Ozarks - Kinship, Marriage and Family



Kinship. Although the nuclear family is the basic domestic and residential unit and Ozarkers share a sense of Ozark identity, their ties to the bilateral kinship network integrate individuals into the community. Children are taught their family genealogies, and individuals place considerable importance on being descendants of native Ozarkers. Kin terms follow the typical North American system, although children sometimes identify themselves to others as the son or daughter of "so-and-so."

Marriage and Family. Marriage in the past usually followed dating in the context of group activities. Today, Courtship and marriage practices are typical of those in mainstream America. Marriage was seen as a partnership, with the husband and wife each taking responsibility for culturally defined male and female tasks. Postmarital residence was neolocal, although the couple might reside with one set of parents or the other until they could afford a home of their own. Men and women spent little time together, given the rigid division of labor by sex and the common practice of men socializing with other men at the country store or blacksmith's shop.

Socialization. The home, the church, and organized group activities were the major arenas for socialization. The extended kin network often played a central role in child rearing and education. Until fairly recently, formal education and Especially college education were resisted by many.


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