Kinship and Domestic Life (Chapter 6). The BIG Questions. How do cultures create kinship ties through descent, sharing, and marriage? What is a household and what do anthropologists study about household life? How are kinship and households changing?. What is Kinship Cross-Culturally?.
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The BIG Questions • How do cultures create kinship ties through descent, sharing, and marriage? • What is a household and what do anthropologists study about household life? • How are kinship and households changing?
What is Kinship Cross-Culturally? • What is kinship? • Kinship is a sense of being related to another person or persons • A family is a group of people who consider themselves related through kinship (can be by blood, marriage, or adoption) • Has various rules and/or laws determining who is kin and who is not, what to call various kin, how they behave towards other kin, etc. • A kinship system is the combination of rules about who are kin and the expected behavior of kin • Kinship links with all aspects of culture • Kinship is often linked with modes of production and reproduction, as well as various symbols and beliefs
What is the importance of kinship? • Is a main way that social life is organized in all cultures • The kinship group has a variety of functions… • Ensures the continuity of the group by arranging/supporting marriages • Strives to maintain social order by setting moral rules and punishing offenders • Provides for the basic needs of members by regulating production, consumption, and distribution • Ideally provides psychological support
What is the importance of kinship? • Especially in societies where other institutions such as centralized government, a professional military, or financial banks are absent or do not function effectively, in such societies individuals must depend on a wide network of kin for support and protection • Need kin to secure food, shelter, and other necessities
Depicting Kinship • Kinship diagram • A schematic way of presenting the kinship relationships of a particular individual • Starts with a particular individual (ego) • Genealogy • A schematic way of presenting a family tree, constructed by beginning with the earliest ancestors that can be traced, then working down to the present • Does not begin with ego
Drawing a Kinship Chart: Symbols for Individuals female male deceased female deceased male female “ego” of the diagram male “ego” of the diagram
Kinship Relationships is married to is cohabiting with is divorced from is separated from adopted-in female adopted-in male is descended from is the sibling of
Three Ways of Being Kin • Descent • Sharing • Marriage
Descent • Descent is the tracing of kinship relationships through parentage • Bilateral descent system • A child is recognized as being related by descent to both parents • Most associated with foraging and industrialism/informatics modes of production • Unilineal descent system • Recognizes descent through only one parent, either the father (patrilineal) or the mother (matrilineal) • Most common form of descent (60 percent of the world’s cultures) • Most associated with pastoralism, horticulture, and agricultural modes of production
Descent • Which descent system do we have in the U.S.? • Bilateral descent system or Unilineal descent system
Descent • Which descent system do we have in the U.S.? • Bilateral descent system • Socially related to both our parents • Trace ancestry through both our parents • Some aspects of a patrilineal system • Women taking on husband’s last name when they marry • Children receiving father’s last name • Father giving away daughter at the wedding • Some aspects of a matrilineal system • High divorce rates or female-headed households • Children often live with mother, take on mother’s last name
Bilateral Descent • Traces kinship from both parents equally to the child • Socially related to both the mother and father • Found in about 40 percent of the world’s cultures • Most common among foraging societies and industrial/informatics societies • Both rely on a flexible gender division of labor in which both males and females contribute to production and exchange relatively equally • Small family units in these environments are adaptive and more mobile – more opportunities for surviving and making a living • U.S. • Ju/’hoansi • Inuit/Eskimo
Patrilineal Descent • Kinship is traced through the male line • Socially related to father • Found among 45 percent of all cultures • Common in a variety of different modes of production • Most common in areas where men play the primary role in the production of food and other resources • Men are the primary decision makers and have the most power • Property is passed down through the male line
Found among 45% of all cultures • Kinship is traced through the male line • Males dominate status, power, and property • Patriline = purple color in this diagram Patrilineal Descent
Matrilineal Descent • Kinship is traced through the female line • Socially related to mother • Male in the society “holds his children in his lap, but guides his nieces and nephews with his right hand.” Male takes special responsibility for his sister’s children, who are socially more related to him than his own children (p. 146) • Found among 15 percent of all cultures • Exists in a variety of modes of production but is most commonly found in horticultural societies in which females play a large role in the production and distribution of food and other resources • Often associated with public leadership positions for women
Matrilineal Descent • Found among 15% of all cultures • Kinship is traced through the female line • Women control land and products • Found in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and in some parts of Europe and North America • Example: the Minangkabau of Indonesia • Matriline = purple color in this diagram
Residence Rules • Refer to where a couple moves to after they decide to cohabit or get married • Patrilocal • Matrilocal • Neolocal • Ambilocal or Bilocal • Often follows the prevailing direction of descent rules, but not always • Ashanti – matrilineal and patrilocal • Has political, economic, and social implications
Residence Rules • Patrilocal (or virilocal) – marital residence with or near the husband’s family • Often occurs in patrilineal societies • Patrilineal descent and patrilocal residence promote the development of cohesive male-focused lineages that are associated with frequent local warfare, which requires the presence of a force of fighting men on the home front • Often occurs in societies where men own/control land and resources
Residence Rules • Matrilocal (or uxorilocal) – martial residence with or near the wife’s family • Often occurs in matrilineal societies • Matrilineal descent and matrilocal residence is often found among groups that engage in long-distance warfare • Strong female household bonds maintain the domestic scene while the men are absent on military campaigns (e.g. precolonial Iroquois of upstate New York) • Often occurs in societies where women own/control land and resources
Residence Rules • Neolocal • Marital residence in a place different from either the bride’s or groom’s family • Common in Western industrialized society • Small family units in these environments are adaptive and more mobile – more opportunities for surviving and making a living
Residence Rules • Ambilocal or bilocal • Marital residence in a place near either the bride’s or groom’s family • Get to choose which side of the family to live near • Common in foraging societies • Genders have relatively equal power • More adaptive depending on the available environmental resources
Kin through Sharing • Many cultures emphasize kinship ties based on acts of sharing and support • May be either informal or formally certified • Godparents • Adoption • Fostering a child • Food sharing • Rice-sharing in Malaysia – people who eat cooked rice together may be viewed as kin although they are not blood relatives
In many cultures people create kinship through sharing Food sharing Adoption and fostering Godparents Kinship Through Sharing
Marriage - Definition • Marriage exists in all cultures, though it may take different forms and serve different functions. • Marriage is defined as a more or less stable union, usually between two people, who may be, but are not necessarily, co-residential, sexually involved with each other, and procreative with each other.
Some Functions of Marriage • To form alliances between or within different groups or families • Establish social and economic contracts • To rear children • To define social identity of children • To regulate sexual activity
Marriage Preferences and Rules • All cultures have preferences about whom one should and should not marry and with whom one should and should not have sexual intercourse • Some preferences are informal and implicit • Other preferences are formal and explicit • All cultures have some sort of rules of exclusion or incest taboo - a rule prohibiting marriage or sexual intercourse between close relatives • Who is defined as a “close” relative differs across cultures • Universal – taboo against marriage or sexual relationships between parents and children • Nearly universal – taboo against marriage and sexual relationships between brothers and sisters
Marriage Preferences • Also preferences about marrying within or outside of a particular group • Endogamy – marriage within a particular group • e.g. marrying someone within your social class • e.g. marrying someone within your religion • e.g. marrying someone within your village • e.g. marrying someone within your kin • Cross-cousin marriage • Parallel-cousin marriage • Exogamy – marriage outside a defined group • e.g. marrying someone outside your village • e.g. marrying someone outside your social class • A society that practices exogamy at one level may practice endogamy at another.
Is first cousin marriage legal in the U.S.? • It is in many states! • http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=4266
But – oh no, you say! If I do that my children will be horribly deformed!
But – oh no, you say! If I do that my children will be horribly deformed! • But not so fast… • That depends largely on the genetics of the family • A number of research studies show that risks of genetic problems are only slightly increased with first-cousin marriage • First cousins: know the risks.(Upfront: News in perspective)(Brief article). Source:New Scientist 198.2657 (May 24, 2008): p4(1). (276 words) • (continued on next page)
But – oh no, you say! If I do that my children will be horribly deformed! • “geneticist Alan Bittles of Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, says education and genetic testing is the best way to minimise the risk.” • “To estimate the risk, Bittle reviewed 48 studies from 11 countries. He found that infant mortality is only 1.2 per cent higher among the children of first cousins compared with children that have more distantly related parents. That is in line with a 2002 review suggesting that first-cousin children are less than 3 per cent more likely to have birth defects.”
Marriage Preferences • What are some factors involved in spouse selection? • What characteristics would your ideal spouse have? • How do you think your family’s idea of an ideal spouse for you would compare/contrast with your idea of the ideal spouse? • Would you be open to the idea of your family arranging a marriage for you? Why or why not? • How are these ideas influenced by your culture?
Marriage Preferences • Preferences • Features such as age, height, looks, wealth, education, personality characteristics • Romantic love in some cultures • Spouse’s ability to bear children, physical strength, clan membership, etc. in other cultures
Marriage Gifts • Most marriages are accompanied by exchanges of goods or services between the partners, members of their families, and friends • Dowry – transfer of goods and sometimes money from the bride’s side of the family to the new married couple for their use • Brideprice (bridewealth) – transfer of goods or money from the groom’s family to the bride’s family • Bride-service – a type of brideprice which includes the transfer of labor from the groom to his parents-in-law for a designated time period • Can get mixtures of these – U.S. groom’s family traditionally pays for the rehearsal dinner and bride’s family pays for the wedding
Forms of Marriage • Monogamy – a marriage between two people • Heterosexual monogamy is the most common form of marriage cross-culturally • In many countries it is the only legal form of marriage • Polygamy – a marriage involving multiple spouses • A pattern allowed in many cultures • Are two forms of polygamy… • Polygyny – marriage of one man with more than one woman • Polyandry – marriage of one woman with more than one man • Tibet, Nepal, Sri Lanka, some parts of India
Monogamy: marriage between two people Most common form of marriage cross-culturally Polygamy: marriage with multiple spouses Polygyny: one man and more than one woman Polyandry: one woman and more than one man Forms of Marriage
Polygamy Videos • Polygamy in the U.S. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkMgjxU6gN0 • Estimated between 30,000 and 100,000 polygamists living in the U.S. • Polygamy amongst the Maasi • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq_cptHufTQ&feature=related
Forms of Marriage • What are some drawbacks and advantages of polygamy?