Usino - Kinship

Kin Groupe and Descent. The largest local group in Usino is the parish, a named social and territorial unit. A parish is composed of persons associated with a certain tract of land, bearing a distinct name, and forming a political unit. There are four such traditional units, and members have grouped along kinship lines into three villages. At present each Usino parish is divided into two social and territorial subunits, or "carpels." A carpel is an exogamous unilinear group, or patrilineage, which has its social center within a parish territory. Descent is patrilineal; by making a payment for his wife and each child, a father attains rights to his children and thereby establishes claims to his daughter's bride-price as well as to child-price for his daughter's children. Despite the patrilineal ideal, however, a child will remain a member of the mother's patrilineage unless bought by the father. Although child-price is functionally an autonomous payment, it is seen by most as an extension of the bride-price.

Kinship Terminology. Deviating from standard systems, in Usino paternal parallel cousins are merged with siblings while cross cousins are distinguished from maternal parallel cousins. The distinction between cross and parallel cousins is important, and matrikin play an important social role for each individual. Relative age is an important marker; parents' younger siblings are lumped with parents, but parents' older siblings are called "grandmother" and "grandfather." There is also terminological merging between grandparents and grandchildren, distinguished by sex. Great-grandparents and great-grandchildren call one another "husband" or "wife." Affinal kin are distinguished from consanguineal kin. Intracommunity marriage results in many overlapping kin categories.

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