Gender Related Social Groups

Patrilineality and patrilocality were probably the rule in the Marquesas prior to contact, but in practice 'Enana tended toward bilateral descent and bi- or neolocality; the formation of intertribal alliances via marriage depended on this sort of flexibility (Thomas, 1987a, 1990). Similarly, in the present, 'Enana draw upon or "discover" common lines of descent, whether on the male or female side, when and if the bond is deemed advantageous. That is, the descent group is not conceptualized as a well-bounded set of individuals, but can be flexibly extended or deflated as needed (Kirkpatrick, 1983).

Additionally, over the course of the 20th century, 'Enana have become increasingly neolocal in their residence patterns as couples find the means to create their own separate lodging. And while there exists a preference for building on the land of (or at least in the valley of) the man's family, actual construction of new homes depends on which family has more land (Riley, 2001; Suggs, 1966).

Thus, while one does in fact find some patrilineal groupings living close together in villages (even some extended family compounds), one also finds other groupings that follow the female line. In neither case, however, does one find relations between sisters or brothers flowing necessarily smoothly, as competition over the inheritance of land is a constant source of friction (Kirkpatrick, 1983; Riley, 2001).

Some of the more important (if sometimes transient) associations are nonkin based (e.g., artisanal and dance groups, prayer groups, and other Catholic associations) and some, though not all, of these are gender specific. For instance, many women of the village will play bingo together after church on Sundays. Men go out hunting or fishing together. Women make pareu and T-shirts; men sculpt.

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