Kimberly Martin, Ph.D. ANTH 250: Issues in Anthropology
DEFINITION The rules and standards for organizing into families We use kinship diagrams to visually understand kinship groups
Kinship Diagrams are the visual presentation of kinship relationships through symbols The main symbols used are shown at the right The reference point for a kinship diagram is always one individual called EGO = male = female = siblings = = marriage = = parents & offspring
A standard kinship diagram has two of each type of relative EGO can have, one that is male and one that is female. As a result, standard kinship diagram does not have the complexity of most real family diagrams. A standard kinship diagram is shown below. Notice that EGO’s parents each have two siblings, one sister and one brother. Likewise each of these has two children, one male and one female.
DEFINITION Relationships and/or a descent group based on male links only
The diagram below shows all relatives in EGO’s patrilineage in blue. Notice that if a person is in EGO’s patrilineage, all siblings of that person are also in EGO’s patrilineage. EGO’s mother is not part of his patrilineage, nor are any of her family members. His mother is part of another patrilineage that includes 3, 10, 12, 13, 23 and 24.
The diagram below shows how property is typically inherited in a patrilineal system. The blue lines show how inheritance moves from one male individual in a generation to male individuals in succeeding generations.
DEFINITION Relationships and/or a descent group based on female links only
The diagram below show all relatives in EGO’s matrilineage in pink. Notice that if a person is in EGO’s matrilineage, all siblings of that person are also in EGO’s patrilineage. EGO’s father is not part of his matrilineage, nor are any of his family members. His father is part of another matrilineage that includes 2, 6, 7, 9, 15 and 16.
The diagram below shows how property is typically inherited in a matrilineal system. Notice that females are the links that connect men who will inherit. The pink lines show how inheritance moves from one male individual in a generation to male individuals in succeeding generations. Women do not typically manage property, even in a matrilineal system.
In matrilineal societies, EGO’s mother’s brother is a very important relative, because he is the one who controls the property that EGO will inherit. EGO is the mother’s brother of his sister’s son(s). EGO will therefore manage his matrilineage’s property for his sister’s sons to inherit. EGO’s own children will not inherit from him. They will inherit from their mother’s (EGO’s future wife’s) brother(s).
Nuclear family members are considered the most important relatives in our culture, but not necessarily in other cultures. They consist of a husband and wife and their offspring. In our standard kinship diagram you can identify seven nuclear families. The nuclear family made up of 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 used to be a nuclear family, but the children have grown and started their own nuclear families, as have the children in the nuclear family formed by 3, 4, 10, 12 and 13. There are five nuclear families shown in EGO’s parents generation. They are: 5, 6, 15 and 16 7, 8 17 and 18 9, 10, 19, 20 and EGO 11, 12, 21 and 22 13, 14, 23 and 24
In the diagram below, all the different nuclear families are shown indifferent colors. Notice that the adults in EGO’s parent’s generation are members of two different nuclear families.
Many societies recognize classes of relatives that we do not recognize. These classes of relatives seem arbitrary and illogical to us, however, they are central to understanding how these societies organize their kinship systems. Two classes of relatives that are important in other societies are Cross Relatives and Parallel Relatives. PARALLEL RELATIVES are the same sex siblings of EGO’s parents and the children of the same sex siblings. CROSS RELATIVES are the opposite sex siblings of EGO’s parents and the children of these opposite sex siblings.
In the diagram below, Parallel relatives are colored in magenta Cross relatives are colored in lavendar
There are six ways of organizing and classifying members of EGO’s kin group. Each of these uses a different set of terms to refer to relatives. We study these different kinship terminologies because they reflect the kinds of relationships EGO is expected to have with various members of his family. The six types of kinship terminologies are named after the first exotic culture that was found to use that particular pattern of family relationships.
Eskimo Terminology is like what mainstream Americans use to refer to their relatives. Nuclear family members call each other by a set of terms that differentiate gender and generation. Collateral relatives are labeled by generation and gender in the parent generation, but only by generation in Ego’s generation.
Iroquois terminology gives different status to parallel relatives than to cross relatives. Parallel relatives are treated like nuclear family members, and called mother and father in EGO’s parent generation, and brother and sister in EGO’s generation. Cross relatives are considered to be more distant and have aunt, uncle and cousin-like terms.
Hawaiian kin terms are quite simple. Every consanguineal relative in EGO’s parent’s generation is a mother or a father, and every consanguineal relative in EGO’s generation is a brother or a sister.
Sudanese kin terms assign a separate term to every relationship that EGO has, specifying the exact links to EGO.
Marriage is the socially recognized contract between two individuals for the purposes of regulating sexual behavior, bearing and raising children, and cooperatively making a living. In most cultures, marriage is not only a union of two individuals, but also of two families.
Bride price/bridewealth = the goods given to the bride’s family to show how much she is valued by her prospective groom and/or how much the union is desired by the groom. Dowry = property brought by the bride into the marriage, either given to her groom, or managed by her as a part of her new household. Suitor Service/Groom Service = work done by the prospective groom for an agreed upon period of time instead of bridewealth/brideprice.
Monogamy = the marriage of one man to one woman Polygamy = a marriage involving multiple spouses of either sex – 3 kinds = 1. Polygyny = the marriage of a man to multiple wives 2. Polyandry = the marriage of a woman to multiple husbands (most commonly brothers to one another) 3. Group or Plural Marriage = the marriage of more than one man to more than one woman
Exogamy is marriage outside a defined group of people. The most common form of exogamy is the universal incest taboo, that requires people to marry outside their nuclear family. There are also a variety of ways of extending the universal incest taboo, including lineage/clan exogamy, that requires an individual to marry outside his/her lineage or clan.
Endogamy is marriage within a defined group of people. Requirements to marry someone of the same ethnic group, religion, educational level or socioeconomic status are examples of endogamy
Residence pattern refers to the place a couple goes to live after their marriage. Examples of residence patterns include: Neolocal = a new residence away from both families Commonlocal = a separate residence near to both bride’s and groom’s families Patrilocal = moving into the household of the groom’s parents Matrilocal = moving into the household of the bride’s parents Virilocal = moving into the neighborhood/village of the groom’s family Uxorilocal = moving into the neighborhood/village of the bride’s family Ambilocal = having a choice between moving in with the bride’s family or the groom’s family Avunculocal = moving into the groom’s mother’s brother’s household
There are three general kinds of household form: Nuclear family = consists of a man, his wife and their offspring (or a same-sex couple and their offspring) Extended family = more than two generations of consanguineal kin living together in the same household Polygamous family = a man and his wives or a woman and her husbands living together in the same household. Also multiple spouses of both sexes living in a household together. Satellite Polygynous family = a man and his wives when each wife has her own dwelling (usually near to each other) and the man lives in turn with his wives.