ANTH 2200 Chapter 11: Ember 11

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7 Feb 2017

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READINGS - Ember 11
Patterns of Marital Residence
o In many industrial and postindustrial societies, a young man and woman
establish neo-local residence when they marry, setting up a new household
apart from their parents and other relatives. Worldwide, that practice is much
less common
o The more common practice of living with and near kin has mean that kin have
been an important basis of social organization in many cultures
o Patterns of marital residence include patrilocal, matrilocal, bi-local,
avunculocal, and neolocal. Place of residence largely determines which people
the couple and their offspring interact with and depend on and can affect
what status a wife or husband has
The Structure of Kinship
o The web of kinship provides the main structure of social action in non-
commercial societies. Most societies in which kinship connections are
important have rules that assign each person to a particular and definable set
of kin
o Societies observe three types of affiliations: unilineal, ambilineal, and bilateral
kinship. Unilineal and ambilineal rules of descent connect individuals through
known or presumed common ancestry. Bilateral descent is not based on a line
of descent but moves outward to relatives on both sides of one's family
o Unilineal descent forms clear and unambiguous groups of kin. This may also
be true of ambilineal descent
o Kindred describes one's bilateral relatives but it is usually not a clearly defined
group. In bilateral kinship, aside from brothers and sisters, no two people
belong to exactly the same kin group. People in a kindred have in common
only the focal person who brings them together.
Variation in Unilineal Descent Systems
o Unilineal descent groups comprise four types: lineages (kin of definite descent
from an ancestor), clans (kin of believed descent from an ancestor), phratries
(unilineal groups of supposedly related clans), and moieties (either of a
society's two unilineal groups)
o Many unilineal societies have two or more types of descent groups in various
o In patrilineal systems, descent affiliation is through males, and males also
tend to exercise authority; in matrilineal systems descent affiliation is through
females but females do not usually exercise authority in many spheres of life.
The reason for the difference is unclear
o In matrilocal and matrilineal societies, women tend to control property. They
also tend to have more domestic authority, have more equal sexual
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