Matsigenka - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. The Matsigenka do not have named kin groups. At most, they have bilateral kindreds, in the form of hamlets of intermarrying families, but these hamlets frequently split for periods of time when nuclear-family households go off on their own. Newly married couples initially prefer matrilocal residence, so that a woman can be near her mother when her first child is born. Afterwards, residence is highly fluid and opportunistic. There are no descent rules determining access to group membership (no kin groups), territories, or ceremonial rights. Most material possessions are destroyed by burning upon an individual's death, so inneritance rarely arises as an issue. Kin relations are traced bilaterally through both parents.

Kinship Terminology. The Matsigenka kinship system is a straightforward Dravidian system with the cross/parallel ("lineal vs. affinal") distinction maintained in Ego's generation and those immediately preceding and following it. Opposite-sex cross cousins are defined as potential spouses.


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