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University of Toronto Scarborough
Donna Young

Lecture: Kinship/ Segmentary Lineage System. Again, a clan is the largest group of agnates who trace their descent from a common ancestor, and between whom marriage is forbidden. -It has a highly segmented genealogical structure -Called lineages An entire kinship system traces all kin relationships through both parents (agnates cognates, affines, etc). The Nuer call these relationships Mar. -The lineage system, or patrilineage, is concerned with agnatic kin. We ended last week’s lecture by saying that clans remain constant, but that lineages are highly dynamic. E-P page 198: Lineage values are thus essentially relative like tribal values, and we suggest later that the processes of lineage segmentation and political segmentation are to some extent co-ordinate. That is, on the ground, in the real world, it is hard to tell them apart, because they involve the same players, and because the players may explain their actions in either/ or kinship or political terms. But they describe different sociological structures. In other words, the distinction is one the anthropologist makes in order to describe the social structures of the Nuer, to describe how the different structures of a society are inter- related and help to reproduce the society over time. This is why we call E-P a structural- functionalist. In this book he describes the ways in which kinship and political structures work together to create Nuer society. (Elsewhere, he also talks about Nuer religion as another structure that contributes to Nuer society). Coordinate Structures: Kinship and Politics Clan Tribe (10 to 12 generations of Dominant Clan/ Diel) (Territory) -Lineages (Buth) -Sections (4 to 6 generations) Maximum Primary –Secondary-Tertiary Major Minor Minimal Lineages have names, reciprocal relations, and ritual symbols. Lineage segmentation: “Me against my brother, my brother and I against the world” Political Segmentation: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” Nuer lineages are not corporate, localized communities, although they are frequently associated with territorial groups (dominant clans). But through fission, lineage groups may go to live in other territories, and it is where one resides that determines one’s political affiliation, or tribal allegiance. (Home is where the cattle are). It is only in reference to rules of exogamy, certain ritual activities, and to a very limited extent responsibility for homicide that one needs to regard lineages as completely autonomous groups. In social life (quotidian life) it is community and tribe that is important. Recall the feud we enacted in class: -Feuds and quarrels between lineages chiefly lead to their dispersal -This leads to migration, and new political alliances -The ecology is of primary importance. Remember, home is where the cattle are, and not the other way around! Read page 110 over and ove
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