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Family

  • By: Gill Gillespie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

There are differences and debates about definitions of the family, which vary with time, context, and geography. Theorists do not always agree on a common definition. The traditional or nuclear family is widely used to describe a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit. A family may, however, be described as a group of people related by blood or marriage and even one that comprises all the descendants of a common ancestor. It is therefore necessary to identify relevant contexts when reviewing what the family is perceived to be, as this differs greatly worldwide. It is also important to examine definitions, as these affect people's lives and the choices they make and that are made for them. The study ...

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