Free Essay

Kinship Anthropology

In: Social Issues

Submitted By kaycaptions
Words 1217
Pages 5
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.

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.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Cross-Cultural Management

...Cross-Cultural Management: Reflection Part. 1 of 2: Traditional Aboriginal Culture and Traditional Chinese Culture This reflective report will attempt to compare and contrast between Traditional Australian Aboriginal Culture and Traditional Chinese Culture. Ferraro & Briody (2013) defines culture as the shared perceptions among group of two or more people, their beliefs, values and behavioural patterns, which ultimately shape their way of life. I will analyse the two cultures around Hodstede’s cultural dimensions, Collectivism. Collectivism determines the degree of close-knit characteristic of the group (Hofstede n.d.). The insight this framework provides could be use as a guide in managing organisations’ and nationals’ cultural difference. The traditional Chinese live off small area of land, mainly used for cultivation of rice. In order to maximise yield, seeding and harvesting period are heavily depends on friends and relatives to help get the job done (Gladwell 2008). This interdependent behaviour is found not only at the family level but also at community level. Chinese society follows the teaching of Confucius, which promotes interdependence and social harmony (Chuang & Su 2009). To avoid potential social conflicts and encourages cohesiveness, Chinese are more likely to compromise their own needs and coordinate their behaviour with the situation (Nisbatt & Masuda 2003). It is common for Chinese to live with their married son. Family structure becomes......

Words: 1814 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Tribal Law- Mid Term

...I. Why is “terminology” so important in the text? Terminology helps us to understand the law in ways that the law might be affected by its terms. (Richland 2010 p19) More and more governments are using their traditional language in today’s codes (Richland 2010 p33) and it is important that we understand their term definitions. II. What is Law? | A rule or set of rules, enforceable by the courts, regulating the government of a state, the relationship between the organs of government and the subjects of the state, and the relationship or conduct of subjects towards each other. The term “LAW” for Anglo-American society “means the way in which societies express who they are and the ways of life they value as a people” (Justin B. Richland, 2010). Law for one tribal nation is often different than what law looks like in another (Richland p8). The Indian Civil Rights Act 1968 provided a Bill of Rights to Indians in their relations with the tribal governments. It authorizes a model code for tribal courts for Indian offenses and requires Indian consent, by states of jurisdiction over Indian territory. | | | III. What is a tribal legal system? Please provide examples. The tribal legal system is made up of the norms, structures, and practices of the tribe. Norms are the values and beliefs held by the community about the proper and improper ways to act toward other people, places, and things (Richland 2010 p4). There are two kinds of norms, substantive and......

Words: 1816 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

The Kinship System of the San

...Running head: THE KINSHIP SYSTEM 1 The Kinship System of the San Vannell Berrien ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Dr. Ilda Jiménez y West January 28, 2013 THE KINSHIP SYSTEM The Kinship System of the San The San of the Kalahari, also known as Bushmen, is the oldest culture in the world dating back over a hundred thousand years ago. The Kalahari Desert, reaching across South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, is home to some of the most inhospitable lands in the world. The San have a unique language, which incorporates a distinct “click” sound when they are talking. The San have no leader, constantly move around to find new sources of food, and are autonomous when making decisions to stay with a community or move elsewhere. In fact, they are so peaceful that “conflict or disruptive behavior is rare. These communities have no rulers, no written laws, no formal rule enforcers, and no formal mechanisms for controlling, capturing, or punishing rule breakers” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, sec. 3.6). This is due to the small size of their band, their claim to little or no private property, and the fact that food is shared with everyone in the community. Furthermore, San societies are relatively smaller than most societies due to their constant moving to find new areas to forage. Moreover, the San, known for their skills as hunters and gatherers comprise most of their diet from big game, roots and tubers. In the same way, the men of the San culture hunt big game while the......

Words: 1401 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Final Baseri Culture

...Basseri Culture Name: Jinette Rivera Course Name: Cultural Anthropology Presented To: Cynthia Livingston Date: January 9, 2012 Table of Contents 1. Abstract 2 2. Introduction 3 I. Basseri Culture: 3 a) Domestic Tasks: 4 b) Frequent Migration: 4 c) Herding 4 II. Thesis Statement: 5 3. Mode of subsistence 5 4. Three Aspects of culture: 6 I. Kinship and socio political Organization: 6 II. Beliefs and Values 7 a) Evil Eyes and Envy: 7 b) Religion: 8 c) Marriage: 8 d) Anticipatory Inheritance: 8 e) Other Beliefs: 9 5. Conclusion 9 6. References 10 Abstract The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on Basseri culture. First part of the paper covers the introduction to basseri culture and their mode of subsistence. Basseri society is the nomadic parodists and migrates frequently so that they can have an advantage of seasoning grazing resources. Livestock is the primary source of their subsistence. Next part of the paper covers the three main aspects of basseri culture. Kinship, Socio Political Organization and their Beliefs have been cited in detail. Last part of the paper is ended with the conclusion. Introduction Basseri Culture: Basseri community lives in the area of Southern Iran and is commonly known due to their traditional pastoral practices. Southern Iran is......

Words: 1916 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

San Kinship

...March 14, 2013 Anthropology 101 Dr.Tovar As far back as time goes many old cultures adapted a lifestyle of hunting and gathering food for themselves in order to survive. This was known as a foraging and it is one of the oldest methods of survival for small groups of tribes everywhere. However, this method had its good days and bad days. Sometimes hunters could bring back enough food to last them for a few days at a time, and then sometimes they wouldn’t find anything at all. So, the bond of kinship began to form amongst the tribe. The premise of a kinship bond was to share your goods and food with someone less fortunate. For example, in the San tribe if a group of hunters went out and only some came back with food, the other hunters would share some of their spoils as to help one another out. So as you can see and will find out, this lifestyle and kinship bond has the ability to help the San tribes prosper a long time. The San tribes of southern Africa live in the Kalahari Desert and have so for a long time thriving through foraging. Their concepts and principals of kinship ties are so straightforward and understandable that it is easy to see why they have flourished for centuries. Specific examples of kinship are shown through how this tribe thinks, how they act, and how they live their lives. When it comes to living day by day, the San use their women to gather all sorts of berries, nuts, and fruits to bring to eat while the men go and bring back the meat. Although......

Words: 854 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Hamong World View

...Hmong World View and Social Structure According to Durkheim (1961), the source of what we regard as sacred or religious lies within our own image. The deities and spirits we pay respect to are but "society transfigured" for in the final analysis we only worship our society. It is society which is both the cause and the expression of religious sentiments through regular ritual representations (Aron, 1967: 53) These rights constitute beliefs enacted for the purpose of preserving a sense of belonging for the participants and maintaining them together as a group. They not only tie the members of the group to each other "but also to the past and the future generations" (Cohen, 1871: 180). Religious ideas, in the words of Bachofen (Leaf, 1979: 118), define fundamental relations in society, showing internal structures similar to the actual behaviour or the believers. The supernatural order is in general based on the social relationships of the group. It validates and regulates these relationships, thereby conserving the social orders. In this paper, I will discuss the social organisation of the Hmong of Laos and Thailand in relation to their religious beliefs in order to see if the two spheres mutually interact to maintain the broader social system. It has been said that ancestral spirits are no more than "a projection of the authority system of the living - the lineage elders elevated to a supernatural plane" (Keesing and Keesing 1971: 309). How true is this of the Hmong? I......

Words: 6450 - Pages: 26

Premium Essay

The San

... ANT 101 Bruce Carruthers 16 July 2012 Kinship is an important part of survival, especially for foraging societies. Foraging, or hunting and gathering, is the oldest form of human society. The San, or “Bushman”, are one of the most known communities and they date back thousands of years. I will identify and describe the kinship system of the San, and I will describe how the culture is impacted by their kinship. Last, I will compare the San to my own society and the impact kinship has in my own life. The San have many kinship systems that are important to insure their continued existence. I will discuss the kinship system as it is related to food, conflict, and marriage. The San are hunters and gathers and food is part of surviving. The San follow a form of exchange in which no tabs are kept, or generalized reciprocity (Nowak & Laird, 2010). This means that all the food is collected and distributed equally through out the group. This means that no one will go hungry. This has a lot of impact on their culture as well. It prevents an excess of wealth, so no one is rich or poor. It insures everyone is healthy and reinforces social ties with their kin. “Kinship is the central organizing principle” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, Managing conflict, para. 1). There is limited property and everyone shares food so there are limited major conflicts among the San. Since the San’s kinships are so strong, arguments are the extent of their conflict. Most......

Words: 755 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Study Guide for Anthro

...ANTH 1200 – Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 10-29-12 Dr. Williams, Instructor 1 Study Questions for Quiz# 3 (Ferraro’s Chapters 9, 10 and 11) 1. Are there any universals about gender roles across all societies? Use examples from your readings to support your position. 2. Male dominance a cultural universal? Use examples from your reading to support your position. 3. How important are economic factors in the definition of gender in the United States? 4. What are “Genderlects”? Answer: Linguistic differences in the ways in which men and women speak within their culture 5. What is postpartum sexual taboo? Answer: the rule that a husband and wife must abstain from any sexual activity for a period of time after the birth of a child 6. What is gender stratification? Answer: The hierarchical ranking of members of a society according to gender 7. If women are not allowed to hold important positions in religious activities, does that indicate stratification? 8. Does the prohibition of women from the same economic activities as men always indicate stratification? 9. What are three social benefits of marriage? 10. Describe and discuss the differences between American style marriage and marriage among any cultural group in Sub-Saharan Africa. 11. In which state of the United States is polygyny most widely practiced? Answer: Utah 12. What is a critical factor influencing the incidence of polygyny? Answer: The Old Testament of the......

Words: 754 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Anthro Terms

...Anthropology Unit 1 – online Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. There are 4 areas of Anthropology- 1. sociocultural - examine social patterns and practices across cultures, with a special interest in how people live in particular places and how they organize, govern, and create meaning 2. , biological/physical - seek to understand how humans adapt to diverse environments, how biological and cultural processes work together to shape growth, development and behavior, and what causes disease and early death 3. archaeology - study past peoples and cultures, from the deepest prehistory to the recent past, through the analysis of material remains, ranging from artifacts and evidence of past environments to architecture and landscapes 4. linguistics- is the comparative study of ways in which language reflects and influences social life Unit 1 – Book Anthropology – the study of humankind in all times and places Colonialism – when one nation dominates another through occupation, admin (military) and control of resource’s. Cultural imperialism – refers to the promotion of one nation’s values, beliefs, and behavior above those of all others. Most famous empiricist – Franz Boas (1858-1942) he rejected racism and saw everyone as equal Radcliffe Brown – focused on how culture worked as a whole to maintain itself Malinowski – paid attention to his key informants’ point of view (groundbreaking methodology) Influences on Canadian Anthro – museums, academic...

Words: 4763 - Pages: 20

Free Essay


...Create-a-Culture Assignment Instructions Objective: In this course, we have discussed numerous aspects of culture that anthropologists study. As we have seen, these aspects of culture are related, and anthropologists often study multiple cultural elements simultaneously to gain a true holistic perspective. In this assignment, you will apply what you have learned about the aspects of culture (and their relationships to one another) to create your own hypothetical culture. Directions: Your paper should be between five and six pages, double-spaced (around 1000 – 1250 words total). You must use either Arial or Times New Roman font in size 12. Your margins should be 1 inch on all sides. If you have questions about how to set these settings, please ask your instructor. The Paper is due via Moodle to me by 11:55 PM on May 2, 2016. It is worth 10% of your course grade. You will submit your paper, to Moodle, prior to or by the stated deadline. The attachment should be one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf or .pages No other file types will be accepted. Papers submitted after the deadline will be penalized according to the policy outlined in the course syllabus. For this assignment, you will create your own culture. You will design the culture’s history, environment, subsistence approach, political system, and other aspects of social life. The aim of the project is to enable you to think creatively while demonstrating your knowledge of anthropological......

Words: 1017 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Iroquois Kinship

...Iroquois Kinship Tiffany Wheeler ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Alfred Wilfong April 17, 2013 Iroquois Kinship The Iroquois people were very structured, with the women being the top dogs in their social setting. Iroquois women were in control of crops, particularly maize, and that gave them control over more than just a food source. Men were allowed to do their job as long as the women agreed with what they were doing. If women were against a particular raiding activity, they withheld maize from the warriors, which meant the men could not go (Nowak, 1979). Properties were inherited by females, such as land and tools. After marriage, men moved in with their wives to their longhouse. Marriage was encouraged between what the Iroquois considered cross cousins, which today would be what normal people consider to be their cousins. For example, if someone's maternal uncle married an unrelated woman and they had children, it would be encouraged for the cousins to marry one another. Marriage was a delicate thing, however, because the woman was capable of simply packing her husband's belongings and tossing them outside to get her point across that their marriage was over. Based on the above information, the biggest example of the way the Iroquois kinship system impacts the way they behave is their matriarchal system. The eldest woman in each longhouse has the authority to determine the rights to property and resources. Another example would be their......

Words: 635 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Things Falls Apart

...mother’s kinsmen. Ekwefi provides the cassava; Nwoye’s amother and Ojiugo provide smoked fish, palm oil, and pepper .Before the feast start, Uchendu prayed for the health and children of Okonkwo and broke the kola nut. Then threw one of the lobes on the ground for the ancestors. Okonkwo’s final feast is noted for its copious amounts of food – it’s almost like a wedding celebration. Though the feast is a show of gratitude, Okonkwo also emphasizes that the gathering is justified merely because “it is good for kinsmen to meet. At the feast, one man expresses surprise that Okonkwo has been so generous with his food and another praises Okonkwo’s devotion to the kinship bond. At the end of the feast, one of the elders speaks up and gives a warning to the younger generation. He fears for them because he feels the bonds of kinship are breaking, which allows Christianity to pollute their land and steal their men from their gods and their families. With that ominous note, he thanks Okonkwo for his generosity....

Words: 276 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Status of Women

...outside the household Absolute levels of women’s position on above variables, not necessarily relative to the men in their households . 2 Predictors of the status of women • Education Marriage and kinship patterns North • CULTURAL INFLUENCE South Potential for female employment Exposure Interaction Autonomy • Employment 3 Kinship and Marriage :North South Variations • Northern kinship system is characterized by a principal of expansion and the incorporation of outsiders as wives into the family > Village is exogamous unit. No exchange marriage • South represents the principle of immediate exchange and a policy of consolidation of existing kin network > Intra-kin marriages and marriages within a village 4 Women’s Economic Roles • Opportunities for women’s participation in the labour force • Perception of women and their kin group Women in North India are less likely to be doing work and in waged activity Women’s participation in labour force : Rural areas (Source: Registrar General of India,1987) % of women UP Tamil Nadu In labour force 5 22 Cultivators 48 23 Agricultural labourers 35 53 -----------------------------------------------------------------------Ownership of sewing-machine (%) 22 8 5 Purdah or female seclusion • Origins: marriage and kinship patterns, history of invasions, Islamic influence etc. • Practiced by 45 % of women in UP, 5 % in Tamil Nadu • Effect: differential use of space by women like avoidance of outdoors when there are......

Words: 280 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Culture of Tanzania

...the mainland the languages are Kiswahili and English and on Zanzibar Arabic and English are required. Much of the literature available is in either English or Arabic because the indigenous culture is passed on through oral traditions. There are some collections of fables and idioms collected and written down by foreigners. If the family can afford to they will send both male and female children to school, if they must make a choice the male children nearly always are the ones who will be given preferred treatment for education. Education level is a determining factor for women in their marriage and professional opportunities; it also changes how they feel about their traditional labor roles. Kinship systems have always been important within Tanzania with all ethnic groups. These kinship groups are made up of the immediate family, aunts,...

Words: 1157 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Nature of Friendship

...'THE NATURE OF FRIENDSHIP" What is the nature of friendship? Different people have different opinions. Someone said: the nature of friendship is loyalty and cordiality; someone said: the nature of friendship is caring and affection; another one said: the nature of friendship is comfort and fun. From my opinion of views, the nature of friendship is sharing, trust and help. Friendship is one of the greatest pleasures that we can share and enjoy in our life. When we achieve a great success, our friends can share our joys, what a pleasant thing of sharing an achievement. When we are in trouble, we need friends to offer us support and encouragement. Every time, when I felt lonely, I called my friend to going out for shopping, hiking or eating. Sharing shifted the loneliness into enjoyment. Sometimes, we just talk to each other, and we share our happy and unhappy things together. With friends sharing, happiness became double happiness; with friends sharing, sorrow divided into half; with friends sharing, the loneliness and bad mood disappeared. Sharing for the friendship is like sunshine for the sun, it makes the friendship more brilliant, and it drives the gloom away. The second essence of friendship is trust. Trust connects two people together without a blood relationship. We trust our parents because the consanguinity; we trust our husband and wife because of the love; we trust our colleagues because of the partnership. We trust our friends wherever friends live and......

Words: 329 - Pages: 2