Nuclear Family

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Can a particular group be found in all domestic settings? Many anthropologists believe there is such a group, and refer to it as the nuclear family: husband, wife, and children. Ralph Linton held the view that father, mother, child are the "bedrock underlying all other family structures", and he predicted that "the last man will spend his last hours searching for his wife and child" (1959). George Peter Murdock found the nuclear family in each of 250 societies. He concluded that it was universal. According to Murdock (1949), the nuclear family fulfills vital functions that cannot be carried out as efficiently by other groups. The functions identified by Murdock are sex, reproduction, education, and subsistence. The nuclear family is essential for enculturation. Only the coresident adult man and woman possess knowledge adequate for the enculturation of the children of both sexes.