❖ The Cross-Cultural Comparison Imperative
o What's "natural", what's cultural? o Comparison serves to
■ Understand others better
■ Understand ourselves better
o Reductionism - (over-) simplifications
o Comparisons
■ What's unique and what's common to all?
■ What underlying patterns emerge?
What is Kinship?
❖ Kinship
Consanguineal Kin - blood kin, biological kin
Affinal Kin - kin by marriage, in-laws
o Kinship is relative
o Kinship is the building block of society
o Kindred are kin recognized by a particular individual as being related
o Kin are "ego"-centered
❖ Descent and Inheritance
o Property and social status are transmitted through descent/inheritance systems
o 2 main types of descent
■ Bilateral descent
• Individual claim ties to a broad network of kin
■ Unilateral descent
• Matrilineal or Patrilineal
• Establishes a kinship with clearly define boundaries
• Advantageous in societies where property is held in common by an extended family
■ Ambilineal descent
❖ What are Kinship Terminologies?
o Use of classificatory terms
o Cross- cultural studies show that societies differ markedly in how they group or distinguish relatives
o Terminology used reflects:
■ Prevailing kind of family
■ Rule of residence
■ Rule of descent
o Kinship terms are very resistant to change
Criteria of Relatedness (chart on page 374-375)
❖ How have reproductive technologies changed Kinship
o Euro-American
o Reproductive technologies
■ Biological parenthood
• Surrogacy (traditional and gestational)
• Gamete donation
❖ How does organ transplantation create new relatives?
o Lesley sharp
■ Study of increasingly widespread use of biomedical and surgical techniques that see the transplantation
❖ Transplantation, Kinship, and Gift Giving
o Nancy Scheper-Hughes
■ Transplant medicine puts sever demand on modern conception of the body, the person and the meaning of kin, of life, and death
■ Organ "sharing" that envisions the body as a gift
■ Spread of new medical technologies ad the subsequent demand for new "commodities" means a new form of social exchange has risen which breaches the traditional dichotomy between gifts and commodities and between kin and strangers
■ Why would people sell their organs?
What is a Family?
❖ Family Structure
o Non-conjugal family - family we don't live with
o Conjugal family - family we live with
o Nuclear - a typical family
o Polygynous
o Extended, joint and blended family
o Families of choice, families by choice
■ Friendship
❖ How are families transformed over time?
o Migration
o Separation - by choice, by force
o Divorce
o Remarriage
o Death
❖ What is Adoption?
o All societies have ways of incorporating outsides into their kinship groups
o Adoption: the “practices used which allow people to transform relationships based on nurturance into relations of kinship"
■ Impacts kin terms used (ex. Ancient Roman system of recognizing both biological and “social" parents)
■ Adopted individuals may be kin or non-kin
❖ Marriage
o Public social contract (political-legal-economic)
■ Regulates sexuality (confers sexual rights)
■ Defines social identity of offspring (context for enculturation, provides for care of children)
■ Establishes economic partnerships
■ Strengthens/increases political and/or economic alliances
• Creates affinal ties
• Establishes alliances between kin groups (kinship networks expanded)
■ Allocates important right and responsibilities
• Establishes the position of the child in a line of inheritance
■ Is symbolically marked (ceremony)
o Incest prohibitions help define the social parameters within which groups (families, lineages, clans etc.) are reproduced (ex. social class and status)
o Who is marriageable/non=t marriageable has many consequences
■ Economic, political, ecological, religious etc.
❖ Marriage as Rite of Passage
o Rites of passage (for individual) involve three steps:
1. Separation (pre-liminal)
2. Segregation (transition/threshold - liminal phase)
3. Integration (incorporation/re-aggregation)
o Other basic rites of passage are birth, maturity, death
o Incest prohibitions: define social parameters within groups (families)
Why is Marriage a Social Process?
❖ Marriage Patterns
o Endogamy: marriage within a group
■ Often castes and classes
■ Brother-sister marriages among royalty
• Incan, Egyptian, Hawaiian royal families
■ Consolidates wealth and social status
■ Frequently reinforced by religious beliefs
o Exogamy: marriage outside a group
■ Extends kinship networks
o Monogamy: Marriage form in which a person may only have one person at a time
■ Only legal option in many industrialized nations
■ Variations in how many times a monogamous person can be married
• Serial monogamy
o Polygyny: marriage of man to more than one women
■ Typically only in wealthy households
■ Co-wives hierarchical system
■ Frequent where women require help (ex. is labour demand)
■ Polygamy: form of polygamy, one women married to multiple men
❖ Marriage Patterns: Residence
1. Patrilocal - son lives with family
2. Matrilocal - daugh ter stays with family
3. Avunculocal - both son and daughter leave birth household - live near mother brother
4. Neolocal - married couple decide to live where they chose
How is Marriage an Economic Exchange?
❖ Marriage Exchange: Bridewealth (aka "brideprice")
o Recognition of a women and her family's socio-economic worth and status
■ Payment for the loss of her labour and fertility to her kin group
o Maintenance of status/class distinctions
■ Ex. those with property marry those with property
o Gift for a gift
■ Public legitimation of marriage and transfer of gifts
o Bridewealth gained may be used to negotiate wives for their own sons making for further extension of ties
o Marital insurance against divorce
■ Good treatment of wife
o Control of social relations and property by families, not newlyweds
❖ Marriage Exchange: Dowry
o Public presentation of transfer of goof by bride's kin to groom's family or directly to the newlyweds
■ Transferred wealth may represent woman's inheritance (share) of family wealth
o Dowry common in India
o Voluntary gift compensating daughter for not receiving land and other family property
o Dowry usually in form of personal or household goods
o Dowry as jewelry source of security for bride (hers to keep)
■ However, most have no control over dowry - mother-in-law and husbands take control
Marriage, Families, and Kinship in Comparison: Ethnographic Examples
❖ Trobrianders
o Matrilineal descent
o Trobriand biological father not perceived to be a "blood relative" (consanguineal)
o Trobrianders maintain that every child should resemble its mothers husband
o Child shares mothers blood and her siblings
■ A "father" related to the child a "mother's husband"
❖ Trobrianders: Incest Taboos
o It is incestuous for a son to have sexual contacts with his mother
o It is an "economic" crime for a man to have sexual contacts with his "daughter", but not incest
o It is not incest for a person to marry a "half-sibling" by the some father (since they are by their definition not siblings at all)
o It is incest to marry a half-sibling
❖ Lakher
o Assam/Burma
o Mother not considered consanguine with the child
o Father provides the bony structure for the infant with his semen
o Children are thought to resemble their mothers ad no their fathers, because the mother provides the soft, fleshy parts of the body
o Mother is referred to as "my father's wife"
❖ Lakher: Incest Taboos
o Lakher consider it incestuous for a man to have sexual contacts with a daughter
o Considered adultery and/or very poor taste for a son to have sexual relations with his mother but not incest
o A man may marry "half-siblings" on his mother's side but not those of his father
❖ Nandi
o Western Kenya
o Woman-woman marriage
o Nandi are patrilineal
o Nandi patrilinies are not corporate group:
■ Cattle hers, land, and grazing rights are not managed by the patriliny as a whole but by patrilineal households
o Distant patrikin are not as important socially as the local community
o A widow with no male children to inherit cattle, land and grazing right may marry another woman who does have male offspring
■ Women becomes a social male
• Role and rights of a husband
■ No sex with other men, nor with her wife
■ She becomes father to the women's children
• The male children of her wife inherit from her
❖ Nayar
o South India
o Warrior and feudal landholders
o Matrilineal descent and matrilocal residence
o Young women take lovers of equal or higher caste
■ Lovers can't move into the household
o Children are born members of the matrilineage and subject to the authority od the senior male in the lineage
■ All household members are biologically related
• No in-laws
■ Most stable form of household known to anthropologists
• Each child born is considered part of the lineage wealth
• Everyone gets their share of wealth
Similar posts: