Karbis Of Assam

Ethnology on the Karbis also Known as Mikirs

Archive for September, 2009

Kinship Terminology And Concept of Prescriptive Asymmetrical Cross-Cousin Marriage Among the Karbis

Posted by Administrator on September 2, 2009


By Morningkeey Phangcho

Alan D. Coult summed up the seemingly complex relationship between ‘cross-cousin marriage system’ and ‘kinship terminologies’ in a rather very simple manner. In his essay, “Kinship terminology and fallacy of preferential marriage”#, he wrote—“Once certain features of Kinship terminology are understood, one may analyze them completely in a few minutes time using exceedingly simple method: Technique which closely follows those employed by Tax (1937 a)#. With an understanding of the structures of the kinship terminologies, the issue of prescriptive versus preferential marriage is well understood.”

In the following short discussion, I will try to analyze the ‘marriage system’ of the Karbis and the corresponding kinship terminologies. Among others, anthropologists have identified two basic types of cross-cousin marriages. Again, cross-cousin marriages are either —1) Asymmetrical (only maternal or paternal cross cousin) and 2) Symmetrical (both maternal and paternal cross cousin).  Karbis follow asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage from the mother’s lineage only. Read the rest of this entry »

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