nuclear family is the traditional type of family structure. This family type
consists of two parents and children. The nuclear family was long held in
esteem by society as being the ideal in which to raise children. 

Single Parent Family:

The single parent family consists of one parent raising one or more
children on his own.

A single parent family is a mother with her
children, although there are single fathers as well.

The single parent
family is the biggest change society has seen in terms of the changes in family
structures. One in four children is born to a
single mother.

parent families are generally close and find ways to work together to solve
problems, such as dividing up household. When only one parent is at home, it
may be a struggle to find childcare, as there is only one parent working.

limits income and opportunities in many cases, although many single parent
families have help from relatives and friends.

Childless Family

While most people think of family as including children, there are couples who
either cannot or choose not to have children. Childless families consist of a
husband and wife living and working together.

Blended family:

The term blended family or stepfamily describes
families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children
of the former family into the new family. Traditional family refers
to “a middle-class family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home
mother, married to each other and raising their biological children

In terms of communication patterns in families, there are a
certain set of beliefs within the family that reflect how its members should
communicate and interact. These family communication patterns arise from two
underlying sets of beliefs

Monogamous family:

A monogamous family is based on a legal or social monogamy. In this case, an individual has
only one (official) partner during their lifetime or at any one time

 (I.e. serial monogamy) This means that a person
may not have several different legal spouses at the same time, as this is
usually prohibited by bigamy laws,
in jurisdictions that require monogamous marriages.

Polygamous family

Ø   Polygamy is a marriage that includes more than
two partners. When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the
relationship is called polygyny; and when a woman is married to more than one
husband at a time, it is called polyandry. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and
wives, it can be called polyamory group or conjoint marriage.



Families, friends and relationships can be affected by a
wide range of issues including domestic violence, abuse, isolation, mental
illness, caring responsibilities and family breakdown. Poverty is the root
cause of many issues within families and relationships as it can lead to
increased financial and emotional pressure.

The title ‘Families,
Relationships and Societies’ encompasses the fluidity, complexity
and diversity of contemporary social and personal relationships and their need
to be understood in the context of different societies and cultures. 

 Bringing together a range of social science
perspectives, with a strong policy and practice focus, it is also strongly
informed by sociological theory and the latest methodological approaches



Means relatedness or connection by blood or marriage

1 relationship provide love protection & guide

2 help to build your confidence & self esteem

3 provide a sense of belonging and independence


§  The
primary function of the family is to ensure
the continuation of society, both biologically through procreation,
and socially through socialization. Given these functions, the nature of
one’s role in the family changes over time.

§  Social
interactionist understandings of the family emphasize how family members
interact on a daily basis. In this regard, several studies find that husbands
and wives communicate differently in certain ways that sometimes impede
effective communication


 The family performs several essential functions
for society. It socializes children, it provides emotional and practical
support for its members, it helps regulate sexual activity and sexual
reproduction, and it provides its members with a social identity. In addition,
sudden or far-reaching changes in the family’s structure or processes threaten
its stability and weaken society.

The conflict that arises is the family contribution to
social inequality by reinforcing economic inequality and by reinforcing patriarchy.
The family can also be a source of conflict, including physical violence and
emotional cruelty, for its own members.


 Is the interaction of family members and intimate couples involves
shared understandings of their situations. Wives and husbands have different
styles of communication, and social class affects the expectations that spouses
have of their marriages and of each other. 

The Functionalist Perspective:

The functionalist perspective of gender roles
suggests that gender roles exist to maximize social efficiency.

§  Women play variety of
significant roles in our society from their birth till the end of life. Even
after playing her all the roles and all the job timely in efficient manner in
the modern society, she is weak because men are still strongest gender of the
society. Even after lots of awareness programs, rules and regulations in the
society by the government, her life is more complicated than a man. She has to
take care of herself and family members as daughter, granddaughter, sister,
daughter-in-law, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, etc. By following
such a big responsibility in the family, they are fully able to come out and do
job for bright future of own, family and country.


§  Women are not things which
can be neglected because of their less power and authority instead they should
be empowered and promoted to get higher education. Women are the half
population of the world mean half power of the world. If women of any country
are not empowered mean that country is lack of half power. By nature, women
play their all the roles with great responsibilities and have capability to
make a healthy family, solid society and powerful country.

§  The
functionalist perspective of gender roles suggests that gender roles exist to
maximize social efficiency


§  Complex system
whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. This approach
looks at society through a macro-level orientation, which is a broad focus on
the social structures that shape society as a whole, and looks at both social
structure and social functions

§  Women take care
of the home while men provide for the family. Thus gender, like other social
institutions, contributes to the stability of society as a whole

The Conflict

Conflict theory suggests that men, as the
dominant gender, subordinate women in order to maintain power and privilege in

§  In most
cultures, men have historically held most of the world’s resources. Until
relatively recently, women in Western cultures could not vote or hold property,
making them entirely dependent on men. Men, like any other group with a power
or wealth advantage, fought to maintain their control over resources (in this
case, political and economic power). Conflict between the two groups caused
things like the Women’s Suffrage Movement and was responsible for social

§  Therefore, men
can be seen as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. While
certain gender roles may have been appropriate in a hunter-gatherer society,
conflict theorists argue that the only reason these roles persist is because
the dominant group naturally works to maintain their power and status.

§  when
women become wage earners, they gain power in the family structure and create
more democratic arrangements in the home, although they may still carry the
majority of the domestic burden.

§  According to
conflict theory, social problems are created when dominant groups exploit or
oppress subordinate groups. Therefore, their approach is normative in that it
prescribes changes to the power structure, advocating a balance of power
between genders.

The Interactionist Perspective:

§  From
a symbolic interactionist perspective, gender is produced and reinforced
through daily interactions and the use of symbols.

§  According
to interactionist, gender stratification exists because people act toward each
other on the basis of the meanings they have for one another.

§  Symbolic
interactionism aims to understand human behavior by analyzing the critical role
of symbols in human interaction.

§  For example, that you walk into a bank, hoping to get a
small loan for school, a home, or a small business venture. If you meet with a
male loan officer, you might state your case logically, listing all of the hard
numbers that make you a qualified applicant for the loan. This type of approach
would appeal to the analytical characteristics typically associated with
masculinity. If you meet with a female loan officer, on the other hand, you
might make an emotional appeal, by stating your positive social intentions.
This type of approach would appeal to the sensitive and relational
characteristics typically associated with femininity.

Effects of urbanization and Industrialization:

 Industrialization leads
to urbanization by creating economic growth and job
opportunities that draw people to cities. The urbanization process
typically begins when a factory or multiple factories are established within a
region, thus creating a high demand for factory labor.

o  industrialization refers to the shift form an agricultural
economy to one that is based on factory production. Industrialization was
considered as a factor that transformed British society in many respects.

o   Industrialization
and urbanization have dramatically changed the shape of families, including the
gender roles.


§  Functionalism:It transforms societal organizations, the role of the family,
demographic structures, the nature of work, and the way we choose to live and
with whom. It also modifies domestic roles and relations within the family, and
redefines concepts of individual and social responsibility.

§  As a result, families become smaller
relatively quickly, not only because parents have fewer children on average,
but also because the extended family typical of rural settings is much less
common in urban areas. Children are clearly less useful in urban settlements,
as units of labor and producers, than in rural settings, and are more expensive
to house and feed. In fact, fertility levels in developed countries have dropped
so low that cities are seldom capable of reproducing their own

§  According to Parsons after
industrialisation the family became nuclear, it had become structurally
isolated from wider family and they had no binding obligation the their wider
kinship, also due to the change in structure and demands of the family the
industrial nuclear family has lost some of its functions to other institutions
such as school and health services.

systems of Pakistan

Joint faimly helps children to understand and
value different relationships respecting each and keeping the feeling of
togetherness alive and such an environment makes them learn adaptability and
adjustment. The presence of cousin brothers and sisters and other family member
improve their capacities to share with one another.

In joint family every body give his opinion
and decision comes to deciding the children future. a joint family contributes
greatly towards raising children if only the members share a good understanding
of adjustment and enough space is given to the parents to decide for their

The family is better
than nuclear family due to the above advantages.


today’s traditional nuclear families, it is common to have dual incomes. Both parents
work to provide financial stability

Ø Supportive in problems

Ø Mutual adjustment

Ø Festival enjoyments

Ø Helps to better study of the children

Ø Understanding during marriages

Ø Minimum subsistence of the living

Disciplines in a family

Spirit of oneness


Ø Misbehavior in the partners

Ø Exploitation of member

Ø Parents, grandparents and children will miss out on a
close relationship

Ø Money value among members

Ø Burden in the joint family

Ø Inferiority complex