Ahern, Emily M.. Affines and the rituals of kinship

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Title: Affines and the rituals of kinship

Published in: Religion and ritual in Chinese society, edited by Arthur P. Wolf

Published By: Religion and ritual in Chinese society, edited by Arthur P. Wolf Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1974. 279-307, 358 p.

By line: Emily Martin Ahern

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1995. Computer File

Culture: Taiwan Hokkien (AD05)

Subjects: Place names (103); Culture summary (105); Kin relationships (602);

Abstract: In contrast with the contradictory findings of other research conducted in Taiwan, Ahern describes rites of betrothal and marriage and relations between affines in a village where wife-givers appear 'distinctly superior' in ritual status to wife-takers' (p. 279). Ahern explains the presiding over of 'rituals of kinship' by powerful affines by their status as outsiders who are believed capable of fostering desirable social changes. Ahern suggests that the authority of affines and the great deference shown them stem from their inherent jural weakness in patrilineal society. Paradoxically, this weakness empowers them to aid those who have taken their daughters in marriage to make necessary transitions from one life-cycle role to another.

Document Number: 22

Document ID: ad05-022

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliography

Field Date: 1969-1970

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: M. A. Marcus

Coverage Date: not specified

Coverage Place: Ch'i-nan village, Taipei hsien, Hai-shan region, Taiwan

LCSH: Taiwanese


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