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Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups Report

Often referred to as agnatic, patrilineal descent is an affiliation arrangement of a society where the lineage and ancestry is drawn from the male link. Through the great ancestors to the current generation, family tree concentrates on the male members. For instance, ancestry is passed through the grandfather, to his son, to his grandson, and to his great grandson in the same sequence.

On the other hand, matrilineal descent, commonly known as uterine descent, is an affiliation in the family ancestry which concentrates on the ancestress. From a generation to another, descent is passed through an intertwined series of female dichotomy.

Unlike Cognatic descent, which embrace the male and female links simultaneously, Patrilineal and Matrilineal descents are independent of each other and often exist as whole in a specific society depending on the traditional circumstances from which acculturation used to operate, and still does.

Different societal settings tend to embrace and associate with different descent groupings controlled by exchange restraint which is an organized alliance of systems functioning concurrently to maintain and transfer tangible kinship validation ‘certificate’. For example, in a patrilineal descent, the descent group is composed of both the females and males sired by a father belonging to the patriarchal affiliation.

However, the descent of the mother is matrilineal. Analogously, the same scenario is true for a matrilineal decent. In role assignment, one society might consider patrilineal decent affiliation for certain responsibilities such as political functions, and the other embrace matrilineal descent in inheritance channeling.

Matrilineal descent is still common in the Kingdom of Msuati of Swaziland. In this society, the political goodwill is only viable when the aspirant is endorsed by his matrilineal affiliations. In Palestine, inheritance channeling is exclusively determined by the fact that such an individual, irrespective of sex, belongs to a patrilineal descent.

The foundation of the American constitution was laid on the solid equal rights plate. Overtime, irrespective of gender, American culture has embraced independence and autonomy as families adopt nuclear affiliations as opposed to extended family ties.

As these families grow smaller and smaller, the majority has finally accepted every member of their families as equals when allocating resources, opportunities, and roles. This trend has necessitated the adoption of Cognatic descent, which is a fusion between matrilineal and patrilineal descents (Schultz and Lavenda 48).

Class and Caste Systems of Stratification

While class segmentation is temporary, a caste system is permanent. Across the globe, economic, political, and social circumstances may trigger upward, neutral, and downward nobilities characterized by a change in the social class an individual belongs to. However, a caste is a ‘permanent tag caste on a stone’ on an individual irrespective of the class.

Thus, it is in order to categorically quantify the fact that class is dependent on opportunities such as education, income variance, employment, and infrastructure. In contrast, caste system is of social inherency and physical from birth, and is organized in such away that it will determine types of lifetime opportunities assigned permanently to that caste (Schultz and Lavenda 87).

In caste system, the type of job, marriage partner, and social groupings is determined by social ideology or religious dogma deeply rooted and embraced by the society in which it exists. On the other hand, in class affiliation, these factors are not determined by a religious ideology; rather, they are determined by education level, hard work, and talents among others.

Besides, there is complete freedom and ability to move, make decisions on occupation, and lifestyle. Although caste system is illegal across many societies and countries across the globe, the system is still deeply rooted in Indian where the type of job, marriage partner, religious role, and social group is determined by the caste of such an individual.

The social structure of the United States of America functions in class system stratification though inclusive of hidden discrepancies associated with caste system such as discrimination of the minorities due to skin color, gender, race, nationality, and religion since it is a state acquired in life and not determined by birth.

Often, Americans who practice Islamic religious are prone to harassment by C.I.A and the Homeland Security for baseless allegations of terrorism affiliation. Though practiced in small scale, the district courts are pilled with cases on racism slug due to skin color and belonging to a minority group especially Latino and Negro.

Social Change

Being an intriguing idea, social change focuses on a mirrored reflection of what a society would like to visualize from a string of intertwining ideas. Social change involves impersonal consciousness, stepwise process, and absolute necessity assumptions aimed at creating a sustainable, friendly, and acceptable irksome feeling. The reactive process to these components is what is referred to as social change.

At quantitative level, this continuous process embraces both ecological dimension and internal operation engine as a measure of variance between the former and the later result when these occurrences fuse. Change advocacy is a necessity towards actualizing ideas acceptable to the society.

Irrespective of the social and economic climate in which change agents operate, the questions to consider in change advocacy revolves around policy solutions, engagement, administration, and change argumentation. In the America society, citizens have adopted bureaucratic, ideological, legislative, and mass appeal to advocate for change (Schultz and Lavenda 79).

Under the bureaucratic arrangement, individual involved is often an expert with vast experience in the subject of change. For instance, in the new health plan proposed by the Obama administration, experts have presented a well researched optional approach into health provision to the government decision makers with an intention of convincing this group to accept their proposal.

In practicing ideological advocacy as a means of influencing change, individuals sharing the same ideology mobilize together in protests and demonstrations to express their dissatisfactions to the decision making organs for appropriate actions. Across the societies of the world, it is a common occurrence to spot protesting workers and unions due to low wages and poor working conditions.

Specifically, this criterion is almost succeeding in Yemen where the mass have mobilized to protest against poor governance and mismanagement. On the facets of legislative approach, an individual might opt to use the constitutional law courts to present a proposal, complaint, or complement with an intention of convincing the decision making academy to buy such ideas.

Here, the basis of arguments is based on federal legislative process. Mass advocacy is the most common approach used by change agents to pass information on the necessity and purpose of change. In the Arab society, the people have successfully practiced this approach to petition leaders believed to be of authoritarian school of thought.

From Libya to Egypt in Africa, the people have successfully used the social media to influence opinion of the mass and gain their support. In the end, the seasoned leaders were misplaced and displaced by the mass influence organized in continuous solidarity protests.

Besides, assimilation approach has bared fruit among the gays and lesbians in America. The members of this group have managed to convince the society on the need to coexist by employing civil rights movements, public protests, and race riots as actualized by the sin city sisters of Las Vegas.

Marriage Patterns

In defining marriage, anthropologists formulate valid cross-cultural variations of modern and traditional forms. Thus, in traditional definition, marriage is a permanent union organizing parents and children in a domestic arrangement with each member having defined roles to play within institutionalized patterns.

In the modern definition, marriage is a permanent and exclusive union of a man and a woman with defined parental responsibilities and sex rights. Monogamy marriage limits the individual in this union to a partner at a time. Marriage arrangement is thus between a man and a woman in a permanent union.

On the other hand, polygyny marriage is a union of a man to more than one female as practiced in several societies of Africa and Asia since time in sundry. This may also occur in the form of serial polygyny under which the union occurs seriatim. Polyandry marriage is a union of a woman to more than one man. When the men in this arrangement are brothers, it is referred to as fraternal polyandry.

These forms of marriage unions exist in different societies depending on acculturation and societal beliefs and values (Schultz and Lavenda 89). In the traditional society of the Asian culture, men were considered complete and respect accorded on the number of wives a man had. The religion demanded that men had to marry and take care of many women as a symbol of continuation.

Polyandry functioned in West Ghana in the 18th century. This culture was adopted and practiced by members of this society who idolized women as goddess of continuation and a link from a generation to another. Monogamy is the most common type of marriage in the contemporary society.

This practice can be attributed to economic hardships, religion, and modernization which has librated women as equals of men. The existence of these forms of marriages has been influenced by the type of religion, economic status, and traditional practices upon which the society is founded.

Essence of Cultural Anthropology

Since the commencement of this semester, I have learnt to appreciate the essence of culture as part and parcel of an individual existing in any society. Culture is as complex as the society itself. Culture consists of unique identity symbolism, language, politics, and religion. The deep knowledge on culture is of essence in appreciating and reflecting on behavior and understanding inter and intra personal descent.

In addition, I have learnt to appreciate different theories on culture developed to explain the uniqueness and geographical setting of cultures in America and a cross the globe. The most interesting concepts in this class were the organization dimensions, marriage and family, and globalization as defined by different theories in cultural anthropology.

Specifically, organization dimension widen my scope in understanding functionality of a system. However, the caste system as practiced in India drew various arguments especially with the modernization in the 21st century.

Though research confirmed the existence of this system in some parts of India, it is almost impossible to live with the reality of a generational existence pegged merely on dogmatic ideology in a planet where everyone has become a global citizen.

Works Cited

Schultz, Emily, and Lavenda, R. Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 28). Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/patrilineal-and-matrilineal-descent-groups/

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"Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups." IvyPanda, 28 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/patrilineal-and-matrilineal-descent-groups/.

1. IvyPanda. "Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/patrilineal-and-matrilineal-descent-groups/.


IvyPanda. "Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/patrilineal-and-matrilineal-descent-groups/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/patrilineal-and-matrilineal-descent-groups/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Patrilineal and Matrilineal Descent Groups'. 28 December.

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