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PURDUE / Liberal Arts / LA 10000 / Subculture means what?

Subculture means what?

Subculture means what?


School: Purdue University
Department: Liberal Arts
Course: Anthropology
Professor: Richard blanton
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Anthropology and Purdue
Cost: 50
Name: Exam 3 Study Guide
Description: A complete study guide for Exam 3
Uploaded: 04/04/2016
18 Pages 21 Views 8 Unlocks

Anthropology 100  

Subculture means what?

Exam 3 Study Guide


Culture (anthropologist definition) – The set of learned behaviors,  

beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideals that are characteristic of a  

particular society or other social group.

Subculture – the shared customs of a subgroup within a society.

Ethnocentrism – the attitude that other societies’ customs and ideas  

Ethnocentrism means what?

can be judged on the context of one’s own culture.

Cultural relativism – the attitude that a society’s customs and ideas  

should be viewed within the context of that society’s problems and  


Diffusion – the borrowing by one society of a cultural trait belonging to another society as the  result of contact between two societies.  

Acculturation – the process of extensive borrowing of aspects of culture in the context of  superordinate-subordinate relations between societies; usually occurs as the result of external  pressure.  

Example of culture change: revolution (note four main causal factors leading to revolution) (no  additional information)

Globalization – the ongoing spread of goods, people, information, and capital around the world.  Ethnogenesis – creation of a new culture.

Acculturation means what?

If you want to learn more check out How is gene expression regulated?

Nonverbal communication (kinesics) – the study of communications by non-vocal means,  including posture, mannerisms, body movement, facial expression, and signs and gestures.  Specific signs and gestures are often culturally variable and the cause of cultural  misunderstandings.

Symbolic Communication – an arbitrary (not obviously meaningful) gesture call, word, or  sentence that has meaning even when its referent (whoever is referred to) is not present. The  receiver of the message could not guess its meaning just from the sound(s) and does not know  the meaning instinctively. In other words, symbols have to be learned. E.g. there is not

compelling reason or “natural” reason the word dog in English should refer to a s smallish four legged omnivore.

Language as speech, script, or signing - the method of human communication, either spoken or  written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. The culture can  affect the structure and content of its language, then it would  If you want to learn more check out War of attrition refers to what?

follow that linguistic diversity. Speech: status relationships  

between people can also influence the way they speak to each  

other. (p. 200-201). Singing: parents and other teachers passed  

on their knowledge by oral instruction and demonstration.  

Stories, legends, and myths, songs abounded – the stuff we call  

literature, even in the absence of writings. (p. 203-204). Script:  

Early writing is associated with systematic record-keeping –

keeping of legends for inventorying goods and transactions.  

Human language as an open system - human languages are  Don't forget about the age old question of In easter island, what is rongo-rongo?

open systems (capable of sending messages that have never  

been sent before and the ability to combine symbols in an  

infinite variety of ways for an infinite variety of meanings). If you want to learn more check out What are the effects of sales taxes and excise taxes?

Closed communication (e.g. an animal call system) - is a  

communication technique used to avoid misunderstandings.  

When the sender gives a message, the receiver repeats this  

back. The sender then confirms the message; thereby common  

is using the word “yes”. Animal systems of verbal  

communication are referred to as call system. Call system—a  

form of communication among non-human primates composed  

of a limited number of sounds that are limited to specific  

stimuli in the environment. E.g. chimp-”Squeal Squeal” –”danger here”.

How many known languages? - There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today.  However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. The most popular  language in the world is Mandarin Chinese. There are 1,213,000,000 people in the world that  speak that language. If you want to learn more check out How do we obtain or learn virtue?

Creole and Pidgin Languages

Some languages developed where European colonial powers established commercial  enterprises that relied on imported labor, generally slaves. The laborers in one place often came  from many different societies and, in the beginning, would speak with their masters and t=with  each other in some kind of simplified way, using linguistics features of one or more of the  languages. Often, most of the vocabulary is drawn from the masters’ language. These pidgin languages become a new wat of communication. Many pidgin languages were replaced by so called creole languages, which incorporate much of the vocabulary of another language (often  the master’s language) but also have a grammar that differs from it and from the grammars of the  laborers’ native languages.

Creole language - is a stable natural language that has developed from a pidgin (i.e. a simplified  language or simplified mixture of languages used by non-native speakers) becoming nativized by  children as their first language, with the accompanying effect of a fully developed vocabulary  and system of grammar. If you want to learn more check out What are restrictive respiratory diseases?

Pidgin language - is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between  two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, a mixture of simplified  languages or a simplified primary language with other languages' elements included. 

Phoneme - a sound or set of sounds that makes a difference in meaning to the speakers of the  language.  

Morpheme – one or more morphs (morph – the smallest unit of a languages that has a meaning)  with the same meaning.  

Syntax (expression structure) – the syntax in which words are arranged to from phrases and  sentences.  

Lexicon – the words and the morphs, and their meanings, of a language; approximated by a  dictionary.  

Historical linguistics – the study of how languages change over time.

Language - the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use  of words in a structured and conventional way.

Dialect – a variety of a language spoken in a particular area or by a particular social group.

Sociolinguistics is concerned with ethnography of speaking – the study of cultural and  subcultural patterns of speaking in different social contexts. The sociolinguist might ask, for  example, what kinds of things on talks about in casual conversation with a stranger.  

Gender differences in speech

In many societies, the speech of men differs from the speech of women. The differences  may occur in the way how words are said and/or spelled. (E.g. the male word for water in Japan  is mizu; the female version is ohiya). One explanation for the gender differences, particularly  with regard to pronunciation, is that women in many societies may be more concerned than men  with being “correct”. In societies with social classes, what is considered more correct by average  person may be what is associated with the upper class. Men and women typically differ in what  they talk about or do not talk about. For example, when women hear about someone else’s  troubles, they are likely to express understanding of the other’s feelings; in contrast, men are  likely to offer solutions. Women tend to talk a lot in private settings; men talk more in public  settings.

Washoe and Kanzi

Chimpanzees Washoe and Nim and the gorilla Koko were taught hand signs based on  American Sign Language. Some of the best examples of linguistic ability come from chimpanzee  named Kanzi. In contrast to other apes, Kanzi initially learned symbols just by watching his  mother being taught, and spontaneously began using the computer symbols to communicate with  humans, even indicating his intended actions. Kanzi did not need rewards or to have his hands put in the right position. And he understood a great deal of what was spoken to him in English.  Many investigators do agree about one thing – nonhuman primates have the ability to “symbol”  to refer to something with an arbitrary “label” (gesture ore sequence of sounds). For example,  Washoe originally learned the sign dirty to refer to feces and other soil and then began to use it  insultingly, as in “dirty Roger”, when her trainer Roger Fouts refused to give her things she  wanted.  

Economic anthropology - is a field that attempts to explain human economic behavior in its  widest historic, geographic and cultural scope. It is practiced by anthropologists and has a  complex relationship with the discipline of economics, of which it is highly critical.

Reciprocal Gift Exchange 

- Gift exchange enacts (materializes) a social relationship between persons or groups - A gift has a value: the act of gifting represents an “opportunity cost” to the fiver - Gifts may include items or financial or sentimental value, labor experience, expertise, time - Gift reciprocation signifies an enduring social relationship (choosing not to reciprocate signals  the end of a relationship)

- Usually, a recipient is not free to “alienate” the gift (alienation will  

signify the termination of the relationship)

Balanced Reciprocal Gift Exchange 

∙ Here the actors strategize to make the value of the gifts  

exchanged roughly equal

∙ Balanced exchange symbolizes the social equality of the  

participants (egalitarian relationship)  

Unbalanced Reciprocal Gift Exchange 

∙ Here, the strategic goal of the giver is to create and maintain an unequal social relationship with  the gift receiver

∙ The receiver, unable to reciprocate, becomes obligated to the giver and must recognize the  giver’s social superiority

o Examples:

1. The participants enter the exchange with different resource endowments (e.g.  patron-client relationships, feudalism)

2. Participants attempt to outdo each other in competitive giving (e.g. New Guinea  “big Man” pig distribution events)

The Traditional Hindu Castle System is based on Unbalanced Reciprocal Exchange Brahmans provide ritual services to spiritually purify others (a high value service)

Lower castes, in exchange. Provide surplus production (like food) and labor services  (commonly available and of low value)

Here social exchange perpetuates a system of social and economic inequality

Commodity Exchange 

- Here the goal of social exchange is to obtain a needed good or  


- The purpose is not to establish and maintain an enduring  

social relationship

- Commodities are alienable

- Exchange participants are concerned with the relative of  

goods and services (not with the relative values of persons)

Commodity exchange I: Barrier 

- An exchange can take place if the exchanging parties agree between themselves on the  comparative values of goods or services exchanged (ad hoc evaluation of value) - The is especially likely if goods are unique and this not suited to standardized pricing - Barter is found an all human societies  

Commodity Exchange II: Price-making Markets 

- Markets require channels of information flow so that exchange participants can gauge market  variables influencing supply, demand, and price

- In “traditional” or “peasant” markets, crowds of sellers and buyers and fairs (market day  periodicity)  

Periodic markets from at least 5,000 YA but are found today in many developing areas and in developed  economies, for example farmer’s markets

Modern Markets 

∙ Over the last 5,000 years, social institutions and technologies provide more and better  information concerning market conditions (e.g. print and electronic media to communicate  information about market conditions) and continuous  

marketing (e.g. stores, online shops)

Transfers (“altruistic gift”): A transfer refers to a gift given  

with no expectation of a return – hence exchanging has no  

immediate consequences (is not reciprocal exchange).

Transfers: Salvation Religions 

- Good works, including anonymous charitable acts,  

are one path to salvation in the afterlife (therefore not  

reciprocal gift exchange)

- These ideas were first formulated in: Judaism,  

Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam  

Social differentiation

- This is between-person differences in terms of  

o Power

o Status

o Wealth

o Prestige

“Aspired” (or “closed”) and “Open” Social Differentiation

- Social differentiation is variable in terms of the degree of ascription (ascribed at birth) “Closed differentiation”

- More “open” systems allow for social mobility (e.g. by recruiting for status positions on the basis  of ability)

“Achieved differentiation”

Why do people accept closed social Differentiation?

Example: Households

- Degree of differentiation in domestic life (in the family is variable, and expressed in terms of  gender and generation)

Domestic habits

- The house itself and the habitual behaviors of everyday life  

(“domestic habitus”) encapsulate important principles of a culture

- Habitus predisposes persons (especially children) to accept social differentiation as natural  (“naturalization of hierarchy”)  

Three major Domestic Habitus

Traditional Chinese Indic (Hindu-Brahmanic) Islamic

Traditional Chinese Household  

- Married couples reside in husband’s parental house  

– the bride has low status and must obey husband’s  


- The household economy is pooled and controlled by  

the senior generation couple especially he father

- Children’s marriages are arranged by the parents

- The house is optimal when aligned with the natural  

flow of beneficial forces (north to south) – with  

rooms aligned in left-right symmetry  

- “geomancy” (“Feng shui”)

Traditional Chinese Habits

- Hierarchy is evident in the proximity of senior  

generation to the central axis of the dwelling – the line of connection with ancestral spirit forces  – junior household members are further form central axis

- Also: the senior generation is charged to manage ancestor rituals to maintain direct contact with  ancestral forces that proved benefits to the family

Domestic Habitus of Traditional Hindu House

- Spiritual purity and defilement are key cultural concepts (human  

action is required to sustain purity and avoid defilement)

- Purity is to defilement as back of the house is to front of the  

house (inside to outside)

- Back of the house is associated with females and food  


- Front/outside are associated with males, animals, and other  

polluting forces (water after bathing, elimination,  


Traditional Hindu Domestic Habitus and Social Differentiation

- Lower castes are more defiled (in small houses, proper separation of female/male domains is  difficult and women may work outside the house) – therefore low status, prestige health - In higher-castes households, females household members may be more restricted in their  movements and activities outside the house to avoid spiritual pollution

Traditional Islamic Domestic Habitus

- To maintain household prestige in the community household members must adhere to  religious norms

- A key aspect of this is to maintain appropriate relations between sexes (haram) Outside of the house = males

Inside of the house = females

- Females should be seen only by males who are related to them (father,  

brother, husband, male child)

- Male guests cannot come into the interior of the house where females  

might be present

- Husband and sons should be out of the house during the day

Sex, Gender and Culture

Sex differences – the typical differences between females and males that are most likely due to  biological differences.  

Gender differences – differences between females and males that reflect cultural expectations  and experiences.

Transgender - denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform  unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Gender Role Theories

Strength Theory – focuses on the generally greater strength of males and their superior capacity  to mobilize their strength in quick bursts of energy (because of greater aerobic work capacity).

The compatibility-with-child-care theory – emphasizes the women’s tasks need to be compatible  with child care. Although males can take care of infants, most traditional societies rely on breast feeding of infants, which men cannot do.  

Economy-of-effort theory - may help explain the patterns that cannot readily be explained by  strength and compatibility theories. For example, it may be advantageous for men to make  wooden musical instruments because men generally lumber (work with wood).

Expendability theory – suggests that men, rather than women, will tend to do the dangerous work  in a society because the loss of men is less disadvantageous than the loss of women.  

Does gender influences morality? - Yes. (Read more pp. 280-282)

What favors women’s participation in combat? – Women are active warriors. Husband – wife  relationship in combat conditions (p. 276).

Marriage and the Family

Theories of why marriage is nearly universal:

Gender Division of Labor – males and females in every society perform different economic  activities. The gender division of labor has often been the reason for marriage. Males and  females share the products of their labor.  

Prolonged Infant Dependency – Humans exhibit the longest period of dependency of any  primate. The child’s prolonged dependence places the greatest burden on the mothers, who is the  main child caregiver in most societies. It limits the amount of other work done by women.

Sexual Competition – unlike most other female primates, the human female may engage in  intercourse at any time throughout the ear. More or less continuous continuous female sexuality  created a serious problem - considerable sexual competition between males for females.  

Postpartum feeding – anthropologies think what human females has a postpartum feeding  problem. When humans lost most of their body hair, babies could not readily travel with the  mother by clinging in the fur. And when humans began to depend on certain kinds of food getting that could be dangerous (such as hunting), mothers could not engage in such work with  their infants along.  

Bride price or bride wealth is a gift of money or goods from the  

groom or his kin to the bride’s kin. The gift usually grants the groom the  right to marry the bride and the right to her children. Bride price occurs  

all over the world but is especially common in Africa and Oceania.  

Payment can be made in different currencies; livestock and food are two  of the most common. Cross-culturally, societies with bride price are likely  to practice horticulture and lack of social stratification. Bride price is also  likely where women contribute a great deal to primary subsistence activities  and where they contribute more than men to all kinds of economic activities.  Indeed, bride price is likely to occur in societies in which men make most of the  decisions in the household, and decision making by men is one indicator of lower  status of women.  

Dowry – is a usually substantial transfer of goods or money from the bride’s family to the bride,  the groom or the couple.  

Incest taboo – prohibition of sexual intercourse or marriage between mother and son, father and  daughter, and brother and sister; often extends to other relatives.  

Arranged marriage – in an appreciable number of societies, marriages are arranged; immediate  families or go-between handle the negotiations. Sometimes betrothals are completed while the  future partners are still children. Implicit in the arranged marriage is the conviction that the  joining together of two kin groups to form new social and economic ties is too important to be  left to free choice and romantic love.  

Exogamy – the rule specifying marriage to a person from outside one’s own group (kin or  community).

Endogamy – the rule specifying marriage to a person within one’s won group (kin or  community).

Preferred cousin marriage – although most societies prohibit marriage with all types of first  cousins, some societies allow and even prefer particular kinds of cousin marriage. When first cousin marriage is allowed or preferred, it is usually with some kind of cross-cousin. Parallel

cousin marriage is fairly rare, but Muslim societies usually prefer such marriages, allowing other  cousin marriages as well. Many small, sparsely populated societies permit or even prefer cousin  marriage.  

Family and Relationship

Affinal kin (the family forms though marriage); affines are kin related by marriage (e.g. an affinal  family – marriage only)

Contrast between family and household: - A family dimension emphasizes the nature of  kinship relations among family members: marriage and biological reproduction - A household dimension emphasizes the economy of co-residents who share a dwelling  (household economy)

Variation in family Part I:

One form is husband-wife marriage:

The nuclear family: husband, wife, unmarried children

(Other terms that refer to the nuclear family:  

conjugal, simple, elementary, primary,  


The nuclear family occurs frequent but is not the  

most common form of the family in societies  

known ethnographically  

In the case of nuclear families, married children live separately from parents (“neolocal” post-martial  residence)

- Neolocal post-martial residence of nuclear families allows for the greatest flexibility of post  martial residence

- But is only 5% of known societies

- (is common among highly mobile foragers and in industrial  


Variation in Forms of the Family, Part II:

Polygamous Families/Households

(Multiple spouses are permitted)

- Types of marriage allowed as a percent of all ethnographically known societies (but not the  percentage of actual families):

- Where polygamy is allowed (multiple wives) 84% (although even where permitted, monogamy is  often the most frequent from)

- Polyandry (multiple husbands) 0.5%

- (Monogamy is preferred or mandated form: 15%)

Variation, Part III:

Extended Families/Households

- Humans have a strong tendency to form extended (multi-family) households (married couples  reside with parents and/or other married siblings)

- The married couple resides with husband’s family (patrilocal or virilocal post-martial residence):  67% of all known societies  

- The couple resides with wife’s parents (matrilocal post-martial residence): 15% - (neolocal residence is 5% of societies)  

Forms of Extended Household

1. Stem (one married child remains with parents) – e.g. the U.S. and Europe until the middle 1800s,  traditional Japan

2. Joint (married siblings share residence)

3. Complex (multiple generations and multiple married siblings) – e.g. traditional Chinese  households

Variation in Family and Household, Part IV:


1. Single parent with child (e.g. matrifocal)

2. Co-resident siblings and their children (e.g. Na of China, Nayar in India) (no marriages) Family Household Variation, Part V:

“Men’s House System”

A Big Man refers to a highly influential individual in a tribe, especially in Melanesia and Polynesia. Such  person may not have formal tribal or other authority (through for instance material possessions, or  inheritance of rights), but can maintain recognition through skilled persuasion and wisdom. The big man  has a large group of followers, both from his clan and from other clans. He provides his followers with  protection and economic assistance, in return receiving support which he uses to increase his status.

Moso and NA ethics groups – China

∙ Consanguineal matrilineal kinship

∙ Households of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles across generations

∙ Monogamy & marriage not institutionalized

▪ Sexual relationship in Moso and Na cultures

o Tisese (moso)

o Nana sese hing (Na)

▪ "visits" of males to female’s room, lasting only a night  

▪ But long-term, exclusive partnerships often established based on feeling in love ▪ Prior mutual consent

▪ Non contractual, non-obligatory, and nonexclusive

▪ Offspring resulting from "visits" are not considered family of the male

▪ Children raised in mother's consanguineal and matrilineal household

▪ Contrast with normative forms of family and relationships in our own society and those of Han  Chinese

Kinship and Reckoning of Descent

- Notions of kinship and descent specify a person’s obligations and privileges to those others who  are related to them though birth and marriage


Diagraming Conventions of kinship systems  

In many foraging and industrial societies, the nuclear family is  

emphasizes (family mobility is important)

- The devolution of wealth (inheritances) occurs primary  

within the nuclear family (parents to children)

- Collateral kin are recognized, but have little importance  

for inheritances or other domestic activities

Nuclear family systems and “descriptive kinship terminologies

- Here, strong distinction is made between lineal and collateral kin as indicated by separate  kinship terms

- Terms for parent, children and brother/sister are distinct from terms for collaterals (e.g.  aunt/uncle and cousin terms)

Nuclear systems and “bilateral descent reckoning” and the “kindred”

∙ Each person traces descent equally from both mother’s and father’s side of the family ∙ Kindred (each person has a unique set of kin – a kindred) 

A kindred is not a cohesive cooperative group

- Each person has a unique network of consanguineal and affinal kin

- To “mobilize” one’s kindred to realize some shared goal is unlikely (persons have obligations to  multiple other kin)

Mid-range societies

(Not foragers or modern industrialized)

∙ Tend more toward agrarian economy

∙ Family mobility is not as important

∙ Control of localized resources my require corporate groups (i.e property-holding groups) when  property rights are not protected by law, and it is not possible to create a business, charitab;e  organization, etc., through a legal process  

Unilineal descent

- Make use kinship and descent reckoning from ancestors to create a cohesive social group larger  than nuclear family

- Trace descent through:

o Males (“patrilineal” descent)

o Females (“matrilineal” descent)

o (in bilateral descent and the kindred, descent is traced through both males and females)

Matrilineal Descent

- A person is a member of a group that traces descent through females (a “matrilineage”) - This fact shapes many aspects of one’s life including residence, shared ownership and work, and  inheritances (the matrilineage is a corporate group i.e. property owning group)

Matrilineage Members:

∙ Ego (male or female), mother, mother’s sisters, mother’s sister’s children (but can be expanded  to include more generations)

∙ Ego’s father is not a member of ego’s matrilineage (he is a member of his mother’s matrilineage)

Patrilineal Descent

- A “patrilineage” (a corporate group) would include

o Ego (male of female), father, father’s brothers, father’s brother’s children o (but can be expanded to include more generations)

o (mother is not a member of ego’s patrilineage – she is a member of her father’s  patrilineage)

Patrilineal Members:

∙ Ego (male or female), father, father’s brothers, father’s brother’s children (but can be expanded  to include more generations)

∙ Ego’s mother is not a member of ego’s patrilineage (she is a member of her father’s  patrilineage)

Unilineal Descent

- Many “middle range” societies (more complex  

than foragers but not highly complex states) feature  

systems of unilineal descent

- 68% of ethnographically known societies have  

unilineal descent groups  

- (and of these, tracing descent through males is  

three times more common than though females)

Nuclear family emphasis

- Bilateral (or “bilineal”) descent

- The “kindred”

- And “descriptive” kin terminology (separate  

terms for lineal and collateral kin)

Unilineal Descent Groups

- Ego’s most  

significant social ties are to all persons descended  

from a common ancestor traces either through  

males or females

- To reflect  

there extra-family ties beyond lineal kin, lineal  

terms are extended to collateral kin  

(“classificatory kinship terminology”)

Classificatory Kinship terminology  

(Unlike descriptive kin terminology)

- Classificatory: lineal terms are used for collaterals who are member of the same descent group - Typically: Fa’s Bro is called by the same term as Fa

- Fa’s Bro’s children are addressed as Bro and Si

“Parallel Cousins”

- Parallel cousins (e.g. father’s brother’s children and mother’s sister’s children) - Why: in patrilineal descent, Fa’s Bro’s Children are the same unilineal descent group as ego - In matrilineal descent, Mo’s Si’s children are the same unilineal descent group as ego

“Cross Cousins”

- Cross cousins: father’s sister’s children and mother’s brother’s children

- In patrilineal descent, Fa’s Si marries into her husband’s descent group; their children are  member of her husband’s descent group and are as a result cross cousins

- In matrilineal descent, Mo’s Bro’s children are members of his wife’s matrilineage (this “cross  cousins”)

Marriageable Cousins?

- In systems of unilineal descent, “parallel cousins” (father’s brother’s children or mother’s sister’s  children, are addressed as “brother” or “sister” and therefore are not marriageable) - However, the “cross cousins” might be marriageable (father’s sister’s children, mother’s  brother’s children) – they are addressed with “cousin” terms

Lineage Households

E.g. Iroquois “Long-House” (matrilineal descent)

- in societies with matrilineal descent, a boy’s major “father figure” (i.e. the man who is most  concerned to teach a boy and discipline him, etc.) is mother’s brother

- a boy’s relationship with his father is affectionate, but father does not belong to the boy’s  descent group

Patrilineal Descent and Women’s Status

- women’s status is lower in patrilineal societies (but relatively higher in matrilineal cases) - a married couple’s estate is not theirs – it is owned by husband’s or wife’s descent group - In patrilineal descent, If husband predeceases wife, the family’s wealth goes to his brothers,  leaving wife with no property

Advantages or Disadvantages in Shared Property Ownership by Kin Groups?

- According to economic theory the descent group is a barrier to economic development (with  shared property rights, there is less motivation to invest or innovate)

- It is true that shared ownership can lead to disputes over business decisions  - Example: small South Asian businesses in the U.S. (mostly hotels)

o Credit can be obtained from kin and with no collateral

o Repayments is as convenient, depending on success (with bank lean, any missed  payments will lead to default and loss of the business)

Ethic Groups and Their Subdivisions Based on Unilineal Descent

- Members of clan recognized their ultimate common shared ancestry, but reside in  geographically diverse locations (“phratry” is sometimes used for multiple descent-group  segments)

- Ethnic or tribal group – all persons who trace their ancestry to a founding person/couple or a  totem (from a tribal origin myth)  

Lineage and clan Organized into larger Social Groups

- Moiety reflects the duality of the original split between founder’s children (or some similar  account of a dual division of society)

- Clans will belong to one or the other moiety (moiety isn’t always found, but is common) Unilineal Descent and Person’s Identity

- A person’s identity is layered or “nested”:

o Self

o Nuclear family

o Lineage

o Clan

o Moiety segment

o Ethnicity (tribal membership)

o Nation state

Why Unilineal Organizations?

Costs and Benefits


- A descent group is able to provide services through the tribal leadership when there is no state  or when a weak state is unable to provide adequate guarantees of individual security, property  rights, or adjudicative services


- Social differentiation is ascripted, not based on achievement (a privileged “clan aristocracy”), so  governance may be indifferent or inefficient and not accountable to the clan members - Ethnic identity may be counter to the principles of democratic society  

The Interesting Case of the Moiety  

- Many mid-range societies and other kinds of human social groups feature moiety (dual)  organization

- Often a moiety serves to allocate positions of authority equally between two groups (for  example, alternating key positions between the two segments)

- The “friendly competition” between segments may be a motivating force


Totem – a plant or an animal associated with a clan (sib) as a means of group identification; may  have other special significance.

Clan – a set of kin whose members believe themselves to be descended from a common ancestor  or ancestress but cannot specify the links back to that founder; often designated by a totem. Also  called a sib.

Lineage - a set of kin whose members trace descent from a common ancestor through known  links.  

Moiety – A unilineal descent group in a society that is divided into two such maximal groups;  there may be smaller unilineal descent groups as well.

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