Household and domestic organization

Household and Domestic Organization

Cameroon hut The household is a basic feature of domestic organization in every society and is generally an important social, economic, and even political and ritual institution in many settings. It is the core group in which most daily activities and the more mundane processes of life take place. In most non-industrial societies, it constitutes the working unit of production as it did in Europe prior to the 19th century. Even in contemporary Western societies, it is still responsible for basic consumption and at least the early stages of child rearing. Accordingly, the household provides the social context that most fundamentally moulds our relationships, values, character, and outlook. It is also one of the most difficult concepts to adequately define, describe, and categorize from a cross-cultural perspective.

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Created: October 2003