Berbers of Morocco - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Everywhere in North Africa except among some of the Tuareg groups of the Central Sahara, descent is patrilineal, and residence is patrilocal. The fundamental unit of Berber social organization is the patrilineage ( dharfiqth [pl. dharfiqin ]; in the Rif, ighs among the Imazighen and afus [lit. "hand"; pl. ifassen ] among the Ishilhayen), which is seldom more than four to six generations in depth in the Rif and only four in the Atlas, where, however, it is corporate in character, unlike the Rifian lineage (see "Conflict"). Exogamy or endogamy is a matter of choice and circumstance: Rifians favor the former and Imazighen the latter, where possible.

Kinship Terminology. Both Arabic and most Berber kinship terminologies (those of the Tuareg apart) are, as they stand, "Sudanese," in Murdock's terminology; however, Rifians, Ishilhayen, and Algerian Kabyles all have the classificatory term ayyaw (fem, dhayyawxth ), meaning variously "father's sister's child," "sister's child," "daughter's child," and, asymmetrically, "son's child," and its existence thus turns these kinship systems from "Normal Sudanese" into "Modified Omaha." As for terms of address, all close kin, whether patrilateral or matrilateral, are addressed either by the appropriate kin term or by name, or, especially if in an ascending generation, by the kin term plus the name. The same holds generally true for known elders of any sort in terms of their kinship distance from the speaker.


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