In human society, family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would offer predictability, structure, and safety as members mature and participate in the community. In most societies, it is within families that children acquire socialization for life outside the family, and acts as the primary source of attachment, nurturing, and socialization for humans. Additionally, as the basic unit for meeting the basic needs of its members, it provides a sense of boundaries for performing tasks in a safe environment, ideally builds a person into a functional adult, transmits culture, and ensures continuity of humankind with precedents of knowledge.
Both matrilocal residence and patrilocal residence are terms that are used in social anthropology to describe where married couples settle after marriage. Also known as matrilocality, uxorilocality, or an uxorilocal residence, a matrilocal residence refers to a system where a married couple lives close or together with the parents of the wife. On the other hand, a patrilocal residence, which is also known as a virilocal residence, virilocality, or patrilocality, is when the couple lives close to the parents of the husband. Historically, most of the cultures in the world (about 70%) used to practice patrilocal residence.
In social anthropology, patrilocal residence or patrilocality, also known as virilocal residence or virilocality, are terms referring to the social system in which a married couple resides with or near the husband’s parents. The concept of location may extend to a larger area such as a village, town or clan territory. The practice has been found in around 70 percent of the world’s modern human cultures that have been described ethnographically. Archaeological evidence for patrilocality has also been found among Neanderthal remains in Spain and for ancient hominids in Africa.
In a patrilocal society, when a man marries, his wife joins him in his father’s home or compound, where they raise their children. These children will follow the same pattern. Sons will stay and daughters will move in with their husbands’ families. Families living in a patrilocal residence generally assume joint ownership of domestic sources. The household is led by a senior member, who also directs the labor of all other members.
Matrilocal residence may be regarded as the opposite of patrilocal residence. However, since the majority of societies exhibit at least some degree of patriarchy, in most matrilocal groups the brothers (or mothers’ brothers) are the authority figures, not the wives or mothers themselves.
Early theories explaining the determinants of postmarital residence (e.g., Lewis Henry Morgan, Edward Tylor, or George Peter Murdock) connected it with the sexual division of labor. However, to date, cross-cultural tests of this hypothesis using worldwide samples have failed to find any significant relationship between these two variables. However, Korotayev‘s tests show that the female contribution to subsistence does correlate significantly with matrilocal (as opposed to patrilocal) residence in general; however, this correlation is masked by a general polygyny factor. Although an increase in the female contribution to subsistence tends to lead to matrilocal residence, it also tends simultaneously to lead to general non-sororal polygyny which effectively destroys matrilocality, and pushes a social system toward patrilocality. If this polygyny factor is controlled (e.g., through a multiple regression model, division of labor turns out to be a significant predictor of postmarital residence. Thus, Murdock’s hypotheses regarding the relationships between the sexual division of labor and postmarital residence were basically correct, though, as has been shown by Korotayev, the actual relationships between those two groups of variables are more complicated than he expected.
In social anthropology, matrilocal residence or matrilocality (also uxorilocal residence or uxorilocality) is the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife’s parents. Thus, the female offspring of a mother remain living in (or near) the mother’s house, thereby forming large clan-families, typically consisting of three or four generations living in the same place.
Frequently, visiting marriage is being practiced, meaning that husband and wife are living apart, in their separate birth families, and seeing each other in their spare time. The children of such marriages are raised by the mother’s extended matrilineal clan. The father doesn’t have to be involved in the upbringing of his own children; he does, however, in that of his sisters’ children (his nieces and nephews). In direct consequence, property is inherited from generation to generation, and, overall, remains largely undivided. Matrilocal residence is found most often in horticultural societies.
Examples of matrilocal societies include the people of Ngazidja in the Comoros, the Ancestral Puebloans of Chaco Canyon, the Nair community in Kerala in South India, the Moso of Yunnan and Sichuan in southwestern China, the Siraya of Taiwan, and the Minangkabau of western Sumatra. Among indigenous people of the Amazon basin this residence pattern is often associated with the customary practice of brideservice, as seen among the Urarina of northeastern Peru.
During the Song Dynasty in medieval China, matrilocal marriage became common for wealthy non-aristocratic families.In other regions of the world, such as Japan, during the Heian period, a marriage of this type was not a sign of high status, but rather an indication of the patriarchal authority of the woman’s family (her father or grandfather), who was sufficiently powerful to demand it.
Another matrilocal society is the !Kung San of Southern Africa. They practice uxorilocality for the bride service period, which lasts until the couple has produced three children or they have been together for more than ten years. At the end of the bride service period, the couple has a choice of which clan they want to live with.(Technically, uxorilocality differs from matrilocality; uxorilocality means the couple settles with the wife’s family, while matrilocality means the couple settles with the wife’s lineage. Because the !Kung do not live in lineages, they cannot be matrilocal; they are uxorilocal.)
In present-day mainland China, matrilocal residence has been encouraged by the government in an attempt to counter the problem of unbalanced male-majority sex ratios caused by the abortion, infanticide and abandonment of girls. Because girls traditionally marry out in virilocal marriage (living with or near the husband’s parents) they have been seen as “mouths from another family” or as a waste of resources to raise.
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