4 Categories of Kins-Anthropology Concepts Explained!


December 29, 2018 admin 0 Comment

In primitive societies it’s very common for the peoples to recognize the kins up to the range of fifth or sixth degrees or even beyond. But in modern societies this range seldom goes beyond the third degrees kins.

That is why primitive societies are categorized as broad ranged kinship systems while modern societies are characterised as narrow ranged kinship systems.

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2. Cross and Parallel Cousins:

‘Cousin’ is a third degree kin but at least four types of kins are covered by this word of English language. For example—one’s father’s brother’s child, father’s sister’s son or daughter, mother’s sister’s sons and daughters and the mother’s brother’s sons or daughters all are his or her cousins.

But in practice in different societies all these kins are categorized as the cross cousins of the parallel cousins. The sons and daughters of a brother and a sister are known as parallel cousins.

In most of the societies barring a few exceptions, parallel cousins do not marry while in a large number of societies cross cousins are expected to marry. When groups, already related by the bonds of marriage, again choose to restrict their life mates among the some groups in the subsequent generation and thus renew and restrengthen their relations the practice is called alliance.

In a large number of primitive societies two groups (class) keep on exchanging their daughter’s and son’s generation after generation thereby strengthening their bonds of mutual cooperation in everyday life— particularly in economic activities.

3. Unilateral and Bilateral:

Kinds may also be variously categorized on the basis of generation, relative age and sex. They may also be categorised as the kins of father’s side of ‘Mortician Kins’. For many purposes and occasions such as participation in rituals and ceremonies, and also in passing on the family name from one generation to other.

The rules of inheritance of property in every society are also restricted to the father’s or mother’s side kins. Thus the rule of recognition of kins (for different purposes) of either side only is known as wild ‘unilateral’ and the rule and practice of recognizing kins of both the sides is known as ‘bilateral’.

4. Quasi Kins:

As mentioned earlier, kinship though rooted in biological facts of birth, marriage and death, is by and large more a question of social recognition. Thus there is, in every society, a category of quasi kins of putative or fictive kins.

The disciples of the same teacher or the followers of the same God­father may be having as if consanguine kins. A universal example of social recognition is the practice of adoption. A ceremonial recognition of a child as one’s own biologically produced off spring speaks of overriding nature of social recognition.

Among the polyandrous Todas of India, it is the ceremonial presentation of a miniature bow and arrow by a brother to the common wife that confers the status of fatherhood. In all polyandrous societies paternity is a dubious question.

They must have some social mechanism to solve the riddle of fatherhood. Among the polyandrous khasa people, it is the elder brother who enjoys the status and privileges of fatherhood by virtue of tradition and social recognition.



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