Kinship is and has been one of anthropology s biggest concerns. Person s place in world defined by person s birth place and background. **ascribed status: born into position in the world, basis of birth (non-american countries) One has to make sense of kinship before understanding anything else, in regards to other. **achieved status: determined on basis of capability (north america) foreign countries. Comparative method: 2 important assumptions: 1. Held that similarities in cultural form develop independently in different parts of the world: 2. Because similarities exist, institutions can be directly compared to one another. Social evolution was a process that developed from being a simple society to being a complex society. Taken as most advanced and best possible from that institutions could take. Certain societies stuck in path of civilization. Maine 1861: ancient law: explained history of european institutions.