ANT207H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Twin Unit, Matrilocal Residence, Incest

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20 Nov 2012
October 16, 2012.
Lecture 6 Kinship and Beyond
Society = societal structure = matrix of duties, rights, division of labour, norms, social control
o Individuals are not random, they followed structured paths/movements
o These paths depend on circumstances of birth, family wealth, where you live, what
schools are nearby/within reach, etc.
Kinship and how/why it came to be studied
o As a way to organize sex, reproduction, inheritance
o As social structure who you can count on for what
o As process (re)produced through action
o As a way of determining what children/offspring fit in where
o Determines who those people are that can be counted on, specifically in isolated
societies where they may not have a law force
Marriage and why is it so important
o Forms alliances between groups and changes relationships between people within these
o Defines households, residence, who lives where (spatial pattern)
o Transfers rights/ownership over woman, children
Means of carrying on a lineage
o Incest thought of as taboo where to find marriage partners?
Can’t marry sisters, need to reproduce and carry on lineage, need to seek a
partner outside
o Exogomy: marrying outside group
o Endogamy: marry inside group (certain categories of cousins, defined rules about who
within the group can marry without the incest taboo)
Keeps things (property, resources, people, etc.) more “in the family”
Affines (in-laws) as Friends and Enemies
o Claude Levi-Strauss defined the “Elementary Structure of Kinship” as: man, his sister,
her husband
o Nuer saying: “They are our enemies, we marry them.”
Basically saying that you can’t marry within your
family/lineage/patrilineage/matrilineage, but most people outside of that in
some societies are enemies; often the two groups may be at war or in conflict
so marriage is a tense matter
Household Formation
o Conjugal: centered around the married pair
o Non-conjugal: married pair is not the center of the household/family unit (some
cultures/societies might have the husband and wife remain living with their own
families, can be due to lack of housing or mere culture practice
o Patrilocal (live with husband’s family), matrilocal (live with wife’s family), neolocal (set
up own, new household as husband and wife)
o Nuclear (monogamous, neolocal): husband, wife, kids, and that’s it
o Monogamous/polygamous: one partner vs. multiple partners
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