The Sense of Family: A Narrative of Three Generations
The purpose of the present study was to explore how families construct the significance of the word "family." This article develops a theory derived from an analysis of four previous qualitative studies that included individual interviews with members of 14 families in Caracas, Venezuela, from different socioeconomic strata. In each case interviews were conducted with members from three different generations. The narratives included references to other family members. The results showed the importance of family in the participants' discourse and that its meaning is related to the origin and structure of this institution: middle class families believe that family structure plays a core function in the children's education and in social stability. For lower class families, tradition and experiences within generations are important. However members of second and third generations attempt to distance themselves from many of the first generation’s traditions and experiences as their lifestyles are so different.
family; family life; family and social class; narrative; meaning