A Closer Examination of Family Group Decision Making in
needs, including a sense of belonging to a community, self-reliance,
and voluntary relationships.51 Thus, the extended family network
allows for the continued productivity of able-bodied children and
adults, and provides a shared community of resources for each family
In Ethiopia, the extended family structure is the central
element of social reproduction,52 where most of the work is
accomplished within this unit.53 Thus, the extended clan contributes
to increase overall productivity and to preserve the strength of
culturally appropriate traditional family responsibilities.54 Orphaned
children in Ethiopia fulfill their social obligations as vital
contributors of labor and income, actively participating in household
production and social reproduction activities.55 Adult members of the
community rely on the children’s toil and economic involvement
toward the households’ survival.56 Such productive roles of
contributing children are dependent upon age and gender, and ensure
social stability and the efficient use of crucial resources.57 The
fluidity of this extended family structure is also a culturally
appropriate form of orphan care in Ethiopia, with each tribal
community instilling shared values and cultural norms in its
members.58 As a result of this mutually beneficial traditional kinship
system, orphaned children in Ethiopia who have been taken in by
extended family members do not even consider themselves
51 Varnis, supra note 12, at 147.
52 Social reproduction refers to the transmission and perpetuation of social
structures that are both the conditions and consequences of social interaction. Bo
Edvardsson et al., Expanding Understanding of Service Exchange and Value Co-Creation: A Social Construction Approach, 39 J. ACAD. MARKETING SCI. 327, 332
53 Abebe, Ethiopian Childhoods, supra note 33, at 16.
54 Abebe & Aase, supra note 4, at 2060.
55 Abebe, Ethiopian Childhoods, supra note 33, at 1; Abebe & Aase, supra note 4,
56 Abebe & Aase, supra note 4, at 2066.
57 Id. at 2061, 2066.
58 Id. at 2067.