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Lecture 6

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ANTH 1150

Kottak Chapter 7 – Families, Kinship, and Marriage Definitions: Family: a group of people who are considered to be related to some way, by blood or marriage Family of Orientation: the family in which one is born and grows up Family of Procreation: formed when one marries and has children Neolocality: post marital residence pattern in which a couple establishes a new place of residence rather than living with or near either set of parents Extended Family Household: when an expanded family household includes three or more generations Descent Group: a permanent social unit who members claim common ancestry Patrilineal Descent: people automatically have lifetime membership in their father’s group but the children of the group’s women are excluded Matrilineal Descent: people join the mother’s group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life Unilineal Descent: the descent rule uses one line only, either male or female Lineages: Unilineal descent group based on demonstrated descent Clans: Unilineal descent group based on stipulated descent Patrilocality: the rule that when a couple marries, it moves to the husbands community so that their children will grow up in their father’s village Matrilocality: married couples live in the wife’s community and their children grow up in their mother’s village Exogamy: the custom and practice of seeking a mate outside one’s own group, has adaptive values because it links people into a wider social network that nurtures, helps, and protects them in times of need Incest: refers to sexual contact with a relative, but cultures define their kin, and thus incest, differently Endogamy: dictate mating or marriage within a group to which one belongs Caste System: closed, hereditary system of stratification, often dictated by religion; hierarchical social status ascribed at birth, so that people are locking onto their parents’ social position Bridewealth/brideprice: a customary gift before, at, or after the marriage from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin Progeny Price: a gift from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin before, at, or after marriage; legitimizes children born to the woman as members of the husband’s decent group Dowry: a marital exchange in which the bride’s family or kin group provides substantial gits when their daughter marries Polygamy: plural marriages Polygyny: a man has more than one wife Polyandry: a woman has more than one husband Sororate: custom by which a widower marries the sister of his deceased wife Levirate: custom by which a widow marries the brother of her deceased husband Summary: 1. Kinship and marriage organize social and political life in nonindustrial societies. One widespread kin group is the nuclear family, consisting of a married couple and their children. Other groups, such as extended families and descent groups, may assume functions usually associated with the nuclear family. Nuclear families tend to be especially important in foraging and industrial societies 2. In contemporary North America, the nuclear family is the characteristic kin group for the middle class. Expanded households and sharing with extended family kin occur more frequently among the poor, who may pool their resources in dealing with poverty. Today, however, even in the American middle class, nuclear family households are declining as single person households and other domestic arrangements increase 3. The descent group in a basic kin group among nonindustrial food producers (farmers and herders). Unlike families, descent groups have perpetuity, lasting for generations. Descent-group members share and manage an estate. Lineages are based on demonstrated descent; clans, on stipulated descent. Unilineal descent is associated with unilocal post marital residence 4. Most societies have incest restrictions. Because kinship is socially constructed, such restrictions apply to different relatives in different societies. Human behavior with respect to mating with close relatives may express a generalized primate tendency, illustrating both urges and avoidance. But types, risks, and avoidance of incest also reflect specific kinship structures. Exogamy extends social and political ties outward; endogamy does the reverse. Endogamic rules are common in stratified societies. One extreme example is India, where castes are the endogamous units. 5. The discussion of same-sex marriage, which, by and large, is illegal in the US, illustrates the various rights that go along with marriage. Marriage establishes the legal parents of children. It gives spouses rights to the sexuality, labor, and property of the other. And it establishes a socially significant “relationship of affinity” between spouses and each other’s relatives 6. In societies with descent groups, marriages and relationships between groups as well as between spouses. With Bridewealth, the groom and his relatives transfer wealth to the bride and her relatives. As the bridewealth’s value increases, the divorce rate declines. Bridewealth customs show that marriages among nonindustrial food producers create and maintain group alliances. So do the sororate, by which a man marries the sister of his deceased wife, and the levirate, by which a woman marries the brother of her deceased husband. 7. The ease and frequency of divorce vary across cultures. When marriage is a matter of intergroup alliance, as is typically true in societies with descent groups, divorce is less common. A large fund of joint property also complicates divorce 8. Many societies permit plural marriages. The two kinds of polygamy are polygyny and polyandry. The former involves multiple wives; the latter, multiple husbands. Polygyny is much more common than polyandry. Knauft Chapter 4 – Getting Along with Kin and Killers - Gebusi social relations are hard to understand without making diagrams of kinship relations in standard notation - Gebusi clans, groups of persons “putatively” related by blood descent, average 20 persons and are traced through male descent (patriclans) - Gebusi lineages of those with demonstrated male descent (patrilineages) contain only a few persons each - Gebusi clans are names, endure through time, have
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