The family is the primary and most basic unit of a society and serves several roles and functions. There exists a wide range of diversity in the composition, values, and typology of families throughout the world. This entry provides a general overview of families and family life, including ways of defining a family, ways of viewing the family, and the diversity that exists across families.

What is a Family?

Although virtually everyone can name the members of his or her family, establishing a universal definition of what a family consists of is much more difficult. Evidence of this difficulty is noticeable in the number of ways that people define families. This entry follows the lead of scholars in the field of family studies, who have defined families ...

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