Shahsevan - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. The male householders of a herding camp are usually brothers or paternal cousins, but often they also include hired shepherds and clients, who may be related to "core" members by marriage. Men of the twenty to thirty households of a community are most often from a single lineage, tracing their descent patrilineally from an ancestor some four generations back, whose name they usually bear. A woman married out of the community never loses her original lineage identity, although jurally and morally she is strongly assimilated into the community of her husband and children.

Kinship Terminology. Like that of most people in the region, Shahsevan kinship terminology is "Sudanese": paternal and maternal uncles and aunts are differentiated, as are all four types of first cousin, who are distinguished again from siblings. All members of the lineage regard each other as father's brother's cousins, whereas members of one's mother's community (if she is an outsider) are all mother's brothers or mother's brother's cousins. There is considerable depth in the terminology, with separate terms existing for father's father's father and sister's sister's sister's sister's sister, as well as for all generations between.


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