What We Know and What We Don’t Know About Variation in Social Organization: Melvin Ember’s Approach to the Study of Kinship

  title={What We Know and What We Don’t Know About Variation in Social Organization: Melvin Ember’s Approach to the Study of Kinship},
  author={Carol R. Ember},
  journal={Cross-Cultural Research},
  pages={16 - 36}
  • C. Ember
  • Published 1 February 2011
  • Sociology
  • Cross-Cultural Research
Focusing on Melvin Ember’s kinship interests, this article tries to summarize what we know and don’t know about the conditions favoring different aspects of cultural variation in kinship and social organization. What explains the incest taboo and its variable extensions to cousin marriage? What explains marriage? What explains variation in marital residence patterns? Why polygyny versus monogamy? Why are family households extended or independent? Why do unilineal descent groups form? 

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