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In
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist
Robin Fox Robin Fox (born 1934) is an Anglo-American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social anthropology, cult ...

Robin Fox
states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of lifemating, gestation, parenthood,
socialization In sociology, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but
e
e
can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups. Kinship can refer both to the patterns of social relationships themselves, or it can refer to the study of the patterns of social relationships in one or more human cultures (i.e. kinship studies). Over its history,
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
has developed a number of related concepts and terms in the study of kinship, such as descent, descent group, lineage, affinity/affine,
consanguinity/cognate
consanguinity/cognate
and
fictive kinship Fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread speci ...
. Further, even within these two broad usages of the term, there are different theoretical approaches. Broadly, kinship patterns may be considered to include people related by both descent – i.e. social relations during development – and by
marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...

marriage
. Human kinship relations through
marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...

marriage
are commonly called "affinity" in contrast to the relationships that arise in one's group of origin, which may be called one's descent group. In some cultures, kinship relationships may be considered to extend out to people an individual has economic or political relationships with, or other forms of social connections. Within a culture, some descent groups may be considered to lead back to
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

gods
or animal ancestors (
totem A totem (from oj, ᑑᑌᒼ, italics=no or ''doodem The Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Saulteaux, O ...

totem
s). This may be conceived of on a more or less literal basis. Kinship can also refer to a principle by which individuals or groups of individuals are organized into
social groups In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Regardless, social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties ...
, roles, categories and
genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinit ...

genealogy
by means of kinship terminologies.
Family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politic ...

Family
relations can be represented concretely (mother, brother, grandfather) or abstractly by degrees of relationship (kinship distance). A relationship may be relative (e.g. a father in relation to a child) or reflect an absolute (e.g. the difference between a mother and a childless woman). Degrees of relationship are not identical to
heirship
heirship
or legal succession. Many codes of
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

ethics
consider the bond of kinship as creating obligations between the related persons stronger than those between strangers, as in
Confucian , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of th ...
filial piety In Confucian , Shanxi Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of gover ...
. In a more general sense, kinship may refer to a similarity or
affinity Affinity may refer to: Commerce, finance and law * Affinity (law) In law and in cultural anthropology Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens' ...
between entities on the basis of some or all of their characteristics that are under focus. This may be due to a shared
ontological Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Ph ...

ontological
origin, a shared historical or cultural connection, or some other perceived shared features that connect the two entities. For example, a person studying the ontological roots of human languages (
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...
) might ask whether there is kinship between the English word ''seven'' and the German word ''sieben''. It can be used in a more diffuse sense as in, for example, the news headline "
Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone (; ; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is considered Cultural impact of Madonna, one of the most influential figures in popular culture and has often been referred to as the "Honor ...
feels kinship with vilified
Wallis Simpson Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; June 19, 1896 – April 24, 1986), known as Wallis Simpson, was an American socialite A socialite is a person (usually from a wealthy, or aristocratic background) who plays a promin ...
", to imply a felt similarity or
empathy Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional st ...

empathy
between two or more entities. In biology, "kinship" typically refers to the degree of genetic relatedness or the
coefficient of relationship The coefficient of relationship is a measure of the degree of consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
between individual members of a species (e.g. as in
kin selection Kin selection is the evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expression, expressions of genes that ...
theory). It may also be used in this specific sense when applied to human relationships, in which case its meaning is closer to
consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '':wikt: consanguinitas, consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor). Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who ar ...

consanguinity
or
genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinit ...

genealogy
.


Basic concepts


Family types

Family is a
group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with ...
of
people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...

people
affiliated by
consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '':wikt: consanguinitas, consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor). Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who ar ...

consanguinity
(by recognized birth),
affinity Affinity may refer to: Commerce, finance and law * Affinity (law) In law and in cultural anthropology Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens' ...
(by marriage), or co-residence/shared consumption (see
Nurture kinship The concept of nurture kinship in the anthropological study of human social relationships (kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact m ...
). In most societies, it is the principal institution for the socialization of children. As the basic unit for raising children, Anthropologists most generally classify family organization as matrifocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a husband, his wife, and children; also called
nuclear family A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the ...
);
avuncular The avunculate, sometimes called avunculism or avuncularism, is any social institution where a special relationship exists between an uncle and his sisters' children. This relationship can be formal or informal, depending on the society. Early an ...
(a brother, his sister, and her children); or
extended family An extended family is a family that extends beyond the nuclear family A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family group consisting of parents and their children (one or more). It is in contrast to a single-parent family, th ...

extended family
in which parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family. However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor,
marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...

marriage
, and the resulting relationship between two people, it is necessary for the formation of an economically productive
household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home A home, or domicile, is a s ...

household
.


Terminology

Different societies classify kinship relations differently and therefore use different systems of kinship terminology – for example some languages distinguish between affinal and consanguine uncles, whereas others have only one word to refer to both a father and his brothers. Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other. Kin terminologies can be either descriptive or classificatory. When a descriptive terminology is used, a term refers to only one specific type of relationship, while a classificatory terminology groups many different types of relationships under one term. For example, the word ''
brother A brother is a man A man is an adult male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexu ...

brother
'' in English-speaking societies indicates a son of one's same parent; thus, English-speaking societies use the word ''brother'' as a descriptive term referring to this relationship only. In many other classificatory kinship terminologies, in contrast, a person's male first cousin (whether mother's brother's son, mother's sister's son, father's brother's son, father's sister's son) may also be referred to as brothers. The major patterns of kinship systems that are known which
Lewis Henry Morgan Lewis Henry Morgan (November 21, 1818 – December 17, 1881) was a pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist who worked as a railroad lawyer. He is best known for his work on kinship and social structure, his theories of social evolu ...
identified through kinship terminology in his 1871 work ''Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family'' are: *
Iroquois kinship Iroquois kinship (also known as bifurcate merging) is a kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within thi ...
(also known as "bifurcate merging") *
Crow kinship A crow is a bird of the genus ''Corvus'', or more broadly a synonym for all of ''Corvus''. The word "crow" is used as part of the common name of species including: * ''Corvus albus'' – pied crow (Central African coasts to southern Africa) * ''Cor ...
(an expansion of bifurcate merging) *
Omaha kinship Omaha kinship is the system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boun ...
(also an expansion of bifurcate merging) *
Eskimo kinship Eskimo ( ) or Eskimos are the indigenous peoples, indigenous circumpolar peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia) to Alaska (United States), Northern Canada, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and ...
(also referred to as "lineal kinship") *
Hawaiian kinship Hawaiian kinship, also referred to as the generational system, is a kinship terminology Kinship terminology is the system used in language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken langua ...
(also referred to as the "generational system") *
Sudanese kinship Sudanese kinship, also referred to as the descriptive system, is a kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even ...
(also referred to as the "descriptive system") There is a seventh type of system only identified as distinct later: * Dravidian kinship (the classical type of classificatory kinship, with bifurcate merging but totally distinct from Iroquois). Most
Australian Aboriginal kinship Aboriginal Australian kinship comprises the systems of Aboriginal customary law governing social interaction relating to kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in a ...
is also classificatory. The six types (Crow, Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Omaha, Sudanese) that are not fully classificatory (Dravidian, Australian) are those identified by Murdock (1949) prior to Lounsbury's (1964) rediscovery of the linguistic principles of classificatory kin terms.


Tri-relational Kin-terms

While normal kin-terms discussed above denote a relationship between two entities (e.g. the word 'sister' denotes the relationship between the speaker or some other entity and another feminine entity who shares the parents of the former), trirelational kin-terms—also known as triangular, triadic, ternary, and shared kin-terms—denote a relationship between three distinct entities. These occur commonly in
Australian Aboriginal languages The Australian Aboriginal languages consist of around 290–363 languages belonging to an estimated 28 language families A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Si ...
with the context of
Australian Aboriginal kinship Aboriginal Australian kinship comprises the systems of Aboriginal customary law governing social interaction relating to kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in a ...
. In
Bininj Gun-Wok Bininj Gun-Wok (Bininj Gunwok, Bininj Kunwok, Bininj Kun-Wok, Kunwinjkuan) is an Australian Aboriginal languages, Australian Aboriginal language group which includes six dialects: Kunwinjku (Gunwinggu or Gunwinjgu), Kuninjku, Kundjeyhmi (formerly ...
, for example, the bi-relational kin-term ''nakurrng'' is differentiated from its tri-relational counterpart by the position of the possessive pronoun ''ke''. When ''nakurrng'' is anchored to the addressee with ''ke'' in the second position, it simply means 'brother' (which includes a broader set of relations than in English). When the ''ke'' is fronted, however, the term ''nakurrng'' now incorporates the male speaker as a propositus (P i.e. point of reference for a kin-relation) and encapsulates the entire relationship as follows: * The person (Referent) who is your (PAddressee) maternal uncle and who is my (PSpeaker) nephew by virtue of you being my grandchild.


Kin-based Group Terms and Pronouns

Many Australian languages also have elaborate systems of referential terms for denoting groups of people based on their relationship to one another (not just their relationship to the speaker or an external propositus like 'grandparents'). For example, in Kuuk Thaayorre'','' a maternal grandfather and his sister are referred to as ''paanth ngan-ngethe'' and addressed with the vocative ''ngethin.'' In Bardi, a father and his sister are ''irrmoorrgooloo''; a man's wife and his children are ''aalamalarr.'' In Murrinh-patha, nonsingular pronouns are differentiated not only by the gender makeup of the group, but also by the members' interrelation. If the members are in a sibling-like relation, a third pronoun (SIB) will be chosen distinct from the Masculine (MASC) and Feminine/Neuter (FEM).


Descent


Descent rules

In many societies where kinship connections are important, there are rules, though they may be expressed or be taken for granted. There are four main headings that anthropologists use to categorize rules of descent. They are bilateral, unilineal, ambilineal and double descent. * Bilateral descent or two-sided descent affiliates an individual more or less equally with relatives on his father's and mother's sides. A good example is the Yakurr of the Crossriver state of Nigeria. *
Unilineal Unilineality is a system of determining descent group Descent may refer to: As a noun Genealogy and inheritance * Common descent, concept in evolutionary biology * Kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that fo ...
rules affiliates an individual through the descent of one sex only, that is, either through males or through females. They are subdivided into two:
patrilineal Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact ...
(male) and
matrilineal Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship through the female line. It may also correlate with a social system in which each person is identified with their matriline – their mother's Lineage (anthropology), lineage – and which can inv ...
(female). Most societies are patrilineal. Examples of a matrilineal system of descent are the Nyakyusa of Tanzania and the
Nair The Nair , also known as Nayar, are a group of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countr ...

Nair
of
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
. Many societies that practise a matrilineal system often have a
matrilocal residence In social anthropology Social anthropology is the study of patterns of behaviour in human societies and cultures. It is the dominant constituent of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens ...
but men still exercise significant authority. * Ambilineal (or Cognatic) rule affiliates an individual with kinsmen through the father's or mother's line. Some people in societies that practise this system affiliate with a group of relatives through their fathers and others through their mothers. The individual can choose which side he wants to affiliate to. The
Samoans Samoans or Samoan people ( sm, tagata Sāmoa) are the indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally di ...
of the South Pacific are an excellent example of an ambilineal society. The core members of the Samoan descent group can live together in the same compound. * Double descent (or double unilineal descent) refers to societies in which both the patrilineal and matrilineal descent group are recognized. In these societies an individual affiliates for some purposes with a group of patrilineal kinsmen and for other purposes with a group of matrilineal kinsmen. Individuals in societies that practice this are recognized as a part of multiple descent groups, usually at least two. The most widely known case of double descent is the
Afikpo Ehugbo often referred to as Afikpo, is the second largest urban area in Ebonyi State Ebonyi State is in southeastern Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders Niger in Niger ...
of Imo state in Nigeria. Although patrilineage is considered an important method of organization, the Afikpo considers matrilineal ties to be more important.


Descent groups

A descent group is a
social group In the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pla ...
whose members talk about common ancestry. A
unilineal Unilineality is a system of determining descent group Descent may refer to: As a noun Genealogy and inheritance * Common descent, concept in evolutionary biology * Kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that fo ...
society is one in which the descent of an individual is reckoned either from the mother's or the father's line of descent.
Matrilineal descent Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often d ...
is based on relationship to females of the family line. A child would not be recognized with their father's family in these societies, but would be seen as a member of their mother's family's line. Simply put, individuals belong to their mother's descent group. Matrilineal descent includes the mother's brother, who in some societies may pass along inheritance to the sister's children or succession to a sister's son. Conversely, with
patrilineal descent Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although ...
, individuals belong to their father's descent group. Children are recognized as members of their father's family, and descent is based on relationship to males of the family line. Societies with the
Iroquois kinship Iroquois kinship (also known as bifurcate merging) is a kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within thi ...
system, are typically unilineal, while the Iroquois proper are specifically matrilineal. In a society which reckons descent bilaterally (bilineal), descent is reckoned through both father and mother, without unilineal descent groups. Societies with the
Eskimo kinship Eskimo ( ) or Eskimos are the indigenous peoples, indigenous circumpolar peoples who have traditionally inhabited the northern circumpolar region from eastern Siberia (Russia) to Alaska (United States), Northern Canada, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and ...
system, like the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
,
YupikYupik may refer to: * Yupik peoples, a group of indigenous peoples of Alaska and the Russian Far East * Yupik languages, a group of Inuit-Aleut languages Yupꞌik (with the apostrophe) may refer to: * Yup'ik people, a Yupik people from western and s ...
, and most Western societies, are typically bilateral. The egocentric kindred group is also typical of bilateral societies. Additionally, the Batek people of Malaysia recognize kinship ties through both parents' family lines, and kinship terms indicate that neither parent nor their families are of more or less importance than the other. Some societies reckon descent patrilineally for some purposes, and matrilineally for others. This arrangement is sometimes called double descent. For instance, certain property and titles may be inherited through the male line, and others through the female line. Societies can also consider descent to be ambilineal (such as
Hawaiian kinship Hawaiian kinship, also referred to as the generational system, is a kinship terminology Kinship terminology is the system used in language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken langua ...
) where offspring determine their lineage through the matrilineal line or the patrilineal line.


Lineages, clans, phratries, moieties, and matrimonial sides

A lineage is a
unilineal descent Unilineality is a system of determining descent groups in which one belongs to one's father's or mother's line, whereby one's descent is traced either exclusively through male ancestors (patriline), or exclusively through female ancestors (matrilin ...
group that can demonstrate their common descent from a known
apical ancestor Common descent is a concept in evolutionary biology applicable when one species is the ancestor of two or more species later in time. All living beings are in fact descendants of a unique ancestor commonly referred to as the last universal comm ...
. Unilineal lineages can be matrilineal or patrilineal, depending on whether they are traced through mothers or fathers, respectively. Whether matrilineal or patrilineal descent is considered most significant differs from culture to culture. A
clan A clan is a group of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of ...

clan
is generally a descent group claiming common descent from an apical ancestor. Often, the details of parentage are not important elements of the clan tradition. Non-human apical ancestors are called
totem A totem (from oj, ᑑᑌᒼ, italics=no or ''doodem The Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Saulteaux, O ...

totem
s. Examples of clans are found in
ChechenChechen may refer to: *Chechens, an ethnic group of the Caucasus *Chechen language *Metopium brownei, also known as the chechen, chechem, or black poisonwood tree *Related to Chechnya (Chechen Republic) *Related to the former Chechen Republic of Ich ...
,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
,
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
,
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
,
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
,
Tlingit The Tlingit ( or ; also spelled Tlinkit; russian: Тлинкиты) are indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language (natively , pronounced ),Somali Somali refers to an East African tribe (ethnic group) native to Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, D ...
societies. A
phratry In ancient Greece, a phratry ( grc, φρᾱτρῐ́ᾱ, phrātríā, brotherhood, kinfolk, derived from grc, φρᾱ́τηρ, phrā́tēr, brother, links=no) was a group containing citizens in some city-states. Their existence is known in most Io ...
is a descent group composed of two or more clans each of whose apical ancestors are descended from a further common ancestor. If a society is divided into exactly two descent groups, each is called a
moiety Moiety may refer to: * Moiety (chemistry), a part or functional group of a molecule * Moiety (kinship), either of two groups into which a society is divided * A division of society in the Iroquois government and societal structure * An Australian Ab ...
, after the word for ''half''. If the two halves are each obliged to marry out, and into the other, these are called matrimonial moieties. Houseman and White (1998b, bibliography) have discovered numerous societies where kinship network analysis shows that two halves marry one another, similar to matrimonial moieties, except that the two halves—which they call matrimonial ''sides''—are neither named nor descent groups, although the egocentric kinship terms may be consistent with the pattern of sidedness, whereas the sidedness is culturally evident but imperfect. The word ''deme'' refers to an endogamous local population that does not have unilineal descent. Thus, a deme is a local endogamous community without internal segmentation into clans.


= House societies

= In some societies kinship and political relations are organized around membership in corporately organized dwellings rather than around
descent group Descent may refer to: As a noun Genealogy and inheritance * Common descent Common descent is a concept in evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolution, evolutionary processes (natural sel ...
s or lineages, as in the "
House of Windsor The House of Windsor is the reigning royal house A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the universi ...
". The concept of a house society was originally proposed by
Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (, ; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) was a French anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the presen ...
who called them "''sociétés à maison''". The concept has been applied to understand the organization of societies from
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
and the
Moluccas The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of sc ...
to
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
and medieval Europe. Lévi-Strauss introduced the concept as an alternative to 'corporate kinship group' among the cognatic kinship groups of the Pacific region. The socially significant groupings within these societies have variable membership because kinship is reckoned bilaterally (through both father's and mother's kin) and comes together for only short periods. Property, genealogy and residence are not the basis for the group's existence.


Marriage (affinity)

Marriage is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between
spouse A spouse is a significant other in a marriage (in certain contexts, it can also apply to a civil union or common-law marriage). Although a spouse is a form of significant other, the latter term also includes non-marital partners who play a socia ...
s that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an
institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Ha ...
in which interpersonal relationships, usually
intimate Intimate may refer to: * Intimate examination, a physical examination for medical purposes that includes examination of the breasts, genitalia, or rectum of a patient * Intimate ion pair, the interactions between a cation, anion and surrounding solv ...
and sexual, are acknowledged. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a
cultural universal A cultural universal (also called an anthropological universal or human universal) is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all known human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior ...
. A broad definition of marriage includes those that are
monogamous Monogamy ( ) is a form of dyadic relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more peo ...
,
polygamous Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marriage, marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this poly ...
, same-sex and temporary. The act of marriage usually creates
normative Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard. Normativity is the phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good or desirable or permissible and others as bad or undesirable or impermissible. A Norm (p ...
or legal obligations between the individuals involved, and any offspring they may produce. Marriage may result, for example, in "a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners." Edmund Leach argued that no one definition of marriage applied to all cultures, but offered a list of ten rights frequently associated with marriage, including sexual monopoly and rights with respect to children (with specific rights differing across cultures). There is wide cross-cultural variation in the social rules governing the selection of a partner for marriage. In many societies, the choice of partner is limited to suitable persons from specific social groups. In some societies the rule is that a partner is selected from an individual's own social group –
endogamy Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group In the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany ...
, this is the case in many class and caste based societies. But in other societies a partner must be chosen from a different group than one's own –
exogamy Exogamy is the social norm Social norms are shared standards of acceptable Acceptability is the characteristic of a thing being subject to acceptance for some purpose. A thing is acceptable if it is sufficient to serve the purpose for which it ...
, this is the case in many societies practicing
totem A totem (from oj, ᑑᑌᒼ, italics=no or ''doodem The Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Saulteaux, O ...

totem
ic religion where society is divided into several exogamous totemic clans, such as most
Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific ...
societies. Marriages between parents and children, or between full siblings, with few exceptions, have been considered
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
and forbidden. However, marriages between more distant relatives have been much more common, with one estimate being that 80% of all marriages in history have been between second cousins or closer.


Alliance (marital exchange systems)

Systemic forms of preferential marriage may have wider social implications in terms of economic and political organization. In a wide array of lineage-based societies with a classificatory kinship system, potential spouses are sought from a specific class of relatives as determined by a prescriptive marriage rule. Insofar as regular marriages following prescriptive rules occur, lineages are linked together in fixed relationships; these ties between lineages may form political alliances in kinship dominated societies. French
structural A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sy ...
anthropologist
Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (, ; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) was a French anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the presen ...
developed the
alliance theory The alliance theory, also known as the general theory of exchanges, is a structuralist method of studying kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all soci ...
to account for the "elementary" kinship structures created by the limited number of prescriptive marriage rules possible. Claude Lévi-Strauss argued in ''The Elementary Structures of Kinship'' (1949), that the
incest taboo An incest taboo is any or that prohibits between certain members of the same , mainly between individuals . have norms that exclude certain close relatives from those considered suitable or permissible or partners, making such relationshi ...
necessitated the exchange of women between kinship groups. Levi-Strauss thus shifted the emphasis from descent groups to the stable ''structures'' or relations between groups that preferential and prescriptive marriage rules created.


History

One of the foundational works in the anthropological study of kinship was
Morgan's Henry Morgan & Company (colloquially Colloquialism or colloquial language is the linguistic style used for casual communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among ...
''
Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family ''Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family'' is an 1871 book written by Lewis Henry Morgan (1818 - 1881) and published by the Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), also known simply as The Smithsonian, is a tr ...
'' (1871). As is the case with other social sciences, Anthropology and kinship studies emerged at a time when the understanding of the Human species' comparative place in the world was somewhat different from today's. Evidence that life in stable social groups is not just a feature of humans, but also of many other
primates A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal constituting the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic order (biology), order Primates (). Primates arose 85–55 million years ago first from small Terrestrial animal, ...
, was yet to emerge and
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
was considered to be a uniquely human affair. As a result, early kinship theorists saw an apparent need to explain not only the details of ''how'' human social groups are constructed, their patterns, meanings and obligations, but also ''why'' they are constructed at all. The ''why'' explanations thus typically presented the fact of life in social groups (''which appeared to be unique to humans'') as being largely a result of human ideas and values.


Morgan's early influence

Morgan's explanation for why humans live in groups was largely based on the notion that all humans have an inherent ''natural valuation'' of genealogical ties (an unexamined assumption that would remain at the heart of kinship studies for another century, see below), and therefore also an inherent desire to construct social groups around these ties. Even so, Morgan found that members of a society who are ''not'' close genealogical relatives may nevertheless use what he called ''kinship terms'' (which he considered to be originally based on genealogical ties). This fact was already evident in his use of the term ''affinity'' within his concept of the ''system of kinship''. The most lasting of Morgan's contributions was his discovery of the difference between descriptive and classificatory kinship terms, which situated broad kinship classes on the basis of imputing abstract social patterns of relationships having little or no overall relation to genetic closeness but instead cognition about kinship, social distinctions as they affect linguistic usages in
kinship terminology Kinship terminology is the system used in language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...
, and strongly relate, if only by approximation, to patterns of marriage.


Kinship networks and social process

A more flexible view of kinship was formulated in British
social anthropology Social anthropology is the study of patterns of behaviour in human societies and cultures. It is the dominant constituent of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant ...
. Among the attempts to break out of universalizing assumptions and theories about kinship,
Radcliffe-Brown Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown, FBA (born Alfred Reginald Brown; 17 January 1881 – 24 October 1955) was an English social anthropologist who developed the theory of structural functionalism and coadaptation. Biography Alfred Reginald ...
(1922, The
Andaman Islands The Andaman Islands is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded b ...

Andaman Islands
; 1930, The social organization of Australian tribes) was the first to assert that kinship relations are best thought of as concrete networks of relationships among individuals. He then described these relationships, however, as typified by interlocking interpersonal roles.
Malinowski Malinowski (Polish pronunciation: ; plural: Malinowscy) is a surname of Polish-language origin. It is related to the following surnames: People * (born 1954), Polish Army general * (born 1947), Polish politician *Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1 ...

Malinowski
(1922, Argonauts of the Western Pacific) described patterns of events with concrete individuals as participants stressing the relative stability of institutions and communities, but without insisting on abstract systems or models of kinship. Gluckman (1955, The judicial process among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia) balanced the emphasis on stability of institutions against processes of change and conflict, inferred through detailed analysis of instances of social interaction to infer rules and assumptions.
John Barnes John Charles Bryan Barnes Member of the Order of the British Empire, MBE (born 7 November 1963) is a former professional Association football, football player and manager. He currently works as a commentator and pundit for ESPN and SuperSport (T ...
,
Victor Turner Victor Witter Turner (28 May 1920 – 18 December 1983) was a British cultural anthropologist best known for his work on symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object ...
, and others, affiliated with Gluckman's Manchester school of anthropology, described patterns of actual network relations in communities and fluid situations in urban or migratory context, as with the work of J. Clyde Mitchell (1965, Social Networks in Urban Situations). Yet, all these approaches clung to a view of stable functionalism, with kinship as one of the central stable institutions.


"Kinship system" as systemic pattern

The concept of “system of kinship” tended to dominate anthropological studies of kinship in the early 20th century. Kinship systems as defined in anthropological texts and ethnographies were seen as constituted by patterns of behavior and attitudes in relation to the differences in terminology, listed above, for referring to relationships as well as for addressing others. Many anthropologists went so far as to see, in these patterns of kinship, strong relations between kinship categories and patterns of marriage, including forms of marriage, restrictions on marriage, and cultural concepts of the boundaries of
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
. A great deal of inference was necessarily involved in such constructions as to “systems” of kinship, and attempts to construct systemic patterns and reconstruct kinship evolutionary histories on these bases were largely invalidated in later work. However, anthropologist Dwight Read later argued that the way in which kinship categories are defined by individual researchers are substantially inconsistent. This not only occurs when working within a systemic cultural model that can be elicited in fieldwork, but also when allowing considerable individual variability in details, such as when they are recorded through relative products.


Conflicting theories of the mid 20th century

In trying to resolve the problems of dubious inferences about kinship "systems", George P. Murdock (1949, Social Structure) compiled kinship data to test a theory about universals in human kinship in the way that terminologies were influenced by the behavioral similarities or social differences among pairs of kin, proceeding on the view that the psychological ordering of kinship systems radiates out from ego and the
nuclear family A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the ...
to different forms of
extended family An extended family is a family that extends beyond the nuclear family A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family group consisting of parents and their children (one or more). It is in contrast to a single-parent family, th ...

extended family
. Lévi-Strauss (1949, Les Structures Elementaires), on the other hand, also looked for global patterns to kinship, but viewed the “elementary” forms of kinship as lying in the ways that families were connected by marriage in different fundamental forms resembling those of modes of exchange: symmetric and direct, reciprocal delay, or generalized exchange.


Recognition of fluidity in kinship meanings and relations

Building on Lévi-Strauss's (1949) notions of kinship as caught up with the fluid languages of exchange,
Edmund Leach Sir Edmund Ronald Leach (7 November 1910 – 6 January 1989) was a British social anthropologist and academic. He served as Provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1966 to 1979. He was also President of the Royal Anthropological Instit ...
(1961, Pul Eliya) argued that kinship was a flexible idiom that had something of the grammar of a language, both in the uses of terms for kin but also in the fluidities of language, meaning, and networks. His field studies criticized the ideas of structural-functional stability of kinship groups as corporations with charters that lasted long beyond the lifetimes of individuals, which had been the orthodoxy of British Social Anthropology. This sparked debates over whether kinship could be resolved into specific organized sets of rules and components of meaning, or whether kinship meanings were more fluid, symbolic, and independent of grounding in supposedly determinate relations among individuals or groups, such as those of descent or prescriptions for marriage. From the 1950s onwards, reports on kinship patterns in the New Guinea Highlands added some momentum to what had until then been only occasional fleeting suggestions that living together (co-residence) might underlie social bonding, and eventually contributed to the general shift away from a genealogical approach (see below section). For example, on the basis of his observations, Barnes suggested: Similarly, Langness' ethnography of the ''Bena Bena'' also emphasized the primacy of residence patterns in 'creating' kinship ties: In 1972 David M. Schneider raisedSchneider, D. 1972. What is Kinship all About. In ''Kinship Studies in the Morgan Centennial Year'', edited by P. Reining. Washington: Anthropological Society of Washington. deep problems with the notion that human social bonds and 'kinship' was a natural category built upon genealogical ties and made a fuller argument in his 1984 book ''A critique of the study of Kinship''Schneider, D. 1984. A critique of the study of kinship. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. which had a major influence on the subsequent study of kinship.


Schneider's critique of genealogical concepts

Before the questions raised within anthropology about the study of 'kinship' by David M. Schneider and others from the 1960s onwards, anthropology itself had paid very little attention to the notion that kinship bonds were anything other than connected to consanguineal (or genealogical) relatedness (or its local cultural conceptions). Schneider's 1968 studySchneider, D. 1968. American kinship: a cultural account, Anthropology of modern societies series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. of the symbolic meanings surrounding ideas of kinship in American Culture found that Americans ascribe a special significance to 'blood ties' as well as related symbols like the naturalness of marriage and raising children within this culture. In later work (1972 and 1984) Schneider argued that unexamined genealogical notions of kinship had been embedded in anthropology since Morgan's early workMorgan, Lewis Henry. 1870. Systems of consanguity and affinity of the human family. Vol. 17, Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. because American anthropologists (and anthropologists in western Europe) had made the mistake of assuming these ''particular cultural values'' of 'blood is thicker than water', common in their own societies, were 'natural' and universal for all human cultures (i.e. a form of ethnocentrism). He concluded that, due to these unexamined assumptions, the whole enterprise of 'kinship' in anthropology may have been built on faulty foundations. His 1984 book ''A Critique of The Study of Kinship'' gave his fullest account of this critique. Schneider himself emphasised a distinction between the notion of a social relationship as intrinsically ''given'' and inalienable (''from birth''), and a social relationship as created, constituted and maintained by a process of interaction, or ''doing'' (Schneider 1984, 165). Schneider used the example of the citamangen / fak relationship in Yap society, that his own early research had previously glossed over as a ''father / son'' relationship, to illustrate the problem; Schneider preferred to focus on these often ignored processes of "performance, forms of doing, various codes for conduct, different roles" (p. 72) as the most important constituents of kinship. His critique quickly prompted a new generation of anthropologists to reconsider how they conceptualized, observed and described social relationships ('kinship') in the cultures they studied.


Post-Schneider

Schneider's critique is widely acknowledged to have marked a turning point in anthropology's study of social relationships and interactions. Some anthropologists moved forward with kinship studies by teasing apart biological and social aspects, prompted by Schneider's question; Schneider also dismissed the sociobiological account of biological influences, maintaining that these did not fit the ethnographic evidence (see more below).
Janet Carsten Janet Carsten is an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and phil ...

Janet Carsten
employed her studies with the Malays to reassess kinship. She uses the idea of ''relatedness'' to move away from a pre-constructed analytic opposition between the biological and the social. Carsten argued that relatedness should be described in terms of indigenous statements and practices, some of which fall outside what anthropologists have conventionally understood as kinship; Philip Thomas' work with the Temanambondro of
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
highlights that nurturing processes are considered to be the 'basis' for kinship ties in this culture, notwithstanding genealogical connections; Similar ethnographic accounts have emerged from a variety of cultures since Schneider's intervention. The concept of
nurture kinship The concept of nurture kinship in the anthropological study of human social relationships (kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact m ...
highlights the extent to which kinship relationships may be brought into being through the performance of various acts of nurture between individuals. Additionally the concept highlights ethnographic findings that, in a wide swath of human societies, people understand, conceptualize and symbolize their relationships predominantly in terms of giving, receiving and sharing nurture. These approaches were somewhat forerun by
Malinowski Malinowski (Polish pronunciation: ; plural: Malinowscy) is a surname of Polish-language origin. It is related to the following surnames: People * (born 1954), Polish Army general * (born 1947), Polish politician *Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1 ...

Malinowski
, in his
ethnographic Ethnography (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

ethnographic
study of
sexual behaviour Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexual ...
on the
Trobriand Islands The Trobriand Islands are a archipelago of coral atolls off the east coast of New Guinea. They are part of the nation of Papua New Guinea and are in Milne Bay Province. Most of the population of 12,000 indigenous inhabitants live on the main isla ...
which noted that the Trobrianders did not believe pregnancy to be the result of
sexual intercourse Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is a sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexuality is the w ...

sexual intercourse
between the man and the woman, and they denied that there was any physiological relationship between father and child. Nevertheless, while paternity was unknown in the "full biological sense", for a woman to have a child without having a husband was considered socially undesirable. Fatherhood was therefore recognised as a social and nurturing role; the woman's husband is the "man whose role and duty it is to take the child in his arms and to help her in nursing and bringing it up"; "Thus, though the natives are ignorant of any physiological need for a male in the constitution of the family, they regard him as indispensable socially".


Biology, psychology and kinship

Like Schneider, other anthropologists of kinship have largely rejected sociobiological accounts of human social patterns as being both reductionistic and also empirically incompatible with ethnographic data on human kinship. Notably,
Marshall Sahlins Marshall David Sahlins ( ; December 27, 1930April 5, 2021) was an American cultural anthropologist Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior ...
strongly critiqued the sociobiological approach through reviews of ethnographies in his 1976 ''The Use and Abuse of Biology'' noting that for humans "the categories of 'near' and 'distant' invary independently of consanguinal distance and that these categories organize actual social practice" (p. 112). Independently from anthropology, biologists studying organisms' social behaviours and relationships have been interested to understand under what conditions significant social behaviors can evolve to become a typical feature of a species (see
inclusive fitness In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
theory). Because complex social relationships and cohesive social groups are common not only to humans, but also to most primates, biologists maintain that these biological theories of sociality should in principle be generally applicable. The more challenging question arises as to how such ideas can be applied to the human species whilst fully taking account of the extensive ethnographic evidence that has emerged from anthropological research on kinship patterns. Early developments of biological
inclusive fitness In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
theory and the derivative field of
Sociobiology Sociobiology is a field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology ...
, encouraged some sociobiologists and
evolutionary psychologists Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach in the social and natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific m ...
to approach human kinship with the assumption that
inclusive fitness In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
theory predicts that kinship relations in humans ''are indeed'' expected to depend on genetic relatedness, which they readily connected with the ''genealogy'' approach of early anthropologists such as Morgan (see above sections). However, this is the position that Schneider, Sahlins and other anthropologists explicitly reject.


Nonreductive biology and nurture kinship

In agreement with Schneider,
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
arguedHolland, Maximilian. (2012) ''Social Bonding and Nurture Kinship: Compatibility between Cultural and Biological Approaches''. North Charleston: Createspace Press. that an accurate account of biological theory and evidence supports the view that social bonds (and kinship) are indeed mediated by a shared social environment and processes of frequent interaction, care and nurture, rather than by genealogical relationships ''per se'' (even if genealogical relationships frequently correlate with such processes). In his 2012 book ''Social bonding and nurture kinship'' Holland argues that sociobiologists and later evolutionary psychologists misrepresent biological theory, mistakenly believing that
inclusive fitness In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
theory predicts that genetic relatedness ''per se'' is the condition that ''mediates'' social bonding and social cooperation in organisms. Holland points out that the biological theory (see
inclusive fitness In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
) only specifies that a statistical relationship between social behaviors and genealogical relatedness is a criterion for the ''evolution'' of social behaviors. The theory's originator, W.D.Hamilton considered that organisms' social behaviours were likely to be mediated by general conditions that typically ''correlate'' with genetic relatedness, but are not likely to be mediated by genetic relatedness ''per se''Hamilton, W.D. 1987. Discriminating nepotism: expectable, common and overlooked. In ''Kin recognition in animals'', edited by D. J. C. Fletcher and C. D. Michener. New York: Wiley. (see
Human inclusive fitness Inclusive fitness in humans is the application of inclusive fitness theory to human social behaviour, relationships and cooperation. Inclusive fitness theory (and the related kin selection theory) are general theories in evolutionary biology ...
and
Kin recognitionKin recognition, also called kin detection, is an organism's ability to distinguish between close genetic kin and non-kin. In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolution, evolutionary processes ...
). Holland reviews fieldwork from social mammals and primates to show that social bonding and cooperation in these species is indeed mediated through processes of shared living context, familiarity and attachments, not by genetic relatedness ''per se''. Holland thus argues that both the biological ''theory'' and the biological ''evidence'' is nondeterministic and nonreductive, and that biology as a theoretical and empirical endeavor (as opposed to 'biology' as a cultural-symbolic nexus as outlined in Schneider's 1968 book) actually supports the ''
nurture kinship The concept of nurture kinship in the anthropological study of human social relationships (kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact m ...
'' perspective of cultural anthropologists working post-Schneider (see above sections). Holland argues that, whilst there is nonreductive compatibility around human kinship between anthropology, biology and psychology, for a full account of kinship in any ''particular'' human culture, ethnographic methods, including accounts of the people themselves, the analysis of historical contingencies, symbolic systems, economic and other cultural influences, remain centrally important. Holland's position is widely supported by both cultural anthropologists and biologists as an approach which, according to Robin Fox, ''"gets to the heart of the matter concerning the contentious relationship between kinship categories, genetic relatedness and the prediction of behavior"''.


Evolutionary psychology

The other approach, that of Evolutionary psychology, continues to take the view that genetic relatedness (or genealogy) is key to understanding human kinship patterns. In contrast to Sahlin's position (above), Daly and Wilson argue that "the categories of 'near' and 'distant' do not 'vary independently of consanguinal distance', not in any society on earth." (Daly et al. 1997, p282). A current view is that humans have an inborn but culturally affected system for detecting certain forms of genetic relatedness. One important factor for
sibling A sibling is a gender neutral word for a relative that shares at least one parent with the subject. A male sibling is a brother and a female sibling is a sister. A person with no siblings is an only child. While some circumstances can cause sibl ...

sibling
detection, especially relevant for older siblings, is that if an infant and one's mother are seen to care for the infant, then the infant and oneself are assumed to be related. Another factor, especially important for younger siblings who cannot use the first method, is that persons who grew up together see one another as related. Yet another may be genetic detection based on the
major histocompatibility complex The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a large locus on vertebrate DNA containing a set of closely linked polymorphic genes that code for cell surface proteins essential for the adaptive immune system. These cell surface proteins are ca ...
(See
Major Histocompatibility Complex and Sexual Selection The major histocompatibility complex in sexual selection concerns how major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules allow for immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, ...
). This kinship detection system in turn affects other genetic predispositions such as the
incest taboo An incest taboo is any or that prohibits between certain members of the same , mainly between individuals . have norms that exclude certain close relatives from those considered suitable or permissible or partners, making such relationshi ...
and a tendency for
altruism Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...

altruism
towards relatives. One issue within this approach is why many societies organize according to descent (see below) and not exclusively according to kinship. An explanation is that kinship does not form clear boundaries and is centered differently for each individual. In contrast, descent groups usually do form clear boundaries and provide an easy way to create cooperative groups of various sizes.The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barret, Oxford University Press, 2007, Chapter 31 Kinship and descent by Lee Conk and Drew Gerkey According to an evolutionary psychology hypothesis that assumes that descent systems are optimized to assure high genetic probability of relatedness between lineage members, males should prefer a patrilineal system if paternal certainty is high; males should prefer a matrilineal system if paternal certainty is low. Some research supports this association with one study finding no patrilineal society with low paternity confidence and no matrilineal society with high paternal certainty. Another association is that
pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with this is called ''he ...

pastoral
societies are relatively more often patrilineal compared to
horticultural Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as well as ornamental trees and lawns. ...
societies. This may be because wealth in pastoral societies in the form of mobile cattle can easily be used to pay
bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a Bridegroom, groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared ...

bride price
which favor concentrating resources on sons so they can marry. The evolutionary psychology account of biology continues to be rejected by most cultural anthropologists.


Extensions of the kinship metaphor


Fictive kinship


Detailed terms for parentage

As social and biological concepts of parenthood are not necessarily coterminous, the terms "pater" and "genitor" have been used in anthropology to distinguish between the man who is socially recognised as father (pater) and the man who is believed to be the physiological parent (genitor); similarly the terms "mater" and "genitrix" have been used to distinguish between the woman socially recognised as mother (mater) and the woman believed to be the physiological parent (genitrix). Such a distinction is useful when the individual who is considered the legal parent of the child is not the individual who is believed to be the child's biological parent. For example, in his ethnography of the Nuer,
Evans-Pritchard Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, FBA (21 September 1902 – 11 September 1973), known as E. E. Evans-Pritchard, was an English anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of as ...
notes that if a
widow A widow is a woman whose spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other in a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that est ...
, following the death of her husband, chooses to live with a lover outside of her deceased husband's kin group, that lover is only considered genitor of any subsequent children the widow has, and her deceased husband continues to be considered the pater. As a result, the lover has no legal control over the children, who may be taken away from him by the kin of the pater when they choose. The terms "pater" and "genitor" have also been used to help describe the relationship between children and their parents in the context of divorce in Britain. Following the divorce and remarriage of their parents, children find themselves using the term "mother" or "father" in relation to more than one individual, and the pater or mater who is legally responsible for the child's care, and whose
family name In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt ...
the child uses, may not be the genitor or genitrix of the child, with whom a separate parent-child relationship may be maintained through arrangements such as
visitation rights In family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the ''law of domestic relations'') is an area of the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of ru ...
or
joint custody Joint custody is a form of child custody Child custody is a Law, legal term regarding ''legal guardian, guardianship'' which is used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent or guardian and a child in that person's care. ...
. It is important to note that the terms "genitor" or "genetrix" do not necessarily imply actual biological relationships based on
consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '':wikt: consanguinitas, consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor). Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who ar ...

consanguinity
, but rather refer to the socially held belief that the individual is physically related to the child, derived from culturally held ideas about how biology works. So, for example, the
Ifugao Ifugao ( ilo, Probinsia ti Ifugao; tl, Lalawigan ng Ifugao) is a landlocked Provinces of the Philippines, province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Lagawe, Ifugao, Lagawe and it borders Benguet ...
may believe that an illegitimate child might have more than one physical father, and so nominate more than one genitor. J.A. Barnes therefore argued that it was necessary to make a further distinction between genitor and genitrix (the supposed biological mother and father of the child), and the actual father and mother of the child making them share their genes or genetics .


Composition of relations

The study of kinship may be abstracted to
binary relation Binary may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Binary number In mathematics and digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineeri ...
s between people. For example, if ''x'' is the
parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective offspring ...

parent
of ''y'', the relation may be symbolized as ''xPy''. The
converse relation In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...
, that ''y'' is the child of ''x'', is written ''yP''T''x''. Suppose that ''z'' is another child of ''x'': ''zP''T''x''. Then ''y'' is a
sibling A sibling is a gender neutral word for a relative that shares at least one parent with the subject. A male sibling is a brother and a female sibling is a sister. A person with no siblings is an only child. While some circumstances can cause sibl ...

sibling
of ''z'' as they share the parent ''x'': . Here the relation of siblings is expressed as the composition ''P''T''P'' of the parent relation with its inverse. The relation of
grandparent Grandparents are the parents of a person's father or mother – paternal or maternal. Every sexually-reproducing living organism who is not a genetic chimera has a maximum of four genetics, genetic grandparents, eight genetic great-grandparents ...
is the composition of the parent relation with itself: . The relation of
uncle An uncle is usually defined as a male relative Relative may refer to: General use *Kinship and family, the principle binding the most basic social units society. If two people are connected by circumstances of birth, they are said to be ''relati ...

uncle
is the composition of parent with brother, while the relation of
aunt An aunt is a woman A woman is an adult . Prior to adulthood, a female human is referred to as a (a female or ). The plural ''women'' is sometimes used in certain phrases such as "" to denote female humans regardless of age. Typically, ...
composes parent with sister. Suppose ''x'' is the grandparent of ''y'': ''xGy''. Then ''y'' and ''z'' are
cousin Commonly, "cousin" refers to a "first cousin", a relative Relative may refer to: General use *Kinship and family, the principle binding the most basic social units society. If two people are connected by circumstances of birth, they are sai ...

cousin
s if ''yG''T''xGz''. The symbols applied here to express kinship are used more generally in
algebraic logic In mathematical logic, algebraic logic is the reasoning obtained by manipulating equations with Free variables and bound variables, free variables. What is now usually called classical algebraic logic focuses on the identification and algebraic de ...
to develop a calculus of relations with sets other than human beings.


Appendix


Degrees


See also

*
Ancestry An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessaril ...
*
Kin selection Kin selection is the evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expression, expressions of genes that ...
*
Kinism Kinism is a white nationalist White nationalism is a type of nationalism or pan-nationalism which espouses the belief that white people are a Race (human categorization), raceHeidi Beirich and Kevin Hicks. "Chapter 7: White nationalism in Ameri ...
* Kinship analysis *
Kinship terminology Kinship terminology is the system used in language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...
*
Australian Aboriginal kinship Aboriginal Australian kinship comprises the systems of Aboriginal customary law governing social interaction relating to kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in a ...
*
Bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a Bridegroom, groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared ...

Bride price
*
Bride service Bride service has traditionally been portrayed in the Anthropology, anthropological literature as the service rendered by the bridegroom to a bride's family as a bride price or part of one (see dowry). Bride service and bride wealth models frame a ...
*
Chinese kinship The Chinese kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologis ...
*
Cinderella effect In evolutionary psychology, the Cinderella effect is the phenomenon of higher incidences of different forms of child abuse Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, and/or psychological Psychology is the science of min ...
*
Clan A clan is a group of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of ...

Clan
*
Consanguinity Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '':wikt: consanguinitas, consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor). Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who ar ...

Consanguinity
*
Darwinian anthropology Darwinian anthropology describes an approach to anthropological analysis which employs various theories from Darwinian evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolution, evolutionary processes (nat ...
*
Dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the larges ...
*
Ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of persons considered as a whole. Used in politics and law it is a term to refer to the collective or community of an ethnic group, a nation, to the public or ...

Ethnicity
*
Family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politic ...

Family
*
Family history Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinit ...
*
Fictive kinship Fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread speci ...
*
Genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinit ...

Genealogy
*
Genetic genealogy Genetic genealogy is the use of genealogical DNA tests, i.e., DNA profiling and Genetic testing, DNA testing, in combination with traditional Genealogy, genealogical methods, to infer Genetic distance, genetic relationships between individuals. Th ...
*
Godparent A godparent (also known as a sponsor, or '' gossiprede''), in Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek ...
*
Heredity Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, the offspring cell (biology), cells or or ...

Heredity
*
Inheritance Inheritance is the practice of passing on private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property Public property i ...

Inheritance
*
Interpersonal relationships The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degree of intimacy or self-disclosure, but also in their duration, in t ...
*
Irish Kinship Irish kinship is a system of kinship terminology Kinship terminology is the system used in language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relatio ...
*
Lineage (anthropology) A lineage is a unilineal descent Unilineality is a system of determining descent groups in which one belongs to one's father's or mother's line, whereby one's descent is traced either exclusively through male ancestors (patriline), or exclusive ...
*
Nurture kinship The concept of nurture kinship in the anthropological study of human social relationships (kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact m ...
* Serbo-Croatian kinship *
Tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...

Tribe
* House society


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Introduction into the study of kinship
AusAnthrop: research, resources and documentation
The Nature of Kinship: An Introduction to Descent Systems and Family Organization
Dennis O'Neil, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA.

Brian Schwimmer, University of Manitoba.
Degrees of Kinship According to Anglo-Saxon Civil Law – Useful Chart (Kurt R. Nilson, Esq. : heirbase.com)


{{Authority control Anthropology Lineage (series) Lineage societies