Socio-Cultural Anthro Lecture 4.docx

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8 Apr 2012

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Socio-Cultural Anthropology Lecture 4
March 22nd
April 2nd Anthropology Department Building, come and vote!
Take 2: “Inuit" (or “Eskimo”) System:
Emphasizes lineal kin: descriptive terms
Distinguishes lineal from collateral kin in the parental generation
Classifies matrilateral & patrilateral kin together
Crucial part missing from original slide is underlined/italicised/bolded
Ambilineal descent:
Ambilineal affiliation is determined in each generation, often at marriage, and then typically
closed. E.G. pre-colonial Hawaii, Choice depends on parent’s rank, availability of
Always associated with cognatic relatedness (where one is equally related to mother’s and
father’s sides.
Usually in Polynesia
Descent and Subsistence
Matrelineal Societies:
Horticultural, agricultural (more in past, e.g. Ancient Nubia) Some herders, some complex
Correlated (imperfectly) with strong female role in subsistence, especially farming
Most of the horticultural labour is done by women
Americas: Hopi, Sunni, Iroquois, Navajo
Asia: Naiar a household is formed around the relationships between sisters and brothers
Africa: In Zambia, Asante (from the film of the market women) in Ghana, Twarei
(Berbers that live in northern Sahara Area)
Europe: Historically the Basque in Spain
In Sahelian Africa, Indonesia, India: matrilineal principle has been eroded or added to by
patrilineal influences of Christianity and Islam
Patrilineal societies:
Far more common in the world
Horticultural, agricultural, herding
Correlated (imperfectly) with strong male role in defense
More widespread than matrilineal today
Ambilineal Societies:
Horticultural, agricultural, complex foragers ~ e.g. Hawaii, Samoa, Maori, Bisya (NW
Borneo), Iceland
Correlated (imperfectly) with restricted environments and competition for resources
Optional affiliation (often with a patrilateral tendency) facilitates periodic redistribution of
people and productive resources
Hawaiian kin terms: generational
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Ego (the person who signals you are here in the genealogy map). Brother and Sister are
given the same term as cousins in other parts of the family, and parent’s siblings are
“parents” to Ego
“lumps together” the different parts of the family
Emphasized differences between generations and similarities within them
May also distinguish birth order (i.e. rank) and (as here) sex.
Broadly classificatory
Common with cognatic/ambilineal descent groups
Cousins on both sides are referred to in the same way in North America, but in Samoan
society cousins and siblings are lumped together.
However, in matrilineal and patrilineal society there is much more specificity because of
marriage rules, it may indicate which cousins you may marry
Anthropological shorthand for kin
M Mother
F Father
D Daughter
S Son
B Brother
Z Sister
H Husband
W Wife
Combination of these types allow us to differentiate among kin, e.g.’ those we call “cousins’:
FZD- Father’s Sister’s Daughter
MBW- Mother’s Brother’s Wife
Is frequently arranged by parents and other kin
Parents think it is irresponsible to leave the choice to a youngster with raging hormones
It’s typically an alliance between groups, families, and NOT a relationship between two people
Lineages/Clans may exchange spouses (esp. In herding, horticultural societies)
Often cemented by exchange of wealth (productive resources such as livestock ): bridewealth or
Bridewealth enables the woman’s brother to get a wife, it keeps the system going and
moving along
It also established social paternity (esp. In a patrilineal society)
Romantic love can mess up arranged marriages, however biological relationship doesn’t matter
The Maasai in Tanzania and Kenya
They typically marry younger girls to older men
The younger girls sneak lovers of their own age
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