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Quest for HarmonyThe Moso Traditions of Sexual Union and Family Life.$
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Chuan-kang Shih

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804761994

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804761994.001.0001

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Matrilineal Descent and Matrilineal Ideology

Matrilineal Descent and Matrilineal Ideology

(p.132) 5 Matrilineal Descent and Matrilineal Ideology
Quest for Harmony
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the Moso kinship system. First, it examines the changing sociopolitical implications of the term matrilineal to the Moso. Then, it addresses the controversy in Western academia over whether the Moso should be viewed as a matrilineal society or a house-based society. Next, it suggests that the Moso is beyond any doubt a matrilineal society and provides an in-depth analysis of Moso kinship terminology. It points out that Moso terminology differs from any type of kinship terminology currently taught in introductory anthropology courses. Finally, this chapter argues that the Moso matrilineal ideology lends meaning to all the most conspicuous aspects of Moso culture, such as the patterns of institutionalized sexual union, the unique kinship structure and household organization, and the very unusual gender system.

Keywords:   Moso kinship, gender system, matrilineal society, institutionalized sexual union

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