Anthropology Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 3 - Question 6

90 Days Anthropology Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 30-Nov-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.


2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page the next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

30-Nov-2018 - Question 2

Kinship terminology and their relevance. 200 words

For Question 1 - Click Here

Model Answer

Kinship is a study of biologically related individuals and interaction among them. Kinship includes biological relations as well as socially recognized entities.

          Though each society has got its own set of kin terms. But at large, there are two types of kin terms

  1. Descriptive

  2. Classificatory


Prepare their definitions and examples.  Also prepare six terminologies of kinship along with examples viz. Eskimos, Hawaiian, Sudanese, Iroquois, Crow and Omaha.


The above dichotomy (classificatory and descriptive) was provided by Morgan in his book “Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family”. Today, no society uses these terms in absolute sense i.e. no society is completely descriptive and no society is completely classificatory.

         The relevance of kinship terminology is widely explained as below

  1. Kinship terminology reflects relationship among kins/kin groups. With separately identifiable kins, we have strong relationship e.g. brother and sister. It fades as kingroup enlarges e.g. cousin, distant cousin and so on. Due to this strong relationship, one has some obligations and rights towards kins related socially.  These obligations and rights are inheritance, descent, rina, raksha bandhan, assistance during hard times etc.

  2. The classification avoids confusion among members of group. Hence, social order.

  3. Each kin term represents a ‘status’ and interaction between kins follow the ‘role’ associated with status.

  4. For a status to be a viable entity, it almost occurs in a pair e.g. father-son, mother-daughter etc. This is also known as kinship atom hypothesis given by Levi Strauss.

  5. Kin terms allow family to have control over incest. For e.g. father-daughter cant mate.

  6. Unfolding of kinterms help us understand kinship e.g. devara = dwi+ vara, maasi = equivalent to mother.

Likewise a consolidated list of relevance of kinship terminology can be prepared.


Note: There is no template for a correct UPSC answer, the model answer is only for your reference


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