Latin America pp 141-161 | Cite as

Marriage and the Family

  • Robert C. Williamson


In all societies, even the most primitive, two institutions are indispensable—the economy for insuring physical survival and the family for providing inter-generational continuity. For all societies the family remains the integrative institution providing a number of functions—assignment of statuses, control of the sex urge, reproduction of a new generation, and socialization of the young. Family and kinship constitute the most important socializing agency. Through nearly five centuries of its history—preceded by well over a millennium of an indigenous heritage—the Latin American family transmitted the culture, and even in the urban society of today it remains the individual’s anchorage in a world of uncertainty. For most Latin Americans, the family is the one institution upon which adults and children rely for their identity and survival. Other institutions have robbed the family of its functions in the maintenance and socialization of its members, but to a lesser degree than in most Western nations. Even the word for marrying, casarse, means the setting up of a home. As a kind of infrastructure, the family gives continuity to society and influences the other institutions.1


Domestic Violence Extended Family Upward Mobility Religious Ceremony Consensual Union 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Emmanuel Todd, The Explanation of Ideology (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985), p. 196.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wesley R. Burr et al., “Symbolic Interaction and the Family,” in Wesley R. Burr et al. (eds), Contemporary Theories about the Family, vol. 2 (New York: Free Press, 1979), pp. 42–111.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tessa Cubitt, Latin American Society (New York: Wiley-Longman, 1988), p. 106.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Keith Farrington and Ely Certok, “Social Conflict Theories of the Family,” in Pauline G. Boss et al. (eds), Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods (New York: Plenum Press, 1993), pp. 357–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    David H. Olson and Hamilton I. McCubbin, Families: What Makes Them Work? (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1983).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jack Knight, Institutions and Social Conflict (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 136–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hélène Tremblay, Families of the World (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1988), pp. 31–32, 61–62.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rogelio Diaz Guerrero, El Ecosistema Sociocultural y la Calidad de la Vida (Mexico, DF: Editorial Trillas, 1986), p. 47.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    William J. Goode, World Changes in Divorce Patterns (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), p. 189.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Maria A. Faune, “Cambios de las Familias en Centro America,” in Ediciones de la Mujer 20: Familias Siglo 21 (Santiago: ISIS Internacional, 1994), pp. 107–150.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Cristina Bruschini, “O Trabalho da Mulher no Brasil,” in Helenieth Saffioti and Monica Munoz-Vargas (eds), A Mulher Brasileira e Assim (Rio: Fundo de Naçcoes Unidos, 1994), pp. 15–44.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Debra A. Castillo, Easy Women: Sex and Gender in Modern Mexican Fiction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), p. 219.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    Paul L. Doughty, Huaylas: An Andean District in Search of Progress (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1968), p. 31.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Lucero Zamudio and Norma Rubiano, La Nupcialidad en Colombia (Bogota: Universidad Externada de Colombia, 1991), p. 129.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Asuncion Lavrin, “Sexuality in Colonial Mexico: A Church Dilemma,” in Asuncion Lavrin (ed.), Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), pp. 47–95.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Diana Balmori, Stuart F. Voss, and Miles Wortman, Notable Family Networks in Latin America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), p. 163.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Thomas McCorkle, Fajardo’s People (Los Angeles: Latin American Center, University of California, 1965), pp. 75–77.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff and Alicia Reichel-Dolmatoff, The People of Aritama (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 111–114.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    David Yaukey and Timm Thorsen, “Differential Female Age at First Marriage in Six Latin American Cities,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1972, 34, 375–379; Latin American Center, Statistical Abstract of Latin America (Los Angeles: University of California, 2001), p. 154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 23.
    Ana Ponce, Hogar y Familia en el Peru (Lima: Universidad Catölica del Peru, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, 1985), p. 15.Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    Matthew C. Gutmann, The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996) pp. 70–73.Google Scholar
  22. 25.
    Richard Pace, The Struggle for Amazon Town: Gurupá Revisited (Boulder, CO: Rienner Publishers, 1988), p. 143.Google Scholar
  23. 26.
    Sarah Le Vine, Dolor y Alegria: Women and Social Change in Urban Mexico (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), pp. 90–91.Google Scholar
  24. 27.
    Verena Stolcke, Coffee Planters, Workers and Wives (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988), pp. 221–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 28.
    Robert M. Levine and José Bom Meily, The Life and Death of Carolina Maria de Jesus (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    Latin American Center, Statistical Abstract of Latin America (Los Angeles: University of California, 2001), 155.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    Michael L. Conniff and Frank D. McCann, Modern Brazil: Elites and Masses in Historical Perspective (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), p. 276.Google Scholar
  28. 31.
    Mariana Aylwin and Ignacio Walker, Familia y Divorcio: Razones de una Posicion (Santiago: Editorial Los Andes, 1996).Google Scholar
  29. 32.
    Comisiön Economica para Latinamérica y el Caribe, Cambios en el Perfil de la Familia (Santiago: United Nations, 1993), p. 315.Google Scholar
  30. 33.
    Fundación Andes, Familias Populares: Historia Cotidana y Intervención Social (Santiago: ECO, 1997), pp. 164–168.Google Scholar
  31. 34.
    Cathy A. Rokpwski. “Women as Political Actors: The Move from Maternalism to Citizenship Rights and Power,” Latin American Research Review, 2003, 38(2), 180–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 36.
    Richard G. Parker, Bodies, Pleasures, and Passions: Sexual Culture in Contemporary Brazil (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991), pp. 33–35.Google Scholar
  33. 37.
    Alex H. Westfried, “The Emergence of the Democratic Brazilian Middle-Class Family: A Mosaic of Contrasts with the American Family (1960–1994),” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 1997, 28, 25–54.Google Scholar
  34. 38.
    Pierre L.van den Berghe and George P. Primov, Inequality in the Peruvian Andes: Class and Ethnicity in Cuzco (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1977), p. 162.Google Scholar
  35. 39.
    Claudia B. Isaac, “Class Stratification and Cooperative Production among Rural Women in Central Mexico,” Latin American Research Review, 1995, 30(2), 123–150.Google Scholar
  36. 40.
    Oscar Lewis, Five Families: Mexican Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959).Google Scholar
  37. 41.
    Cathy A. Rakowski, “Women as Political Actors: The Move from Maternalism to Citizenship Rights and Power,” Latin American Research Review, 2003, 38(2), 180–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 42.
    Gabriel Careaga, Mitos y Fantasias de la Clase Media en Mexico (Mexico, DF: Cal y Aena, 1990), chapters 3 and 4.Google Scholar
  39. 44.
    Rolando Ames C, Familia y Violencia en el Peru de Hoy (Lima: Comité Peruana de Bienestar Social, 1986), pp. 36–40.Google Scholar
  40. 45.
    June E. Hahner, “Recent Research on Women in Brazil,” Latin American Research Review, 1985, 22(3), 163–179.Google Scholar
  41. 47.
    Waldo Ansaldi, “Fragmentados, Excluidos, Famelicos y Como si Eso Fuese, Violentos y Corruptos,” Revista Paraguaya de Sociología, 1997, 34(98), 7–36.Google Scholar
  42. 48.
    Susan Vincent, “Flexible Families: Capitalist Development and Crisis in Rural Peru,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 2000, 26, 155–170.Google Scholar
  43. 49.
    Susan K. Besse, “Engendering Reform and Revolutionary Change in Latin America and the Caribbean,” in Teresa A. Meade and Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (eds), A Companion to Gender History (Maiden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2004), pp. 568–585.Google Scholar
  44. 50.
    Anna Nygren, “Violent Conflicts and Threatened Lives: Nicaraguan Experiences of Wartime Displacement and Postwar Distress,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 2003, 35, 391–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 51.
    R. S. Oropesa, “Development and Marital Power in Mexico,” Social Forces, 1997, 75, 1291–1317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 53.
    Caroline Moser and Cathy Mcllwaine, Violence in a Post-Conflict Context (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001), pp. 57–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 54.
    Christina MacCulloch, “Domestic Violence: Private Pain, Public Issue,” IDB Special Report (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 1998).Google Scholar
  48. 56.
    Instituto de la Mujer, Como Les Ha Ido a las Mujeres Chilenas en la Democracia? Balance y Propuestas Mirando al 2000 (Santiago, 1996), p. 3.Google Scholar
  49. 57.
    Nancy E. Dowd, In Defense of Single-Parent Families (New York: New York University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  50. 58.
    Lorraine Davies, William R. Avison, and Donna D. McAlpine, “Significant Life Experiences among Single and Married Mothers,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1997, 59, 294–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 59.
    Roberto DaMatta, Carnivals, Rogues, and Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), pp. 189–190.Google Scholar
  52. 60.
    Darcy Ribeira, The Brazilian People (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), pp. 49–51.Google Scholar
  53. 61.
    Susan Eckstein, The Poverty of Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 75.Google Scholar
  54. 62.
    Andrew H. Whiteford, An Andean City at Mid-Century (East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1977), pp. 174–177.Google Scholar
  55. 63.
    William W. Stein, Hualcan: Life in the Highlands of Peru (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1961), p. 177f.Google Scholar
  56. 66.
    Carl Kendall, “Urban-Rural Differences in the Selection Strategies of Compadrazgo: A Controlled Comparison,” in John M. Hunter et al. (eds), Population Growth and Urbanization in Latin America (Cambridge, MA: Shenkman Publishing Co., 1983), pp. 281–290.Google Scholar
  57. 67.
    UNICEF, Qué Piensan los Niños Latinoamericanos sobre la Familia? (La Paz: Defensa de los Ninos, 1993).Google Scholar
  58. 68.
    Larissa Adler Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lisaur, “The Solidarity of Mexican Grand-Families,” in Elisabeth Jelin (ed.), Family, Household and Gender Relations in Latin America (London: Kegan Paul International, 1991), pp. 123–132.Google Scholar
  59. 69.
    Gilberto Freyre, The Masters and the Slaves, translated by Samuel Putnam (New York: Knopf, 1956), p. 356.Google Scholar
  60. 70.
    Larissa Adler Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lisaur, A Mexican Elite Family, 1820–1980, Kinship, Class and Culture translated by C. Lomnitz (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 232–238.Google Scholar
  61. 71.
    Alex M. Saragoza, The Monterrey Elite and the Mexican State 1880–1940, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  62. 72.
    Eni de Mesquita Samara, A Familia Brasileira (Sao Paulo: Editorial Brasiliense, 1983).Google Scholar
  63. 73.
    Piers Armstrong, “ ‘The Brazilianists’ Brasil’ Interdisciplinary Portraits of Brazilian Society and Culture,” Latin American Research Review, 2000, 35(1), 227–241.Google Scholar
  64. 74.
    Leo A. Despres, Manaus: Social Life and Work in Brazil’s Free Trade Zone (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), pp. 156–157.Google Scholar
  65. 75.
    Susande Vos, “Is There a Socioeconomic Dimension to Household Extension in Latin America?” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 1993, 24, 21–34.Google Scholar
  66. 76.
    Robert C. Williamson and Georgene H. Seward, “Concepts of Social Sex Roles Among Chilean Adolescents,” Human Development, 1971, 14, 184–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 77.
    Frank Bonilla, The Failure of Elites (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1970), pp. 116–126.Google Scholar
  68. 78.
    C. H. Browner, “Gender Roles and Social Change: A Mexican Case Study,” Ethnology, 1985, 26, 89–104.Google Scholar
  69. 79.
    Consejo Consultivo del Programa Nacional de Solidaridad, El Combate a la Pobreza: Lineamientos Programáticos (Mexico, DF: El Nacional, 1990), pp. 102–105.Google Scholar
  70. 80.
    Richard Maclure and Melvin Sotelo, “Children’s Rights and the Tenuousness of Local Conditions: A Case Study of Nicaragua,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 1994, 36, 81–108.Google Scholar
  71. 81.
    Carlos García Martínez, La Puericultua y la Mitología Popular (Guerétaro: Universidad Autönoma de Querétaro, 1989).Google Scholar
  72. 82.
    Leoncio Barios, “Television, Telenovelas, and Family Life in Venezuela,” in James Lull (ed.), World Families Watch Television (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1988), pp. 48–79.Google Scholar
  73. 83.
    Keista E. Van Fleet, “Adolescent Ambiguities and the Negotiation of Belonging in the Andes,” Ethnology, 2003, 42, 349–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 85.
    Paz Covarrubias, Monica Muñoz, and Carmen Reyes, Crisis en la Familia? (Santiago: Instituto de Sociología, Universidad Cátolica, 1983).Google Scholar
  75. 86.
    Beverly Raphael, The Anatomy of Bereavement (New York: Basic Books, 1983), p. 37.Google Scholar
  76. 87.
    Robert W. Shirley, The End of a Tradition: Culture, Change and Development in the Municipio of Cunha (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971), pp. 38–39.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert C. Williamson 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Williamson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations