Kinship and Domestic Life- Kinship is a very old topic in cultural anthropology. The ?armchair? anthropologists, whom we talked about in the beginning of the course, spent a lot of time studying kinship systems. The questionnaires that travelers, explorers and missionaries sent back to them were full of information about kinship systems. Kinship is culturally constructed, despite the fact that it feels so natural to us, and we talk about it in terms of ?blood?, as in ?my mother?s sister is my blood relative.? This seeming ?naturalness? masks the fact that kinship is a product of culture, a sentiment that is captured in the quote on the slide: Like one?s language, one?s kinship system is so ingrained that it is taken for granted as something natural rather than cultural. How individuals define themselves in relationship to others within a society, what meanings different relationships take on and what roles are appropriate for different individuals has a lot to do with what type of kinship system is operating in a given culture. These and many other dimensions of kinship are learned during enculturaltion or socialization rather than fixed at birth. They are culturally variable, no universal to the human species or constant across all cultures. Anthropologists use the phrase ?cultural construction of kinship? to emphasize that different cultures have distinctive ideas about the relationships between different individuals who are related genealogically and use these ideas to define proper behavior among them. Kinship systems are not random. There are hundreds of cultures in the world; however, there are only a few ways that kinship systems are organized. An important way to understand the differences is by understanding how kinship systems have a strong tendency to vary according to the mode of production. Definitions- First, we can start with some definitions. Kinship: a sense of being related to another person or persons. Rules about who are kin can be either informal or formalized in law. From infancy, people begin learning about their particular culture?s Kinship system: the combination of rules about who are kin and the expected behavior of kin. Kinship System- Every kinship system has rules to determine who is kin and what different kin are expected to do. Kinship systems have rules about the following: How to carry out the reproduction of legitimate group members (marriage or adoption). Where group members should live after marriage (residence rules). How to establish links between generations (descent). How to pass on social positions (succession). How to pass on material goods (inheritance). Nuclear Family- Let?s start with the nuclear family. This should be a type of family organization that is very familiar to us. Nuclear families are common in foraging and industrial/informatics modes of production. It might seem strange at first that we share something in common with foragers because our lifestyles are so different. However, one thing we have in common is the need to be mobile. Throughout the year, temperate-region foragers must move their camps several times in order to have access to water and food resources. In industrial/informatics societies, individuals and families must be mobile and move to where there is work, whether that means to a different city, state or even country. Imagine that, after you graduate, you are hired for a job in Ohio. It would be difficult to move yourself along with your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles to Ohio. Of course, in our culture, you wouldn?t be expected to move everyone with you, you and your spouse and children would be the only ones expected to move. In industrial society, extended family ties are not as highly valued as in other cultures; individuals are expected to move to where work is, even if it means being far away from other family members. The most common family arrangement in industrial societies is the nuclear family. When individuals in an industrial society get married, it is most common for them to form a ?new household, a household that is separate from the groom?s or the bride?s family. In foraging culture, newlyweds typically live with the groom?s or bride?s family, or sometimes switch between groups. Nuclear families are ephemeral or short-lived. A nuclear family lasts as long as parents and children are together. This is a major difference when compared with descent groups, which we will talk about in a minute. Descent groups last for multiple generations, sometimes hundreds of generations. Finally, nuclear families have bilineal descent. Children are considered to be descended from both mother and father, and general inheritance rules suggest that property is divided equally between sons and daughters. However, in the U.S., there is some discussion about how accurate this model is given our culturally diverse nation. Descent- Descent is the tracing of kinship relationships through parentage. It is based on the fact that everybody is born from someone else. Descent creates a line of people from whom someone is descended, stretching through history. But not all cultures reckon descent in the same way. Some cultures have a bilineal descent system, in which a child is recognized as being related by descent to both parents, something I just talked about on the last slide. Others have a unilineal descent system, which recognizes descent through only one parent, either the father or the mother. The distribution of bilineal and unilineal systems is roughly correlated with different modes of production as you can see in Figure 6.1 in your Miller book on page 127. There are two types of unilineal descent: patrilineal and matrilineal. In a patrilineal descent system, which is found in about 45% of the world?s cultures, an individual joins his or her father?s group automatically at birth. In a matrilineal system, which is found in about 15% of the world?s cultures, an individual belongs to the mother?s group from birth. When those individuals mature, they will most likely marry members from outside of their kinship group. This is known as exogamy. A descent group endures even though the particular members within the group change through time. Members who die are replaced by members who are born. Even if an individual marries, he or she never changes descent group membership. A woman does not belong to her husband?s group. Similarly, a man does not belong to his wife?s group. Residence Rules- Patrilocality: residence with husband?s family. Highly associated with patrilineal descent. Keeps related men together. Matrilocality: less common. Residence with wife?s family. Keeps related women together Neolocal: ?new? household, separate from spouses? families travisj C:\Documents and Settings\TravisJ\Desktop\Personal\School\ASB 102\Lecture 6 - Part I.wpd
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