The ties (Mitchell, 2012). The ideal “popular” definition

The meaning of family over decades has changed
drastically. In
today’s society, “the family” deviates from the prototypical normative Canadian
family. There are variations in families that now exist, some containing
non-hetero-normative couples, single parenting, co-parenting with no legal arrangements,
as well as cohabitating. What constitutes a family has gradually become
complex, slowly changing as modifications occur over time. The way one family
views their family may differ from their friends’, coworkers, etc. Moreover,
the definition of family is reconstructed and altered based on, or specific to,
the individual or society. The family is a social system that governs an
individual’s life by the closeness and relationship maintained. Different
dynamics are considered when conceptualizing “the family” and how today’s
society defines what it is, and how the normative family is done. This paper
examines how families in the new millennium are defined through research and
theoretical perspectives.

“The
family” is a hotly debated topic to many living in today’s society. It can be a
complex topic with a wide range of definitions, varying from family to family.

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According to Sociologists centuries ago, a family was made of up a group of
people with close intimate relations; be it by blood, sexual encounters, or
legal ties (Mitchell, 2012). The ideal “popular” definition of a family was
that of a nuclear family, consisting of a husband, wife, and usually children
sharing a house with no other entities present. However, that ideology has
shifted into the new millennium with variations in families present. Mitchell
describes families as “a group of people who have intimate or close social
relationships and a shared history together” (Mitchell, 2012). There is
emphasis on relationships and not composition. Back in the early nineteen
hundreds, the definition of families were primarily focused on familial ties by
blood, however, that notion has changed and is now concerned with the
relationships. The new millennium considers contemporary definitions and believes
in the relationships created too. Nowadays, sociologists believe families can
be created through activities, behaviors, relations, interactions,
accomplishments, processes, and practices. For instance, David Morgan believes
in family practices through interactions
and exchanges of support that make up family life (Morgan, 1996, 2011).

Families of choice are people whom you feel comfortable and closely related to,
for instance friends. Friends are considered fictive kin because though they
are not related through blood, they are close enough to be considered family.

The definition of family can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a family
of orientation, a family or procreation, fictive kin, or all simultaneously
(Mitchell, 2012). Whether it is a group of people whom you have blood relations
to, or simply just a tight-knit group of people whom you feel closeness to. The
new millennium has brought about variations of the definition of family,
however, the term can be specific to individuals. Some people may consider
their pet’s family, whereas others may completely deny that as being a member
of the family.

The typical
definition of family has changed as the years progressed. The Standard North
American family is a great type of family to study in today’s society because
of its transformations throughout the years.  It used to be the ideal example of the American dream, with
the knowledgeable husband, nurturing housewife, and children. The husband was
the breadwinner in charge of bringing home the income, whereas the mother took
care of the domestic chores and nurtured the children. However, in today’s
society, variations in families occur, some containing lone parent households
and others with same-sex couples. Families centuries ago had ascribed familial
roles, whereas today, both adults share roles and responsibilities within the
home. Both adults are dual income parents and share domestic chores, like
cooking, cleaning and nurturing the children. Families are more socially
egalitarian than it was centuries ago. Studying why and how the families have
transformed would make a great research paper. Investigating when the tradition
has been broken, and how the new definition of “the family” has been coined.

Questions unpacking the structure and evolution of the Standard North American
Family, and how it has become atypical overtime is best for analyzing this
family type. Most people’s definitions of what constitutes a family has shifted
from being strictly blood related, to now including fictive kin which shall be
depicted how that has come about. Two-parent households are declining with
divorce, remarriage, and cohabitation increasing. Marriage and fertility rates
are dropping as adults are conceiving out of wedlock or delaying children to
enter the workforce. Primary questions to be focused on are how the
transformation in family and family dynamics have changed over centuries.

 

            Theoretical perspectives are a set
of assumptions formed about questions asked. It is viewed as looking through
lens which we hope to depict results from. The theoretical perspective I chose
to be used on nuclear families is the feminist perspective. The feminist
perspective is one of the sociological perspectives widely known and used in
today’s society. A majority of feminists believe “gender” is socially
constructed, meaning that gender roles assigned have been learnt through
society and not biologically determined. They believe the family is where
socialization first develops, it being the basis of where appropriate roles and
behaviors come to be. Theoretical perspectives are significant to research
because they provide insight into our thoughts and ideas, clarifying them to a
more specific degree. They help formulate questions, design research, and
analyze results. Feminists have been central to dismantling the inequality and
insuperiority within nuclear families since the 1960s (Mitchell, 2012). Men
have always been viewed as powerful and more dominant, however, feminists have
challenged these views. The women back in the nineteenth century have been
responsible for domestic chores within the house, and nurturing children.

However, with the help of feminists, women are now seen as a bit more equal to
men. Not entirely, but a change has been made. Today’s society is now a lot more
egalitarian than it used to be.