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Kinship and family - introduction to Anthropology

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Kinship Anthropology - introduction to Anthropology

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Kinship and family - introduction to Anthropology

  1. 1. THE IDEA OF FAMILY
  2. 2. Kinship Anthropology questions who can we marry? Who can’t we marry? 01 What is this given person relation to another one? 02 What are the emic terms used to designate relations? 03
  3. 3. kinship: organization of family relations in a given society Families fulfill similar functions in most societies: • comfort and belonging for members • a sense of identity, shared values and ideals • economic cooperation • nurturance of children
  4. 4. Kinship terminology A set of vocabulary designating relations between Ego (a person) and individuals who are his/her parents by alliance or consanguinity
  5. 5. The kinship atom Ego + parents + siblings
  6. 6. Various criteria to define kinship ■ Generation: ascending/descending ■ Gender and sex: male/female ■ Marrying from ■ the father’s family side: patrilineal ■ The mother’s family side: matrilineal ■ Residence rule: patrilocal/matrilocal
  7. 7. gender generation marriage side residence rule categories of parents with whom differential social relationships are associated Kinship terminology reflects the structure of a society’s social relations
  8. 8. Morgan, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, 1871 Two kinds of kinship Descriptive: the word used is according the degree of proximity or distance towards a person Classificatory: in some societies, such as that of using father for both father and brother, is related to a common category, that of males.
  9. 9. Freud,Totem and taboo (1913) Study ofTotemist Australian Aborigines Incest prohibition is universal Incest prohibition is ruled either by law, either by instinct
  10. 10. Westermarck (1926) familiarity in young age tends to inhibit sexual attraction Sexual indifference is associated to an aversion induced by incest There is no biologic aversion for consanguineous reproduction
  11. 11. Claude Lévi-Strauss (1960’s) The elementary rules of Alliance theory: ■ Giving/countergiving defines culture ■ Women are the “supreme gift” ■ The exchange of women allows incest prohibition ■ The exchange of women is political, economic ■ Incest taboo is universal and culturally variable
  12. 12. ■ Families fulfill similar functions in most societies: – comfort and belonging for members – a sense of identity, shared values and ideals – economic cooperation – nurturance of children ■ Kinship is based on descent and marriage ■ These depend on cultural contexts ■ Kinship is dynamic: Families are not permanent entities ■ Individuals may be members of multiple families in the course of a lifetime Remember…

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