Society and Norms: Family and Family Life - Overview (Continued)

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Family Structure
Within all families (tribal or not) there is a patriarchal and hierarchal system which provides each person with a distinct role they are expected to play. Patriarchal societies are male dominated in both public and private life and the head male controls the families’ resources and behaviors. Hierarchal societies assign values to individuals or families and place them at a level or status based upon certain characteristics (e.g. sex, age, income). The senior male is the head of the household and is expected to make the best decisions for the good of the group. His spouse is the dominant female who can wield a significant amount of power over daily household activities and younger household members. The elders of the extended family are treated with respect and are taken care of by their children and grandchildren as they age.

In tribal societies, interfamily relationships (between families) have no inherent hierarchy, but intrafamily (within family) relationships are organized around hierarchy.

Pakistani families are also patrilineal. A patrilineal society traces their ancestry through the father's family and shapes daily interaction since most social interaction is limited to one's family. Since a mother's family is not considered as part of an individual's family, one would seldom interact with their mother’s family. An individual is only associated with their father's family and their loyalty would remain there. If a dispute occurred between your father's family and your mother's family, you would side with your father's family while your mother would side with her family. Who you are allowed to marry is also affected by patrilineage. The preferable marriage would be between first cousins whose father's are brothers. [3]

Back Society and Norms Next
| | Home | | Glossary | | End Notes | | Additional Resources | | Credits | |