Critical Kinship Organizations

Critical Kinship Organizations





Kinship Organizations

Kinship is that sense of being related to another person in one way or the other. Either this relationship can be brought about by a set of rules and regulations governing a society, or they can exist due to a blood relationship between the two or more individuals. It can be taken for granted as being the way it is, or natural as opposed to cultural acceptance. Kinships also include relationships due to blood or marriage between different people. Foraging and horticultural based society is the one where the community is dependent on searching for food, especially plants and fruit. Therefore, the kinship organization of foraging and horticultural based society is the study of how family relationships either by blood, marriage or by set rules affect the people, whose livelihood is preconditioned by collecting fruit, vegetables, sap and roots. (Peters, 2013).

Aborigines are one of the communities in Australia. They are one of the oldest communities believed to have a continuous culture on the planet. They are the descendants of the first immigrants from Africa for up to 75,000 years ago. This is known from a generic study and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) analysis. In Aboriginal Australia, the fact that it is one of the most complicated kinship systems; it is thus the foundation of all the interactions in society both social and cultural. Kinship encompasses every aspect of the social composition and structure of every society, because the kinship organization of a particular tribe or people dictates their links with other communities and the relationship thus solely depend on the kinship system. In this society, everyone is related to everyone else and this complicates the understanding of the kinship system of the Aboriginal people (Berndt, 1988).

The cultural practices of the Aboriginal people solely depend on their living styles that have been for long the longest in the whole world. Their culture is being influenced by their social interactions from the kinship level. The kinship system is divided into a number of units in which the community is affected. The physical or geographic grouping of communities will affect how the society does their daily activities. A language group of say 600 people is made up of a band of around 10-20 people each, these people join together for one day to another to carry out activities, such as hunting and gathering of food. The people in a band can also be referred to as a horde, and they are likely to affect the thinking of young people, who join them. In the horde you are raised to believe that what your parents and the whole village do is the right thing. Hence, young people who should apply their rational judgment to come up with solutions to get swayed by the belief of their kinsmen. The kinship also affects the way people act. The day-to-day activity of the people around is likely to shape one’s actions. The people around you that are your kinship are the shapers of your life and action. You will believe life as being complete if you attain the status of the kinsmen (Crawford, 2003).

Religious classification and its effects are also ways in which kinship is likely to affect a society. The Aboriginal people of Australia are divided on the basis of their religious affiliation and beliefs. A moiety system of classification is used to classify the Aboriginals into different groups based on their religious beliefs. This system divides them into two: the sun side and the shady side. Therefore, on this basis some people are seen as the disadvantaged, whereas the others advantaged. This consequently affects even the way people think, because of the attitude attached to him or her.

Throughout the Aboriginal culture, people had different ways to refer to each other. For example, a man could address another man with a particular kin name, which could be used to address his brother. Also a kin term used by a woman would be used to all the other sisters, and therefore kinships are likely to affect even the interpersonal relationships between people in the society. This system is formally accepted, but some instances arise, where due to attitudes and perceptions of individuals, one will feel disrespected and thus a disagreement occurs (Berndt, 1988).

Relationships are considered as another area of great interest in the Aboriginal culture and kinship organization. This therefore affects the way of life of the people as they wait for opportunities to take over their brother’s wife. The relationships among the Aboriginals from different generation levels are different because of the variance in status, age and authority. There is usually the perception of who is older in the family and who should be respected, which therefore affects the way the family duties are distributed and done. Comparing the Aboriginal kinship system with the western society, we realize that the western society is not affected by this culture because of the different ways of life of the people. The westerners are more processed food eaters and are leading an urban life, where kinship is not given a lot of emphasizes (Crawford, 2003).


Berndt, R. M., Tonkinson, R., & Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. (1988). Social

anthropology and Australian aboriginal studies: A contemporary overview. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Crawford, J., & Tantiprasut, L. (2003). Australian Aboriginal culture. Western Australia: R.I.C.


Peters, E. J., & Andersen, C. (2013). Indigenous in the city: Contemporary identities and cultural

innovation. Vancouver: UBC Press.