Wáiwai - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Kinship and descent are reckoned bilaterally, giving equal weight to both the mother's and father's sides. There are no lineages, clans, moieties, or other corporate groupings. Villages or neighborhoods are built up of epeka komo, residential groups of siblings and their families. From the point of view of an individual adult, other people are grouped broadly as either epeka komo (siblings' families; i.e., kin), woxin homo (families of spouse's kin; i.e., affines), or tooto makî ("just plain people," i.e., those with whom Ego has no relationship). These serve as general categories, derived from key relations, that schematize relations of nurture and exchange.

Kinship Terminology. Wáiwai kinship terminology is based on several criteria: distinctions of generation, gender, cross versus parallel relations, and relative sibling age. Accordingly, five generations are recognized; the same-sex siblings of each parent are called by parental terms, distinguished from parents' cross-sex siblings, who are potential parents-in-law. Parallel cousins are categorized as "siblings" and unmarriageable, whereas cross cousins are called by distinct terms and considered potential affines. The terminology thus follows the basic bifurcate-merging system, except for one set of relations that collapses generations: father's sister is called "grandmother" and nieces and nephew are categorized with "grandchildren." All terms are used on a classificatory basis, with some adjustments for relative age, multiple ways of reckoning kinship, and renegotiation upon marriage.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: