British Kinship Diagram

724 words | 3 page(s)

Part I. If Prince Charles (the ego) was born into a matrilineal society, his kinship would be determined through the female line. Therefore, his female ancestors would be his maternal grandmother Elizabeth A. Bowes Lyons and his mother Queen Elizabeth II. He also has an aunt in Margaret Rose Windsor that is his mother’s sister.

If Prince Charles (the ego) was born in a patrilineal society, his kinship would be determined through the male line. Therefore, his male ancestors would be Andrew O, his paternal grandfather and his father, Phillip Mountbatten. This is interesting, however, because the United Kingdom does have a patrilineal society, but due to his mother being Queen he is heir to the throne and his mother’s lineage takes precedence over his father’s.

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Part II. The Iroquois is a community composed of five tribes that have resided in upstate New York for more than 4,000 years. Their culture and way of life is an excellent illustration of a powerful matrilineal society. Especially since, the Iroquois had a highly developed political system with their own constitution long before the Europeans ever landed on American shores. Although women were not the actual representatives in government, they were gender that held the political power as they selected the male representatives from their own clans.
Iroquois society centered around the longhouse, where up to six families could reside at one time and they relied on agriculture for sustenance. When a marriage ensued, the man would move into the female clan member’s longhouse, which the woman owned. She also owned the land that was farmed and her primary duty was to tend the crops. This behavior was reinforced by the Iroquois’ belief that women were inextricably tied to the elements and received their power from that link. This was then delegated to the males to accomplish within her clan. Also, when a couple married, their children became members of the wife’s clan and if the marriage happened to be dissolved the children stayed with their mother. This is who they received their name from.

In Iroquois society all the major decisions were made by women, so if Prince Charles was born into this society, his political alliances, access to resources, religion and marriage would all be determined by what female clan he was born into. For instance if it was the Bear Clan, who happened to be the most powerful, Prince Charles would receive the name of his mother’s house and the benefit of all her prestige. His future would be determined by her and the senior members of his clan such as his grandmother and great grandmother if she was still alive. It would also be determined by what he chose to do as a career. Not all Iroquois men fought for their nation or traveled as political figures, as a village’s shaman was nearly almost always male. Prince Charles’ future, however, would certainly be established through his female relations and what they thought he would be best suited for.

When it came time for him to marry, his wife would be selected for him by his female family members and he, like all his male relations before him, would move into the longhouse of his wife’s family. At this point, he would continue to serve the females in his life, in a sense. It was not as if women entirely dominated society as their form of government was democratic, but women clearly wore the pants. Men played a secondary role to women in all aspects of Iroquois culture and all the major decisions were in their hands. The access Prince Charles would have to resources, to forge political alliances, to choose a wife and to follow a religion would not be of his own making. He would play the role that was laid out for him and followed by males before him for centuries.

Granted, gender roles have altered somewhat in modern Iroquois society where the women do not play such a dominant role and are vastly outnumbered by males in decision making for the tribe. There are still women chiefs though. Also, the clan name is still passed down through the mother’s line. The family name, however, is now supplied by the father and the children would be under joint custody if a parent divorced.

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