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Keywords:

  • Melanesia;
  • fosterage;
  • adoption;
  • family;
  • Solomon Islands

Fosterage is one important possible outcome when parental death disrupts the family developmental cycle among the Kwaio of the Solomon Islands. A model of alternative sequences of possible events and decision-making principles, portrayed with flow diagrams, is outlined. The significance of fosterage in generating Kwaio social alignments is examined, and the implications of this approach for the study of social structure are discussed.