Miyanmin - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The parish is the basic group with corporate functions to which all Miyanmin belong. Although the genealogical composition of the predominantly endogamous parish is cognatic, the ideology of membership refers to coresidence rather than descent. Parishes are often paired in cooperative alliances forged by intermarriage. Descent is strongly emphasized in small patrilineages, typically four in number, of which am-nakai parishes are composed. These lineages are named after past big-men, are exogamous jurally, and are units of fission in the context of intragroup conflict. They are identified with particular hamlets whose resident population is comprised of a core of one or two Nuclear families headed by male elders of a lineage and a transient population of affines and matrikin. Some sa-nakai local groups are breakaway patrilineages of am-nakai parishes. Because postmarital residence is bilocal, matrikin, agnates, and affines are equally important.

Kinship Terminology. There are two discrete systems. The first is a metaclassification with six terms that distinguish consanguineals from affinals. For the former, generation and gender are distinguished. For the latter, spouses are distinguished from other affines. The second classification consists of forty elementary, derivative, and descriptive terms in Common use. Cousin terms are of the Hawaiian-generational type with bifurcate-merging terms for members of the first ascending generation of ego's gender and lineal terms for the opposite sex. Birth order and relative age are also distinguished. Thus, from the standpoint of a male ego, father's (elder) brother has a term derived from father with father's younger brother having his own term. Father's brothers are distinguished from mother's brothers while mother's sisters are equated with father's sisters.

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