HIST*2800 History of the Modern Family
Victoria Steele: 0707097
The history of intimacy and more specifically the subject of family has raised a long debate
on its definition, composition, formation, ideals and other rising issues overtime. Example
traditionally the family was defined as a group of people related in blood, marriage or adoption living
together. It was considered as the unit of the society and in extension the economic unit upon which
whole economies are built on (Emilio and Estelle 200).
Over time and generations this definition has evolved to fit the modern lifestyles and societal
expectation. The evolved definitions attempt to resolve the building complexities that surround
matters defining the existence of the institution. Example of a modern definition states; family as a
relationship in which people live together with commitment, form an economic unit and care for any
young and consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group (Emilio and Estelle 371).
There are various perspectives on family that have been developed to outline the definition of
the role of a family unit in the larger society. Main categories of the theories include; Functionality
theories, conflict theories, feminist perspective and symbolic interactionism (Emilio and Estelle 165).
Functionalism theories focus on the family as a crucial institution in maintaining the stability
of the society. They relate the structure of the family with the above stated roles. And further indicate
that changes in the family structures have broader implications on societal equilibrium. This concept
favours the traditional family of husband as the breadwinner and wife as homemaker (Emilio and
Estelle 200). The family functions are articulated to include; reproduction, regulation of sexual
behaviour, socialization, social placement, protection, affection and companionship. Conflict theories
emphasize on the social placement function of the f