Patrick Kaplanian: Mariage en gendre et sociétés à maison


The question is whether it is possible to include in the same category purely unilineal societies that bring an incoming husband only exceptionally and reluctantly, when there are only daughters, and those that allow free choice of heir. Of course, both types of partnerships have the same goal: to keep the patrimony intact by transmitting it to a single heir. For Lévi-Strauss, one of the properties of “house societies,” descent is worth affinity and affinity is worth descent. According to him, this characteristic applies equally to societies that allow for the free choice of an heir and those that practice strict unilineal descent and only resort to an incoming husband when the situation is hopeless: that is, in the absence of a male heir in the case of an incoming husband. The author concludes that these are two radically different types of society.

[Ladakh, Béarn, Gévaudan, Lévi-Strauss, house societies]

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