Lili Zou

The Family In QuestionWhat Is the Family? Is It Universal?

In Diana Gittins article, she talks and discusses about in a sociological sense, the definition of family had always been dominated by a functionalist point of view and definition. In other words a family from a sociological point of view meant a universal institution which performs certain specific functions essential to society’s survival, and that it didn’t have much of a purpose besides for serving as a stepping stone for society, but that’s not true, and in fact there is no universal definition for family. I agree with the fact that in many cultures we all have similar customs and factors to what makes a family but what might mean something to us might not be the same in another country. One example is of marriage and reproduction. In our society today we frown upon mothers who give birth before marriage, even though cases like this has been raising for the last couple of years, but in Tahiti, young women often have one or two children even before they are in a stable relationship. So, our views and acceptance to certain things are always different and changing so how can we have a universal definition of family?
In my opinion, I agree that while we may have similar ideas of what a family may be, we do not have a definition of what family is. Having a definition on something means that, that is all there is to something. Not expecting it to change or improvise and a family is always interchangeable. Who you consider as your family may not be what the dictionary says it is. For example, as discussed in class, from a dictionary your abusive father is still your father because he gave you life, but do you really have to consider him family in this day and age? Its up to you, and because of all these different reasons, I do not believe for there to be a definite universal definition of family.

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