Anthropology Study: Unbalanced Kinship In The Kohistini Community in Thull
Since politics and kinship intertwine in Thull, Dushmani had a substantial impact on the political structure of the community. Kinship frames the structure of politics in Thull, however, it does not control it.
Descent and Kinship Organization
Kinship formed this stable framework prior to blood feuding claiming center stage in social relationships. Furthermore, death enmity weakened the political significance of decent, and therefore, changed the balance or political importance of kinship networks. In actuality, the dimensions of kinship and descent groups were changed due to blood feuding.
Division of Descent
Thull divides decent groups into three clans called gan dums. These clans are thus divided once again into 22 smaller lineages called lukut dums. The descent groups form an organizational framework called a segmentary system. Segmentary opposition, the principle behind a segmentary system, is quite simple.
I.e. (“me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, me, my brother, and my cousin against the world”). There are nesting groups in a segmentary system.
“Although enmity and alliance constantly fluctuate, the pattern of change is predictable, because the structure of the system itself determines the organization of alliances and oppositions (Keiser 75-87).”
Consequently, kinship groups are tightly interwoven networks within the same qaom. The qaom is further divided into clans and lineages. The communities are enduring units in Kohistini social culture. This can, however, change over time and has.
Groups like the Akbaror have lost their political vigor in a sense, and thus, people tend to forget their names. In this case, new lukut dums were created to replace lineages no longer operating effectively as political units.
Blood Feuding Changes the Balance of Kinship (Silir vs. Miror)
The long rivalry of the Silor and Miror stems from Thull’s founding. The creationist stories are versions of myths expressing principles organizing Kohistini culture. Even with the inconsistencies of the stories, there still remains a lurking agreement. Both the Silor and Miror know how to judge status, even though neither would agree on who has the higher ranking.
It wasn’t until the Miror’s status as Muslims was challenged, as they were conveniently excluded from a feast attended by the Mullah Khel clan and Silor clan. This action struck at the Miror’s sense of religious worth as Muslims; hence the violent acts following the denigrating statement were of no surprise.
Kinship is built upon relationships. Those based on relations through male links only and female links. Kohistini’s will draw their needs, so to speak, from these various sections or kinship networks for political and economic support.
The structure of kinship when tied to politics puts a strain on the structures in Thull meant to relieve strain from the organizational configurations. Kinship, however, is as much as a process as it is a structure.
Even marriage can affect the political structure of the kinship network. Shifting patterns produce rippling kinship networks. Therefore, these constant changes in the kinship context affect political processes.
Kinship is seen a multidimensional. There’s a network organized from center to periphery and another from top to bottom. Death enmity caused these dimensions of kinship to change. Weights changed in political situations, whereas clans and lineages no longer dominated political affairs in Thull. Kinship networks now rule in politics.
Even more surprising is the fact blood feuding was prohibited prior to these hierarchical models of descent and kinship. Dushmani is now the main focal event of political affairs. It mobilizes and opposes men drawn from networks rather than descent.
Keiser, Lincoln. Friend by day, enemy by night: organized vengeance in a Kohistani community. Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1991. 75-87. Print.
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