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Social Sci LibreTexts

2.2: Suggested Questions

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  • You may have done your family tree in elementary school. Anthropologists do kinship charts. Try doing one for your family using the following format.

    Creating a Kinship Chart

    Illustration by the author.

    Standard Kinship Notations

    Illustration by the author.

    1. These symbols are used in a very basic kinship chart. You can easily Google other. Compare them to yours. You might also want to compare your chart to others in your class. What kind of differences do you see? Why do you think there are those differences?

    2. People in non-western societies can often trace their ancestry back many generations. How far back can you name your ancestors?

    3. Interview an older member of your family. How far back can they trace their/your ancestry?

    4. Many societies have “fictive kin”, that is someone who in not related to you by descent or marriage but whom you consider to be “family”. Do you have any examples of this?

    5. An important function of any kin group is sharing or providing resources. Do you have an example of this?

    6. The Iroquois societies practice exchange of resources between a bridge and groom at marriage ceremonies. What do most Euro-American or Canadian cultures do?

    7. In what ways is adoption in contemporary U.S. or Canadian societies different than the way adoption functioned in indigenous American societies?

    8.U.S. and Canadian family life has changed a great deal over the last fifty years. Discuss some of the cultural changes that contributed to this.

    9. How do you think the concept of kinship in your society may change in the next fifty years?