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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kinship networks in Africa: past and future
Author:Houseman, MichaelISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic term:Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Social and cultural anthropology
urban areas
Abstract:This paper suggests that one of the challenges of African anthropology in the future is to renew its ties with the network approach to the study of kinship and marriage. One reason why the network approach in African anthropology lost momentum after a spectacular beginning was that it was limited by an essentially egocentric perspective: the dominant paradigm was that of particular individuals struggling to exploit the human resources surrounding them. Going beyond this perspective, kinship networks must be seen in a multicentric fashion, that is, as structured wholes centred simultaneously on a multiplicity of interacting individuals. Kinship networks can be studied in this way through computer analysis. Two examples of such analysis are presented, one of a network of 35 marriages among the Ndenveuili of Tanzania, the other of a network of 282 marriages among the Udalan Tuareg of Burkina Faso. Graphic representations of these marriage networks show the density of marriage ties, descent lines and demographic fluctuations over time. Bibliogr.