ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural
Professor Megan Douglass
February 25, 2013
Family, marriage and kinship, gender, and age are the key principles of social organization in foraging societies (Nowak, Laird, 2010). In a foraging community kinship is very important and usually makes up a band. Kinship is typically made up by a nuclear family, but can be extended by marriage and descents. Kinship is very important in the San’s life, a foraging society that resides in Kalahari Desert, which makes up 70% of their society. In this paper I was describe the kinship system of the San Society and how it impacts their culture.
There are four different kinds of kinship nuclear, extended, descent and marriage. Nuclear is one of the most important types of kinship. It consists of the immediate family: a mother, father, and their children. An extended family is a nuclear family with married children, their spouses and offspring’s (Nowak, Laird, 2010). Descents are parent-children connection and can be broken down into two different descent categories the bilateral and unilineal. Bilateral is when the kinship connection is equally as important between both the mother and father and unilineal is when the relation can be traced through either the mother or fathers kin. Marriage can be defined as a union between a man and woman or in this case bringing to bands together.
Bilateral males up about 70% of all foragers decent, so when the San’s travel they usually encounter a relative in every band they visit. This makes it very difficult when they are looking for a wife. Their society is very strict on whom they may marry. They have a prohibition against marrying anyone of the same family whether it is second cousin or closer. They also can’t marry anyone who shares the same name as their parents or siblings with makes up 75% of the population.
After finding a girl who fits into the respected category, then he must wait until she is ready to accept her role as a wife. This process can take up to ten years. Typically San girls go through matrilocality. Matrilocality is when a female feels as if she is too young to enter into marriage, so until she is ready to take on the responsibilities the groom moves into the home with the bride and serves her and her family. The groom conducts brideservice which is contributing to the bride’s family such as meat. The parent-in-laws begun to like that the groom is bringing in the meat so they try to keep him happy. Females in the San Society are