Bilineal Descent, Matrilineal Descent, Patrilineal
Descent, Unilineal Descent
Kinship Structure refers to the way social relationships
between individuals related by blood, affinal ties (pertaining to marriage) or socially
defined (fictive) connection are organized and normatively regulated.
Kinship is the central organizational principle of many
traditional societies, since it is through the kinship structure that social placement,
cultural transmission and many functional necessities for life will be met.
Extent of relevant kinship connection differs greatly
from society to society. Kinship bonds are generally defined more broadly and extensively
in traditional societies than in modern capitalist societies.
Changing Kinship Structure and its Implications for
Old-Age Support in Urban and Rural China, Jiang L. - This study explores the
ramifications of China's imminent population ageing at the family and kinship level - by
simulating China's evolving family and kinship structure. Results from such simulations
suggest that the burden of supporting old parents is likely to increase tremendously,
quadrupling for urban families and doubling for rural families by the year 2030, when
China's baby-boomers will enter their old age. Increases of such magnitudes suggest that
family alone is unlikely to be able to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing elderly
The Family in an Aging Society - A Matrix of Latent
MATILDA WHITE RILEY, National Institute on Aging and Bowdoin College
Because of unprecedented increases in longevity, the kinship structure has been
transformed. Linkages among family members have been prolonged, and the surviving
generations in a family have increased in number and complexity. Today's kinship structure
(which has no parallel in history) can be viewed in a new way: as a latent web of
continually shifting linkages that provide the potential for activating and intensifying
close family relationships. These relationships are no longer prescribed as strict
obligations, but must be earnedcreated and recreated by family members over their
lives. Such changes in the structure and dynamics of family relationships raise many
questions and issues for students of the family including the development of special
research approaches needed to understand the complexity of these relationships and the
nature of older people's family relationships in the future.
On Kinship Structure, Female Autonomy, and Demographic
Behavior in India - Tim Dyson, Mick Moore, Population and Development Review, Vol. 9, No.
1 (Mar., 1983)
Abstract: The main states of India are broadly grouped into two demographic regimes. In
contrast to states in the north, southern states are characterized by lower marital
fertility, later age at marriage, lower infant and child mortality, and comparatively low
ratios of female to male infant and child mortality. The division between the two regimes
broadly coincides with the division between areas of northern kinship/low female autonomy
and southern kinship/high female autonomy. The analysis suggests that female social status
is probably the most important element in comprehending India's demographic situation.
Women in the south tend to be more active in the labor force, are more likely to take
innovative action in adopting fertility control, and are more apt to utilize health
services for themselves and their children. - jstor.org
Kinship: Structure and Process (SA0027)
The first part of the course contrasts the 'descent theory' and 'alliance theory'
paradigms which dominated anthropological approaches to kinship from the 1940s until the
1970s. This split is shown to exemplify broader differences in theoretical approach
towards the study of anthropology more generally. The second part of the course examines
some of the ways in which people in different societies conceptualise and live out
relatedness. It shows how notions about relatedness are linked to concepts of the person,
notions about gender, and theories of procreation which may be radically different from
our own (which are themselves changing under the impact of New Reproductive Technologies).
Kinship has long been regarded as the core of the anthropological discipline, although the
extent to which this is still the case is questionable. The course traces the history of
kinship studies, looking at some central debates in the subject and assessing their
implications for anthropological theory. - drps.ed.ac.uk/05-06/course.php?code=SA0027
Seminar on Kinship and Demographic Behavior - Salt Lake City, Utah - iussp.org
Scholars from several disciplines have focused on the role of kinship structure and its
effects on population dynamics. Historians of population have demonstrated the importance
of the kinship network to understand demographic and social processes. Historical
demographers have closely examined kinship networks in historical societies where kinship
is thought to have been a major organizing principle of social groupings. Anthropologists
and behavioral scientists have a tradition of studying the cultural bases and consequences
of kinship systems and ties. More recently, interest has grown with respect to biological
processes and theories and their fundamental linkages with kinship. This trend has, in
large part, been motivated by the fact that demography addresses phenomena central to
biology (fertility, mortality, and nuptiality). There are a number of inquiries that are
using concepts that draw upon these various approaches. For example, kinship structure or
early family events have been studied in terms of their effects on outcomes including
health, fertility, and mortality. These studies of kinship have stimulated new analytical
approaches and have produced findings that are among the most innovative and productive
lines of inquiry in population history and social history.
Longitudinal databases derived from family registries, family reconstitutions, population
and events registers, and genealogies have become a valuable resource for studies of the
social and demographic consequences of familial and kinship networks in the past and are
being used to expand the scope of understanding demographic processes. Inclusion of
morbidity and mortality information is an important new development because these data
enable researchers to address novel questions such as the presence of disease aggregation
in families and the association of consanguinity and health outcomes. The addition of
information on socio-economic status, such as occupation or landholdings, has further
enhanced the richness of such analyses. Indeed, the expanding availability and increasing
quality and informational depth of such databases is creating a growing body of research
synergies and discoveries between genetic epidemiologists and historical demographers.
The aim of this seminar was to bring together international scholars to exchange ideas and
perspectives. The impetus for this symposium comes from two sources. The first occurred 30
years ago with the development of the Utah Population Database (or Mormon Historical
Demography Project as it was known then); this resource has been used for numerous studies
in the area of human genetic and population research. The second theme occurred in the
fall of 2004 when an interdisciplinary group of researchers met in Paris for an
International Seminar on New History of Kinship organized by IUSSP-INED-EHESS.
That seminar emphasized how the historical demographic study of kinship has changed over
the last fifteen years.
Dagestan in Russia is relatively peaceful because there is a tradition in which political
structures trump kinship structures, such as clans. Now an ethnic group is a kinship
structure, just as a clan. So when Dagestans thirty-plus ethnic groups were
organized within the Russian empire, within the Republic of Dagestan, within the Soviet
Union, and within the Russian Federation, all of these larger political structures were,
from a Dagestani perspective, essentially the djamaat writ large. Since they were
accustomed to settling kinship disputes within overarching political structures, it was
relatively easy for them to resolved their numerous inter-ethnic disputes politically, and
therefore peacefully, within the political structures of the Republic of Dagestan, the
Russian Federation, etc.