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Cousin Terms

Jack Goody
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer, 1970), pp. 125-142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629307
Page Count: 18
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Cousin Terms
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Abstract

An attempt is made to test some of the assumed correlates of cousin terms (kin terms for ego's own generation) by means of the Ethnographic Atlas (1967) as well as by a regional comparison of the material from Northern Ghana. The following correlations are significant: Omaha and patrilineal descent (or inheritance) systems, Crow and matrilineal systems, Eskimo and "bilateral" systems, Iroquois and preferred cross-cousin marriage. Eskimo is associated with a type of vertical inheritance that differentiates siblings from cousins. Like the Iroquois, Hawaiian terms are found in all continents with all types of descent system. This usage is associated with prohibited cross-cousin marriage (cousin = sister), but a more general factor is involved; it emphasizes the general equivalence of the kin of a man's own generation and seems broadly appropriate for those societies, outside Eurasia, where men were relatively equal in terms of the basic means of production.

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