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9.7: End of Chapter Discussion

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    56452
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    Discussion

    1. Why is it important for anthropologists to understand the kinship, descent, and family relationships that exist in the cultures they study? In what ways can family relationships structure the lives of individuals?
    2. Status and role define the position of people within the family as well as the behaviors they are expected to perform. What are some of the statuses and roles found in families in your community? How have these changed over time?
    3. In this chapter, Gilliland describes several different patterns of family organization including nuclear families, extended families, and joint families. While small nuclear families are common in the United States, larger families are common in many other societies. What do you think are some of the practical effects of both small and large families on everyday life?

    GLOSSARY

    Affinal: Relationships created through marriage or other social ties (in-laws, adopted children, domestic partners).

    Avunculocal: married individuals live with or near an uncle.

    Bilateral: descent is recognized through both the father and the mother’s sides of the family.

    Bridewealth: payments made to the bride’s family by the groom’s family before marriage.

    Clan: a group of people who have a general notion of common descent that is not attached to a specific biological ancestor.

    Consanguineal: Relationships formed through blood connections (parents and children).

    Descent groups: relationships that provide members with a sense of identity and social support based on ties of shared ancestry.

    Dowry: payments made to the groom’s family by the bride’s family before marriage.

    Ego: A person who is the starting point of a kinship chart.

    Endogamy: a term describing expectations that individuals must marry within a particular group.

    Exogamy: a term describing expectations that individuals must marry outside a particular group.

    Extended family: a family of at least three-generations sharing a household.

    Family: the smallest group of individuals who see themselves as connected to one another.

    Family of orientation: the family in which an individual is raised.

    Family of procreation: a new household formed for the purpose of conceiving and raising children.

    Household: family members who reside together.

    Joint family: a very large extended family that includes multiple generations.

    Kinship: term used to describe culturally recognized ties between members of a family, the social statuses used to define family members, and the expected behaviors associated with these statuses; blood ties, common ancestry, and social relationships that form families within human groups.

    Kinship system: the pattern of culturally recognized relationships between family members.

    Kinship terminology: the terms used in a language to describe relatives.

    Lineage: term used to describe any form of descent from a common ancestor.

    Marriage: A cultural, social, and legal process that brings two or more individuals together to create a new family unit.

    Matriarchal: a society in which women have authority to make decisions.

    Matrilineal: a kinship group created through the maternal line (mothers and their children).

    Matrilocal residence: married individuals live with or near the wife’s mother’s family.

    Neolocal residence: newly married individuals establish a household separate from other family members.

    Nuclear family: a parent or parents who are in a culturally-recognized relationship, such as marriage, along with minor or dependent children.

    Patrilateral cousin marriage: the practice of marrying a male or female cousin on the father’s side of the family.

    Patrilineal: a kinship group created through the paternal line (fathers and their children).

    Patrilocal residence: married individuals live with or near the husband’s father’s family.

    Polygamy: Marriage with multiple spouses.

    Polyandry: marriages with one wife and multiple husbands.

    Polygyny: marriages in which there is one husband and multiple wives.

    Role: the set of behaviors expected of an individual who occupies a particular status.

    Serial monogamy: marriage to a succession of spouses one after the other.

    Status: any culturally-designated position a person occupies in a particular setting.

    Unilineal: descent is recognized through only one line or side of the family.


    Adapted From

    "Family and Marriage" by Mary Kay Gilliland, Central Arizona College. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition, Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges, 2020, under CC BY-NC 4.0.


    9.7: End of Chapter Discussion is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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