Tamil of Sri Lanka - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. The largest kin group is the "microcaste" (called "our caste people" in Tamil), a section of a larger caste category within which people recognize Common descent and a shared status. The microcaste is often distributed among several hamlets or wards in adjoining (or in some cases separated) villages; within the hamlet microcaste members cooperate in agriculture, ritual, trade, and politics. In sharp contrast to south Indian Tamil culture, descent is fully bilateral, save in the eastern coastal regions, where matrilineal descent is common.

Kinship Terminology. Dravidian terms, which strongly encourage symmetrical cross-cousin marriage, are used.


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