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Kindship exercise. Mapping Kinship Relationships. Social Essay (Essay Sample)


Mapping Kinship Based on Kenneth Guest’s (2015) “Mapping Kinship Relationships: Tracing Your Family Tree” from Cultural Anthropology Fieldwork Journal (Norton)
 Kinship can be constructed on the basis of biology, marriage, necessity, and/or choice. Each culture has its own preferred strategies for building kinship and identifying relatives. These strategies change over time—sometimes gradually and sometimes more quickly—but societies continue to have widely shared ideals for family life. In this exercise, you will trace your own family tree. In this exercise, you will reflect on how kinship relationships have been constructed in your family. You can use your existing knowledge, interview family members, look through family records and other documents, search public records, and use a growing number of online tools, such as genealogy websites, to gather the information you need to complete this fieldwork exercise. The kinship chart shown above is of a typical “nuclear family.” You can consider how closely your own family fits this pattern and why it might not fit it at all. Using the symbols above, you can create a kinship diagram that other anthropologists will be able to read. Your tree begins with a central character— you! You are referred to as “ego” and serve as the starting point for tracing kinship relationships. INSTRUCTIONS 1. Create a kinship diagram of your family using all the information you are able to access. Like the model provided, your tree should include at least two generations (more are welcome!). Label each person using the symbols provided above, genealogical categories (e.g. aunt, uncle, cousin) and, if you wish, the kinship terms used in your culture (e.g., in Turkish, there are special terms for older brother [abi] and older sister [abla]). 2. Families are full of stories, interesting people, uneven power dynamics, and even hidden mysteries. Your family tree may reflect educational patterns, geographic relocations, and inheritance flows. What patterns does your family tree reveal? What circumstances have shaped it? (oneto-two paragraphs) 3. The processes of preserving and cutting off or just “forgetting” kinship relations is related to broad range of circumstances. Some branches of your family tree may be vibrant, while others might be missing altogether. Has someone been cultivating and/or pruning your family tree? Why might this be? (one-to-two paragraphs)


2. My family is a very conservative family. From my ancestors, marriage has always been a big deal and most of my family members are monogamous, loyal and faithful to their spouse. Children are regarded as a blessing but not all family members are fond of many children. Most of my cousins are already married. My grandfather and my grandmother from both parents’ sides are very particular about partnership and thus encourage marriage for their children. I have not been able to include the spouses’ names from outside the blood line of my ancestors, but they are also integrated in my family. Although I could not show it my genealogy tree, the families of the spouses of my aunts and uncles also portray a pattern of being closely knitted and having children is encouraged but not very much trending among my family members. My ancestors from my father side belong to the middle class which is why only my aunt and my father have children, as they did not have the capacity to have a very large family for financial reasons. My uncle from my father side did not want to marry as he wanted to have his time and resources for himself. On the other hand, my ancestors and family from the mother side belong to the upper class such that my grandma and grandpa were business people who engaged in lots of business ventures grant

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