Case Study Report #3 (Trobrianders: Matrilineality and kinship)
When studying kinship, it is needless to say that just one type of society can justify for kinship patterns; rather, to be able to identify and understand the differences of kinship systems, one needs to study a society long enough to understand its culture and patterns. The Trobriander society has been used to represent different levels of social, cultural, and technological complexities. Trobrianders were horticulturists living in villages of up to 400 people.
The Trobrianders live in some 80 villages whose populations range from 40 – 400 people. These villages are further divided into hamlets, and each hamlet consists of a matrilineage, or a dala (a group of men related to each other through the female line, along with their wives and children). A dala is a corporation that controls land. Each dala had its origin in a brother/sister pair who claim a plot of land. The dala marriage is traced through the female line and individuals must marry someone from outside their own dala. Their households are composed of wives, husbands, and children. Males 12-15 years of age go to live with their father which is known as patrilocal residence. If the male will inherit land from the dala of his mother’s brother, he lives with his uncle which is then known as avanculocal residence; the father, in this case, is considered as an affine, or an in-law.
Courtship and sexual play begin early within the Trobrianders. Since sexual activity before marriage is common, the couple has already been living together, and a marriage simply formalizes this existing relationship. The parents are in charge of choosing a spouse and sometimes arrange the matches. The Trobrianders belong under the term “exogamy” since they marry out of their own clan. In addition, the incest taboo applies to all close relatives, particularly brothers and sisters, who include all members of a matrilineage of the same generation. According to...
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