Of course, not all of the explanations can be found in economics and, most likely, social structure and culture can explain the changing economics as well. However, looking for explanations in the changing economics for sociological phenomena enriches our insights and sharpens our sociological analysis. I will attempt to do just that in this work. According to Eshleman and Bulcroft (2010, p. 4), a family traditionally refers to two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption who reside together in a household. It is a definition that emphasizes the structural dimension of families because it focuses on the requirements for membership and spatial arrangements of members. Simultaneously, families can also be defined in terms of their functional significance as societal institutions (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 4). The function of a family can be for procreation or socialisation of children (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 4). Social structure and power distribution in society influence how a family is defined (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 5). How a family is defined mirrors adaptation to circumstances and is a product of cultural innovations and of a process in which those in positions of power and privilege promote definitions that serve their interests and values (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 5). Eshleman and Bulcroft identified three basic types of family structure. … n easy visiting distance, contacts are regular, provides autonomy for families in decision making, manifests considerable exchanges of goods and services, and provides roles for kin, friends, and non-kin in the socialisation process (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 28). The nuclear and conjugal family is small, experiences geographic isolation, is exposed to only minimal kin contact, enjoys family autonomy, displays economic self-sufficiency, usually acquires socialisation from non-kin and get emotional support and protection from non-kin (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 28). Of the latter type are the transnational families (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 11). Transnational families are families whose members are scattered all over the world. There is a variety of transnational families (Eshleman and Bulcroft 2010, p. 11). In particular, Eshelman and Bulcroft (2010, p. 11) identified that some of the several types of transnational families are: 1. families created by marriages between individuals from different nationalities. 2. families residing in one nation but some of whose members may be working in other parts of the globe. 3. families residing in one country but recreating their home culture with that nation (diaspora families). 4. families whose members are scattered across several nations. and 5. families that regularly move across several countries. Elliot and Gray (2000, p. 7) defined a nuclear family as a two-generation family consisting of a father and mother and their children or a single, possibly widowed, parent and his/her children. However, besides a nuclear family, Elliot and Gray (2000, p. 7) also identified a stem family which is a three-generation consisting of a father and mother, a married child, their spouse and their children.
Industrialisation and the Family