“ KINSHIP” not so uncommon word which states the degree of sharing likelihood among individuals from different communities. For instance, if two people have many similarities between them then both of them do have a bond of kinship.
The definition of Kinship is literally attached to the blood relationship or the biological relationship which cannot be as usual as the definition of other relationships.
According to people who opt for the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and their evolution (i.e., anthropologists), they say that it’s quite difficult to satisfy everyone over the definition of kinship cause from years ago the topic has been a heated matter of debate. But still, they do have the defined kinship on their own word as to be a network of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies.
Kinship can be firstly defined as the relatedness among individuals due to blood ties, common ancestry, common lineage, kindred connection or family connections. And moreover, kinship can also be described as the bond among individuals due to sympathy, harmony, understanding, alliance, association, empathy, closeness, fellow feeling, compatibility or the sharing of origin or characteristics.
Kinship, as we all must be knowing, is the most practical, universal and basic of all other relationships shared by human and is based on the consanguinity or blood ties that trace descent and others are those based on marriage, adoption or other connections.
The former type of kinship that of blood-ties (consanguinity) have two types of descent classifications i.e.,
- Patrilineal, are the relationships that are being considered from father’s bloodline. It also termed as agnatic, where descent is established by tracing descent exclusively through male from male ancestors who were the founder.
- Matrilineal, are the relationships being counted from mother’s bloodline. It is also termed as uxorial, is a group connected to a kinship system in which ancestral descent is through females instead of males.
Human kinship relationships through marriage are commonly called “affinity” in opposition to the relationships that come into existence from one’s group of origin, which may be called as one’s descent group.
Through the channels of blood from the earliest ages of man’s existence dwelling upon the Earth, it discloses certainly some definite and progressive i.e., incremental changes with the growth in the humans’ experience in the ages of barbarism.
Kinship can also be referred to as a principle by which individuals or groups of individuals can be organized into social groups, roles, categories as genealogy by means of kinship terminologies. Family relations can be represented concretely on a strong basis (mother, brother, grandfather) or abstractly ( not everything would be viable) by degrees of relationship ( by the strength of the bond between individuals and their blood ties distance). A relationship may be relative (e.g. a father in relation to a child) or reflect an absolute (e.g. the difference between a mother and a childless woman).
Degrees of relationship are not identical to heirship or legal succession. Many ethical codes are being to be considering the bond of kinship as creating obligations between the related individuals stronger than those between strangers.
If we are discussing on kinship then it won’t be good for us if we don’t come across an anthropologist who was keenly interested in the discovery of history and origins of the Indians who were residing in North America. He was Lewis H. Morgan born on 18th November 1818. He was the one who ignited the craze for the further developmental researchers on the kinship.
He believed in himself that he would be able to reconstruct, redefine the broken and not so exactly known history and the location of origin of the Indians in North America. And he was determined to do so on the basis of kinship, which according to him classifies kinsmen by not only taking the language and words used by them as reliable indices but rather the mode of classification regardless of words or languages use.
Ego in kinship is the individual who forms the central reference point in a chart of kinship diagram. It is the individual from a web of kinship and family relationships and descents are reckoned and traced. Ego might not be differentiated in accordance with gender, or might be conceived as a unit of siblings.
Ego on whose basis the Kinship is established is not restricted from marrying their cross-cousin but are denied for marriage with their parallel cousins.
Here parallel cousins are those that are the child of fathers brother or that of the mother’s sister and cross cousins are those who are the child of fathers sister or mother’s brother.
Family connections, relations or ties can be described through biological relationship, adoption or by other ritualized systems such as marriage. Kinship system for families comes in a wide range as,
- Single family, self-actualizing people have a deep feeling of identification, sympathy, and affection for human beings in general. They feel a kinship and connected as if all people were members of a single family.
- The nuclear family, a family consisting of married couples and their children. The nuclear family is ego-centered and impermanent, in a which descents group are permanent and reckoned according to a single ancestor. The nuclear family is further subdivided as
- A family of orientation i.e., by birth or critical relationship with the siblings.
- The family of procreation i.e., by marriage or by the critical relationship with the spouse and children.
- Extended family, which is beyond a nuclear family that includes parents, descents, Grandparents, cousins, uncle, aunt, siblings. In such a family around every person, there is a group of kindred of which such person is the center and the EGO, from whom the degree of relationship is reckoned and to whom the relationships return. Above him are his parents (father, mother) and below him are his responsibilities ( nephew, niece, uncle, aunt) while on either side are his siblings. To him, they are nearer in degree than other individuals at large.
One of the earliest act of human intelligence was to adopt a method of expressing their value of the relationship to their relatives in a distinct order.
Anyhow, producing children is not the only sole responsibility of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, it is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household. Different societies classify kinship relations differently and therefore use different systems of kinship terminology – for example, some languages distinguish between affinal and consanguine uncles, whereas others have only one word to refer to both a father and his brothers. Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other.
Before winding up this whole indescribable, and not so clear topic of kinship it is essential to Know about two different divided systems of kinship of which one is classificatory system and the other is the descriptive system. The difference between these two systems is so thin that one can easily jump from one side of description to other while defining anyone of it. The major difference between the two is of that in classificatory system different relations can be grouped under one but that’s exactly opposite for the descriptive system. It is the failure of so many people that they do not conceive the exact difference of both the system in their minds and intellects. In a descriptive system, the humans are encouraged to possess the parentage knowledge while it is quite unnecessary in the classificatory system.
And it will be useful for all of us to keep both these systems aloof from each other. Morgan had well known the fact that after the marriage the children brought up to the world is guarded by their parents and therefore they are called the guardians of their offsprings.
The taxonomy was then derived from no other terminology than that of the kinship and the derived one is still existing with further few modifications.
And now we can say that for Morgan kinship was all about the relationships related to blood or marriage.
McLennan theory was at the very distance of a thin water film from that of the Morgan’s Theory
it could have been easiest to commit an error while failing to have a close look on it. The way that was addressed by the McLennan for the kinship was all about the mutual salutations, mode of addressing and courtesies.
And that’s all about kinship and more precisely kinship in a family where we can understand that yes what actually kinship is, not particularly but yes for basic knowledge and moreover the terminologies and history related to it. And anyhow after completing the look over it we must be conscious and aware of the basic terminologies that are being considered in the Kinship and also we would be having quite clear-cut knowledge that having a great perfectionist idea over the kinship is not a “ one shot go” thing and understanding this fact is more important than anything.
In this fast Changing environment and situation of the world nothing could be considered permanent and therefore we should understand that yes every day we are going to learn new things about each and everything in fact even the assumed relationship between something or anything could change, the definitions could change, the meanings would change and we still have to accept it as it presents itself every now and then
Schneider, D., 2004, ‘ What is Kinship All About ?’, in R. Parkin and L Stone (eds) Kinship and Family: An Anthropological Reader, U.S.A: Blackwell, Pp. 257-274
Also Read , Africian Systems of Kinship