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Kinship Anthropology

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All societies across the universe have kinship. Some privileged cultural practices have been followed by these societies through ages regardless of the biological rules of sexual relations which ensure that the life span of these kinships is continuous through birth by human beings. (Robert Parkin 1997). Anthropology defines kinship as the connection that exists between human beings by either blood, through adoption or even by marriage.
Anthropology does not view kinship in a biological manner but biology on the other hand studies it in the physical manner. The terms pater and mater are used to refer mother and father in anthropology studies whilst in biology the terms genitor and gentrix are used. Every newborn by is said to be recognized to have relations to at least one of his parent by the fact of his birth.
Kinship is used to organize members of the society into different categories, roles and various social groups, based on either parentage, marriage or other types of relationship, (Schneider 2005). Inheritance rights are customarily based on how close kinship relationships are and thus, used to transmit property and status from one generation to another.
In some cases kinship might be extended through relations not from the same bloodline in the kinship universe. This is what is termed as fictive kinship. The most common used example is where by you’ll get one has godparents who are not his real parents. Some will have aunts and uncles whom they call guardians and they are not even related to their parents. In religious sects members sometimes call each other brother or sister but those statuses have rules that are attached to them. In most cases fictive kin ties will require both parties who establish a bond to come to consent and they are normally voluntary ties unlike true kinship bonds. In this kind of kinship support for mutual networks is widely broadened. It also develops a sense of communal share among people and improves social control among members involved.
Godparenthood (coparenthood) is the best documented concept being an example of a fictive kin relationship. In Mexico and Latin America Compadrazgo is an explanation of the baptism concept according to the Catholic Church and it’s also associated with some of the beliefs from their pre-colonial era.
In Compadrazgo families that are nonrelated are linked together. Here formalized networks are extended. Here ties are established by individuals to families that are rich so that they can sponsor them and offer an upward social mobility for the child (Foster 1967; Kemper 1982). Other examples which are similar to this type of relationship are the dharma atmyo in Bangladesh (Sarker 1980), kivrelik in Turkey (Magnarella and Turkdogan 1973) and many others.
Another type of fictive kinship is the sorority, evident in some American communities. This is a club or organization of women, usually young and commonly students, formed mainly for social purposes as well as for helping one another in time of trouble. In this type of fictive relationships, usually the members refer to each other as ‘sisters’ in case of girl-groupings and ‘brothers’, in case of boy-groupings. Sororities describe a perfect example of a fictive relationship where individuals exercise and believe in a relation that is not tied to either blood or marriage. Fictive relationship involves extending the obligations and relationships to people or individuals not included within the kinship ties.
The Akan relationships
The Akan refers to a traditional community of western Africa with kingdoms located in the forest zones of South Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. They are mainly farmers and miners. Their traditional kingdom forms the main cultural structures and functions of the ancestral descent as well as marriage relationships that define their social order. The Akan exhibit a multilayered segmented structure, which are composed of matrilineal clans, major and minor lineages segments. There are eight clans in this community with their origins accredited to mythical female descendants, (Brian 1995).
The Akans take minimal importance of the lives of their fellow clan members. This goes beyond creating friendships among themselves. Marriage and sexual relationships between members of the same clan are prohibited and considered as incestuous. The maximal lineage of the Akan, also known as the abasua, takes the form of localized groupings that compose the Akan Town known as the Kuro. It is made up of nucleated settlement of several thousands of inhabitants who occupy the political and territorial lowest administrative level in the society. About six to eight matrilineages form a town and inhabit a continuous quarter of the residence.
These maximal lineages are usually recognized on the basis of a mutual descendant (matrilineal) from a well-known female ancestor in the previous generations going up to ten or twelve. They are further subdivided into smaller minor lineages that are classified according to seniority lines within a particular genealogy record. The particular maximal lineage as well constitutes a basic group with social, political and religious functions.
The organizations of lineages is sanctified and defined by the ritual system of the Akan and is centered on their worship on ancestry. The ritual observance is based on the spirits of the deceased members who apparently were incarnated in carved stools. These family stools, purchased after the death of a mature male of the community. These stools are then offered sacrifices. The structure of their religion and the matrilineage representation as well as other social organizations as ancestral remnants sets up the rationale which assigns fundamental rights in land, status and people.
In terms of political economy lineages, each lineage is subject to authority of a family elder known as the abasua pinyin. He or she consults with peers to make significant crucial decisions concerning the economic and ritual issues as well as to settle internal differences. The leadership succession is always determined by seniority in genealogy in a certain group. The family or matrilage, are the ones who can only claim a right to property within their land, for example farms. The matrilineage exercises rights on the members as well as on the property.
The impositions of collective welfares of the community members involve controlling marriages and receiving bridal wealth. The descendants of a particular group exercise strict exogamy and sexual involvement among members are particular prohibited within a maximal lineage a segment or even a wider clan.
The main functions of these relationships that exist between individual members as well as among the lineages serve to strengthen the social, economic and political ties. The various rights, functions and responsibilities which are assigned to individuals or matrilineal structures aid to strengthen and ensure continued welfare of their members. It also helps to strengthen the integrity of the social order at large. This serves to create a wider well-organized social-political structure of the community.

References
Brian S. (1995), Akan Lineage Organization, University of Manitoba.
Carsten, Janet, ed. (2000). Cultures of Relatedness: New Approaches to the Study of Kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kemper, R. V. (1982). "The Compadrazgo in Urban Mexico." Anthropological Quarterly 55
Magnarella, P, and Turkdogan, O. (1973). "Descent, Affinity, and Ritual Relations in Eastern Turkey." American Anthropologist . New York Press
Sarker, P. (1980). Fictive Kin Relationship in Rural Bangladesh." Eastern Anthropologist 33:55–61.
Schneider D.(2005), A Critique of The Study of Kinship. University of Michigan Press.

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