Marriage and the classificatory system of relationship

Ancient Society by Lewis H. Morgan

marriage and the classificatory system of relationship

Morgan's classification of relationship terminologies included only two types: to provide a key to understanding different systems of marriage and descent. In either case, however, the system of kin-ship and marriage plays an . to one man than the discovery of the classificatory system of relationship to Morgan. In one of these Essays, entitled “The Classificatory System of Relationships,” Mr. McLennan “Primitive Marriage” was first published in , and “Systems of.

A good example is the Yakurr of the Crossriver state of Nigeria.

Marriage and the classificatory system of relationships on eHRAF World Cultures

Unilineal rules affiliates an individual through the descent of one sex only, that is, either through males or through females. They are subdivided into two: Most societies are patrilineal.

Examples of a matrilineal system of descent are the Nyakyusa of Tanzania and the Nair of KeralaIndia. Many societies that practise a matrilineal system often have a patrilocal residence and 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 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 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.

The most widely known case of double descent is the Afikpo 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[ edit ] A descent group is a social group whose members talk about common ancestry. A unilineal society is one in which the descent of an individual is reckoned either from the mother's or the father's line of descent.

With matrilineal descent 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. With patrilineal descentindividuals belong to their father's descent group. Societies with the Iroquois kinship system, are typically uniliineal, while the Iroquois proper are specifically matrilineal.

In a society which reckons descent bilaterally bilinealdescent is reckoned through both father and mother, without unilineal descent groups. Societies with the Eskimo kinship system, like the InuitYupikand most Western societies, are typically bilateral. The egocentric kindred group is also typical of bilateral societies. 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.

Relationship terminology (Anthropology)

Societies can also consider descent to be ambilineal such as Hawaiian kinship where offspring determine their lineage through the matrilineal line or the patrilineal line. Lineages, clans, phratries, moieties, and matrimonial sides[ edit ] A lineage is a unilineal descent group that can demonstrate their common descent from a known apical ancestor. 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 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 totems. A phratry 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 moietyafter the French 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 b, 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 [7] —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.

Eggan, Fred Lewis H. Morgan in Kinship Perspective. Pages — in Gertrude E. Dole and Robert L.

marriage and the classificatory system of relationship

Eggan, Fred The American Indian: Perspectives for the Studyof Social Change. American Ethnological Society, Proceedings []: An Instance From Russian. Pages — in Ward H. Essays in Honor of George Peter Murdoch.

Philosophy of Science Edited by Daniel S. Publications of the Philadelphia Anthropological Society, Vol. Goodenough, Explorations in Cultural Anthropology: A Study of Unilateral Cross-cousin Marriage. Mededelingen van het Rijkmuseum voor Volkenkunde, No. Zeitschrift fur Ethnologic Kirchhoff, Paul Verwandtschaftsbezeichnungen und Verwandtenheirat. Levi-Strauss, Claude Les structures elementaires de la parente. Presses Universitaires de France. Levi-Strauss, Claude Structural Anthropology. Pages 65—74 in Robert H.

marriage and the classificatory system of relationship

Lowie, Selected Papers in Anthropology. Volume 19, pages 84—90 in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Pages — in Robert H. Volume 13, pages — in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Malinowski, Bronislaw — Sex, Culture and Myth. Malinowski, Bronislaw Parenthood: The Basis of Social Structure. Pages — in Victor F. Calverton and Samuel D. Schmalhausen editorsThe New Generation: Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. Needham, Rodney Structure and Sentiment: A Test Case in Social Anthropology.

Journal of East Asiatic Studies 3: Pages 1—85 in A. Pages — in A. Social Anthropology of North American Tribes. Edited by Fred Eggan. University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, Vol.

marriage and the classificatory system of relationship

Field Museum of Natural History. Spoehr, Alexander Kinship Systems of the Seminole. Spoehr, Alexander Changing Kinship Systems: Spoehr, Alexander Observations on the Study of Kinship. Pages — in Harrison C. White, An Anatomy of Kinship: Mathematical Models for Structures of Cumulated Roles. AmericanAnthropologist New Series In the majority of preindustrial societies, kinsfolk are more than a narrow category of persons linked to an individual actor by filiation and siblinghood.

They constitute a series of social groups that dominate the domestic organization and the process of socialization, the use and transfer of property, the settlement of disputes, religious activities such as ancestor worshipand certain political relationships.

Because these kin groups influence so many aspects of social life, their structure and recruitment are highly important variables in the organization of technologically simpler societies. It is not surprising there-fore that in the last thirty years descent groups have been intensively studied by comparative sociologists and that there has been much discussion of the meaning of the term descent.

These three aspects of the authorized transmission of property, office, and group membership from one generation to the next are not entirely parallel. Inheritance, as usually understood, refers to transmission after death; the total process of transmission between holder and heirs, which includes certain types of transfer of property at marriage as in the dowryis referred to as devolution.

Second, whereas succession and inheritance or devolution do not necessarily imply transfer between kin, descent does; it signifies group membership of a special kind, handed down, like property and office, from generation to generation.

Looking at the process of intergenerational trans-mission, from the standpoint of the junior generation, an individual can receive any particular set of rights in the following ways: In any particular society, the inheritance of property, succession to office, and recruitment to kin groups usually follow the same mode of transmission.

Indeed, the importance of descent groups lies in the fact that membership usually entails a claim upon basic productive and reproductive resources, as well as channeling succession to roles and offices.

Relationship terminology (Anthropology)

But this is not always the case. More-over, some differences arise in the transmission of these various rights from the fact that office is rarely divisible and its transmission is necessarily selective, whereas all members of a society usually belong to one of the series of kin groups. Property may be partible or impartible, and certain objects, such as weapons and cooking pots, are, like office, often sex-linked; on the other hand, the membership of kin groups is, in a sense, always partible and very rarely sex-linked.

Moreover, it is allocated to individuals at birth or soon afternot simply through birth. However, unilineal descent groups UDGs of this kind are not defined by the manner of recruitment alone; all the members of a particular group are also related to one another by common unilineal descent.

A military regiment like the Fanti asafo company in Ghana or an occupational group like the widespread groups of Numu blacksmiths in west Africa may be recruited exclusively by ties of paternal kinship; they do not constitute a UDG unless the members are themselves linked with one another by similar ties and see themselves as having a common ancestry.

Some authors have attempted to establish the Roman term gens for a patrilineal UDG and clan for the matrilineal type, but most authorities prefer patrician or patrilineage and matriclan or matrilineage.

Distribution of UDGs UDGs are found in all types of preindustrial economy and in all regions of the world; they occur among the aboriginal hunters of Australia and among the pastoralists of central Asia; among the shifting agriculturalists in Africa and among the irrigation farmers in India.

They occur most frequently in pastoralism, then in agriculture, then in hunting and gathering, and only marginally in industrial communities. Ethnographic samples Murdock ; ; Aberle support the hypothesis of those writers for example, Lowie ; Radcliffe-Brown ; Forde who pointed to a positive association between the presence of descent groups and the amount and type of property to be transmitted. Forde observed that only when a certain threshold of stability and density of settlement is reached do the tendencies for unilineal transmission give rise to UDGs.

Like other large-scale kin groups, they tend to have less importance where membership no longer provides rights in the means of production i. Descent groups also lose importance when their function in offense and defense is minimized by a highly centralized political system, and they no longer serve as a focus for ongoing local ties when spatial and social mobility increases.

As with all the wider ties of kinship, the disappearance of UDGs is linked with the growth of economic and social individualism in industrial societies, where a person tends to have direct ties with the political and economic agencies, mediated by specialized associations such as trade unions and political parties rather than by multifunctional units such as kin groups. In general, the role of UDGs diminishes with the importance of governmental institutions. Patricians were important within the state systems of the Zulu, early Rome, and China; matriclans played a significant part in the kingdoms of Ashanti and the Congo.

But their characteristic functions of defense and retaliation were subsumed under central administrations. The need for differentiating the part played by kin groups in different societies is recognized in the recent study of matrilineal systems edited by Schneider and Gough. The term can be restricted to certain aspects of the property-holding function, or else set aside altogether. Subdivision of UDGs While UDGs are usually segments of the society, in the sense that they are exclusive and exhaustive parts, they are rarely monolithic.

Clans are often divided into smaller units subclans and into genealogically based units of at least five generations. But lineages may have a much greater generation depth; among the Nuer of the Sudan, twelve to fourteen generations are reported, and lineages of similar spread occur among other pastoral peoples of the Middle Eastsuch as the contemporary bedouins and the Hebrews of the first millennium B.

The genealogy of a lineage differs in function from a chiefly pedigree. The latter acts as a validation of rights to an exclusive office; the former serves as a calculus for the relationship of group members.

Consequently, a correlation exists between depth and span—that is, between order of segmentation and number of living members. Those ancestors whose presence in the genealogy is inessential for the reckoning of contemporary relationships gradually disappear from memory.

Kinship terminology

Morphologically, order of segmentation equals depth of genealogy, all levels of which have some importance for social action. But certain levels act as points of reference for specific subgroups of greater functional significance, for example, in the context of ceremonial food sharing, or landholding, or payments of compensation for homicide. The terms maximal lineage and minimal lineage are used sometimes for the morphological, and sometimes for the functional, differentiation of groups; terms for intermediate units, such as major lineage, minor lineage, and nuclear lineage, refer to the functional ordering of groups.

  • Firth, Raymond William, 1901-. Marriage and the classificatory system of relationships

In such a merging series of subgroups of increasing inclusiveness, two groups that stand in contraposition at one level of segmentation merge when opposed to a group of a higher order of segmentation. But these processes have a greater importance when centralized administration is absent; hence, stateless societies that have a polyseg-mental structure i. Some lineage systems extend to the limits of the society itself: Sahlins sees the function of these all-inclusive lineages as one of predatory expansion.

It is clear that the deeper the genealogy, the larger the lineage and hence the greater the possibility of mobilizing support on particular issues.

But this mobilization may be equally as necessary in situations of defense as of offense. Extensive lineage ties are of particular significance where the population is sparse, and where local groups are bound to be small and therefore able to provide little support in emergencies. Systems of double UDGs.

UDGs are found in In some societies 4. In certain cases, one set of UDGs has relatively little significance. In such full-fledged double descent systems, the two sets of UDGs have more or less differentiated roles.

By these means, Morgan classified all the Amerindian terminologies he came into contact with. He also sent questionnaires to missionaries and American consuls throughout the world, in order to compare terminologies with each other and decipher through them what he could of world history. Other distinctions are equally interesting. Of these one emerged as being of special importance: Finally, 4 one might classify each genealogical position by a distinct term as in Gaelic. His typology consists of six classes.