Asmat - Kinship

Kin Groupe and Descent. The yew is the nexus of Asmat kin and social/ritual organization. It is complemented by a complex yet flexible patriambilineal descent system (i.e., one wherein male lines predominate but female lines also are traced and actively recognized). Strong residential/spatial and dual organizational features are found. The tracing of actual and putative genealogical relationships beyond the greatgrandfather is perceived to be superfluous and rather dysfunctional. Being a member of a domiciled core constitutes sufficient proof of being a relative.

Kinship Terminology. Each yew is divided into named halves or moieties, termed aypim. These moieties are reflected in the positioning of fireplaces within the men's houses. The kinship system is classificatory, with certain terms Crosscutting generational lines. What the authors have termed "residential override" is operative, in that (despite an essentially bilateral recognition and naming of kin) once a young man enters the men's house he progressively has less to do with his mother and her consanguineal relatives. The terms cemen (literally, "penis") and cen (literally, "vagina") are used to clarify certain male and female kin relations, respectively.

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