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Navajo Kinship and Marriage

The Navajo are one of the most studied people in the world; yet their social organization is one of the least well understood. In Navajo Kinship and Marriage, Gary Witherspoon, a fluent speaker of the Navajo language who lived among the Navajo for eight years, offers a new theoretical approach to kinship based on its cultural dimensions. Witherspoon makes a primary distinction between culture (patterns for behavior) and the system of social relations (observable patterns of behavior) in this definitive work on Navajo kinship and marriage.

"Witherspoon . . . clarifies problems pertaining to Navajo kinship and marriage through his skillful use of the concepts of cultural and social systems. He adds to the body of knowledge on the Navajo by his own fieldwork and unique life experiences." —R. S. Freed, Sociology

"Not only can Witherspoon’s book on Navajo kinship help unravel the web for the Anglo willing to concentrate, it can also bring to Navajo readers an understanding of why Anglos don’t understand Navajo family relationships." —Joanne Reuter, Navajo Times

"This is an important work on Navajo kinship and marriage." —David F. Aberle, American Anthropology

145 pages | 25 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1975

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Native American Studies

Table of Contents

David M. Schneider
1: Kinship as a Cultural System
2: Mother and Child and the Nature of Kinship
3: Marriage and the Nature of Affinity
4: Father and Child
5: The Descent System
6: The Concepts of Sex, Generation, Sibling Order, and Distance
7: Kinship and Affinal Solidarity as Symbolized in the Enemyway
8: Social Organization in the Rough Rock-Black Mountain Area
9: Residence in the Subsistence Residential Unit
10: Subsistence in the Subsistence Residential Unit
11: Unity in the Subsistence Residential Unit
12: The Navajo Outfit as a Set of Related Subsistence Residential Units
13: The Web of Affinity
14: The Social Universe of the Navajo

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