Chapter 6 | Social Relationships: Marriage, Family, Kinship, and Friendship

Relatedness (d)

The socially recognized ties that connect people in a variety of ways

Marriage (d)

An institution that prototypically involves a man and a woman, transforms the states of the participants, carries implications about sexual access, gives offspring a position in society, and establishes connections between the kin of a husband and the kin

Family (d)

At minimum, a woman/man and their dependent children

Kinship (d)

Social relationships that are prototypically derived from the universal human experiences of mating, birth and nurturance

Friendship (d)

The relatively unofficial bonds that people construct with one another that tend to be personal, affective, and, often, a matter of choice

Affinal relationships

- relationships created from marriages
- affinity

Consanguineal relationships

- relationships based on blood and descent

Marriage as a social process

- sets in place alliances that define essential social roles and delineates rights and obligations at the core of social life

Bridewealth (d)

- the transfer of certain symbolically important goods from the family of the groom to the family of the bride, representing compensation to the wife's lineage for the loss of her labour and for child-bearing capacities


- women could marry other women in this culture, but one would take on the role of the traditional man
- involved the distinction between pater and genitor
- a male associate would impregnate the designated wife and the designated father would take on tha

Pater (d)

- social father


- biological father

Patterns of residence after marriage

Major patterns:
- neolocal
- patrilocal
- matrilocal
- avunculocal
Minor patterns:
- ambilocal
- duolocal


- in a place of the couples' own choosing
- found in Western societies where individualism is the social organization


- with or near the husband's father's family
- common in herding families
- most observed residence pattern
- found in places like China and Turkey


- with or near the family in which the wife was raised
- most common in horticultural groups
- found with the Iroquois


- with or neat the husband's mother's brother
- found in matrilineal societies in which a boy inherits from his uncle
- found with the Chamorros of the Mariana Islands and the Taico of Turks and Caicos Islands


- first with the family of one spouse, then with the family of the other spouse
- eventually they will choose which family they want to affiliate with permanently


- each partner lives with his or her own lineage even after marriage
- seen where lineage membership is the most important social aspect
- found in the Nayar of India


- marriage within a defined social group


- marriage outside a defined social group

Levirate and sororate

- where a widow marries her deceased husband's brother and vice versa

Incest taboo

- some close kind who are off limits at spouses or sexual partners


- a marriage pattern in which a person may be married to only one person at a time
- suggested that we practise serial monogamy


- a marriage pattern where a person can be married to more than one person at a time
- polygyny - multiple wives
- polyandry - multiple husbands
- Islam permits multiple wives but only if the man can show that he can support them equally

Alliance intensifying marriages

- fraternal and associated patterns
- enhances ties within and between families

Alliance proliferative

- secondary marriage
- serves to connect diverse kin groups by building extensive networks of marriage based ties throughout a region

Fraternal polyandry

- found in Nepal and Tibet
- considered to be the prototype for other forms for polyandry
- oldest brother marries the wife first and from there all other brothers are married to her in a public ceremony
- equal sexual access, all act as the paters withou

Associated polyandry

- open to men who aren't brothers
- Sinhalese describes it the best: starts as monogamy and the second husband is brought in later
- first husband is the principle authority figure and each man takes care of his own economic resources
- then they can brin

Secondary marriage

- practised in Nigeria and Cameroon
- a woman marries one or more secondary husbands while remaining married to her first husband
- lives with only one at a time but retains the right to switch if she wants


- the transfer of wealth from parents to their child at the time of the child's marriage, usually applies to the daughter
- in Africa, the prototypical relationship is between sister and brother where the brother relies on the sister's dowry in order for

Non-conjugal family

- a woman and her children
- the father is absent
- can also apply to a man and his children without a mother figure but this is less common

Conjugal family

- a family based on marriage; at minimum a spousal pair and their children

Nuclear family

- a family made up of two generations; parents and their unmarried children

Polygynous family

- wives have relationships between with each other as individuals and as a group
- they have to interact with their husband individually and collectively
- can be fodder for a lot of jealousy especially is an inheritance comes into play
- husbands try to

Extended family

- a family pattern made up of three generations living together; parents, married children and grandchildren

Joint family

- a family pattern made up of brothers and their wives along with their children living together

Blended family

- a family created when previously divorced or widowed people marry, bringing with them children from their previous marriages

Brother-sister relationships

- found in matrilineal societies
- a sister has claims on her brothers because she is his closest female relatives and represents the only source of the continuity of his lineage
- ex. Ashanti

Family of choice

- a family created over time by new kin ties as friends and lovers demonstrate their genuine commitment to one another
- ex. gays
- argues that "whatever endures is real

Grounds for divorce

- in Western societies, not liking your partner anymore is grounds for divorce while it is not acceptable in others
- on non-Western countries, the lack of a male heir is also grounds for divorce
- with the Guider, men are preferred to marry their paralle

International migration and the family

- the effects of migration of families from Los Pinos, Dom Rep were studied
- found that it was the older children who went to the new country with their mothers as opposed to the younger ones
- the older ones were closer to working age so they would cont


- anthropologists tried to find patterns in kinships throughout the world
- forms of relatedness are selective
- anthropologists use the term kinship as an idiom that refers to a selective interpretation of common human experiences
- the principles of kin

Bilateral descent

- the principle that a descent group is formed by people who believe they are related to each other by connections made though their mothers and fathers equally

Unilateral descent

- the principle that a descent group is formed by people who believe they are related to each other by links made though a father or mother only
- patrilineal and matrilineal

Bilateral kindred

- relatives are formed around one individual
- each person within Ego's bilateral kindred has his or her own separate kindred
- strength = can form broad networks
- weaknesses = doesn't last beyond the lifetime of the Ego

Unilateral descent groups

- based on the principle that certain kinds of parent-child relationships are more important that others
- in a patriarchal society, women and men belong to a patrilineage formed by father-child links
- membership is unambiguous and individuals belong to

Lineages (d)

- a descent group composed of consanguineal members who believe they can trace their descent from known ancestors

Clan (d)

- a descent group formed by members who believe they have a common ancestor, even if they cannot specify the genealogical links


- most common form of lineage organization
- central is the father-son relationship
- women typically leave after they are married
- the assumption of male superiority is absorbed into their heirarchy
- ironically, the future of the patrilineage depends o

Minimal lineage

- consists of 3 - 5 generations of people

Minor lineage

- composed of all those descended from the common father of the two founders

Major lineage

- composed of all the minor lineages

Segmentary opposition

- the process of groups coming together and opposing one another
- a mode of hierarchical social organization in which groups beyond the most basic emerge only in opposition to other groups on the same hierarchical level


- the central relationship in a matrilineage is that of the sister-brother
not the same as a matriarchy, a society where women rule, instead, the brothers often retain controlling interest in the lineage
- inheritances are passed down to a man from his mo

Kinship terminologies

There are six major prototypical patterns of kinship terminology:
(1) Eskimo
(2) Iroquois
(3) Hawaiian
(4) Crow
(5) Omaha
(6) Sudanese

How do societies based on kinship attempt to resolve the difficulties of intergroup relations?

By connecting kinship with marriage

Why do unilateral societies promote certain kinds of memberships?

To ensure reproductions of their own memberships and long-term alliances with other groups
- FZD - father's sister's daughter
- MBD - mother's brother's daughter
- these are rules of marriages between father's sister's child and mother's brother's child


- place in descent group
- ex. cousin is the same generation but not a sibling


- direct or indirect linking relative
- mother and father denotes direct connections which aunt and uncle denotes relations that are off to one side (links through the mother or the father)


- relation on mother's or father's side
- not applicable in English but other languages use it to distinguish between mother's brother and father's brother

Ascribed statuses

Social positions people are assigned at birth

Achieved statuses

Social positions people may attain later in life, often as the result of their own effort

Adoption's effects on statuses

- blurs the line between ascribed and achieved because it brings in the nurture aspect of an upbringing more than nature


- defined as one joined to another in intimacy and mutual benevolence independent of sexual or family love


Non-kin forms of social organization; special-purpose groupings that may be organized on the basis of age, sex, economic role, and/or personal interest
Ex. police officers, military, religious groups, etc.

Age sets

Non-kin forms for social organization composed of young men born within a specified time span, which are par of a sequence of age sets that proceeds through youth, maturity and old age
The three strata in the Nyakyusa's age-set system:
(1) retired elders

Secret societies

Non-kin forms of social organization that initiate youn ment or women into social adulthood and reveal 'secret' knowledge to initiated members
- most famous ones are found in the Poro (for men) and the Sande (for women) spread throughout Sierra Leone, Lib

How do status-based societies contrast with contract-based societies?

(1) The parties to contractual relationships enter into them freely
(2) The contracting parties are equally free to specify the rights and obligations between them for the duration of the contract
(3) The range of possible statuses and roles is limitless,

How do humans organize our interdependence?

- though relationships of marriage, family, kinship and friendship