Kinship in the Admiralty Islands

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The Manus of New Guinea's Pere village were Margaret Mead's most favored community, the people to whom she returned five times before she died in 1978. Kinship in the Admiralty Islands is the classic and only thorough description of their complex rules of marriage and family relations. It draws on Mead's 1928-1929 field work, conducted with her second husband, New Zealander Reo Fortune, and benefits by her being able to cross-check her data with his. Written in 1931, Kinship followed Mead's first and very popular book on the Manus, Growing Up in New Guinea, which was criticized by other anthropologists for being too general in scope. In Kinship Mead succeeded in demonstrating her thorough knowledge of this Melanesian group in the specific terms prized by her scholarly colleagues, while also describing in depth Manus social structure.

Kinship in the Admiralty Islands describes an intricate system of social restraints and kinship ties and their impact on the local economy. The Manus' predilection for adoption, for example, allows surrogate fathers to make extended marriage payments, while in the next generation their adopted sons will take on the same responsibility for other young men in the new kin network. Mead reviews other kinship rules, such as avoidance behavior between in-laws of the opposite sex, early betrothals, other forms of adoption, and a range of deference behavior and joking relations among kin. In this work, Mead walks a fine line between functionalist kinship analysis of the British school of Radclife Brown and the cultural-and-personality orientation of Americans in the school of Franz Boas.

Jeanne Guillemin's new introduction provides a lively in depth description of Margaret Mead's career in the early days of anthropology, the sometimes negative reactions of her contemporaries to her work, and her reasons for writing Kinship in the Admiralty Islands, as well as Mead's later reactions to how "her Manus" entered the modern world.

Margaret Mead was noted for directing her writings to both scholar and laymen alike. Kinship in the Admiralty Islands will be of interest to anthropologists and general readers interested in the peoples of the South Pacific.

Margaret Mead was curator of ethnology of the American Museum of Natural History. She was the author of many books including Continuities in Cultural Evolution (available from Transaction), The Study of Culture at a Distance, The Mountain of Arapesh, and From the South Seas: Studies of Adolescence and Sex in Primitive Societies. Jeanne Guillemin is a professor of anthropology at Boston College and editor of Anthropological Realities: Readings in the Science of Culture, also available from Transaction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765807649
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Guillemin is a professor of sociology at Boston College and a senior fellow at the MIT Security Studies Program. She is the author of Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism. Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was associated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over fifty years, becoming curator of ethnology in 1964. She taught at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research as well as many other universities throughout her lifetime. Some of her books include Culture and Commitment, Continuities in Cultural Evolution, andThe Mountain Arapesh.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition ix
Preface xxv
The Manus Tribe 1
Sketch of Manus Culture 1
The Manus Tribe 4
The Manus Village 12
Rank 16
Privileges of peri lapan 16
The Gens 18
The Kinship System 30
The kinship terminology 30
Ceremonial functions of relatives 38
Summary of marriage rules 40
Structural emphases 41
Kinship within the gens 48
Kinship Behavior 52
Manus manners relevant to avoidance rules 52
The prescribed marriage and kinship behavior 54
Characteristic behavior types 60
Cross-Cousin Jesting 62
Respect Behavior 66
Avoidance Behavior 67
Use of personal pronouns in affinal relationships 68
Use of personal names 70
Other aspects of avoidance behavior 77
Avoidance situations which are not functions of kinship 84
Summary of avoidance relationships 85
Husband and Wife 85
The Growing Child and the Kinship Categories 86
Effective Inter-Relationships in Adult Life 94
Brother and sister 94
Husband and wife 100
Brother and brother 104
Brothers-in-law 108
Cross-cousins 113
Sister to sister--piloan 115
Sisters-in-law--pinkaiyon 115
Female cross-cousins--pinpolapol 118
Co-wives--palu 118
Trade friendships 119
Religious Ramifications of the Kinship System 120
Justification of Ensuing Comparisons 122
Ceremonial Plunder 125
Inheritance 126
Contravention of the Kinship System 127
Implications of the affinal exchange system 127
Adoption 131
The modification of the kinship terminology 133
Illustrative cases 135
Analysis of the gens lo 142
Summary 147
Notes on Other Admiralty Island Systems 150
Conditions of Collection 150
The Balowan Kinship System 150
Consanguinity 151
Affinal terms 151
Special terminology 151
The expression of seniority 152
The Lou System 154
Terms of consanguinity 154
Analysis of cross-cousin terms 155
Terms of affinity 155
Consanguineous terms used in affinal relations 155
Notes on the social organization 155
Discussion 156
The Ario Usiai Kinship System 157
Terms of affinity 158
Consanguineous terms used in affinal relationships 158
Analysis of cross-cousin terms 158
Discussion 159
The Pak System 159
Terms of consanguinity 160
Analysis of cross-cousin terms 161
Affinal terms 161
The Bipi System 162
Terms of consanguinity 162
Affinal terms 162
Linguistic Aspect of the Foregoing Terminologies 163
Concluding Statement 165
Glossary 169
Text Figures
1. Map of the Admiralty Islands 6
2. Diagram of the Village of Peri showing House Ownership, Gentile Membership, and Residence 23
3. Diagram of the Village of Peri as its Inhabitants conceptualize the Localization of Gentes within the Village 23
4. Diagrammatic Representation of a Matankor Village on the Island of Lou, showing Formal Arrangement of House Sites, Gentile Men's Houses, and Gentile Dancing Poles 24
5. Diagrammatic Representation of Crow and Omaha Types of Kinship System 31
6. Diagram showing Dominant and Submerged Descent Affiliations 41
7. Diagram illustrating the Dependence of patandrusum Relationships upon Residence 43
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