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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Kinship Terminology


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Kinship terminologies consist of the terms used to reference culturally recognized kinship relations between persons. These terms have been assumed to identify categories of genealogical relations (despite ethnographic evidence to the contrary), and kinship terminologies are classified using differences in genealogical referents of kin terms. Recent analysis, however, by building on ethnographically validated procedures for computing kin relations from kin terms without reference to genealogy makes evident the underlying generative logic for the structure of kinship terminologies. Making the generative logic of terminologies explicit provides a more rigorous comparative basis for the study of kinship terminology systems.

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