Chapter 5. Tetradic Theory and the Origin of Human Kinship Systems

  1. Nicholas J. Allen Reader1,
  2. Hilary Callan Director2,
  3. Robin Dunbar Professor Director3 and
  4. Wendy James Professor Emeritus Fellow committed social anthropologist4
  1. Nicholas J. Allen Reader

Published Online: 30 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444302714.ch5

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

How to Cite

Allen, N. J. (2008) Tetradic Theory and the Origin of Human Kinship Systems, in Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction (eds N. J. Allen, H. Callan, R. Dunbar and W. James), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444302714.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Oxford, UK

  2. 2

    Royal Anthropological Institute, Great Britain

  3. 3

    University of Oxford, UK

  4. 4

    St Cross College, Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 6 JUN 2008

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405179010

Online ISBN: 9781444302714

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Keywords:

  • tetradic theory and human kinship systems;
  • tetradic theory - approach to kinship developed in 1980s by Rodney Needham;
  • tetradic kinship - logically simple and difficult to grasp for the those coming into it;
  • social continuity and need for rules;
  • kinship terminologies and tetradic diagram;
  • genealogical diagram for focal tetradic society;
  • egocentric and sociocentric readings;
  • logical simplicity and historical priority;
  • origin of tetradic structures

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Social Continuity and the Need for Rules

  • Kinship Terminologies and a Tetradic Diagram

  • Implications of the Diagram: Egocentric and Sociocentric Readings

  • Logical Simplicity and Historical Priority

  • Origin of Tetradic Structures

  • Wider Questions