In the context of human society, a family is a group of people affiliated either by consanguinity by recognized birth., affinity by marriage or other relationship, or co-residence (as implied by the etymology of the English word “family” from Latin familia ‘family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household,’ thus also ‘members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants,’ abstract noun formed from famulus ‘servant, slave or some combination of these.Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. Members of the extended family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual’s specific relationship with them.
In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children. As the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists generally classify most family organizations as matrifocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a wife, her husband, and children, also called the nuclear family); avuncular (for example, a grandparent, a brother, his sister, and her children); or extended (parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent’s family). Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo.
The word “family” can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, nationhood, global village, and humanism.
The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history.
The family is also an important economic unit studied in family economics.
One of the primary functions of the family involves providing a framework for the production and reproduction of persons biologically and socially. This can occur through the sharing of material substances (such as food); the giving and receiving of care and nurture (nurture kinship); jural rights and obligations; and moral and sentimental ties.Thus, one’s experience of one’s family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is a “family of orientation”: the family serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a “family of procreation”, the goal of which is to produce and enculturate and socialize children.However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, it is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.