This detailed study maps the variations in family systems throughout the world, focusing on the ways families interact with their societies. Tracing the developmental cycle of families in a wide range of times and places, Stevan Harrell shows how family members in different societies must cooperate to perform various activities and thus organize themselves in particular ways.Within six major divisions, the book describes families in nomadic bands, traditional African societies, Polynesian and Micronesian societies, native societies of the Pacific Northwest coast, preindustrial class societies, and modern industrial societies. Within each group, the author's copious examples demonstrate the variation from one family system to another. His case studies are clearly illustrated with a unique set of diagrams that allow comparison of complex groups and of family processes extending over a generation. Scholars and advanced students alike will find this ambitious book an invaluable resource.
Concepts And Methods * Introduction * Describing Variation: The Family Developmental Cycle * Explaining Family Variation The B-Cluster: Nomadic Foraging Bands * Prelude: Children in an Mbuti Camp * Band Societies: The Family and the Larger Community * The Developmental Cycle of the Family in Band Societies The A-Cluster: Family Systems Of Sub-Saharan Africa * Prelude: Sebei Elders Discuss Cattle Claims * The Logic of African Social Organization * Family Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa * Conceptualizing the Structure of African Families * African Developmental Cycles: Part One * African Developmental Cycles: Part Two The O-Cluster: Islands Of Micronesia And Polynesia * Prelude: An Argument Over Teen Sexuality * The Nature of Oceanic Societies * Making a Living and Making a Name on an Island * Oceanic Family Structure The N-Cluster: Societies Of The Northwest Coast Of North America * Prelude: Growing Up in a Kwakiutl House * The Logic of Social Organization on the Northwest Coast * Family Activities in Northwest Coast Societies * Family Structure on the Northwest Coast The C-Cluster: Premodern, Complex Societies * Prelude: Dowry Negotiations in Lahore, 1925 * Introduction to the Family in C-Cluster Societies * A Tour of C-Cluster Family Systems: Part One * A Tour of C-Cluster Family Systems: Part Two * Explaining Variation in C-Cluster Systems The M-Cluster: Families In Modern Society * Prelude: The Debate About the Family * Modernity and the Embattled Family * What Families Do and Dont Do Anymore * Modern Family Process * Modernity and Critiques of the Family * Conclusion