Here is an essay on ‘Kinship’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Kinship’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Kinship
Essay # 1. Introduction to Kinship:
Kinship is a structural system of relationship in which individuals are bound to one another by complex interlocking and ramifying ties. Radcliffe Brown insisted on the study of a kinship system as a field of rights and obligations and saw it as a part of the social structure. Man does not live alone in society. From birth till death he is surrounded by a number of people. Some of these people are his relatives, some are friends, and some are neighbours while all others are strangers and unknown to him.
He is bound to all those people who are related to him either on the basis of blood or marriage. The relations based on blood or marriage may be close or distant. The bond of blood or marriage which binds people together in a group is called kinship. According to the Dictionary of Anthropology, kinship system includes socially recognised relationships based on supposed as well as actual genealogical ties. These relationships are the result of social interaction and recognised by society.
Degree of Kinship:
On the basis of nearness or distance relatives can be classified in several categories. Some relatives are very close, direct and near e. g. father-son, brother- sister, and husband-wife. They are called primary kin. According to Dr. Dubey, there are eight such primary kins. They are husband-wife, father-son, mother-daughter, mother- son, younger-elder brothers, younger-elder sisters and sister-brother.
There are secondary kins. They are primary kin of primary kin. In other words, they are related through primary kin. They are not our primary kin but are the primary kin of our primary kin e. g. father’s brother (Chacha), sister’s husband (bahnoi) are secondary kins. The father is my primary kin and his brother is the primary kin of father. Therefore, father’s kin is my secondary kin, the primary kin of primary kin. Similarly, sister is my primary kin but her husband is my secondary kin.
There are tertiary kins. They are the secondary kin of our primary kin or primary kin of our secondary kin. Thus the wife of brother-in-law (sala) called sarhaj in Hindi is tertiary kin because brother-in-law is my brother is my secondary kin and his wife is the primary kin of brother-in-law. Similarly, brother-in-law of my brother is my tertiary kin because the brother is my primary kin and his brother-in-law is the secondary kin of my brother.
The primary kin of tertiary kin are called distant kin e.g., Great grandfather’s father or mother etc. Their number is very large.
According to Murdock, there are 33 secondary and 151 tertiary kins of a person.
Essay # 2. Types of Kinship:
Kinship is of two types:
1. Affinal Kinship:
The bond of marriage is called affinal kinship. When a person marries, he establishes relationship not only with the girl whom he marries but also with a number of other people in the girl’s family. Moreover, it is not only the person marrying who gets bound to the family members of the girl but his family members also get bound to the family members of the girl. Thus, a host of relations are created as soon as a marriage takes place e. g. after marriage a person becomes not only a husband, but he also becomes brother-in-law and son-in-law.
Here it may be noted that in English language a number of relations created by marriage are referred by the same term. Thus, the same term ‘brother-in-law’ is used for Bahnoi, Sala, Jija and Sandus. On marriage a person becomes Foofa, Nandoi and Mausa. Likewise, a girl on marriage becomes not only a wife but also becomes daughter-in-law. She also becomes Chachi, Bhabhi, Devrani, Jethani, Mami, etc. This marriage creates a host of relationships which are called affinal kin.
2. Consanguineous Kinship:
The bond of blood is called consanguineous kinship. The consanguineous kin are related through blood whereas the affinal kin are related through marriage. The bond between parents and their children and that between siblings is consanguineous kinship. Siblings are the children of the same parents. Thus son, brother, sister, uncle (Chacha), elder uncle (Taoo), nephew and cousin are consanguineous kin i.e., related through blood.
In this connection it may be pointed out that blood relationship may be actual as well as supposed. Among polyandrous tribes the actual father of a child is unknown. An adopted child is treated as if it were one’s own biologically produced child. Thus blood relationship may be established not only on biological basis but also on the basis of social recognition.
Essay # 3. Role of Kinship System in Indian Political System:
Kinship system and Indian political system are closely related to each-others. Kinship has greatly influenced the sub-systems of Indian political system. It has influenced the behaviour patterns of political leaders. Kinship is an important agency of political socialisation. Generally, the primary kins of primary kins gain leadership qualities. They start taking active participation in political activities. Primary kins of national state level political leaders always get weightage of being related to them.
Kinship determines the role of younger generations in politics and provide them leaders rise on the ladder of political power rapidly as compared to a person who joins politics as a worker. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi became Prime minister of India in young age as compared to other prime Ministers only because they belonged to Nehru family. Moving advantage of kinship, if Mrs. Sonia Gandhi opts to be active in politics she has directly been made in President of the Indian National Congress.
Kinship factor has helped Sukhdev Singh Badal to become minister because he is the son of S. Parkash Singh Badal C. M. of Punjab. Kinship has affected the political process to a great extent. In the distribution of party tickets, election campaigns and distribution of portfolios, kinship plays a significant role. Voting behaviour is also determined by this factor to a large extent. Voters give preference to the candidate of a family whose members have already served the nation and to whom they have tried.
Essay # 4. Merits and Demerits of Kinship:
Every kinship system is a structural subsystem of a total society. Like all other system it has its advantages and disadvantages. Industrialisation and modernisation have undermined the role of kinsmen. Individuality, personal achievement and relative autonomy rule our life. In earlier days, kinsmen used to play a very important role in arrangement of marriage. But with the decline of role of kinsmen, marriage institution has taken the form of contract. Rate of divorce is rising in the society.
Further due to looseness of our consanguineal ties, the position of the aged in the family has also lowered. Nowadays, our occupational system forces people to retire rather suddenly. Retirement leaves many older persons with a sense of uselessness and fear of being a burden on others. In earlier times, old persons used to retire gradually i.e. entering the Vanaprastha Ashrama and often has a legitimate of honour surrounded by their relatives of the younger generations.
Kinship system thus provides security and safety to the members of the household. Within the changed system, flexibility has developed between the economic system and class structure as a result of kinship system. Nowadays there is an open competition of jobs. Such an occupational system virtually requires the patterns of establishing and changing household according to the occupational opportunities of the husband.
Neolocal residence is also compatible with a high degree of mobility in the class structure. Father and son, brother and sister can fare unequally in the competition for prestige without undue strain on kinship relations. Living as an adult in his own independent nuclear family, each finds his own place in the class structure-his own level of living, his own circle of intimate friends. There would be serious tension if father and adult son were expected to live in the same household as if adult brothers were expected to share the same roof. Matrilocal residence would be no less incompatible with our occupational system and class structure.
Changes in Kinship System:
Kinship system is changing all the time. The changes in important structural parts such as the form of marriage, the rule of residence, the rule of descent and the types and composition of kin groups are usually slow i.e. they usually emerge clearly in the course of generations rather than days. According to Johnson, the faces behind such changes are of many inter-related kind—discovery, development or depletion of resources and the development and spread of new methods of production, the growth of new patterns in the relationship of men in their productive activities, changes in the internal ordering of societies is so far as the use of force is concerned and in the relation of one society to another in this respect, changes in the size, age and sex composition of population. These various factors do not necessarily move kinship structure in the same direction, some factors reinforce others, and some neutralize others. Any change that takes place in kinship structure is, therefore the resultant of many other social changes.