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Are Urban Black Families Nuclear? A Comparative Study of Black and White South African Family Norms

Year: 2003
Author: Russell, Margo
Unit: SSU
Journal: Social Dynamics
Volume: 29
Issue: 2
Pages: 153-176
Abstract:

The debate over whether black South Africans are in the process of transition from an extended lineage-based consanguinal family system to a Western style nuclear conjugal system has focused primarily on household composition. Another way of assessing this supposed transition is to examine the strength of verbal commitment to Western conjugal family norms. A set of statements about appropriate family behaviour was devised and used to compare the responses of three groups of South Africans: urban whites, urban blacks and rural blacks. We found that urban blacks respond to some statements like rural blacks but to others like urban whites. In matters of family and kinship, urban blacks are still influenced by a distinctive African cultural approach to kinship as well as adapting their views in light of new urban experiences.


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