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The literal meaning of kinship is relation. This relationship can be between two or more persons only. The members of the society are bound by various relations. These include blood relations, marriage relations and distant relations. When these relations have got social recognition, then it is called kinship system. Every adult person belongs to two families,

  First parent family – in which he was born and brought up.

  Second generation family – which was created by marriage. Thus a person is related to two families. Kinship system is formed from these relationships.


  Charles Winick, while defining kinship in the Anthropological Dictionary, has written, “The kinship system includes those relations recognized by the society, which are based on approximate and blood-relationships. “It is clear from this definition that kinship systems are recognized by the society. These systems are both real and imaginary. The meaning of imaginary is the practice of adoption.


It is written in Notes and Queries on Anthropology, “Kinship is the relation which is known actually or inferred by the relations of parents and their children or siblings. This statement shows that the kinship system is certainly based on blood-relationships. Along with this, the artificial and assumed relations which have got the recognition of the society, they also come in kinship relations.


  A . R . Brown (A. R. Brown) has written, “Kinship is a lineage relationship accepted for social purposes and it is the basis of the customary form of social relationship known from the definition that in the kinship group the lineage comes after the family. The members of the clan are relatives.It has got social recognition.


According to Levi-Strauss, “Kinship system by descent or blood relation,” Kinship system is not created by the karmic formulas of descent or blood relation which the person gets, it exists in the human consciousness, it is present in the thoughts. It is a nirkur system, not a spontaneous development of the actual situation. “Levi-Stas believes that kinship includes both zoological relations and socially recognized relations. Kinship should not be considered based only on blood relations, because where there is a tradition of accepting adopted sons and daughters, they are included in kinship. Huh .

On the basis of the above description, the concept of kinship system can be understood on the following four grounds:


  1. The basis of kinship system is both blood relation and marriage relation.

  2 . Also, the basis of its creation can be adopted son or daughter, while they are not real blood relatives.

  1. Kinship relations are related to social beliefs.
  2. Variation can be seen in the nature of the kinship system because social beliefs are not the same in all societies. Thus, it can be said that the kinship system is based on blood relations, marriage relations and social beliefs.


  Kinship Categories


  1. Primary Kins: Primary relatives are called the parent family and the persons related to the generative family. Parental family is the one in which a person is born and grows up. Thus father, mother, sister and brother became the primary relatives of a person. A natal family is one to which a person is related by marriage. Thus husband and wife. The son and daughter are the primary relatives of the person. Dubey has mentioned total 8 types of relations as primary relatives. These are husband-wife, father-son, father-daughter, mother-son, mother-daughter, brother-brother, sister-sister and brother-sister. All these relations are related to blood and marriage.


2 . Secondary Kins: The primary kin of a person’s primary kin is called secondary kin. For example – father is our primary relative. The primary relative of our father is his father. Here father’s father means grandfather is called our secondary relative. same father

Mother i.e. grandmother, mother’s father i.e. maternal grandfather, mother’s brother i.e. maternal uncle etc. are secondary relatives. Yes . P . Murdock (G. P. Murdock) has mentioned 33 types of secondary relatives.


  1. Tertiary Kins: The primary kin of a person’s secondary kin is called tertiary kin. Means primary relative of secondary relative is called tertiary relative. For example – father is our primary relative. Father’s father means grandfather is our secondary relative. grandfather’s father i.e. grandfather our tertiary

Called relatives. Similarly grandmother’s mother, grandfather’s brother, grandfather’s sister etc. are tertiary relatives. Yes . P . Murdock has mentioned a total of 151 types of tertiary relatives.






Types of Kinship



Two main types of kinship are told which are prevalent in almost all societies. These are marriage-based kinship and blood-based kinship.

  1. Affinal Kinship: The relationships that emerge from socially or legally valid matrimonial relationships are called marriage-related kinship. Relatives related in this form are called Affinal Kins. For example – after marriage, a man or woman not only becomes husband or wife, but also develops other relationships. Husband of a man as well as son-in-law, brother-in-law. Formation of brother-in-law, warts etc. In the same way a woman becomes wife as well as son-daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, sister-in-law etc. Every relation is between two persons. Like – brother-in-law-sister-in-law, sister-in-law-brother-in-law, mother-in-law-son-in-law, husband-wife etc. In this way, the kinship generated by marriage is called marriage-oriented kinship.


  2 . Consanguineous Kinship: Kinship based on blood relation is called consanguineous kinship. Relatives related in this form are called blood relatives. For example, the relationship between parents and children, the relationship between two brothers, the relationship between two siblings, etc. In this context, it is to be known that not only biological facts are important in determining blood-based kinship, but social recognition is also important. Like – the practice of adoption is universal. Adopted sons and daughters are treated everywhere as if they are biologically born children. Similarly D. N. Mazumdar and T. N. Madan (D. N. Majumdar and T. N. Madan) say that in many primitive societies the father’s role in the birth of a child is unknown. An example of this can be seen in the life of the Trobriand Islanders of Melanesia, in whom the wife’s husband is traditionally considered the father of the child. In this way, the social recognition in the kinship system is superimposed on the biological fact.







  Kinship Terminology



The first significant contribution to the study of kinship terminology was made by L. H. Morgan (L. H. Morgan). He studied the kinship nouns prevalent in all parts of the world and divided them into two main types – classified kinship nouns and specific or descriptive kinship nouns.

  1. Classificatory Kinship Terms: When several relatives of the same class are addressed by the same noun or term of address, then it is called classificatory kinship terms. For example – in Sema Nagas, the word ‘Aja’ is used for mother, aunt, aunt etc. In villages, the word Aja is used for mother, aunt, aunt etc. The father of the word ‘up’ is for uncle, warts etc. Along with this, people of different generations and different genders are also addressed with the same noun. Grandfather, maternal grandfather by the word ‘hapu’ in the Kuki tribe. Brother-in-law, maternal uncle, brother-in-law and nephew means relatives of three generations are addressed. In Angami Nagas, the word ‘Bari’ is used to address elder brother, wife’s sister, aunt, etc., ie relatives of different genders.


  2 . Particularizing or Descriptive Kinship


  Mazamdar and Madan say that ‘specific or descriptive kinship nouns are indicative of actual relationship. And are used only for those specific persons in whose context or to whom it is spoken to be addressed. For example – in Hindu society the word father is used for a person who has given birth to us. Similarly mother, wife, son, daughter etc. are such nouns which are used only for a particular relative. Majumdar and Madan say that there is no area in the world where either pure graded kinship nouns or pure specific kinship nouns are used.




  Kinship Usages



  The behavior patterns that are included between two relatives in the kinship system are called customs of kinship. These rituals are of different types. In fact, there is not the same way of dealing with all the relatives, nor is the basis of the behavior the same. A person’s behavior towards parents is related to respect. Then the behavior towards the wife is of love, of affection towards the children and of sweetness towards the sister-in-law. Since relatives

There is a difference in the basis of behavior and behavior with, so the rituals of kinship are also different. the main ones are


The practice of avoidance is popular. According to this custom, there are some relatives who establish a certain relationship between two persons, but instruct that they stay away from each other and do not participate in mutual interaction as much as possible. For example – son-bride and mother-in-law-father-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, etc. have a common practice of avoidance. Similarly, the practice of avoiding mother-in-law and son-in-law is found in the Yukadhir tribe.


  Joking Relationship: Joking relationship is common in the kinship system. This is the custom, which binds two people in a sweet relationship and gives both the right to laugh and joke with each other. For example, banter-relationships are found between brother-in-law-sister-in-law, brother-in-law-sister-in-law, father-granddaughter, nephew-aunt etc. Ridiculous relations between brother-in-law-sister-in-law and brother-in-law-sister-in-law can often be seen in every society. But the banter-relationship between grandfather-granddaughter and nephew-aunt is the specialty of primitive societies. While nephew-aunt banter is prevalent in the Hopi tribe, in the Oraon and Baiga tribes, the banter-relationship is found between grandmother-grandson and grandfather-granddaughter.


  , Matuleya (Avunculate): Matuleya practice is the specialty of matriarchal societies. When a maternal uncle occupies a prominent place in the life of his nephews, is the basis of their intimacy, performs the responsibility of maternal uncle more than the father, has special loyalty of nephews to maternal uncle, transfer of property from maternal uncle to nephew , then such a kinship system is called Matuleya. Such authority of the maternal uncle is called maternal authoritarianism. If cousins and nieces grow up living in maternal uncle’s house, then this situation would be called matrilocal residence. Its prevalence has been seen in the Haida tribe, Trobriand tribe, Hopi and Juni tribe etc. of North-West America.


, Amitate: This is the characteristic of patriarchal societies. When an aunt (father’s sister) occupies a special place in the life of her nephews and nieces as compared to the father, performs special responsibility in the interest of the children, such a practice is called Pitrishveya (Amitate). It is prevalent in the tribes of India’s Toda, Bax Island, South Africa.


  Secondary Address (Tecnonymy): The English word for anonymity is derived from the Greek language. The credit for bringing it first in social science is E. B. Tyler ( E . B . Tylor ) . In many Hindu families it is not customary for the wife to take her husband’s name when addressing a relative rather than through a person. In such families, the wife addresses her husband by adding it to another name (anunaam). It can be son-daughter or other relatives in the form of surname. If the son’s name is Shanu, then the husband is addressed as Shanu’s father. Tyla has mentioned 30 tribes in his study, where it is prevalent. In these tribes mainly come Becheyana of South Africa, Crow of Western Canada, Khasi of India, Gold of Siberia etc.


, Co-birth or cauvade: Co-birth of kinship is known as a unique practice. When a woman who gives birth to a child, along with her husband, is also forced to live a life of hardship, it is called Sahakashti. Its prevalence has been seen in the Khasi and Toda tribes of India and outside India. According to this custom, the husband has to eat the same food as his pregnant wife, follow all the prohibitions and experience pain.







  Importance of Kinship



  Kinship plays an important role among Hindus. Its importance can be seen in daily life, in various socio-cultural-religious rituals, in social gatherings and in troublesome situations. The structure of any society and the mutual relations of individuals can be known through the system of kinship. A person’s lineage, succession, status etc. is determined by kinship. Its importance can be understood as follows

  1. Status Determination: The status of a person in every society is determined largely on the basis of his relatives. The history of one’s lineage can be known with the help of kinship. Along with this, the number of relatives is known through this. Through the number of relatives, the power of a particular dynasty and clan is known, due to which the status of a person is determined. In some traditional societies, the wider form of kinship is considered a sign of prestige.


  2 . Basis of Family and Marriage: Morgan has considered Kinship Terminology as the basis for understanding the origin and development of family and marriage system. Kinship terms give a sense of closeness and distance between individuals. Relatives play an important role in the selection of a life partner for a boy or a boy’s marriage. Also, the family is an integral part of the larger system of kinship relations. families

The social relations between the members are based on kinship obligations.


  1. Mental Satisfaction: The feeling of kinship gives mental satisfaction. This type of tendency is found in people not only in simple and rural societies, but also in modern urban societies. Migrants in the city feel more satisfied and secure in the proximity of their places of residence.


  1. Unlimited Responsibility: The role of kinship group in social life is such that almost all the individuals perform unlimited responsibilities towards each other. On the one hand, it is beneficial for the relatives, and on the other hand, in the kinship groups, the person is trained to perform the role and responsibilities of the other person. In kinship people help each other and


  1. Social Security: The Natdara group provides social security to the individual. It is known when a person is in a state of crisis. In such a situation, facilities to go are provided. Because of the kinship group, the kinship provides mental peace and happiness to the lonely and helpless person on the occasion of ceremonies – Mundan, Upanayan, marriage etc.


  1. Solidarity in Social Organization: Kinship system strengthens social organization.






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