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Chapter 3, Exploring the Family
Key Terms
Family Ecology Perspective
Explores how a family influences and is
influenced by the environments that surround
natural physical-biological environment
The unaltered natural world: climate, soil,
plants, animals, etc.
human-built environment
The environment that develops when nature is
altered by human action.
social-cultural environment
Entirely a human creation, consists of cultural
values, cultural products like language and law,
and social and economic systems.
family policy
All the procedures, regulations, attitudes, and
goals of government that affect families.
Family Development Perspective
Emphasizes the family itself as its unit of
analysis, based on the idea that the family
changes in predictable ways over time.
Structure-Functional Perspective
Sees the family as a social institution that
performs certain essential functions for society.
social institutions
Patterned and predictable ways of thinking and
behaving-beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms.
Sexually exclusive union of one woman and
one man.
Non exclusive union with multiple partners.
One man with multiple wives.
Multiple husbands for one wife.
vertically extended family
Family members from three or more
horizontally extended family
Family members from the same generation or
other related lines such as uncles, brothers,
sisters, and aunts.
cross-cultural researchers
Researchers who compare cultures around the
individualistic societies
Societies where the main concern is with one’s
own interests and those of one’s immediate
collectivist society
Society where people identify with and conform
to the expectations of their relatives or clan.
interactionist perspective
Looks within families at internal family
The basic feelings people have about
themselves, their abilities, and their worth.
A sense of inner sameness developed by
individuals throughout their lives.
Exchange Theory
Focuses on how individual’s various personal
resources affect their formation of and
continuation of relationships and their relative
positions in families and groups.
Family Systems Theory
The family is a whole that is more than the sum
of the parts.
feminist perspective
Central focus is on gender issues and how
male dominance in family and society is
oppressive to women.
conflict perspective
Calls attention to unequal power within groups
or larger societies.
biosocial perspective
Argues that human’s evolutionary biology
affects much of human behavior and many
family-related behaviors.
inclusive fitness
Survival of one’s genes.
agreement reality
What members of a society agree to be true.
The tendency to see heterosexual or straight
families as the standards.
cultural equivalent approach
Emphasizes the features that minority families
have in common with mainstream white
cultural deviant approach
Views the qualities that distinguish minority
families from mainstream families as negative
or pathological.
cultural variant approach
Calls for making culturally and contextually
relevant interpretations of minority family lives.
kin scripts framework
Includes three culturally relevant family
concepts: kin-work, kin-time, and kin-scription.
naturalistic observation
Researcher lives with a family or social group
and spends extensive time carefully recording
their activities, conversations, gestures and
other aspects of everyday life.
case studies
Compilations by psychologists, psychiatrists,
marriage counselors, and social workers who
counsel people with marital and family
longitudinal studies
Studies that provide long-term information
about individuals or groups, as research
conducts follow up investigations for several
years after the study.