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Sided with Omaha but no Twist: Three Logics of Alyawarra Kinship *



The rich cognitive and network ethnography of the Alyawarra offers a test of and counterargument to the proposition that for any given culture to operate coherently, only a single logic is possible. First, the Alyawarra strictly adhere to Logic1 in which ‘normative ’ kinship terms conform to a marriage pattern of sidedness composed of binary supersets of named exogamous unilineal descent groups. There are both matri- and patri-sided exogamous bipartite supersets (‘sides’), however, and they cross-cut one another to form doubly-sided sections. The four sections are named, but not the exogamous patri-sides, the exogamous matri-sides, and alternating generations that form interleaved endogamous matrimoieties (the latter are not ‘sided ’ because they are not exogamous). As with the neighboring Aranda, marriage occurs only between delimited subset of those in the permitted pairs of sections, so that there are effectively eight subsections (among the Northern Aranda, these are named. Spencer and Gillen 1927:320-322 describe how the various group leaders led meetings to legislate changes from four to eight-section marriage rules, for example). These are consistent with both the ‘normative ’ kinship terms and rules that prohibit MBD marriage but permi

Year: 2011
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