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Social Class, Fertility, and Authority in Nuclear and Joint Households in Bombay*

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The results of this study of 1,022 Bombay families shows that households organized in conformity with the traditional preference for patrilineal or fraternal co-residence are relatively rare, constituting only 14% of the total. In the middle class the majority of the families studied were living as nuclear households; among the working class part of the sample, the majority type were extended family households consisting of kin combinations other than the normatively preferred patrilineal and fraternal combinations. Two theories concerning factors which influence the relative frequency of the three household types were tested. First, an economic resources theory was explored using a 22-item level of living index. The findings suggest that among the working class, joint households are associated with economic pressures which force extended kin groups into already overcrowded dwellings; whereas among the middle class a traditional-joint type household may reflect sufficient resources to enjoy this culturally valued style of family organization. An ideological diffusion theory was also tested using education as an index of exposure to non-traditional ideas and therefore predicting that the average

Affiliations: 1: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, U.S.A.


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1. Desai I.P. , Gore M.S. Nimkoff M. F Some Aspects of Family in Mahuva: A Sociological Study of Jointness in a Small Town 1964 Bombay Asia Publishing House
2. Orenstein Henry "The Recent History of the Extended Family in India" Social Problems 1961 Vol 8 341 350
3. Blood Robert O. , Wolfe Donald M. Husbands and Wives 1960 New York Free Press 19 24
4. Wolfe Donald M. , Blood Robert O. , Wolfe Donald M. , Aldous Joan "op. cit" Paper presented at the 6th World Congress of Sociology 1960 New York: Free Press division of Macmillan Co.
5. Smith Raymond T. , Bell Norman W. , Fogel Ezra F. The Negro Family in British Guiana 1956 London Routledge, and Kegan Paul, Ltd. 221 254

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