CST 241-04

Kinship and descent: the basis of human society

Kinship relations

  • types of relations
    • consanguineal
    • affinal
  • functions of kinship
    • continuity thru descent
    • support network
  • kinship and cultural rules and customs
    • indentify relatives
    • determine appropriate behavior
      • inheritance, succession, obligations

Descent systems

  • unilineal – 60%
    • patrilineal
    • matrilineal
      • clans & totems (applies to both matri- & patri-)
  • non-unilineal
    • bilateral – 35%
      • kindred
    • double descent – 5%

*** HANDOUT: descent flowcharts
parallel cousins: Brothers’ children marry
cross cousins: Brother’s-sister’s children marry

Classification and terminology

classification systems

  • Eskimo (western societies, foragers)
  • Hawai’ian (Polynesia) — simplest
  • Sudanese (some African regions) — most complex
  • Crow (Native American)
  • Omaha (Native American)
  • Iroquois (Native American)

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