Navajo Kinship and Marriage

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University of Chicago Press, 1975 - Social Science - 137 pages
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The Navajo are one of the most studied people in the world; yet their social organization is one of the least well understood. In "Navajo Kinship and Marriage," Gary Witherspoon, a fluent speaker of the Navajo language who lived among the Navajo for eight years, offers a new theoretical approach to kinship based on its cultural dimensions. Witherspoon makes a primary distinction between culture (patterns for behavior) and the system of social relations (observable patterns of behavior) in this definitive work on Navajo kinship and marriage.

"Witherspoon . . . clarifies problems pertaining to Navajo kinship and marriage through his skillful use of the concepts of cultural and social systems. He adds to the body of knowledge on the Navajo by his own fieldwork and unique life experiences." --R. S. Freed, "Sociology"

"Not only can Witherspoon's book on Navajo kinship help unravel the web for the Anglo willing to concentrate, it can also bring to Navajo readers an understanding of why Anglos don't understand Navajo family relationships." --Joanne Reuter, "Navajo Times"

"This is an important work on Navajo kinship and marriage." --David F. Aberle, "American Anthropology"

 

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Contents

Kinship as a Cultural System
3
Mother and Child and the Nature of Kinship
15
Marriage and the Nature of Affinity
23
Father and Child
29
The Descent System
37
The Concepts of Sex Generation Sibling Order and Distance
49
Kinship and Affinal Solidarity as Symbolized in the Enemyway
56
Navajo Kinship as a Social System
65
Subsistence in the Subsistence Residential Unit
86
Unity in the Subsistence Residential Unit
94
The Navajo Outfit as a Set of Related Subsistence Residential Units
100
The Web of Affinity
111
Conclusion
117
The Social Universe of the Navajo
119
Notes
127
Bibliography
131

Introduction to Part 2
67
Social Organization in the Rough RockBlack Mountain Area
68
Residence in the Subsistence Residential Unit
74

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