Differences between Matrilineal and Patrilineal Systems

One of the classical paradoxes about matrilineality is that it is not the mirror image of a patrilineal system. It differs in one important feature that has important structural consequences. Schneider (1961, p. 7) pointed out that the lines of authority and descent diverge in matrilineal societies, but converge in patrilineal societies. This is because males are usually the political leaders in all societies. So in a patrilineal society, descent and political authority (if there is a rule of succession) pass through males; authority, like membership, passes from father to son. In a matrilineal society, descent passes through females, but authority is passed from a man to his sister's son. Recall that in a matrilineal system, children take their descent membership from their mother, so brothers and sisters always share the same descent group membership. The father would not be the authority figure in that descent group; rather, the mother's brother would be. If there is an authority position held by males, the successor is normally the sister's son.

Schneider (1961, p. 27; cf. Kloos, 1963) also pointed to the greater difficulty of maintaining a one-kin group community in matrilineal societies as compared with patrilineal societies. The difficulty arises from the fact that if males are to be effective authority figures for their matrilineal kin groups, it would be better if they did not move far away when they marry; that is, it would be better if marital residence were matrilocal. In fact, most matrilineal societies have matrilocal residence. Accordingly, we would expect another difference between patrilineal societies and matrilineal societies: matrilineal matri-local societies should be unlikely to require marriage with someone outside the community (local exogamy). Aberle (1961, pp. 715-717) found that matrilineal societies are significantly less likely to have local exogamy than patri-lineal societies; we also found (M. Ember & Ember, 1971) that matrilocal societies are significantly less likely to have local exogamy. The flip side of this is that matrilineal matrilocal societies are much more likely to have communities composed or more than one descent group. If a unilineal society requires marriage outside the descent group, which is commonly the rule, there would be no one to marry in the community unless it contained more than one descent group.

Earlier we mentioned the psychological stress experienced by an in-marrying female in a patrilocal society. We raised the question of whether men would feel the same kind of stress. Although we do not know for sure, the structural differences between the two types of society suggest that men in matrilocal matrilineal societies would probably not be exposed to the same degree of stress. Husbands would generally not have to move far away when they got married if marriages generally involve people from the same community. Thus the men could still retain important roles in their own descent groups. In contrast, females in patrilocal patrilineal societies not only generally have to move to other communities, but they also have to move into a community whose core members belong to a descent group that is not theirs. Ties to their own descent group would mostly be severed or minimized by the distance from their "home" community.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

Get My Free Ebook


    What are the difference between patrilineal and matrilineal?
    7 years ago
  • Anne
    What are the differences between patrilineal and matrilineal lineage system?
    3 years ago
  • Joann
    What is the difference between matrilineal and patrilineal societies?
    3 years ago
  • Romilda
    What the major difference btn matriliner and patrineal?
    3 years ago
  • gundahar galbassi
    What is difference between matrilinea system and patrilinea interitance?
    3 years ago
  • hannah
    What are differences between matrineal and partineal?
    3 years ago
  • Derek
    What is the difference between matrilineal and patrilineal cultures?
    2 years ago
  • Elmer Carter
    How was leadership obtained between patrilineal & matrilineal in each system?
    2 years ago
  • Gracie
    What is matrilinear or patrilinear system of inheritance?
    2 years ago
  • domenico
    How different is patrilineal and matrilineal system of inheritance?
    2 years ago
  • Paula
    What is patrilineal society?
    2 years ago
  • doreen
    What is the difference between matrilineal kinship system and patrilineal kinship system?
    2 years ago
  • Philipp Kr
    What is the different between matrineal and patrineal?
    2 years ago
  • juliane
    What is patrilineal and matrilineal descent?
    2 years ago
  • hagosa
    What are the different between matrilineal and patrillineal?
    2 years ago
  • henry
    What is the difference between patrilineal descent and matrilineal descent?
    2 years ago
  • lucas
    What is the differance between patrilanial and fratrilinial?
    2 years ago
  • arianna trentini
    How different is the patrilinea family from matrilineal family system?
    2 years ago
  • berylla
    What is the difference between matrilineal and patrilineal siciety?
    10 months ago
  • raimo
    What is the difference between patrilineal storytelling and matrineal storytelling?
    8 months ago
  • max howell
    What is the difference between unilineal, matrilineal, partrilineal, and bilineal descent?
    5 months ago
    What are some differences between matrilineal and patrilineal societies?
    4 months ago
  • olavi
    What is the culture matrilineal or patrilineal china?
    4 months ago
  • tewolde
    What is the difference between a patrilineal society and a matrilineal society?
    4 months ago
  • mackenzie gibson
    What is partrilineal and martrilineal decent?
    14 days ago
  • Brandon
    What is partrineal and matrineal descent?
    10 days ago

Post a comment