Lango - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Descent is patrilineal, and localized descent groups of four generations play an important role in neighborhood affairs. A patrilineage called the jo doggola ("people of the doorway") is made up of about six generations and is the largest corporate descent group. Its members may be dispersed over an area of 50 square kilometers, but they participate jointly in a number of activities. There may be eighty adult male members of this lineage who can be called upon to pay blood money in the event that one of its members is deemed responsible for the death of a nonmember. Members of the jo doggola also attend important rituals, such as funerals and marriages, and the failure of one section of the lineage to attend such a ritual is often an indication of impending fission within the lineage. Lineage fission is brought on in several ways: the lineage can grow so large that members cannot keep track of one another, the membership can become too widely dispersed, or conflicts can take place. Typically, these conflicts occur between two senior brothers quarreling over cattle or over the rights to use certain fields. Within the jo doggola, people have a clear sense of genealogical relationships, but beyond six or seven generations genealogical knowledge becomes unclear. Nevertheless, a vague sense of kinship does persist among people who are patrilineally related, however distant the relationship may be. Each person sees himself or herself as belonging to a named patrilineal group that includes a large number of people and is made up of many different jo doggola. These clans, or sibs, are typically found throughout Lango territory, although they are unevenly represented in different locales. The members of a particular sib often claim a totemic relationship with a particular species and follow a number of ritual avoidances. At present, the only real importance attached to sib membership is in connection with marriage, in that a man and a woman of the same sib are believed to be patrilineally related to one another and therefore cannot marry.

Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology is of the Omaha type.


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