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Traditional Micronesian SocietiesAdaptation, Integration, and Political Organization in the Central Pacific$
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Glenn Petersen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832483

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832483.001.0001

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Descent and Descent Groups

Descent and Descent Groups

(p.66) Chapter 4 Descent and Descent Groups
Traditional Micronesian Societies

Glenn Petersen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on descent and the social groups organized by descent—known in general as descent groups, and more specifically as clans and lineages. Lineages are the building blocks of Micronesian communities. Their members hold land in common, tend to work together on that land, often reside together, and act together as political bodies, usually controlling the chiefly titles that are the backbones of island governments. Shared principles of matrilineal descent bind the lineages together into nested hierarchies of subclans and clans. The bonds of clanship, weaving lineages together, permit individual Micronesians and their lineages to depend on the peoples of other communities and islands for aid when calamity strikes.

Keywords:   descent, kinship, kin groups, Micronesian societies, social groups, Micronesia, lineages, matriliny, clans

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