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Both marriage and family create status roles that are sanctioned by society. A husband, a wife, and two children—maybe even a pet—served as the model for the traditional Canadian family for most of the 20th century.

But what about families that deviate from this model, such as a single-parent household or a homosexual couple without children? The question of what constitutes a family is a prime area of debate in family sociology, as well as in politics and religion.

A family of orientation refers to the family into which a person is born.

A family of procreation describes one that is formed through marriage.

He lived with his mother for a few years, and then later with his mother and her boyfriend until he left for college.Here, we will define family as a socially recognized group (usually joined by blood, marriage, or adoption) that forms an emotional connection and serves as an economic unit of society.Sociologists identify different types of families based on how one enters into them.Such families could potentially include groups of close friends as family.Critical sociology emphasizes that the forms that define the “typical” family unit are not independent of historical changes in the economic structures and relations of power in society.Symbolic interactionist theories indicate that families are groups in which participants view themselves as family members and act accordingly.

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