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Lecture 03/23/2016 - 03/29/2016

by: Viktoryia Zhuleva

Lecture 03/23/2016 - 03/29/2016 ANTH 10000

Marketplace > Purdue University > Liberal Arts > ANTH 10000 > Lecture 03 23 2016 03 29 2016
Viktoryia Zhuleva
GPA 3.0

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Kinship and the Reckoning of Descent, all three lectures included
Dr. Richard Blanton
Class Notes
Anthropology, Purdue
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Viktoryia Zhuleva on Saturday March 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 10000 at Purdue University taught by Dr. Richard Blanton in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 52 views. For similar materials see Anthropology in Liberal Arts at Purdue University.


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Date Created: 03/26/16
Lecture 03/23/2016 Kinship and the 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 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 Costs: - 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 -


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