lecture_11_2

Lecture_11_2 - 21A.100 Prof Howe Kinship 1 As an organizing principle for life a We tend to think of kin as something natural biological or as

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21A.100 Prof. Howe Kinship 1. As an organizing principle for life a. We tend to think of kin as something natural, biological or as having some basis beyond culture i. For example, children reuniting with birth parents b. Kinship is actually highly variable and artificial from one culture to the next c. Kinship organizes groups larger than a single family or households d. It can be seen as a form of social engineering 2. We need to start with basic assumptions: a. Lots of things are better done in groups i. Fishing – in Amazon done by stunning the fish in the water and collecting them as they float to the surface ii. Hunting – before horses, plains Indians would herd buffalo off a cliff or into a boxed canyon iii. Agriculture iv. Raising livestock v. Defense b. Social organization i. Network of people helps deal with: 1. Inheritance
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Mutual assistance 3. Performance of rituals 4. Trust is key in these relationships 3. Groups have requirements, in order to be sucessful: a. Organization i. Rules of membership: Who’s in? Who’s out? ii. When groups become more desirable, how do you keep membership exclusive ? 1. e.g. successful Indian Casinos need to regulate who is a member of their tribe. iii. Sometimes groups are mutually exclusive – every person is supposed to belong to only one 1. Nations 2. Defensive groups b. Groups need to maintain continuity over time i. “Corporation”, meaning anything that exists beyond its individual members ii. universities, churches, countries
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This note was uploaded on 11/06/2011 for the course ANTHR 100 taught by Professor Howe during the Fall '09 term at MIT.

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Lecture_11_2 - 21A.100 Prof Howe Kinship 1 As an organizing principle for life a We tend to think of kin as something natural biological or as

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