Ambonese - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Whereas in the interior of West Ceram matrilineality is still found, every village in the Pasisir region is made up of a number of patrilineal clans ( mata rumah ). Several clans form a soa, originally a distinct ward. Each soa has a headman ( kepala soa ) who represents its clans in the village council. Clan exogamy is no longer universally practiced owing to the adoption of either Christian or Muslim conventions regarding incest. Clan descent is traced to a common ancestor, commonly the man who was the first to arrive at the present locality in ancient times. The clans consist of a number of households ( rumah tangga ), the closest economic and emotional support units. A third important kin group is the famili (i.e., one's kindred on both the father's and mother's side, which, like the clan, provides support in crisis situations and helps to defray costs on ritual occasions). In recent times, a shift toward bilaterality can be detected, particularly among Christians; it is most pronounced among the exiles in Holland.

Kinship Terminology. Cousin terms are as in the Hawaiian system. The social emphasis on age is reflected by the relative ages of people indicated by most kinship terms.


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