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A social group that usually consists of a mother, father, and children living together. Rights and obligations with regard to other family members.


o When a family teaches a child how to be in their culture from infancy


A type of small agricultural commune in present-day Isreal, where children are not raised by their parents (they are raised by specialists)


A family that is composed of a man, a woman, or just partners and their children. So it is a two generation family.

nuclear family

A family that includes a third generation.

extended family

When siblings, their husbands and wives and their children live together, also in societies where polygamy is accepted

joint family

Someone's brothers and sisters



conjugal relationship

Having one spouse


having many spouses


When a husband has more then one wife


When a wife has more than one husband


When a newly married couple sets up their own house, apart form either set of in-laws


If a newly wedded couple lives at the groom's father's house


If a newly wedded couple lived with the bride's family


A family where the woman (or the woman's family) has the final say


When the men of the family are clearly dominant


When decision making is fairly equal in families


The pattern in which people are considered related to each other

kinship system

Everyone in the parents generation are considered like parents

generational system

When there is someone else (like a godparent) in a child's life outside of the rules of blood relationships

ritual co-parenthood

Large unilineal kinship groups that believe they have a common ancestor in the remote past.


social (marriage, nonrelated, godparents, in-laws, friendship, step-siblings) relationships

affinal relationships

When children are a part of both parent's families

bilineal descent

People belonging to a family or one or the other parent

unilineal descent

When someone only belongs to the mother

matrilineal descent

When someone only belongs to a father

patrilineal descent

A custom or law that permits marriage only among people with the same social or religious group


The rule requiring that marriages be to a person outside of the family or social group


A basic restriction that forbids people too closely related by blood to get married

incest taboo

Signifies that a couple is expected to marry


A rigid status that is an extreme case of social status or class endogamy


When a man pays a girls family for taking her from them

bride price

Something that is brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage


Dutiful obedience on the part of children to parents

filial loyalty

A custom that requires a man to marry his brother's widow and assume responsibility for his children


Requires that should a man's wife die, he must marry her unmarried sister


A marriage/ match making system


A break up in a marriage


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