The Importance Of Kiship Society

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Kinship communities face scarcity of economic resources and fragility of environmental sustainability. Unlike in modern nation-state structures, in kinship communities, status is determined by relationships to ancestors according to blood ties. Families, clans, and tribes operate according to blood lineages that determine economic and social identities of members of the kinship society. Identity, belonging, and ascribed status in the group, is determined by a relationship to a specified ancestor. Therefore, economic, social, and political identities are a function of descent. Descent communities ensure order by employing a wide range of symbolic interactions that attempt to bring ancestors back to life such as totem poles or shrines and temples…show more content…
Honor within these kinship cultures is given to those who are loyal to their blood and kin. Consequently, honor is a communal discipline that brings “glory to the ancestors and to the blood ties that connect successive generations together” (Weisband and Thomas). Shame, on the other hand, is for individuals who violate or question the demands of patrimonial rule or traditional values. Individuals who face shame must take steps to restore their honor. This often involves honor killings. In Syrian law, honor killings are not murder, they are classified as ‘crime of honor’ and don’t carry much jail time (Weiner). Likewise honor killings are not individual acts of rage or vengeance, but the perpetrators see themselves as upholding their community and family values. Kin can develop feuds with other families over honor killings. These feuds can often escalate and with no larger force to intervene, these feuds can end in mass bloodshed. But the biggest impacts feuds have are on the individuals. Feuds make individuals fear. In Albania, people can go into hiding for years to avoid death by honor killing (Weiner 125). More than fear, honor killings are is based off of the idea that individuals have no legal identity independent of their kin. These lead to problems with kinship communities. Ultimately the success of traditional kinship communities was the source of their demise. They survived with varying degrees of success as they confronted scarcity, but their shame disciplines created highly inflexible cultures unable to respond to the very benefits generated by agriculture surpluses (Weiner
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