The San Kinship System of the San Culture
The San is foragers who reside in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. The San people have survived and flourished here for thousands of years. In a foraging culture the people live in mobile groups called Bands (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Typically, they move every few weeks to location were food and water is thriving. In foraging cultures continuous movement and the sharing of food and water are part of what builds kinship ties. These kinship ties build a greater sense of obligation to each other (Nowak & Laird, 2010). I will explore a general reciprocal kinship system between the San people. I will provide three examples of this kinship system to display how it affects the San culture. The kinship system of the San people is not too complicated compared to the western society. When you look at the way the family structure is compiled you can see that is helps strengthen the ties between themselves and neighboring tribes. Everything that they do is help with survival of the family. Most foraging societies consist of a nuclear family setting. When looking how a family is laid out you must pay attention to descent. Descent is the passage of kinship though the parent-child links and the joining of the people into groups. There are two patterns for identifying descent: unilateral and bilateral. When looking at unilateral descent the relationships are followed through the mother and the father. The descent within the bilateral relationship is just as important. Most of all the foraging bands have bilateral descent tribe member can find a blood relative in every tribe that he/she visits. This type of kinship is important if the family is low on resources, they can relocate, find family, and survive until they are once again able to thrive on their own. To have a family member in every band that you travel to, a marriage has had to occur. Marriage between the men and women between the bands helps strengthen the social links....
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