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Xingu Carib Kinship Terminology and Marriage: Another View

Ellen B. Basso
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Winter, 1970), pp. 402-416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629368
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Xingu Carib Kinship Terminology and Marriage: Another View
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Abstract

The structure of Xingu Carib kinship terminology has been alleged to derive from a process of changing marriage patterns (local and kin group exogamy to increasing endogamy) caused by severe depopulation. This explanation makes use of a functional theory of kinship terminology, in which discrete terms are viewed as being indicative of marriage behavior. In the present paper, Xingu Carib terminology is discussed as a system of classification which distinguishes categories of kinsmen within a more inclusive model of "kinship." "Marriage" is viewed as a set of native concepts distinct from, yet related to, an idea of behavior for all kinsmen, which serves to justify requests for spouses among kinsmen yet does not exclude non-kin as marriage partners. These concepts, together with an examination of present marriage practices, suggest that the system offers a range of choices which are obscured by the use of "endogamy" and "exogamy" as descriptive categories.

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