Man is a social animal and he prefers to stay in groups. ‘A group of parents, children and servants, etc., is termed in Latin as ‘FAMULUS’, meaning Family . Family is the basic unit of every society.

When so many families like together at a place or locality, it constitutes a traditions. But all the families may have some common traits and they represent a particular society. Various sociologists have defined family in different ways:


“A family is a group of persons united by the ties of marriage, blood or adoption, constituting a single household, interacting, and intercommunicating with each other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, son and daughter, brother and sister and creating and maintaining a common culture”.



“The family is a group defined by a sex relationship sufficiently precise and ensuring to provide for the procreation and upbringing of children.” – MACIVER, R.M. and PAGE, C.H.

“Family is a group of persons who live under the same roof and are connected by nuclear and kinship ties and own a consciousness of kind on the basis of locality, interest and mutuality of obligation.” – MAJUMDAR, D.N.

“By family we mean a system of relationships existing between parents and children.” – CLARE THOMAS H.


“When we think about a family we picture it as a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without children or of a man or woman along with children.” -OGBRUN and NIMKOFF.

Elements of a Family

On the basis of above definitions, the presence of following elements are essential for any family:

(a) A mating relationship.


(b) A form of marriage.

(c) A system of nomenclature,

(d) Some economic provision.

(e) a common habitation.


(f) Small, primary and more or less durable association.

(g) General common culture.

(h) Blood relation among family members.

A Social Institution


Family fulfills man’s basic needs of reproduction and human development. There are certain norms which regulate this social institution to obtain certain objectives, e.g. maintaining husband-wife or parent-child or sibling relationships.

An Association

Since family is a group of people staying together, it becomes an ‘Association’. The members of family have common or identical goals and interests as they are a closely knit group and feel a kinship with each other. This feeling motivates them to court-operate, sacrifice and associate with each other.