What is the Kinship System in India?

Introduction to Kinship System

Kinship generally refers to the family relationship through blood, adoption or marriage.

Kinship System in India indicates the specific mode of behavior to determine each and every possible form of relationship between the individuals in a society and it establishes definite functions for every relationship not only by blood but by marriage as well.

Conjugal Family

The conjugal family is always embedded within a series of larger kinship grouping. It involves a unilateral kinship group, identified through either patrilineal system (reckoning relation through the male line only) or matrilineal system (tracing relationship through the female line only).

Bilateral Kinship System

Bilateral kinship, a characteristic of Western society, relates through both the sexes. In other words, an individual traces descent through both parents simultaneously and recognizes multiple ancestors. Theoretically, one is affiliated equally with all the relatives on both the mother’s and father’s side of the family.

Special Cases

The special type of relationship, as customary among the Nayars of South India that exists between the nephew and the maternal uncle, is described by ethnologists as avunculate. In the Toda society of South India, she bestows a name on a new born girl. This system may be termed as amitate.