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Kinship system of the San community Essay


Kinship by definition is the most basic principle of doing classification of people while putting them into social groupings, responsibilities and categories factoring in marriage together with parentage as key elements of the classifications: this is a common scenario in the society of human beings.

The San community which is known to reside in the vast Kalahari Desert is an example of foraging and horticultural societies in the world that perfected the kinship practice where they give a lot of attention to the naming system: they consider anyone with the same name to be a member of the family and must be coming from lineage of a particular ancestor.

The kinship system of The San is unique; the system is in a way that it provides social safety to the community members as well as economic security. Families are able to survive in several conditions courtesy of this system. The ability a member of the San community to go even the furthest distance that one could imagine and still get a family member is to a great extent extraordinary.

They rely on namesake kin approach to identify the perceived family member where, if you go to that furthest end and get someone with the same name then that person would have no choice but to accept you as a relative and cater for all your needs; this is very important especially when one goes to look for employment in far places.

The family structure of the San composes of nuclear set-up type of a family which relies on passing of the kinship from the parents to children to form a linkage and also bring together people of the community into groupings. There exists two patterns for the linkage identification; one being the unilateral type of linkage which is the progress of the relationship through mothers and fathers and the other type is the bilateral which involves the groupings.

The naming system of the San community was not just used in identifying a blood relative in a far distance place but was also used during marriage.

During marriage, it was important that the linage of the man and women be looked at; that was simple by studying their names where one of the partner was not supposed to bear the name of one’s parent because, by them having same name means they were related hence no marriage could take place. All the strict rules were meant to avoid incent which is the marriage of close relatives. It was a great taboo to marry a close relative.

The marriages which occurred between unrelated individuals played a big role in widening the base in term of number of relatives; it created strong bonds between the new found wider relationship and that gave space to anyone from the two new found bigger community to have the opportunity to be accommodated anywhere especially during hard moments like when was searching for employment.

Despite my perception that the kinship system of the San community is a beautiful one, it is not practiced to the latter in the current society. Improvement in technology is all to blame for the difference. Nowadays, the similarity in genotype is all that is needed to determine if an individual is a close relative as opposed to the naming system of the San community.

The structure of the family has also changed where the San community knew family as union of man and wife and of different lineages, but the current society accommodates practices like gay and lesbianism and even worse, one could get siblings marrying.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 7). Kinship system of the San community. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinship-system-of-the-san-community/

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1. IvyPanda. "Kinship system of the San community." March 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinship-system-of-the-san-community/.


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IvyPanda. "Kinship system of the San community." March 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinship-system-of-the-san-community/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Kinship system of the San community." March 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/kinship-system-of-the-san-community/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Kinship system of the San community'. 7 March.

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