Nov 19/12: Kinship and Descent
Why Study Kinship?
- Kinship determines lines of inheritance.
- Kinship determines social obligations.
○ Obligations only truly exist between parents and children (legal obligations)
- Kinship determines potential marriage partners
○ Who you can and cannot marry. You must marry outside your family group.
- Kin play important economic, social, political and religious roles in most societies.
○ In many societies to become an adult you must pass certain rituals and many times it's your family that gets you through this.
- Just like marriage, Kinship is the foundation to many societies.
- Kinship refers to the relationshipsthat are based on blood (consanguineal relatives) or marriage (affinal relatives)
○ In our society affinal = inlaws
Functions of Kinship
- The Vertical function of kinship provides social continuity by bindingtogether a number of successive generations
○ Used to pass on education, tradition, property, and political office.
- The Horizontal function of kinship tends to solidify or tie together a society through the process of marriage.
○ Used to form alliances with other kinship groups.
○ Can create alliances to end warfare, create economical ties
- Descent is the tracing of kinship relations through birth or relations with a parent or parents.
○ Descent is a smaller subset of your relatives
- Unilineal descent is a kinship system where the child is related by descent to only one parent (mother or father).
- Bilineal descent is a k