Kinship and DescentChapter 10
What Is Kinship?Kinship is a social network of relatives within which individuals have rights and obligations.
Kinship is especially important in societies where institutions such as a centralized government, a professional military, or financial banks are absent or ineffective.
Descent groups are a major type of Kinship category
What Is a Descent Group?A descent group is a kind of kinship group in which being in the direct line of descent from a real or mythical ancestor is a criterion of membership.
Provides aid and security to members. Stores religious tradition. Keeps group members together by worship of a common ancestor.
Unilineal descentDescent that establishes group membership through either the mothers or the fathers line, but not through both!!!Matrilineal descentDescent traced exclusively through the female line to establish group membership.Patrilineal descentDescent traced exclusively through the male line to establish group membership.
Unilineal Descent GroupsLineageDescended from a common ancestor who lived four to six generations ago, and in which relationships among members can be stated genealogically.Clan Often consisting of several lineages, whose members claim common descent from a remote ancestor, usually legendary or mythological.
Descent Integrated in the Cultural SystemProblems with changing societal valuesWhen traditional cultural systems meet new politically-introduced societal ideas of right and wrong, conflicts of morality occur:Ex: Honor Killings in Northern Albania http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/regions-places/europe-eastern/albania_bloodfeud.html
Patrilineal Descent GroupsMale members trace their descent from a common male ancestor.A female belongs to the same descent group as her father and his brother.but her offspring do notAuthority over the children lies with the father or his elder brother.
Patrilineal Descent Diagram
Matrilineal Descent GroupsDescent is traced through the female line. A male belongs to the same descent group as his mother and her sister.but his offspring do not.Does not confer public authority on women, but women have more say in decision making than in patrilineal societies. Common in societies where women perform much of the productive work.
Tracing Matrilineal Descent
Related TermsFission: The splitting of a descent group into two or more new descent groups.Totemism: The belief that people are related to particular animals, plants, or natural objects by virtue of descent from common ancestral spirits.
KindredMembership is determined not by descent from a common ancestor (as in descent groups) but by the fact that they share a living relative (EGO).A small circle of paternal and maternal relatives. A kindred is never the same for any two persons except siblings.
QuestionWhen the membership of a descent group grows too large, ___________ may occur, creating two new, smaller lineages.fusionlineal decreasefissionexogamymoietization
Answer: CWhen the membership of a descent group grows too large, fission may occur, creating two new, smaller lineages.
Kinship TerminologiesThe Hawaiian systemThe Eskimo systemThe Iroquois systemOmaha systemCrow systemSudanese or descriptive system
Eskimo SystemSystem of kinship terminology, also called lineal system, that emphasizes the nuclear family by specifically identifying the mother, father, brother, and sister, while lumping together all other relatives into broad categories such as uncle, aunt, and cousin.
Hawaiian SystemKinship reckoning in which all relatives of the same sex and generation are referred to by the same term.
Iroquois SystemIts complicatedKinship terminology wherein a father and fathers brother are given a single term, as are a mother and mothers sister, but a fathers sister and mothers brother are given separate terms. Parallel cousins are classified with brothers and sisters, while cross cousins are classified separately, but (unlike Crow and Omaha kinship) not equated with relatives of some other generation.