The Important Role of Family and Kin

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Family and Kin The use of the term family has many different interpretations depending on the person who is using the word. When some persons discuss family they are referencing individuals who are linked by blood ties and or marriage. Blood ties are understood as persons who have immediate identifiable genetic links. These links are close and reference parents, siblings and other close relations. Marriage involves social and political exchanges that allow parties who are not linked by blood to operate as though they are. This entire arrangement of blood links and marital ties are kinship systems (Burton & Stack 1992). Kinship systems are at times very complex to understand and explain. Family and kin form the basic unit around which societies are organized. People live in families and the members of the family may vary greatly. The family that we are born into is considered our family of origin. The family of origin is important because it is in this family that we begin to understand ourselves and the world by extension. The family of origin is a powerful agent of socialization of the individual. Family of origin may take on many different forms. The family of origin may be a traditional family. The traditional family is often a nuclear family. In the nuclear family, parents live with their immediate children. Other individuals have extended families. Extended families consist of persons who are related by blood. The gender composition of nuclear families is constantly
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