Ist die Kernfamilie universal? / The nuclear family. Is it universal?

Rolf Eickelpasch
1974 Zeitschrift für Soziologie  
AbstractThe widely accepted hypothesis of the universality of the nuclear family in human cultures owes its popularity above all to the work of G.P. MURDOCK. Subjected to the test of a crosscultural, structural analysis of a selected number of societies the thesis is proved untenable.The nuclear family turns out to be neither a universal nor a prerequisite. This constellation is but one of a number of possible combinations of elementary dyadic relationship clustered around the fundamental
more » ... e fundamental mother-child unit.The pattern in which this latter relationship is compounded with the dyads spouse-spouse, father-child and sibling-sibling into more complex structures varies from society to society and is subject to specific economic and historical developments. A formalized definition of the family as "the group consisting of a man and his wife together with their unmarried, dependent children" contributes neither to an explanation of the concrete sociocultural context in which such a structure exists nor of the nature of the relationships, which such a structure imposes on the persons involved.
doi:10.1515/zfsoz-1974-0401 fatcat:s2xim2pmprcxfhxbltsawkaudy