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Sociology of Marriage and the Family

Sociology of the family examines the family as an institution and a unit of socialization through various sociological perspectives.

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.

The family contributes 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.

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. Romantic love is the common basis for marriages and dating relationships, but it is much less common in several contemporary nations.

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Editor dr. Albert Benschop
Social & Behavioral Studies
University of Amsterdam
Created August, 1996
Last modified 26th February, 2018