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How Does Life In Exile Influence Kinship[ Practices?

2203 words - 9 pages

This essay will look at different views on how living in exile can affect kinship. Living in exile refers to individuals who live away from their native country. A person may life in exile through force or self decision. Kinship is a little harder to explain. A general definition of kinship refers to individuals who are 'genealogically related to each other' (Holy, 1996:40), for example, family. Genealogical relations can be through marriage or descent. Holy (1996) also describes descent as a relationship through a genealogical tie to any ancestor. In other words, related by birth. This is described as the consanguineous tie to kinship. Individuals who are related through marriage are also described as affine ties to kinship. Kinship can often also be linked to lineages as they can be seen as similar but there are, in fact, some differences. Lineal bonds are obtained from relatives who are the same blood, therefore, all members of the lineal bond are evidently descended from a familiar ancestor or ancestress. Kin then contains two or more lineages (Parkin and Stone, 2004:43). When an individual refers to their kin, it can have different meanings as a group can be divided into unilateral divisions. This basically means that some members are lineages and some are clans. A clan can be understood as 'unilateral exogamous group'. (Parkin and Stone, 2004:43)
Marriage is an important aspect in kinship. Marriage is normally understood as the linking of men and women, but this may not always be the case. An example of this is Nuer where marriages can occur between women. There are three different types of marriages; monogamy, where a man marries a woman; polygyny, where man can marry two or more women, and polyandry, where a woman can marry two or more men. Apart from all these types of marriages, there are also some, which are described as marital alliances, which in other words, are arranged marriages. (Stone, 1947:183-4).
When these marriages occur, payments are made. These normally occur in order to give the women the ability to gain the same types of properties as men. There are two different ways through which this can be done; dowry or brides-wealth. Firstly, both of these include the conveyance of properties at marriage (Goody, 1973:1).
Dowry can be understood as a type of marriage payment that is handed from the kin of the groom to the kin of the bride (Stone, 1947:227). Goody explains this as 'indirect dowry', meaning that the instalment received from the bridegroom or his kin is for the bride to use.
Bridewealthis seen as an act of pprestidigitationation, meaning that the gift that is exchanged has a weaker economic value and a stronger social significance. (http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/arts/anthropology/tutor/marriage/bride_wealth.html).
Understanding why individuals live in exile is also important. As explained above, living in exile can be described as people not living in their natal country through expulsion....

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