Dictionary Definition of Nuclear Family
a couple and their dependent children, regarded as a basic social unit.
Academic Definitions of Nuclear Family
the nuclear family is relatively a very simple social system,(Parsons & Bales, 1955: viii)
is a universal structural component of all societies, and that its range of structural variability is limited first of course by maintaining the power differential between parents and children in favor of the former, and second by maintaining the husband-father role as more instrumental than the wife-mother, and vice-versa, the wife-mother as more expressive.(Parsons & Bales, 1955: 157)
The nuclear family is an adaptation to industrialization and urbanization.(Hutchison, 2017: 204)
nuclear family is a valuable stabilizing force in capitalist society.(Benston, 1972: no pagination)
is an idealised image of family, which provides a normative vision of family life(Brown, 2019: 25)
the nuclear family is premised upon the ideals derived from the particularly liberal understanding of the ‘public/private’ divide(Brown, 2019: 52)
nuclear family is subsequently positioned as the ‘natural’ and ‘common sense’ understanding of family.(Brown, 2019: 61)
Our definition of the nuclear family has expanded to include single parents, mixed families, step-families, families with biological children, adoptive children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, foster children . . . so many ways we have come to define a family(Golding, 2006: 36)
The nuclear family is a universal human social grouping.(Murdock, 1949: 2)
The nuclear family is, of course, a kin group, since each of its members is a primary relative of each of the others.(Murdock, 1949: 41)
nuclear family is also universal to all known human societies.(Parsons, 1970: 58)
The nuclear family is liberal in its intergenerational relations, irrespective of the appearance of any Lockean or Rousseauist political philosophy(Todd, 1985)
Benston, M. (1972). The political economy of women’s liberation. In: N. Glazer-Malbin and H.Y. Waehrer, eds., Woman in a Man-Made World. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Brown, A. (2019). What is The Family of Law? Bloomsbury Publishing.
Golding, A. C. (2006). Redefining the nuclear family: An exploration of resiliency in lesbian parents. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 18(1-2), 35-65.
Hutchison, E.D. (2017). Essentials of human behavior : integrating person, environment, and the life course. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
Murdock, G.P. (1949) Social Structure. New York: Macmillan
Parsons, T. & Bales, R. F. (1955). Family, Socialization and Interaction Process. Illinois: The Free Press.
Parsons, T. (1970). Social Structure and Personality. New York: Free Press Of Glencoe.
Todd, E. (1985). The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structure & Social Systems. Translated by D. Garrioch. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishers.