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Onka's Big Maka Research Paper

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What is a family? How are families shaped and what effect do they have on society? In the United States a family consists of both parents, one’s self, siblings (biological or adoptive) and extended family members; however, this is not the case around the world. The concept of family and who is family changes in each culture, but is mostly centered around who is kin and who a person marries. Family, kin, and marriage are established through how society decides their lineage, which establishes cultural rituals within the society.

Family, kin, and marriage lies are established by the type of descent system the society uses. Descent is traced kinship relationships through parents. The concept of family, kin, and marriage strive to and support
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This is done through creating cultural rituals around family, kin, and marriage. In Baka culture, the more pigs (acts like money), the wealthier and more influential the person is, so in Onka’s Big Maka, Onka tries to give as a large amount pigs away. If he is able to do this, he can become an influential political leader, gain prestige in the village, and means he can afford more wives. The more wives a man has, in Baka cultures, the higher social status he has. All cultures center around survival of the species as all humans compete to find the best mates in their society, and usually, love plays no part in this process. In Ju/Wasi culture marriage is used to gain free labor. The women themselves hate the idea of marriage, as they usually have no say in who they marry. The main goals of the marriage are free labor and to conceive offspring, but this leads to about half the marriages falling apart (Robbins, Dowty 197-8). The way people behave also changes as family and marriage become a part of their lives. In the Ju/Wasi culture after the first year of marriage the husband and wife cannot eat together, talk about their sex life in public, or show affection towards each other in public (Robbins, Dowty 200). However, as people’s connections with each other deepen, obstacles and conflict can develop and affect the family’s…show more content…
For the Baka, infidelity or having more than one wife can cause problems in the family. For other societies, like the Trobriand Islanders and the traditional rural Chinese towns, disrupting the family’s lineage can destroy family relations. In the movie, Duka’s Dilemma, the crew follows a woman named Duka as she deals with her husband marrying a second woman who is younger and more beautiful than she is. In Baka culture polygyny (a man has multiple wives) is an accepted marriage practice because the more wives a man has the more prestige they have. However, polygyny is rare as this practice can cause tensions to rise between the first wife, husband, and second wife.In the Trobriand Islands not continuing the matrilineage is dishonorable as the main focus of the family is to keep up the family’s matrilineal influence in society (Robbins, Dowty 209). The most important thing to the Trobriand Islanders is keeping the matrilineage going as it is a way to pay respect to their ancestors as well as establishing their social status in their
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