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TermPaperANTH263-1

TermPaperANTH263-1 - ANTH 263g Term Paper Segmentary...

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ANTH 263g Term Paper Segmentary Lineage Organization and Complementary Opposition in a Chinese Village: New Years Events in Song Village, Hebei Province The main objective of this paper is to provide a detailed definition of what the term segmentary lineage mean. In addition, the definition must be applicable to events outlined in a documentary film shown in class: The Secret of the Stone. This application of the definition must be substantiated with tangible evidence and examples from the film. First, a definition and background information from Moore’s text about segmentary lineage, a detailed outline of Song’s journey back to his native village with practical examples from the film as well as Moore’s take on complementary opposition. According to Moore, “a system of symmetrical segments, as if every great ancestor had begotten two sons, who in turn begot two sons, each patriline then dividing in two each generation” (Moore 1998: 220), is referred to as segmentary lineage. Clearly, these divisions are not actual and may represent the outcome of several generations. What is vital is that a sense of balance or complementariness is preserved in the calculation of segments. Any individual man belongs to a minimal lineage that calculates descent three to five generations back to a known ancestor. This lineage in turn is linked with several others in a minor lineage, which in turn is linked with yet others in a major lineage, all linked with others in a clan descended from a distant, and perhaps mythical, ancestor. Deductively, Moore summaries the definition of segmentary lineage as, “a system of descent found among some tribal peoples. A segmentary genealogy is a system of symmetrical segments, as if every great ancestor had begotten two sons, who in turn begot two sons, each patriline then dividing in two each generation” (Moore 1998: 234).
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The documentary film about Song’s native village and in particular his lineage substantiates Moore’s definition of segmentary lineage. Song describes how his native village came into being by mentioning how two kinsmen (apical ancestors in this case) had a feud and each went their separate ways to establish settlements with their followers. These kinsmen established the Tiger King Village (younger of sons) and the Song Family village (by Shanxi). The Song Family Village dividing into the West Temple and the East Temple respectively, which are also in turn linked with several others in a minor lineage. The genealogy is enshrined in a stone hence the film title, “The Secret of the Stone” (Song, 2007).
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