Kinship Systems of the San Tribes Tara Shoemaker Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Instructor: Chad Goings October 26, 2010 The kinship system of the San people is not too complicated compared to the western society. When you look at the way the family structure is compiled you can see that is helps strengthen the ties between themselves and neighboring tribes. Everything that they do is help with survival of the family. Most foraging societies consist of a nuclear family setting.When looking how a family is laid out you must pay attention to descent.
Descent is the passage of kinship though the parent-child links and the joining of the people into groups. There are two patterns for identifying descent: unilineal and bilateral. When looking at unilineal descent the relationships are followed through the mother and the father. The descent within the bilateral relationship is just as important. Most of all the foraging bands have bilateral descent. A San tribe member can find a blood relative in every tribe that he/she visits.This type of kinship is important if the family is low on resources, they can relocate, find family, and survive until they are once again able to thrive on their own.
To have a family member in every band that you travel to, a marriage has had to occur. Marriage between the men and women between the bands helps strengthen the social links. Once again these types of family ties are a survival tool for the bands desolate times. When a man is to consider marriage in the San tribe he must first make sure that the woman he is considering to marry does not have the same name as a parent or sibling.Marrying of a second cousin or closer is also prohibited. By doing this the tribe insures that there is no incest helping create future generations of children that can marry without the high chance of incest. With these rules in place it limits the number of women that can be married though out the region to about 25 percent. Thankfully after a marriage has taken place if a woman is not happy divorce is very simple for them.
“Divorce among the San is not uncommon” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, Divorce para 2 ).If divorce does happen it is normally before any children are born and early in the marriage. Because they have very few assets they do not have to worry about how gets what and the man goes back to the band of people that he came from. If children are involved in the divorce infants stay with their mother while, the older children choose with whom they want to live with, even moving back and forth between the parents. When comparing the San society with western society they are were much alike when it comes to the kinship systems.We also consist of a nuclear style family with the linage pass though the children from both the mother and the father. Our family units also have a bilateral descent just as the most of the foraging societies have. Both the San tribe and western society have incest laws and rules.
We are not allowed to marry other family members such as our second cousin. We are able to find who we want to marry but in most cases we have to be of legal age. In some cases underage children may marry with the permission of the parents. Because our nation is so large there are plenty of potential mates to choose from.
When it comes to divorce though, we do not have it as easy as the San people. Because we live a sediment lifestyle we accumulate a lot of wealth during a marriage with someone. When a divorce happens it can be the choice of either the man or woman or both. When they start divorce proceedings it can take months, even years to completely settle all the issues that both the parties have. Once all the assets have been divided the divorce can then be finalized When it come to the children during a divorce it can be very simple or very hard on all parties involved.Most of the time most parents feel that the children should live with them so, they will fight in a court where the child or children should live. The children in most cases do not get the choice on where there want to live.
With a foraging lifestyle things seem to be easier for all of those who live it. The San people live without starvation or loneliness because of the way they live. If we could learn how to live from these tribes we might have a better society ourselves.References Nowark, B.
& Laird, P(2010) Retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu/books/AUANT101. 10. 1 on October 25, 2010.