N. Y. State Mus., Bull.


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Patterns of Avoidance and Transition

A clan, in a patrilineal society, consists of a man and all his relatives in the male line; that is, his father, his father’s brothers and sisters, his own brothers and sisters, and his sons and daughters, and all the children of the male members of the clan only. All these men, however, marry women who are members of other clans, and again their sisters and daughters marry men of other clans, so that the group of people popularly spoken of as a "camp," that is found at any time within a clan territory, really consists of members of many clans, and for this group the word horde will be used. Thus a horde consists of all the male members of the clan whose territory it inhabits, with their wives, who, though they are members of the horde, are not members of the clan (since entry to a clan is by birth alone), and less those women of the clan who have married into other hordes. But while they may change their hordes by marriage, they can never change their clans. It is clear, therefore, that although the horde is the war-making group, the clan, and not the horde, is the landowning group; a clan is a stable, permanent, structural unit of society; but the horde is unstable; it is a sociological entity the membership of which is constantly changing. I do not propose to go more fully into this subject here, but brief mention must be made of the bond that unites members of the two groups. It may be noted that solidarity within the clan is maintained by the bond furnished by (1) common descent, (2) the possession of common totems, (3) the possession of a common territory. Solidarity within the horde rests upon none of these permanent foundations: it depends solely upon the cohesive force supplied by such social institutions as marriage and the bond set up between a man and a woman (who are members of different clans) by the family, centered in their children, and by the sharing of normal activities of everyday life, by fighting with other hordes—in all of which a bond of solidarity within the horde is affirmed and strengthened by collective ceremonies such as dancing, especially war, funeral, and vengeance dances.1

The admission of an unrelated man to a kinship group and, especially, the removal of a girl to an unrelated group fall in the category of bargaining, and marriage frequently gives rise to emotional reactions, the employment of peculiar power devices, and eventually to certain norms of customary law. The incorporation of a strange element through marriage is further accompanied by forms of avoidance which register a state of hesitation between habit systems and are calculated to provoke respect and eventually submission and service from the intruder.

1 Herodotus (ed. Rswlinson) 1: 173.

2 Line 905 ff.

1 Thomson, D. F., "The Joking Relationship and Organized Obscenity in North Queensland," Amer, Anth., N.S., 37: 462–463, note.


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Chicago: Rswlinson, ed., "N. Y. State Mus., Bull.," N. Y. State Mus., Bull. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed December 5, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3P581SN1473I8A2.

MLA: . "N. Y. State Mus., Bull." N. Y. State Mus., Bull., edited by Rswlinson, Vol. 1, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 5 Dec. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3P581SN1473I8A2.

Harvard: (ed.), 'N. Y. State Mus., Bull.' in N. Y. State Mus., Bull.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 5 December 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3P581SN1473I8A2.