Persistent Cultures: Miskitu Kinship Terminological Fluidity

Article


Lyon, Stephen M., Jamieson, M. and Fischer, Michael D. 2015. Persistent Cultures: Miskitu Kinship Terminological Fluidity. Structure and dynamics : eJournal of anthropological and related sciences. 8 (1).
AuthorsLyon, Stephen M., Jamieson, M. and Fischer, Michael D.
Abstract

Kinship is understood dynamically and processually but kinship terminologies are remarkably
stable idea systems. They provide cultural continuity over time and are more resistant to
modification than many types of cultural instantiations. Miskitu speakers in Nicaragua, however,
have adopted new kin terms that appear to have fundamentally changed the idea system used to
generate their kin terms historically. The shape of the changes that have occurred in Miskitu kin
terminologies over time are the result of powerful economic, political and social forces introduced,
in part, as a consequence of the geography of Mosquito Coast economies, migrations and political
processes. We argue that the current use of kin terms is atypically hybrid and is not the result of
a single, algebraically derivable idea system. Rather than negating the validity of mathematical
approaches to kinship terminologies, the case of Miskitu kinship terminology suggests that core
idea systems, although subject to change over time, move between informationally economical
forms adapted to socioeconomic changes.

Keywordskinship terminologies; Miskitu; cultural systems
JournalStructure and dynamics : eJournal of anthropological and related sciences
Journal citation8 (1)
ISSN1554-3374
Year2015
PublishereScholarship, University of California
Publisher's version
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6w65n7sf#
Publication dates
Print2015
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Jun 2017
Accepted2015
Copyright information© 2015 The authors.
Additional information

Local Identifier(s): imbs_socdyn_sdeas_27342.

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