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FinalGuide - Chapter 9 Extending the Human Family and...

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Chapter 9: Extending the Human Family and Forming Tribal Communities Ambilineal, omnilineal, or nonunilineal descent: Reckoning descent from the founding ancestor in both male and female lines. Such a descent group, if it forms itself to hold property or even celebrate family reunions honoring the founding ancestors, is called an ancestor-oriented kindred. Apical ancestor: The ancestor “at the apex” from whom descent is calculated. Apical ancestors may be known, historical individuals (in the case of lineages) or mythical (in the case of clans). • Bilateral descent: The recognition of descent in both maternal and paternal lines and, by extension, in the maternal and paternal lines of every ancestor. Ego’s ancestry is seen as a giant tree branching in all directions. “Bull” of the Nuer Village: A skilled marriage broker who negotiates his own marriages and those of his grown offspring, nieces, and nephews into the nucleus of a village settlement whose residents are in his debt. The informal leader of the community. Clan: A group of persons who claim to have descended from an apical ancestor whose exact genealogical relation to them is unknown. Complementary opposition: The principle whereby shifting alliances are formed in a segmentary lineage system such as the Nuer’s. One allies with closer kinsmen against more distant ones. For example, if a first cousin (father’s brother’s son) is attacked by a second cousin (grandfather’s brother’s grandson), ego rallies to the first cousin. But if the enemy second cousin is attacked by a third cousin, yet more distant kin, then first and second cousins rally to the former enemy’s defense. Cross-cousin: A father’s sister’s child or mother’s brother’s child—that is, a cousin related to you through a parent of the opposite sex from your parent. This distinction is important in many kinship terminologies, a subset of every language. Eskimoan terminologies: Systems of linguistic classification of kinspersons in which cousins are differentiated from siblings but cross-cousins and parallel cousins are not distinguished; associated with generalized marriage exchange. Ideology: A system of belief that explains the status quo and justifies it, while obscuring or even hiding some of its real features. The Nuer segmentary lineage system explains their pattern of warfare but hides the fact that most people in particular communities may not belong to the lineage that “owns” that community. Iroquoian terminologies: Systems of linguistic classification of kinpersons in which parallel cousins are lumped with siblings and the word for cross-cousin also means spouse; associated with cross-cousin marriage. Kindred: Groups potentially present in systems with bilateral descent. Ancestor-oriented kindred’s unite people descended from an ancestor in all lines, usually because they share in a common property inheritance. Ego-oriented kindred’s may unite people on both sides around a living person, often to help against some external challenge.
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