The developed kinship systems are typical for foraging and horticultural societies. These societies organize their life basing on the territorial factor and relying on forests and gardens near which they usually live. Thus, the development of foraging and horticultural communities is affected by the role of hunting, gathering, fishing, and agriculture in their everyday life. Moreover, these societies evolve according to the focus on family and its role for the community. The aspects of the kinship system are characteristic for many horticultural societies because of the significant role of family and relations in them. Btsisi people are the representatives of the horticultural community in Malaysia whose social and personal life is fully based on the principles of the kinship system. Thus, the social and personal relations of Btsisi people are closely connected, and these aspects influence each other because of the particular features of the kinship organizations.
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The kinship system of Btsisi people emphasizes the idea of the strong relations between the members of the family and social groups. This system of social relationships exists with references to a lot of duties and obligations which should be followed by all the representatives of the group. The community can develop effectively when all the members follow the definite set of norms. Furthermore, the principles of support and participation are also important for the development of the kinship system in the Btsisi society. All the decisions should be discussed and adopted within the community with references to the opinion of the head of the community. This stratification is also typical for the family in which the role of a man is accentuated. In addition, the kinship system can be discussed as stronger when the family or community includes more members, providing the opportunities for the effective cooperation while working at fields and in gardens (Nanda & Warms, 2010). The relations between the members of the community which depend on the principles of the kinship system are regulated regarding the aspects of the people’s personal and social life.
The culture of Btsisi people is characterized by many features which can be compared with the norms of the patriarchal society. However, it is important to pay attention to the most distinctive features of this community influenced by the kinship system. If it is necessary to discuss the definite issue at the level of the whole society, the meeting is arranged, and all the problematic points are discussed by the male population. Families should present their single point of view on the problem which is declared by the husband. Women can be present at the meeting, but they are separated from the group of men (Nowak, 2003, p. 443). The unity of the group is emphasized when the final decision is discussed in order to find the variant which is most appropriate for all the representatives of the community. Thus, the community acts as a family. In spite of the fact Btsisi people focus on the specific role of a man in the society, there are no prejudiced visions about the birth of a girl or boy in a family. This aspect contributes to the idea of kinship as the support within the family. It is even better when the girl is born as the first child in the family because of the opinion that girls are healthier or ‘cooler’ than boys (Nowak, 2003, p. 444).
One more specific feature of the Btsisi culture is the strict division of the roles between a man and a woman in a family in relation to the social life. Thus, all the businesses and issues which are connected with the ‘outside’ world are resolved by men. Moreover, women are inclined to focus only on their family, and they are afraid of any ‘outside’ aspects of life. From this point, the nuclear of the kinship system within the family is a woman, but the nuclear of the social life within the Btsisi society is a man. Women do not like to leave their villages and be involved in the social activities (Nowak, 2003, p. 445). The kinship system affects the relations of women and men at all the stages of their life, determining different roles in relation to family and social levels.
Comparing the above-mentioned examples of the kinship principles of the Btsisi community with the other societies, it is possible to state that the kinship impact is different. There is no strict division between the social and family roles of women in the modern society. Participating in the public meetings, Btsisi women have no right to speak because their husbands present the family opinion (Nowak, 2003, p. 445). From this point, the accents are made on the family vision, but not on separate personal visions of both spouses. Nevertheless, the vision of the role of children in the family is correlated with the modern approaches when children are loved and supported within the family in spite of their gender.
Btsisi people are the representatives of the horticultural society for whom the kinship system determines all the important aspects of their life, relations, and cooperation within the society.
Nanda, S., & Warms, R. (2010). Cultural anthropology. USA: Cengage Learning.
Nowak. B. (2003). Hma Btsisi. In C. Ember & M. Ember (Eds.), Encyclopedia of sex and gender (pp. 443-451). USA: Springer.