The Downfall Of Kinship Essay

1691 words - 7 pages

The Downfall of Kinship(Question 2)

In the past, kinship has been an integral part of explaining societies in the anthropological field, as it is one of the bases of social structure in most societies to varying degrees. However, with the eventual spread of what is modernly western ideals, the importance of kinship was lost and thought to be outdated for western philosophy. So, with the western ideals and the newer action of globalization, making these western ideals the norm, kinship is seen as less important for societal structure, though moderately important from a biological perspective. Nevertheless, with the rise of western society, the downfall of kinship has caused it to only seem relevant in ethnic, traditional based societies that still exist and are thought to below western societies.
Though currently thought to be insignificant, kinship is still an important, if not the most important, part of a societies structure, though it may not be the only means of forming the structure, such as economy, politics and religion. In earlier and traditional societies, kinship was an important social institution because it would set up a persons life, regulating who would help take care of individuals, what careers they would take on, who they would marry, who would protect them, and most importantly, give them their social identity (Eriksen SPLI 100). Even in the societies where kinship if not the most important social structure, where “kinship has given way to other principles of organising politics, religion, the economy and so on, but it continues to be a crucial part of people’s identity and their webs of commitments to others” (Eriksen SPLI 100-1). In these societies, kinship is important in giving individuals social identities and giving them some form of acceptance and security which would not necessarily be provided if societies were not structured around kinship. Kinship also helps to determine the important act of marriage, in order to propagate itself and create alliances, setting up societal rules on incest, which are not necessarily dictated by biology. Using kinship, a society forms an incest taboo as a way to dictate who should and should not be married, which can vary based on the size of the societies, involving the inclusion cousins in smaller societies, for example, since it is more profitable for a kin to marry into another kin, because it forms alliances among themselves (Eriksen SPLI 103). These alliances are practically important because it allows people to be more likely to trust relatives “since they are tied to onself through webs of strong normative obligations,” allowing society to move on (Eriksen SPLI 103). Though it may vary in its extent depending on the society, inheritance is also an important part of kinship, as it gives more incentive to make these relationships, as the next generation will usually inherit from the previous one (Eriksen SPLI 104). The type of society will dictate how something such as...

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