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GEOGRAPHY / SOCIOLOGY / ANTHROPOLOGY

KINSHIP, FAMILY AND MARRIAGE


I. KINSHIP
A. Kinship Defined

It is the socially recognized system of relationships (including rights and responsibilities) between
people in a culture who are held to be biologically related or who are given the status of relatives by
marriage, adoption, or other ritual.
It is the broad-ranging term for all the relationships that one is born into or creates later in life and that
are considered binding in the eyes of the society.

B. Common Features of Kinship Systems

A lengthy infant maturation period that requires a major commitment from one and usually both parents
to nurture and educate dependent children.
The presence of marital bond that creates permanent and ideally exclusive sexual and economic
relationship between two or more people.
Division of labor based on sex.
A prohibition on intercourse and marriage between close kin, which creates widely articulated network of
individuals related by birth and marriage. (INCEST TABOO)

C. Basic Types of Kinship Relations


1.

CONSANGUINES / CONSANGUINITY from the Latin words con and


sanguis which means with the blood. It refers to the connection or relation of persons descended from
the same stock or common ancestor. (A.K.A. blood relatives)

2.

AFFINAL RELATIONSHIPS / AFFINITY relationships established through


marriage. It is extended to the parents of the husband and those of the wife, including their siblings. The
suffix in-law is used to distinguish these relationships from those of the other relatives. (The kinsmen of
ones spouse.)

3.

FICTIVE RELATIONS referred to as non-kin kin. A fictive member is an


adopted member who takes on obligations and instrumental and affectional ties similar to those of
conventional kin. (e.g. godparents, adopted children, namesake kin, kapitbahay).

D. The Structure of Kinship

Anthropologists frequently use the following symbols to illustrate kinship relationships which may be combined to
represent a family consisting of a married couple and their children.

- MALE

- FEMALE

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- MARRIAGE BOND

- DESCENT BOND

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E. Divisions of Descent Systems

1.

UNILINEAL DESCENT affiliates a person with a group of kin through descent links of one sex only
(either males only or females only). There are three basic types of unilineal descent:
a.

PATRILINEAL DESCENT the most frequent rule, affiliates an individual with kin of
both sexes related to him or her through men only. (FATHER)
MATRILINEAL DESCENT affiliates an individual with kin of both sexes related to
him or her through women only. (MOTHER)
AMBILINEAL DESCENT affiliates an individual with kin related to him or her
through men or women. (EITHER FATHER OR MOTHER).

b.
c.

2.
3.

COGNATIC KINSHIP SYSTEM descent can be traced through either or both parents. Here, the
principles of patrilineal and matrilineal are used to affiliate individuals with different sets of kin for
purposes. (EITHER OR BOTH).
BILATERAL KINSHIP SYSTEM refers to the fact that ones relatives on both mothers and fathers
sides are equal in importance or, more usually, in unimportance. It asserts that a person is equally
descent from both parents and relatives on both fathers and mothers side of the family. (BOTH)

F. English-Style Kinship Structure and Terminologies

Most Western societies employ English-style kinship terminology. This kinship terminology commonly
occurs in societies based on conjugal (or nuclear) families. Members of the nuclear family use
descriptive kinship terms:
1.

Father: the male parent


Genitor - ones biological father
Step-father affinal father
Foster Father fictive father
Mother: the female parent
Genitrix ones biological mother
Step-mother affinal mother
Foster mother fictive mother
Son: the males born of the mother; sired by the father
Daughter: the females born of the mother; sired by the father
Brother: a male born of the same mother; sired by the same father
Half-brother - a male sibling who shares only one parent with another sibling.
Step-brother a male sibling who does not share common biological parents with another
sibling.
Sister: a female born of the same mother; sired by the same father
Half-sister - a female sibling who shares only one parent with another sibling.
Step-sister - a female sibling who does not share common biological parents with another
sibling.

2.

3.
4.
5.

6.

Members of the nuclear families of members of one's own (former) nuclear family may be classified as
lineal or as collateral. Kins who regard them as lineal refer to them in terms that build on the terms used
within the nuclear family:
1.
2.

For collateral relatives, more classificatory terms come into play, terms that do not build on the terms
used within the nuclear family:
1.
2.

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Grandparent
Grandfather: a parent's father
Grandmother: a parent's mother
Grandchild
Grandson: a child's son
Granddaughter: a child's daughter

Uncle: father's brother, father's sister's husband, mother's brother, mother's sister's husband
Aunt: father's sister, father's brother's wife, mother's sister, mother's brother's wife

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3.
4.
5.

Nephew: sister's son, brother's son


Niece: sister's daughter, brother's daughter
Cousin: the most classificatory term; the children of aunts or uncles.

II. MARRIAGE
There is no single definition of marriage that is adequate to account for all the diversity found in marriages crossculturally.

A. Marriage Defined
Marriage is defined generally as a formal and durable sexual union of one or more men to one or more women
which is conducted within a set of designated rights and duties.
1.
2.
3.

It is formal. socially recognized and approved.


It is durable. with the intent of permanence.
It involves sexual union. refers to sexual intimacies with sexual
intercourse.

4.

It is conducted within a set of designated rights and duties. there are


statuses and roles.

It means socially approved and sexual economic union usually between a woman and a man. It is presumed, by
both the couple and others, to be more or less permanent, and it subsumes reciprocal rights and obligations
between the two spouses and between spouses and their future children.
Rights Allocated by Marriage:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
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Marriage can establish the legal father of a womans children and the legal mother of a mans.
It can give either or both spouses a monopoly in the sexuality of the other.
It can give either or both spouses rights to the labor of the other.
It can give either of both spouses rights over the others property.
It can establish a joint fund of property a partnership for the benefit of the children.
It can establish a socially significant relationship of affinity between spouses and their relatives.
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B. Universal Categories of Marriage Partner Selection


1.

ENDOGAMY from the Greek words, endo (within) and gamos,


(marriage). It is the social rule which requires marriage within a group to which one belongs. It dictates
that one should marry within ones clan or ethnic group. (eg. Caste group of India, Masai Warriors of
East Africa, Tutsi of Rwanda, Royal incest such as the Incas of Peru, Ancient Egypt and traditional
Hawaii.).
Endogamy can be seen as functioning to express and maintain social difference, particularly in stratified
societies.
Homogamy is the practice of marrying someone similar to you in terms of background, social status,
aspirations, and interests.

2.

EXOGAMY from the Greek words, ex (outside) and gamos (marriage).


It is the social rule which requires marriage outside the group. It prescribes that one should marry
outside ones clan or ethnic group. (eg. Filipinos).

3.

LEVIRATE AND SORORATE - In levirate, a man is required to marry the


wife of a deceased brother. Sororate, on the other hand, requires the widower to marry the unmarried
sister as the successor to his deceased wife. It obliges the woman to marry her deceased sisters
husband. The existence of such customs indicates the importance of marriage as an alliance between
groups.

4.

PRE-MARITAL RELATIONSHIP engaging in a number of mating before


they finally settle down to assure sexual compatibility and fertility of the woman.

C. Forms of Marriage based on the Number of Spouses Permitted


1.

MONOGAMY marriage with one spouse exclusively for life. Violation of this
norm may result to concubinage, adultery, or bigamy.
SERIAL MONAGAMY marriage to one spouse at a time.

2.

POLYGAMY - also known as plural marriage. It may assume three forms:


a.

POLYGYNY is the marriage of one man to two or more women at


the same time. Even in cultures that approve of polygamy, monogamy still tends to be the norm,
largely because most populations tend to have equal sex ratios. It is more common than polyandry
because, where sex ratios are not equal, there tend to be more woman than men. Multiple wives
tend to be associated with wealth and prestige.

Examples:

b.

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Siwai of South Pacific increase in pig herds that may


result from polygyny is a source of prestige for the owner.
Tanala of Madagascar requires the husband to spend
a day with each co-wife in succession.
Tonga of Polynesia grant the first wife the status of
chief wife while the other wives are called small wives.
POLYANDRY the marriage of a woman to two or more men at the
same time. It is quite rare, being practiced almost exclusively in South Asia. Among the Paharis of
India, polyandry was associated with a relatively low female population which was itself due to

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covert female infanticide. In other cultures, it resulted from the fact that men traveled a great deal,
thus, multiple husbands ensured the presence of a man in the home.
Other Examples:
Tibetans, Sinhalese of Sri Lanka, and Marquesan

Islanders of Polynesia

c.

GROUP MARRIAGE several males are married to several


females.

D. Ways of Getting into Marriage


1.

PAYMENT OF BRIDEWEALTH. Some groups get a wife by the payment of progeny price or
better known as bridewealth. Brideprice is rejected as an appropriate label, because the connotations of a
sale are imposed. The payment of bride price serves as the following functions:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

To act as an insurance against divorce.


To replace the lost member of the family.
To legitimize the groom as a member of the brides family.
To find out if the wife is treated with sincerity.
To ensure the stability of marriage.

DOWRY valuables given to the husband from the wifes family at the time of the marriage ceremony.
2.

SUITOR SERVICE rendering service to the girls parents in their house. Upon approval of the
parents, the guy can not start courting the girl he loves.

3.

INTERFAMILIA EXCHANGE marriage in this arrangement involves a brother and/or sister is


married to a sister and/or brother from another family.
SISTER EXCHANGE the husbands trade sisters to be each others wives in order to keep any group
from losing a woman.

4.

MARRIAGE BY CAPTURE bride is subject to a tug of war between her clan and the prospective
groom. This could be done by abductions.

5.

INHERITANCE OF WIVES similar to levirate and sororate marriage. The Bura tribes of North
Nigeria allow a man to inherit his grandfathers wives.

6.

ADOPTIVE MARRIAGE a common practice in Indonesia and Japan. A man may obtain a wife
by being adopted into her family. Instead of being a son-in-law, he becomes the son of the brides family.
This is usually practiced by prominent families who do not have sons to continue the family heritage. The
bridegroom is made to change his family name into that of the prospective brides surname.

7.

ELOPEMENT another traditional way of getting a wife common in every society. It happens
when the parents refuse the match and the only way for the couple to live together as husband and wife is to
run away or elope.

8.

WIFE STEALING in a society which social competition among men is a means of obtaining
social status, no home is truly safe. To steal anothers wife proves that the guy is a better man than the one
whose wife was stolen.

9.

ROMANTIC LOVE - typically, anthropologists have overlooked romantic love as a factor in


interpersonal relationships of the people they study, but this has begun to change. As motifs of romantic love
have become widespread, globally, it has come to play an increasingly important role in the selection of
marriage partners, even to the extent of being a basis for resistance against arranged marriages, for
example.

III. FAMILY

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A. Family Defined

A family can be defined simply as any group of people who live together. Families exist in all sizes
and configurations and are essential to the health and survival of the individual family members, as
well as to society as a whole. The family is a buffer between the needs of the individual member
and the demands and expectations of society. The role of the family is to help meet the basic
human needs of its members while also meeting the needs of society. (Friedman, Bowden, &
Jones, 2003)

Duval (1977) defined a family as two or more people who are related through blood, marriage,
adoption, or birth. Friedman (1922) expanded that definition by including two or more people who
are emotionally involved with each other and live together. The latter definition includes more
of the different types of current family structures in which members may be unrelated either
biologically or legally.

Basic Characteristics:
1.
2.
3.
4.

It involves a union of two or more people by tie of marriage, blood or adoption.


As a group, the members usually live together under one roof and they constitute a single housekeeping
unit.
As a group, the members have their respective role relationships as husband, wife, son and daughter.
As the members of the family enjoy life together, they tend to create common culture through the period
of socialization since birth.

B. Functions of the Family


Families have functions that are important in how individual family members meet their basic human needs and
maintain their health. The family provides the individual with the necessary environment for development and
social interactions. Families are also important to society as a whole because they provide new and socialized
members for society. Five major functions of the family are as follows:

Physical. The family provides a safe, comfortable environment necessary for growth, development,
and rest or recreation.
Economic. The family provides financial aid to family members and also helps meet monetary needs of
society.
Reproductive. The reproductive functions of the family is raising children and regulating sexual
behavior.
Affective and Coping. The affective and coping function of the family involves providing emotional
comfort to family members. It also helps members to establish an identity and to maintain that identity
in times of stress.
Socialization. Through socialization, the family teaches, transmits beliefs, values, attitudes, and coping
mechanisms; provides feedback; and guides problem-solving society.

C. Forms of Family based on Internal Organization


1.

NUCLEAR FAMILY / TRADITIONAL FAMILY is composed of a husband and wife and their children in
a union recognized by the other members of the society. The parents might be heterosexual or
homosexual, are often married or in a committed relationship, and all members of the family live in the
same house until the children leave home as young adults. The traditional family may be composed of
biologic parents and children, adoptive parents and children, surrogate parents and children, and
stepparents and children.
Types:

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a.

Classic Nuclear Family the family where the father was the family member who went to
work, providing economic security, whereas the mother stayed at home, providing physical and
emotional safety and security. Although many people still consider the nuclear family the ideal, it is
no longer the dominant structure in our society.

b.

Contemporary Nuclear Family still has the same basic form, but the roles of the members
have changed considerably. The two major causes of this change are increased education and
career opportunities for women and changes in our economy resulting in a need for additional

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income to maintain a desired standard of living. As a result, two-career families, in which both
parents work outside the home, have become the norm instead of the exception.
c.

Blended Family traditional family which is formed when parents bring unrelated children
from previous relationship together to form a new family.

2.

EXTENDED FAMILY is composed of two or more nuclear families, economically and socially related
to each other. (e.g. Filipinos, Slovakians)

3.

JOINT FAMILY the structure where the married siblings together with their spouses and children
reside in one house.

4.

HOUSEHOLD it refers to the members of the family. It may consist of one individual or 100
individuals who may or may not be related to each other. Individuals not related to each other become
part of the household on the basis of sharing the same residence as well as performing the same
domestic functions. In the Philippines, domestic helpers are part of the household and at time, especially
among the middle class families they are considered members of the family.

5.

TRUNCATED FAMILY lays stress on the grandparent-grandchildren relationship. This type is formed
when the parents die, grandchildren assume the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren. Other
reasons include parents economic incapacity, illness and separation.

6.

STEM FAMILY consists of two families: the family of orientation (the family into which one is born into)
and the family of procreation (the family established through marriage).

7.

SINGLE-PARENT FAMILY. Single parents may be separated, divorced, widowed, or never married.
Increasing numbers of never-married men and women are choosing to become parents.
Common Types:
a.
b.

8.

Matrifocal Family the only parent left is the mother.


Patrifocal Family the only parent left is the father.

OTHER FAMILY STRUCTURES. In addition to traditional and single parent families, cohabiting adults
and single adults are other family structures.
Other structures:
a.

b.
c.
d.

Cohabiting Family composed of individuals who choose to live together for a variety of
reasons relationships, financial need, or changing values. It includes unmarried adults (of any
age, including retired people who choose not to marry because it would impose financial
hardship) living together, and communal or group marriages.
Binuclear Family where divorced parent assume joint custody of children.
Dyadic Nuclear Family where the couple chooses not to have children.
Single Adults may not be living with others, but they are part of a family or origin, usually
have social network with significant others, or may even regard a pet as family. Most single
adults living alone are either young adults who achieve independence and enter the workforce or
older adults who never married or are left alone after the death of a spouse.

D. Forms of Family based on Residence


1.

PATRILOCAL mandates that the new couple live with or near the domicile or abode of
the husbands father. Here, the son stays and the daughter leaves, so that the married couple lives with or
near the husbands parents.

2.

MATRILOCAL instituted by a rule that a woman remains in her mothers household after
reaching maturity and brings her husband to live with her family after marriage. Sons, conversely, move
out of their natal household after marriage to join her wifes household.

3.

AMBILOCAL/BILOCAL means that the newly married couple live with the husband or
wifes parents. This couple may also choose to live with one set of parents for a while then move to the
other depending on factors like the relatives wealth or status of the families, the wishes of the parents or

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certain personal preferences of the bride and the groom. About 9% of the worlds societies have ambilocal
residence.
4.

NEOLOCAL allows the newly married couple to reside independently of the parents of
either groom or bride. Married couples live apart from the relatives of both parents.

5.

AVUNCULOCAL - requires that the newly married couple reside with or near the maternal
uncle of the groom. Here the son and his wife settle with or near his mothers brother. This type of
residence is very rare and the arrangement is brought about by economic and political reasons.

6.

VIRILOCAL a newly married couple lives with the husbands kin.

7.

UXORILLOCAL newly married couple lives with the wifes kin.

E. Forms of Family based on Authority

1.

PATRIARCHAL authority is vested in the oldest male in the family, often the father. (eg. Traditional
Chinese families).

2.

MATRIARCHAL - the authority is vested in mother or the mothers kin (usually the oldest). The oldest
female, usually the mother serves as the authority figure in the household.

3.

EGALITARIAN the husband and wife exercise a more or less equal amount of authority.

4.

MATRICENTRIC emerged recently due to employment of fathers away from home other provinces
and even other countries. The prolonged absence of the father gives the mother position in the family.
(vs. PATRICENTRIC)

F. Incest Taboo

INCEST TABOO the prohibition of sexual intercourse or marriage between some categories of kin. The most
universal aspect of the incest taboo is the prohibition of sexual intercourse or marriage between mother and son,
father and daughter, and brother and sister.

THEORIES OF INCEST TABOO:

1.

CHILDHOOD-FAMILIARITY THEORY
Proponent: Edward Westermarck

2.

FREUDS PSYCHONALYTIC THEORY


Proponent: Sigmund Freud

3.

The theory states that persons who have been closely


associated with each other since earliest childhood such as siblings, are not sexually attracted to each
other and therefore would avoid marriage with each other.

The theory suggests that the incest taboo


against unconscious, unacceptable desires. He suggested that the son is attracted to his
daughter is to her father) and as a result feels jealousy and hostility toward his father.
knows, that these feelings cannot continue, for they may lead the father to retaliate
therefore these feelings must be renounced or repressed.

is a reaction
mother (as a
But the son
against him,

FAMILY DISRUPTION THEORY


Proponent: Bronislaw Malinowski

IMBA

The theory suggests that sexual competition among


family members would create so much rivalry and tension that the family could not function as an
effective unit. Because the family must function effectively for society to survive, society has to curtail
competition within the family. The familial incest taboo is thus imposed to keep the family intact.

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4.

COOPERATION THEORY
Proponent: Edward Tylor (elaborated by Leslie A. White and Claude Levi-Strauss)

5.

The theory emphasizes the value of incest taboo in


promoting cooperation among family groups and thus helping communities to survive. Early humans
developed the incest taboo to ensure that individuals would marry members of other families. The tie
created by intermarriage would serve hold the community together.
INBREEDING THEORY

The theory focuses on the potentially damaging


consequences of inbreeding, or marrying within the family. People within the same family are likely to
carry the same harmful recessive genes. An offspring from the same family is likely to die early of
genetic disorders than to that of an offspring from unrelated spouses.

G. FAMILY DISORGANIZATION
Separation, annulment, desertion, and divorce may bring about the break-up of families. Society is very much
concerned with the consequences brought about by the dissolution of families, consequences which are suffered
by both the married couple and their offspring. To circumvent the threat of family dissolution, society has adopted
controls in the form of laws. These laws vary in different cultures.
The ideal expectation of society is that the marriage and family will endure until the death of one of the spouses;
however, certain circumstances may lead to maladjustments in marital relations and the only solution is the
breakup of the marriage and family.
When one of the partners to the marriage deliberately severs his ties and leaves his family, the act is called
desertion. Separation is the result of desertion; it breaks up the marriage relations partially, although the
marriage remains in force; the husband and wife either, informally or illegally, set up separate households.
Annulment is the process which makes the marriage contract null and void, decide that there was no marriage
at all. The absolute dissolution of marriage bonds is divorce.
The Philippines does not recognize divorce; death alone dissolves the marriage relation. However, the Family
Code of the Philippines (1988) provides for legal separation as the alternative to divorce. It also provides for
different bases for legal separation.
1. Divorce the complete dissolution of marriage.
Probable Causes of Divorce (Robert Harper):
a. Changes in womans role.
b. Less disgrace attached to divorce.
c. Growth of a pleasure philosophy.
d. Increased childlessness.
e. Lacking of training for marriage and parenthood.
f. Higher standards for married life.
g. Emotional immaturity of those who enter marriage.
2. Annulment the process by which a marriage is pronounced null and void. This means that the marriage did
not exist at all due to some legal interpretations; therefore, there is no marriage.
Grounds for Annulment:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

Lack of parental consent.


Insanity of one of the parties.
Fraud.
Force, intimidation, or under the influence of liquor or prohibited drugs.
Impotency. This refers to the lack of power to copulate, not mere sterility.
Affliction of sexually transmissible disease found to be serious and appears incurable. This
includes concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, homosexuality or lesbianism existing
at the time of marriage.

3. Legal Separation granted by the court of law, allowing the married couple to separate from bed and board.
For all intents and purposes, they have nothing to do with one another, except under the provisions of law like

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community property; but their marriage exists and any one of them cannot marry another in the lifetime of the
other.
Some Grounds for Legal Separation:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

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Repeated physical violence or gross abusive conduct.


Drug Addiction or habitual alcoholism.
Lesbianism or Homosexuality.
Attempt by one spouse against the life of the other.
Sexual infidelity or perversion.
Abandonment of one spouse by the other for more than one year.

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