She - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kin Groups and Descent. As previously indicated, the She have only four main surnames—Pan, Lan, Lei, and Zhong—marking four major lineage divisions. The average village contains a lineage temple or ancestral hall for every surname found within it. Sometimes several villages with a single surname will share a single temple. Lineages typically are comprised of branches that form when the adult sons of a family split up. The branches themselves will often split over time, and brothers establish branch and subbranch temples accordingly.

She generally observe patrilineal descent rules. Family and lineage heads are male, and heritable property typically transfers from father to son.

Marriage. On the whole, She practice surname exogamy. However, because the respective surnames are sometimes geographically concentrated, marriageable partners who reside close by may at times be hard to locate. In such cases, the She have followed an alternative rule: "incenseburner" exogamy. This permits marriage between persons from different lineage subgroups who worship the same ancestors but distinguish between themselves by their use of different incense burners within the same temple. The practice, nonetheless, remains relatively rare. Interaction and courting between young adults is fairly open and unrestricted; moreover, couples make frequent use of folk songs to express feelings of attraction and affection. Marriage requires the permission of both sets of parents, but they tend to be flexible about mate choices. The She reportedly are casual about extramarital sex, which does not often bring public condemnation when an affair becomes known. While virilocality is the norm for postmarital residence, there is occasional uxorilocality. The husband moves into his wife's village, assumes her surname, and then becomes her family's adopted son.

Domestic Unit. The standard household is nuclear, composed of husband, wife, and unmarried children. There is some variation, of course, and joint families that include grandparents are not uncommon.

Inheritance. The patrilineal bias has been mentioned. It is worth noting, though, that daughters, too, may inherit property from their families in addition to dowry goods. Adopted sons, with their new status, become eligible to inherit from their wives' families.

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