We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

The Archaeology of Kinship

Advancing Interpretation and Contributions to Theory

Bradley E. Ensor

Publication Year: 2013

Archaeology has been subjected to a wide range of misunderstandings of kinship theory and many of its central concepts. Demonstrating that kinship is the foundation for past societies’ social organization, particularly in non-state societies, Bradley E. Ensor offers a lucid presentation of kinship principles and theories accessible to a broad audience. He provides not only descriptions of what the principles entail but also an understanding of their relevance to past and present topics of interest to archaeologists. His overall goal is always clear: to illustrate how kinship analysis can advance archaeological interpretation and how archaeology can advance kinship theory.
 
The Archaeology of Kinship supports Ensor’s objectives: to demonstrate the relevance of kinship to major archaeological questions, to describe archaeological methods for kinship analysis independent of ethnological interpretation, to illustrate the use of those techniques with a case study, and to provide specific examples of how diachronic analyses address broader theory. As Ensor shows, archaeological diachronic analyses of kinship are independently possible, necessary, and capable of providing new insights into past cultures and broader anthropological theory. Although it is an old subject in anthropology, The Archaeology of Kinship can offer new and exciting frontiers for inquiry.
 
Kinship research in general—and prehistoric kinship in particular—is rapidly reemerging as a topical subject in anthropology. This book is a timely archaeological contribution to that growing literature otherwise dominated by ethnology.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.0 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (37.7 KB)
pp. 2-5

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (34.1 KB)
pp. 6-7

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF (44.3 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.2 KB)
pp. ix-xii

...During recent conferences and lectures where I presented on kinship to archaeological audiences, a common set of comments emerged, which I keep anonymous and paraphrase here. “Wow, ‘kinship,’ that takes me back!” “I never realized kinship addressed that!” “I always thought kinship was confusing and not approachable so I never thought about it...

I. Introduction

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (48.3 KB)
pp. 3-9

...Kinship research follows major theoretical trends in anthropology. Evolutionism attempted to associate forms of family organization, kin terminology, technology, and subsistence to characterize unilinear stages of human development. Functionalism viewed kin groups as sources of property and social support. Cognitivists focused...

read more

2. The Importance of Kinship in Archaeology

pdf iconDownload PDF (98.1 KB)
pp. 10-27

...Archaeology has an unnecessary uncomfortable relationship with kinship research. Periods when kinship was considered are marked by optimism followed by pessimism, and the sources of the latter attitudes should be addressed at the outset of a book on the subject. Nevertheless, kinship continues to appear in archaeological literature because it is indeed...

read more

3. The Hohokam

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.2 KB)
pp. 28-36

...This chapter provides a general background to Hohokam archaeology for readers unfamiliar with that region. The Hohokam were a major archaeological culture of the US Southwest occupying much of the Sonoran Desert region in central and southern Arizona. The Phoenix Basin, emphasized here, comprises the lower Salt and middle Gila Rivers...

II. Households

read more

4. Household-Scale Social Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF (230.6 KB)
pp. 39-58

...This chapter describes the kinds of social groups that own household resources and reside at households. Postmarital residence strategies are used to form, perpetuate, or modify corporate resource-bearing groups. This does not mean that postmarital residence strategies determine the makeup of the social groups; one could argue it is the other way around...

read more

5. Archaeological Analysis of Household-Scale Social Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.7 KB)
pp. 59-68

...Chapter 4 provided the descriptions of the major categories of household groups and associated residential groups formed through postmarital residence. This chapter focuses on the ways that archaeologists may interpret postmarital residence strategies and their associated household groups. Direct historical analogy, inferences from kinship terminology...

read more

6. Hohokam Households

pdf iconDownload PDF (411.4 KB)
pp. 69-106

...Although Hohokam dwelling sizes and spatial arrangements have been scrutinized for decades, the approaches, assumptions, and objectives were significantly different than those advocated here. Hohokam archaeologists have not designed their analyses to identify specific forms of residential groups. Wilcox et al.’s (1981) analyses established the tradition...

III. Descent Groups

read more

7. Descent Group Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.2 KB)
pp. 109-140

...Descent groups provide access to collective resources and networks of social support. They are corporate groups. They are the reasons for recognizing descent (matrilineal, patrilineal, or ambilineal) to ancestors who provided the group’s resources. This chapter begins with the relationships between household groups and descent groups. Matrilineal, patrilineal, and ambilineal descent groups are described in more detail...

read more

8. Archaeological Analysis of Descent Group Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF (145.9 KB)
pp. 141-160

...This chapter describes the middle-range approaches by which archaeologists can identify descent groups, or bilateral descent, which are applied to the case study in Chapter 9. The chapter begins with a discussion on the relationships between residential groups and descent groups and solutions that can guide archaeological interpretation of descent groups...

read more

9. Hohokam Descent Groups

pdf iconDownload PDF (323.9 KB)
pp. 161-194

...Hohokam archaeologists have made only limited attempts to interpret descent groups. As was the case with household-scale organization, there are occasional vague interpretations of possible descent groups. Wilcox (1991) suggests that compounds in the Civano phase may indicate “corporate groups.” Wilcox et al. (1981), Henderson (1987b:10), and Clark and Gilman (2012:64) suggest that village segments may indicate...

IV. Marriage, Political Economy, and Transformations

read more

10. The Political Economy of Kinship and Marriage

pdf iconDownload PDF (163.4 KB)
pp. 197-225

...Parts II and III describe different social organizational strategies and their archaeological interpretation. Part IV focuses on the political economic dynamics of kinship and marriage systems. This chapter describes a political economic perspective on kinship leading to hypotheses on change for three categories of social organization and marriage: descent...

read more

11. Archaeological Analysis of Marriage and Political Economy

pdf iconDownload PDF (71.2 KB)
pp. 226-234

...To interpret the political economies described in Chapter 10, archaeologists need to focus on aspects of social organization, ceremonial organization, and surplus production. Social organization, and particularly the presence or absence of descent groups, can inform on which marriage system was practiced. The marriage systems also have implications on...

read more

12. Hohokam Marriage, Political Economies, and Transformations

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.9 KB)
pp. 235-254

...Hohokam archaeologists have paid a great deal of attention to patterns in ceremonial behavior, craft production and exchange, and storage and food processing. In their impressive tradition of analyzing these elements of material culture in relation to spatial units (courtyard groups, village segments, and settlements) in addition to regional analyses, their results...

V. Contributions of Kinship Research

read more

13. New Insights on the Hohokam

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.3 KB)
pp. 257-271

...This chapter focuses on how the kinship analyses have advanced interpretations on the prehispanic Hohokam. It describes where we were previously to where we have arrived through kinship analysis. Prior vague interpretations are replaced by specific identifications of social organization and dynamics. In many of the phases, corporate strategies...

read more

14. Archaeological Contributions to Kinship Theory

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.4 KB)
pp. 272-298

...This chapter is devoted to archaeological testing of ethnologically derived hypotheses on kinship. As described in Chapter 2, much knowledge on kinship is derived from cross-cultural comparisons of cultures existing during the periods of ethnography, after their “traditional” kinship systems had developed or were already undergoing substantial changes through depopulation or expanding global capitalism. The...

read more

15. New Frontiers in Kinship Research

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.7 KB)
pp. 299-306

...This book begins with a defensive argument that kinship should be important to archaeologists. The pessimism within archaeology on the possibilities to address kinship is argued to be based on misunderstandings of the subject matter. Kinship analysis is then argued to be relevant to a wide range of topics in contemporary archaeology, followed by a...

Glossary

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.7 KB)
pp. 307-318

References Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (137.0 KB)
pp. 319-346

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.9 KB)
pp. 347-354

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.3 KB)
p. 355-355

...Dr. Bradley E. Ensor received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida in 2003 and is currently a professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology of Eastern Michigan University. His areas of research include Mesoamerica and North America with a focus in political economy, kinship, and social organization through...


E-ISBN-13: 9780816599264
E-ISBN-10: 0816599262
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530540
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530548

Page Count: 367
Illustrations: 34 lines, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2013