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The Family

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The Family With its Narrow Privacy and Tawdry Secrets is the Source of all Our Discontent
Edmund Leech’s statement from his Runaway World lecture in 1974 “the family with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets is the source of all our discontent” suggests that the family is a negative force within society. This essay will describe what the family is, what its main functions are and outline the different types. It will explain how the family is detrimental to its members with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets and illustrate some of the consequences that these have on society as a whole.
Society has to have a means of repopulating itself. The family is an institution with the key responsibility of the reproduction and social education of society’s members. New members must be taught by the family what it means to be a member of society. Weiss defines the family as “a small kinship structured group with the key function of nurturant socialization of the new-born” (quoted in Cree 2010). There are many different types of family. The nuclear family with 2 generations of family members under the same roof are the most common in modern society. Extended families with 3 or more generations living in the same household are becoming less frequent. These families can be extended either vertically, usually involving grandparents, or horizontally, with aunts uncles and cousins. Single parent families, as the name implies, involve a single parent with dependent child or children. Reconstituted families, sometimes called step families, are as a result of the loss of a partner through divorce or death and subsequent remarriage. This type of family is usually nuclear with children from one or both remarrying parents (Macionis and Plummer 2005).
What is Leech referring to when he says narrow privacy and tawdry secrets? The familiar phrase ‘skeletons in the closet’ comes to mind....

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