Chapter 10
a network of relatives within which individuals possess certain mutual rights and
Rules of Descent:
Descent Group: publicly recognized social entity requiring lineal descent from a
particular real or mythical ancestor for membership.
Systems of Kinship
Bilateral Kinship
affiliates people of close blood relatives through both sexes.
relatives of father and mother equally important.
kindred: persons relating to you by blood.
Only brothers and sisters can have same kindred.
Unilineal groups
degrees of relation are traced "upward”
4 systems
both males and females affiliate kin through the father's side only
transmitted only by sons to offspring
Example: Nuer, Africa
reckon kin of both genders through women only.
usually found where women’s work important.
example: Hopi, Arizona
in households husbands yield to the authority of women. Why?
an individual may affiliate with either the mother’s or father’s descent group.
Double descent
two rules of descent operate at once:
example: Yako, Nigeria
Types of unilineal descent groups
Clan: members believe themselves to be descended from a common ancestor but the
links to that ancestor are not known.
phratry: a group of related clans.
moiety :
Functions of unilineal descent groups
regulating marriage: How?
economic: help in crisis, offer labor, help in marriage transactions.
political: How?
religion: lineages or clans may have their own religious beliefs and practices.
Kinship Terminology
classificatory terms
consanguineal: related by blood.
identifies parents, siblings, and children but lumps all other relatives.
found where?
all relatives have a different term.
all relatives of the same sex and generation are referred to by the same name.
associated with ambilineal descent.
Ego distinguishes between relatives on his mother's side and those on his
father's side.
father's brother's children and mother sister's children (parallel cousins) are
merged with brother and sister.
why differentiate between cousins?
Associated with unilineal descent.
Ego uses the same term for father, father's brother and mother's brother as
Iroquois terminology.
Parallel cousins are merged with siblings.
cross-cousin terms: same terms for mother's brother's son and mother's brother
and same term for mother's brother's daughter mother.
Ego uses the same term for father, father's brother and mother's brother as
Iroquois terminology.
emphasizes mother’s matrilineage