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Ryan Schram

ANTH 2654: Forms of Families

20 August 2015

Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/2654/4

Lecture Outline

Two views of kinship: top-down and bottom-up.

Meyer Fortes and the axiom of amity

  • Two types of social relationships: amity and strangerhood
    • Amity consists of prescriptive altruism
    • Strangerhood means people can be individually self-interested.
  • A return to Henry Maine's theory: status and contract
    • Except without the evolutionary thinking.
    • It starts with the 'familial domain'. This is also called the domestic sphere.

The segmentary type of society

  • What creates order? What is the law? The principle of unilineal descent from a single ancestor
    • Creates exclusive groups
    • Subdivides all people in society into groups
    • Sets limits on who is in society and who is out
  • Example: Auhelawa. Matrilineal groups
    • Landowning
    • Marriage
    • Villages
  • Unilineal descent groups (UDGs) are corporations
    • Members come together to cooperate for a common purpose.
    • The common purpose is more important than self-interest.
    • They act as one person. From the point of view of outsiders, all people in one UDG are the same, interchangeable.
    • This group has a perpetual life. As people die, they are replaced by new members who are the children of members.
    • As Henry Maine said, 'corporations never die'. UDGs are corporations – building blocks of a society in which people's relationships are based on status.
    • Interactions between people of different groups are interactions of different groups. This is not exactly strangerhood, but it is very different than the relationships within the group. This is the public domain, as opposed to the domestic.

There are two holes in this theory

  • Segment = UDG
  • Filiation is conflated with descent.
  • Example: Ghost marriage
2654/4.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/29 02:27 by