Flashcards for Nature of Kinship
Topic 4:  Descent Groups
(15 cards)

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Copyright © 2007 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

The term for a family consisting of a man, woman, and their children.

nuclear family

The term for the nuclear family into which one is born.

family of orientation

The term for the nuclear family in which one is a parent.

family of procreation

The term for a nuclear family in which there is no continuing adult male functioning as a husband/father. In such families, the mother raises her children more or less alone and subsequently has the major role in their socialization.

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matricentric (or matrifocused)

The general term for a multi-generational group of relatives who are related by unilineal descent. (Hint: the answer is not dependent on whether the descent pattern is matrilineal or patrilineal.)

unilineage

A multi-generational group of relatives who are related by patrilineal descent. This large family group usually consists of a number of related nuclear families descended from the same man.

patrilineage

A multi-generational group of relatives who are related by matrilineal descent. This large family group usually consists of a number of related nuclear families descended from the same woman.

matrilineage

A group of people who claim unilineal descent from the same ancestor but who cannot specify all of the actual links. The ancestor is genealogically so remote that he or she is often thought of as a mythical being, animal, or plant. This type of large family group usually consists of a number of related unilineages.

clan

A unilineal descent group consisting of a number of related clans. This very large family group’s founding ancestor is so remote genealogically that he or she is usually mythical.

phratry

One of two unilineal divisions of an entire society. These very large family groups have reciprocal privileges and obligations with each other, such as providing marriage partners and assisting at funerals. The founding ancestor of each of these groups is often so genealogically remote that he or she is now mythical.

moiety

The term that anthropologists use for a fictional clan originator. (Hint: the term came from the huge poles carved by Indians on Vancouver Island in Western Canada to represent their mythical ancestors.)

totem (or totemic emblem)

The region of the world in which the Kariera four class system of patrilineal descent combined with moieties was traditionally used.

Western Australia (among the aborigines)

The term for a group of relatives who are linked together by a single individual who can trace descent and/or marriage relationships to every other member of the family. (Hint: this is usually the largest family group formed in societies using bilateral or cognatic descent.)

kindred

The thing that usually prevents North American kindreds from functioning as efficiently as unilineages in collective ownership and mutual aid.

conflicting interests and obligations of different family members (especially in-laws)

The only kind of bilateral, or cognatic, kindred that regularly continues to exist after the death of its founder.

a dead ancestor focused kindred