Descent groups – lineages
When unilineal descent principle (traces descent only through a single line of ancestors,
male or female) is applied people become members of multigenerational groups of close relatives called lineages.
Types- depending on whether links are traced through women or men.
Members of a lineage can actually trace links back to common ancestor.
Descent groups –Clan
- Societies with lineages often define larger, more inclusive kin groups called clans – groups of people who claim descent from a common ancestor but cannot specify all actual links.
- Ancestor is often genealogically so remote that he/she is thought of as a mythical being.
- Such distant, non-human ancestors become identifying symbols of the clan, or totems.
Descent groups – phratries.
Some unilineal societies group clans into even larger-scale unilineal descent groups called phratries.
Actual genealogical links are not clear – phratry ancestors are usually mythical.
Descent groups – Moieties
- Entire societies may be divided into two large unilineal descent groups that have reciprocal responsibilities.
- Moieties are intended to produce a balanced opposition within society – linked pairs assume complementary positions & functions.
- Constantly reinforced social & economic exchanges encourages economic equality & political stability.
- Moieties are usually exogamous.
- Each moiety takes husbands & wives from matched group.
- Moiety members cannot demonstrate descent links back to supposed common ancestor.
Descent groups – Kindred
A kindred is an ephemeral grouping which is neither permanent nor a continuing one through generations in any fixed pattern. A kindred is not ancestor-focused but ego-centred grouping which changes with the change in time, space and ego .
The reckoning of kindred changes with the individual who reckons his/her cicle of relatives. This is because the members of any particular kindred do not have nor reckon an ancestor in common to all of them ;instead what they all have or recognize in common is ego.
Every individual in a society has a kindred and the kindred of each individual will overlap with his/her next of kin.No kindred is common for any two individuals besides siblings.