George Murdock’s Universal Family Theory and Kathleen Gough’s Critique

Category: Marriage, Marxism, Sociology
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 858

George Murdock examined the institution of the family in a wide range of society. Murdock took a sample of 250 societies of different cultures and discovered that there was some form of the nuclear family which existed in every society. Murdock then concluded that the family is universal and provides four function. Sexual(stable relationship for adults), reproduction(continuing to create more society members), economic (pools resources to provide for each other), socialisation (teaches norms and values of society).

Kathleen Gough disagreed with Murdock statement that the family is universal since she investigated a society in India called the Nayar who were an exception to the family. For example sandbanham relationships were not lifelong unions, either party could terminate the relationship at any time, sunbanham husbands had no duty towards the offspring’s of their wives, husband and wives did not form an economic unit. Husbands were not expected to maintain their wives. This society was a matrilineal society. in terms of Murdock definition of the family, no family existed in the nayar society since those who maintained a sexually approved relationship did not live together and cooperate economically.

Another type of family known as the martifocal familles are considered an expection to murdocks defintion of the family as some children are raised in a household that do not contain men and are headed by females. For example a significant proprtion of black familles in the island of the west indies(Guyana).female headed familles are oftern known as the matriarchal family.

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Another type of family which may go against murdock definition of the family is gay and lesbian families.murodck claimed the household will contain “two of both sexes” however lesbian and gay household contain a union from the same gender.

In conclusion although the nuclear family, the ideal type of family from the new rights perspective is found in every society. Not all household consist of this particular family. Therefore the nuclear family in my opinion is not unversal since it is not found in every household.

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George Murdock’s Universal Family Theory and Kathleen Gough’s Critique. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/examine-the-view-that-the-family-is-universal/

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