In this sense such studies had either an explicit or an implicit evolutionary flavour; they analyzed kinship as a mode for structuring property relations and saw kinship and property institutions as central to the transition from precapitalist to capitalist and class-based society. For example, most kinship terminologies distinguish between sexes (the difference between a brother and a sister) and between generations (the difference between a child and a parent). He proposed to describe kin terms and terminologies as either descriptive or classificatory. Corrections? English distinguishes the nearer kinsfolk by sex: Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Such assumptions became increasingly untenable and more or less politically suspect among anthropologists, whether they worked in postcolonial or Western contexts. From Kroeber and Lowie onward, these analyses drew from the work of linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, who posited that people understand the world through the lens of language—that is, that vocabulary, grammar, metaphor, and the like literally shape one’s experience of objective reality.
The British anthropologist Jack Goody’s comparative work on marriage, inheritance, and the household in Europe, Africa, and Asia drew from these earlier studies but expanded Fortes’s premise so as to examine the effect of major historical changes on property transfers and familial relations. A formal account of the Crow- and Omaha type kinship terminology, in. He characterized kin ties as bonds of “diffuse, enduring solidarity”—a phrase that carried faint echoes of Fortes’s axiom of amity. Many culturalist studies have tried to show how these qualities and the perspectives they may engender articulate with each other—that is, to explain how and why particular combinations of these attributes (e.g., middle-aged, middle-class, black father or elderly, working-class, white mother) create particular or characteristic points of view. Meyer Fortes had already highlighted the significance of the cyclical aspects of residential arrangements. Once the debate between advocates of alliance and those of descent no longer seemed so salient, kinship began to be “reread” in a variety of ways. The work of Pierre Bourdieu, particularly his Outline of a Theory of Practice (1977), was especially influential. are common in Australian Aboriginal kinship. Françoise Héritier in particular developed Lévi-Strauss’s earlier work linking terminology systems to particular forms of alliance on the basis of their association with various rules governing marriage. This implied that kinship could not be reduced purely to its economic or instrumental aspects.
Terms that recognize alternating generations and the prohibition of marriage within one's own set of alternate generation relatives (0, +/-2, +/-4, +/-6 etc.) Bourdieu suggested that scholarly attention to rules may be misplaced, noting that they are often used to explain behaviour rather than to direct it; in other words, people often invoke rules only in retrospect, to rationalize actions they have already taken. Sex, Gender, and Kinship: A Cross-Cultural Perspective.
Critics (including Schneider himself in later years) emphasized that, in contrast to this monolithic characterization of American culture, individual participants would in fact have articulated different versions of kinship and its meanings depending on their particular position in American society as well as their own life histories. His work demonstrated the ways in which the household passed through various developmental stages as people married, had children, and grew old and as their children matured, married, and had children, triggering the division of the original domestic group. There exist, for example, different words for "older brother" and "younger brother". The study of kin terminology, however, developed into an increasingly technical area that had more in common with linguistics than with the study of everyday practices of kinship.
He became interested in societies in which the most prominent institutions of kinship did not fit the models provided by either descent or alliance theory.
Lounsbury, F. 1964. Kin terminology, as an aspect of language, was thought to demonstrate how language shaped social categories and hence actual practices. Kay (1967), Scheffler (1971), and Tjon Sie Fat (1981) gave variant criteria for Dravidian classificatory logic, but the basic idea is that of applying an even/odd distinction to relatives that takes into account the gender of every linking relative for ego’s kin relation to any given person. To a great extent, this is because kinship terms represent the competing realms of social and genetic relatedness; thus, it cannot be assumed that two or more persons for whom ego uses a single term are socially indistinguishable. Tagalog borrows the relative age system of the Chinese kinship and follows the Generation System of kinship. Scheffler, H. W. 1971. Kay, P. (1967). While British social anthropologists examined the functions of various social rules and institutions and French structuralists used the... Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. In a classificatory system some collateral kin—relatives not in ego’s direct line of descent or ancestry—are placed in the same terminological grouping as lineal kin—relatives in ego’s direct line of descent. The study of kin terminology, however, developed into an increasingly technical area that had more in common with linguistics than with the study of everyday practices of kinship. For example, in some societies one would refer to many different people as "mother" (the woman who gave birth to oneself, as well as her sister and husband's sister, and also one's father's sister).
Kinship terminology, in anthropology, the system of names applied to categories of kin standing in relationship to one another. All these scholars were concerned mainly with structural aspects of residence—the relations between marriage rules, property transfers, and the constitution of domestic groups. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Moreover, he argued, kinship terminologies distinguish between relatives by blood and marriage (although recently some anthropologists have argued that many societies define kinship in terms other than "blood"). For example, some languages have no one word equivalent to "cousin", because different terms refer to mother's sister's children and to father's sister's children. During the 1950s and ’60s such work reached its apex: the formal analysis of systems of classification on the basis of their different component distinctions within a semantic domain (or the building blocks of meaning in a given field), a process that became known as “componential analysis.” In the United States particularly, anthropologists used this mode of analysis in a variety of domains ranging from kinship terminologies to ethnoscience (as with indigenous plant classification schemes). Among the first anthropologists to explore kinship in the West were Raymond Firth and his colleagues, who published accounts of kinship in London from the 1950s onward. For example, the word brother in Western societies indicates a son of the same parent; thus, Western societies use the word "brother" as a descriptive term.
As anthropologists no longer assume an intrinsic connection between terminology and practice, the relative importance of the formal study of kin classification in Britain and the United States has declined. Gender and domestic relations, marriage, the roles of children, the complexities of provisioning and feeding residents and visitors, and the symbolic division of space are just some of the areas opened up by a focus on the house in the study of kinship. Societies in different parts of the world and using different languages may share the same basic terminology patterns; in such cases one can very easily translate the kinship terms of one language into another, although connotations may vary. While some of this work displays a structuralist influence, it also provided an avenue for the exploration of new themes and illuminated old ones in new ways. By dismissing this degree of cultural normativity as implausible in advanced capitalist societies, critics of American Kinship spurred a realization among anthropologists that their analyses of non-Western peoples had assumed similarly unrealistic degrees of cultural homogeneity. Classification was seen as a key component of the study of meaning and, as such, a central aspect of culture. Many later accounts of kinship, both in Western and in non-Western societies, have retained the core of the culturalist approach while also paying close attention to local experiences and understandings of kinship and providing nuanced depictions of how people in a given culture might have divergent understandings of kinship depending on their age, sex, ethnicity, personal experiences, or other attributes. Morgan discovered that a descriptive term in one society can become a classificatory term in another society.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. An important element in Morgan’s formulation was the distinction between classificatory and descriptive systems of kinship. The stages themselves, and the overall cycle, seemed curiously isolated from historical and political changes in the world around them. Residence also came to the fore in studies that had a different intellectual origin. Schneider suggested that blood was the core symbol of kinship in the United States. The possibilities for such nomenclature would seem limitless, but anthropologists have identified a small number of basic systems that are found in all world societies. From another perspective, however, the stages he posited provided a rather static framework for considering the dynamic aspects of the growth and development of kinship groups. However, many scholars attempted to separate the various component parts of kinship in order to aid in its analysis, and their research tended toward rather reductionist accounts of the ways in which individual actors strategize or manipulate rules to achieve particular ends. But a person's male first-cousin could be the mother's brother's son, mother's sister's son, father's brother's son, father's sister's son, and so on; Western societies therefore use the word "cousin" as a classificatory term. He coined the term sociétés à maison, “house societies,” to denote this particular social formation.
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