Kinship, Ch. 8, Miller You have to learn some basic terminology. But not everything in the book. The concepts which are underlined here are excluded you do not need to know them. Why study kinship? 1.Relationships based on kinship are the core of a culture's social organization. 2. Societies vary in their kinship systems. Why study kinship? 3. The kinds and sizes of groups formed using kinship principles, the norms attached to kin roles and the way people categorize their relatives are diverse. Sex, marriage and kin Marriage organizes sexuality and the production of future generations. Descent systems organize inheritance of property. Residence and family patterns are related to economic interdependence. They are expressed in kinship terminology. Kin terminology “Blood” ties: Consanguinity (e.g. sister) Ties through marriage: Affinity (e.g. aunt’s husband) Kinship Kinship is a social relationship formed either through blood ties or through marriage. Kinship Kinship entails – rights, – obligations, – affection and – childcare. What is kinship? Sense of being related to another person(s) Set by rules (sometimes laws) Often taken for granted as being “natural” rather than cultural Cultures define “blood” relative differently Kinship Kinship is (Miller) mainly based on descent sharing marriage How kinship varies by culture Some cultures place importance on one side of the family in preference to the other. Behavior toward relatives that members of one culture regard as normal are absent in other cultures. Societies differ in how they classify the domain of relatives. Cultural construction of kinship As children grow up in a community, they socially learn the logic by which their culture classifies “relatives”. Categories of kinship do not simply reflect biological/genetic relationships. The KEY Questions How do cultures define kinship through descent? How do cultures define kinship through sharing? How do cultures define kinship through marriage? Kinship Characteristics Kinship Relationships Descent groups Members share descent from a common ancestor through a series of parentchild links. Descent establishes kin group membership through the male or female line. Functions of descent groups Provide aid and security to their members. Repositories of religious tradition, with group solidarity enhanced by worship of a common ancestor. Forms of descent Unilineal – Patrilineal - male line – Matrilineal - female line Cognatic - either male or female line Bilateral/bilineal - both male and female lines (less common than unilineal descent systems) Unilineal descent Unilineal descent establishes kin group membership exclusively through the male or female line (i.e.some very close “blood relatives” are excluded from your kin group). Unilineal descent Basis of kinship in 60% of world’s cultures Most associated with pastoralism, horticulture and agricultural systems UNILINEAL? Reminder tip: Uni : One Lineal : Line, something which follows Patrilineal Descent Patrilineal descent groups Male members trace their descent from a common male ancestor. A female belongs to the same descent group as her father and his brother. Authority over the children lies with the father or his elder brother. Tension!!! Sources of tension in patrilineal descent groups The requirement for younger men to defer to older men. Requirement for women to defer to men, as well as to the women of a household they marry into. Matrilineal Descent Matrilileal descent Descent is traced through the female line. Does not confer public authority on women, but women have more say in decision making than in patrilineal societies. Common in societies where women perform much of the productive work. Tensions!!!! Sources of Tension in Matrilineal Descent Groups Husband’s authority lies not in his own household but in that of his sister. Unsatisfactory marriages may be ended easily, resulting in higher divorce rates than patrilineal societies. Bilineal Descent Descent is traced equally from both parents Married couples live away from their parents Inheritance is allocated equally between siblings Dominant in foraging and industrial cultures Kinship through Sharing Residence Basic residence patterns Patrilocal Matrilocal Ambilocal Neolocal Avunculocal Marriage Cultures define marriage differently – different genders – more than two people involved – legitimacy of children – involvement of sexual relations – rules of exclusion Marriage in other words is a public contract that creates an economic partnership, confers sexual rights, defines the social identity of offspring and creates an alliance between kin groups. Marriage is universal (exceptions e.g. Nayars of India). Family is a group composed of a woman and her dependent children, with at least one adult man joined through marriage or blood relationship. In most societies, families constitute households or households are built around families. Function of family Nurturance of children. Economic cooperation. Provide child with models from whom they can learn gender appropriate roles. Types of family Extended family and households contain more than one adult married couple. (settled agriculture and owning property). Nuclear family consists of a married couple and their children. Nuclear versus extended family Compared to nuclear family extended family establishes wider base for child care establishes larger pool of resources that can be shared helps care for elders creates tensions among co-resident wives Nuclear versus extended families Extended families - decisions are made by an older individual whose views may not coincide with those of the younger family members. Nuclear families - husbands and wives must work out their own solutions to the problems of living together and having children. Forms of marriage Isogamy Polgyny Polyandry Monogamy Hypergyny (What are they? See the book) Polygamy/plural marriages Polygamy is illegal in North America, but North Americans do practice serial monogamy, through multiple marriages and divorces. Even in cultures that approve of polygamy, monogamy still tends to be the norm, largely because most populations tend to have equal sex ratios. Ploygyny Polygyny (gyny female, remember "gynecologist". )one man several women) Polygyny is more common than polyandry because, where sex ratios are not equal, there tend to be more women than men. Polyandry Polyandry (andro male, remember "androcentric") one woman several men (Quite rare practice) Problems Polygamous families - potential conflict among spouses of the individual to whom they are married. Polyandrous families - older husbands are apt to dominate the younger ones. Serial monogamy Serial monogamy = multiple marriages and divorces. Incest Incest is sexual relations with a closer relative. Incest taboo: prohibition of sexual relations between certain categories of relatives. Incest taboo is universal. What constitute incest varies from culture to culture. Explaining the taboo · Instinctive horror · Family disruption (attempt) · Childhood Familiarity (contempt) · Prevention of Inbreeding (biological degeneration) · "Marry out or die out" The more accepted argument the taboo originated to ensure exogamy (practice of marrying out). the adaptive social results of exogamy, e.g. alliance formation, not only biological degeneration. Exogamy Marrying outside of the group (kin, social, ethnic, religious, economic) (Endogamy can be seen as functioning to express and maintain social difference, particularly in stratified societies). Advantages: Political & economic alliances, affiliation continues (e.g. European monarchies, lower social classes) Endogamy In-marrying , marrying within one's own group (kin, social, ethnic, religious, economic). Maintains social distance specially in stratified societies (caste, class, race). Advantages: Consolidation of wealth and status (e.g. Hawaii, Egypt royal families, elite social classes, most religious groups). Endogamy and exogamy may operate in a single society, but do not apply to the same social unit.