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Families, Kinship, and Descent The Basic Building Blocks of Society Families, Kinship, and Descent The Basic Building Blocks of Society

Family, Kinship, Descent • The way in which people behave toward one another is Family, Kinship, Descent • The way in which people behave toward one another is based on they perceive their role; this role in most societies is defined by whom one is related to. • As we shall see, many aspects of kinship and descent are socially constructed, as is race.

Some New Terminology • Affinals: relatives by marriage. • Matrilineal descent: kin reckoned through Some New Terminology • Affinals: relatives by marriage. • Matrilineal descent: kin reckoned through the mother’s lineage. • Patrilineal descent: kin reckoned through the father’s lineage. • Bilateral descent: kin reckoned through both sides of the family. • Matrilocal: marriage residence at the mother’s family house. • Patrilocal: marriage residence at the father’s family house.

What’s so special about family? • A family is the basic unit of the What’s so special about family? • A family is the basic unit of the social group. • Anthropologists are interested in looking at families and how they reckon kin since kin behavior has specific rules in each culture.

Types of families • Nuclear family (husband, wife, offspring). • Extended family (family consisting Types of families • Nuclear family (husband, wife, offspring). • Extended family (family consisting of three or more generations). Other descent groups include: • Lineages (“the family line/tree”) • Clans (groups assuming common ancestry).

Types of nuclear families • Families of orientation (family you are born into and Types of nuclear families • Families of orientation (family you are born into and raised with). • Family of procreation (formed when one marries and has children). • Nuclear family organization is widespread but not universal; other descent groups and extended families sometimes fill the role of the nuclear family.

Muslims of Western Bosnia • Nuclear families lacked autonomy. • Several families were embedded Muslims of Western Bosnia • Nuclear families lacked autonomy. • Several families were embedded in an extended family household called a zadruga. • Each zadruga is headed by a head male and his wife (the senior wife). • Each family has its own sleeping room, but all material possessions are used by any member of the zadruga. Zadrugas are patrilocal.

The Nayar of Southwest India • A large and power caste that lives in The Nayar of Southwest India • A large and power caste that lives in large, extended matrilineal families. • The matrilineal compounds are called tarawads. • Each tarawad is headed up by a senior woman. • Marriage a formality; men would return to their mother’s tarawad a few days after marriage. • Nayar women frequently have multiple sexual partners; biological fathers are not significant in this particular kin system.

Industrial Nuclear Families: The New Hunter/Gatherers? • Offspring, once grown, leave the family of Industrial Nuclear Families: The New Hunter/Gatherers? • Offspring, once grown, leave the family of orientation to begin their own family of procreation. • The new families are highly mobile, selling their labor rather than their crops. Postmarital residence is neolocal. • Their mobility and emphasis on small, economically self-sufficient family units make industrial nuclear families similar to foragers.

Changes in American Kinship • Nuclear families important unit for several groups. • Expanded Changes in American Kinship • Nuclear families important unit for several groups. • Expanded households common among the lower classes (an adaptation to poverty? ). • Number of alternative household organizations are becoming more commonplace (single-parent families, singles, childless couples, etc. ).

Descent Groups • Descent groups are permanent social units whose members believe they have Descent Groups • Descent groups are permanent social units whose members believe they have ancestors in common. • Descent groups are frequently exogamous. • Unilineal descent is kin reckoning through one side of the family (matrilineal or patrilineal). • Bilateral descent reckons through both lineages.

Lineages and Clans • Common to both types of descent groups is the belief Lineages and Clans • Common to both types of descent groups is the belief in an apical ancestor(s) (among Christians, this would be Adam and Eve). • Lineages differ from clans in that lineages use demonstrated descent (the actual genealogy can be cited). • Clans have stipulated descent (they just say they are related because they want to be!).

Apical Ancestors • Apical clan ancestors are commonly nonhuman, and may be an animal Apical Ancestors • Apical clan ancestors are commonly nonhuman, and may be an animal or plant (a totem). • Common clans of Northwest Coast Indian groups include Raven and Wolf.

Kinship Calculation • Ego refers to the reader. • MBS = mother’s brother’s son. Kinship Calculation • Ego refers to the reader. • MBS = mother’s brother’s son. • MBD = mother’s brother’s daughter. • MZS = mother’s sister’s son. • MZD = mother’s sister’s daughter. • FBS = father’s brother’s son. • FBD= father’s brothers daughter. • FZS = father’s sister’s son. • FZD= father’s sister’s daughter.

Kinship Terminology Kin Group Residence Rule Economy Lineal Nuclear family Neolocal Industrialism, foraging Bifurcate Kinship Terminology Kin Group Residence Rule Economy Lineal Nuclear family Neolocal Industrialism, foraging Bifurcate merging Unilineal descent group – patrilineal or matrilineal Patrilocal or matrilocal Horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture Ambilocal Agriculture, horticulture, foraging Varies Generational Ambilineal descent group, band Bifurcate collateral Varies

Lineals, Collaterals, and Affinals Lineals, Collaterals, and Affinals

Lineal Kinship Terminology (what we use) Lineal Kinship Terminology (what we use)

Bifurcate Merging Kinship Bifurcate Merging Kinship

Generational Terminology (parents and siblings have the same terms) Generational Terminology (parents and siblings have the same terms)

Bifurcate Collateral Terminology (Everyone gets their own term!) Bifurcate Collateral Terminology (Everyone gets their own term!)