Bedouin - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Like all Arabs, the Bedouin are patrilineal. Names consist of a personal name, the father's name, and at least the agnatic grandfather's name. Women retain their father's family name unchanged even after marriage. The smallest residential unit (bayt) is named after its senior male resident. Unlike settled peoples, however, most Bedouin are also members of larger patrilineal descent groups (buyuut), which are linked by agnation to form even larger lineages ( afkhaadh ; sing. fakhadh ; lit., "thigh"), tribes ( qabaaʿil ; sing. qabila ), and sometimes even tribal confederations (such as the ʿAnayza and the Shammar of northwestern Arabia). Bedouin frequently name more than five generations of patrilineal ancestors and conceptualize relations among descent groups in terms of a segmentary genealogical model. This model of nested patrilineal groups, each unit included in a larger one and itself including smaller units that are internally divided, provides the main framework for discussing marital alliances and for resolving legal disputes and violent conflicts.

Kinship Terminology. There are distinctive terms for kin on the mother's side and kin on the father's side in Ego's generation and the first ascending generation. All terms indicate the sex of the person designated.

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