Cognatic Descent Systems

Non-unilineal, or cognatic, systems


  1. Bilateral systems involve the inclusion of all of an individual's relatives within a given range. They are usually ego focused and formed by tracing relationships from both parents throughout an everwidening network of kinship called a kindred.
    Kindred membership overlaps.

  2. Ambilineal systems involve an exclusive selection of membership in a father's or mother's group, usually upon adulthood. (Alternative forms are based on a choice of living with husband's or wife's family after marriage.) They are ancestor focused and become organized by tracing descent from either father or motsher, but not both, and back through a similarly restricted string of forbearers.

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