Historically, what were the three basic activities of most Western families?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Historically, the three basic activities of the Western family were production, reproduction, and consumption. Through these activities, a family could sustain and maintain themselves.

Production includes all of the work that goes into raising animals and crops for food, as well as the production of household items like clothing and...

Read
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Historically, the three basic activities of the Western family were production, reproduction, and consumption. Through these activities, a family could sustain and maintain themselves.

Production includes all of the work that goes into raising animals and crops for food, as well as the production of household items like clothing and furniture. All of the labor that goes into making the things a family needs (or wants) for their life falls under the category of production.

Reproduction, on the other hand, is essentially the production of more human beings. For much of history, families lived on the same land for several generations. When children were born and raised, they integrated into the family as a distinct entity and prolonged its lifespan. Reproduction, in the social sense, re-establishes and re-creates life as the family knew it.

The third activity performed by all families was consumption — the use of materials necessary for sustaining life. This includes the food a family worked to raise as well as materials like firewood or fiber-bearing plants used to produce textiles.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team