Family, Marriage and Kinship
Guest Lecture by Natalie Carriere
- Family and kinship has key concerns of anthropological study
- Kinship as an organizing feature of society
- In Western society, separation, divorce and assisted reproductive
technologies foster a whole new array of kind connections which are
- Timeless and cross-cultural, through its forms and iterations vary
- Various patterns of marriage are institutionalized in societies’’ moral and
Functions Of The Family
1. Reproduction and Socialization
2. Social regulation of sexual competition
5. Formation of intergroup alliances and exchanges
Marriage, Family and Kinship in Classical Anthropology
Importance of Kinship:
- Kinship systems: “Identify who is family and who is not, and give guideline
for behaviours, beliefs, property ownership, identity, and the myriad of other
facets of interpersonal and interfamilial dynamics
Key Kinship Terms
Exogamy – The custom of marrying outside a community, clan, or tribe.
Endogamy – The custom of marrying only within the limits of a local community,
clan, or tribe.
Matrilineality – Matrilineality is a system in which lineage is traced through the
mother and maternal ancestors
Patrilineality – Patrilineality (or agnatic kinship) is a system in which one belongs
to one's father's lineage.
Cognatic Descent - tracing descent through both the females and males in one's
Bilateral Descent – line of descent traced through both the maternal and paternal
sides of the family Matrifocal - (of a society, culture, etc.) Based on the mother as the head of the
family or household
Matrilocal - Denoting a custom in marriage whereby the husband goes to live with
the wife's community
Patrifocal Kinship – terminology refers to specific systems of familial relationships.
Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or
communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the
relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other.
Patrilocal - Relating to a pattern of marriage in which the couple settles in the
husband's home or community
Virilocal – Is a term referring to the social system in which a married couple resides
with or near the husband's parents.
Consanguineal Kin – persons related by birth.
Affinal Kin – In law and in cultural anthropology, affinity, as distinguished from
consanguinity, is kinship by marriage. It is the relation, which each party to a
marriage bears to the kindred of the other. In English, affinity is usually signified by
adding "-in-law" to the degree of kinship.
Avuncular – Relating to the relationship between men and their siblings' children
Polygyny – A pattern of mating in which a male animal has more than one female
Polyandry – A pattern of mating in which a female animal has more than one male
Non-monogamy – Is a blanket term which covers several