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BSOE-146: Marriage, Family and Kinship

BSOE-146: Marriage, Family and Kinship

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BSOE-146 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Marriage, Family and Kinship, you have come to the right place. BSOE-146 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: BSOE-146/ASST /TMA / July 2023-January 2024

Course Code: BSOE-146

Assignment Name: Marriage, Family and Kinship

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment A

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Critically examine the descent approach to the study of kinship.

Ans) The descent approach is a significant theoretical perspective in the study of kinship, focusing on tracing relationships through genealogical lines, particularly lines of descent from common ancestors.

This approach has been influential in anthropology, especially in understanding social organization, inheritance, and group identity. While it has provided valuable insights, there are also critiques and limitations associated with the descent approach.

Advantages and Contributions:

a) Genealogical Clarity: The descent approach emphasizes clear lines of genealogy, making it easier to trace kinship relations. It provides a structured framework for understanding how individuals are related through ancestry.

b) Inheritance Systems: Descent is often linked to inheritance systems. For example, matrilineal and patrilineal descent influence the passing of property, titles, and social status, contributing to the understanding of economic and social structures.

c) Group Identity: Descent groups, whether patrilineal or matrilineal, often form the basis of social organization. These groups contribute to a sense of identity, shared history, and solidarity among members.

d) Marriage Rules: Descent influences rules related to marriage. Endogamy and exogamy patterns often revolve around descent groups, impacting social alliances, cooperation, and conflict resolution.

Critiques and Limitations:

a) Neglect of Horizontal Relations: The descent approach tends to emphasize vertical relations, often neglecting the importance of horizontal relations like siblingship. Kinship extends beyond direct descent, and aunts, uncles, and cousins play crucial roles in many societies.

b) Assumption of Unilineality: The descent approach often assumes unilineality, either patrilineal or matrilineal, but many societies exhibit ambilineality or bilateral kinship, where descent is traced through both the maternal and paternal lines. Ignoring these variations limits the approach's applicability.

c) Cultural Variations: Descent patterns are not universally applicable, and their significance varies across cultures. Some societies may prioritize lineage, while others emphasize more fluid and flexible kinship networks.

d) Complex Realities: Kinship in many societies is complex and dynamic, defying rigid categorizations. Individuals may belong to multiple descent groups simultaneously, and kinship roles and responsibilities can change over time.

e) Gender Biases: The descent approach often reflects and perpetuates gender biases, especially in patrilineal systems where lineage and inheritance are traced through the male line. This can reinforce patriarchal structures and limit women's roles and agency.

f) Role of Residence: The descent approach may not adequately address residence patterns. In many societies, post-marital residence arrangements (patrilocality, matrilocality, neolocality) impact kinship dynamics, and these patterns are not always aligned with descent.

g) Dynamic Kinship: Kinship is not static; it evolves over time due to migration, globalization, and changing social norms. The descent approach might struggle to capture these dynamic changes effectively.

In critically examining the descent approach, it is essential to recognize its contributions to the understanding of kinship, particularly in elucidating social organization, inheritance systems, and group identity. However, it is equally important to acknowledge its limitations, such as neglecting horizontal relations, assuming unilineality, and overlooking cultural variations.

A holistic study of kinship requires a more nuanced and flexible approach that considers the dynamic nature of social structures, cultural diversity, and the complex interplay of factors shaping kinship systems. Integrating insights from various theoretical perspectives allows for a more comprehensive and culturally sensitive understanding of kinship in different societies.

Q2) Explain the patterns of post-marital residence.

Ans) Post-marital residence patterns refer to the rules or norms governing where a newly married couple establishes their residence after marriage. This aspect of kinship systems plays a crucial role in shaping family structures, social relationships, and economic arrangements within a society. The patterns of post-marital residence can be classified into three main types: patrilocality, matrilocality, and neolocality. Each pattern has distinct implications for kinship dynamics, inheritance, and the distribution of resources.


a) Definition: In patrilocality, the newly married couple resides with or near the husband's family or, more specifically, with or near the husband's father.


b) Reinforces Patriarchy: Patrilocality often aligns with patrilineal descent systems, reinforcing patriarchal structures where property, authority, and inheritance pass through the male line.

c) Economic Cooperation: It facilitates economic cooperation within the husband's family, as multiple generations share resources and contribute to joint economic activities.

d) Social Stability: Patrilocality provides social stability by maintaining continuity with the husband's family, preserving traditions, and ensuring the support of an extended kin network.


a) Definition: In matrilocality, the newly married couple resides with or near the wife's family or, more specifically, with or near the wife's mother.


b) Matrilineal Systems: Matrilocality often corresponds to matrilineal descent systems, where property, names, and lineage are traced through the female line.

c) Empowerment of Women: Matrilocality may empower women within their natal families, allowing them to maintain stronger social ties, influence, and support from their relatives.

d) Economic Cooperation: Similar to patrilocality, matrilocality facilitates economic cooperation, with multiple generations contributing to joint economic endeavours within the wife's family.


a) Definition: Neolocality involves the newly married couple establishing an independent residence separate from both the husband's and wife's natal families.


b) Independence: Neolocality promotes the independence of the nuclear family, allowing the couple to establish their household, make independent decisions, and manage their resources.

c) Flexibility: It provides flexibility in terms of adapting to changing economic and social conditions. Neolocality is often associated with industrialized and urbanized societies where mobility is common.

d) Egalitarian Dynamics: Neolocality can contribute to more egalitarian gender dynamics, as the couple is not directly under the influence of either set of in-laws, fostering autonomy in decision-making.


a) Definition: Avunculocality is a less common residence pattern where the newly married couple resides with or near the husband's maternal uncle.


b) Matrilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage: Avunculocality is often associated with societies practicing matrilateral cross-cousin marriage, where individuals marry their maternal cross-cousins.

c) Economic Cooperation: It facilitates economic cooperation within the husband's matrilineal kin group, similar to the principles observed in patrilocality and matrilocality.

A variety of elements, such as cultural norms, economic concerns, ecological conditions, and historical practises, all play a role in the decision-making process regarding post-marital housing patterns.

Despite the fact that these patterns offer a framework for comprehending the structures of kinship, it is essential to keep in mind that the actual residence practises can be more fluid and open to negotiation within particular family groups. Furthermore, the incidence and relevance of these housing patterns can be affected over time by globalisation as well as by shifting societal standards.

Assignment B

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

Q3) Explain the difference between family and household.

Ans)The difference between family and household are:

Q4) Explain the caste and gender inter-sectionality in kinship.

Ans) Kinship systems shape societal structures, power dynamics, and individual experiences within distinct cultural contexts based on caste and gender. Intersectionality refers to how social categories like caste and gender overlap and influence discrimination and privilege. Caste and gender affect kinship duties, relationships, and opportunities.

Caste as a Determinant of Kinship Roles:

Caste affects kinship relationships and responsibilities. Caste status in the family may determine tasks, privileges, and limits.

Gendered Caste Hierarchies:

Caste hierarchies are often gendered, reinforcing patriarchal norms. Some castes have harsher gender standards, affecting women's autonomy, mobility, and family decision-making.

Marriage and Alliance within Caste Boundaries:

Caste typically influences marriages. Many countries practise endogamy, which reinforces social borders and caste identities.

Caste-Based Discrimination and Gender Inequity:

Discrimination based on caste can intersect with gender, resulting in compounded challenges for women from marginalized castes. They may face dual forms of oppression, experiencing gender-based discrimination within their caste and caste-based discrimination within their gender.

Inheritance and Property Rights:

Caste norms may influence inheritance patterns and property rights, often favouring male heirs. This intersects with gender, exacerbating inequalities and limiting women's access to resources and decision-making authority within the family.

Cultural Practices and Rituals:

Kinship rituals and practices may be influenced by both caste and gender norms. Participation in certain rituals or ceremonies may be restricted based on caste, and gender roles within these rituals can reinforce traditional norms.

Social Mobility and Agency:

Intersectionality affects family agency and socioeconomic mobility. While higher-caste men have more privileges and decision-making power, lower-caste women may confront several obstacles to agency.

Q5) Write a note on family by choice.

Ans) Family by choice, also known as chosen family, challenges the blood-based family idea. It encourages deliberate partnerships that create a sense of belonging, support, and love outside of biological or legal bonds. This concept has grown as societies become more diverse and people define family according to their values and experiences.

Aspects of Family by Choice:

a) Intentional Relationships: Chosen families are elective and intentional, unlike biological families. People consciously choose to develop deep, meaningful relationships with friends, partners, and mentors who become their support system.

b) Shared Values and Belonging: Families are typically chosen for their ideals, hobbies, and sense of belonging. These relationships offer identification, understanding, and acceptance that may be lacking in families of origin.

c) Inclusivity and Diversity: Family by choice is inclusive and diverse. It crosses ethnic, religious, and societal boundaries, allowing people to connect with others who share their genuine identities.

d) Support Networks: Chosen families provide emotional, psychological, and even financial assistance. In times of crisis or celebration, these selected relationships provide stability and unity.

e) Flexibility and Fluidity: Chosen families may not follow typical structures. They can adapt to life changes and accommodate friendships, mentorships, and love relationships.

f) Recognition of Changing Realities: Family by choice recognises that people today may live far from their family, have non-traditional relationships, or identify with varied gender and sexual orientations.

g) Personal Empowerment: Building a family by choice is an empowering act that allows individuals to define and create their own support system. It encourages autonomy, self-expression, and the pursuit of authentic connections.

Assignment C

Write a note on the following in about 100 words each.

Q6) Bride price.

Ans) Bride price, also known as bride wealth or dowry, is a cultural practice where the groom or his family provides gifts, money, or property to the family of the bride upon marriage. This custom is prevalent in various societies and symbolizes the groom's commitment, financial capability, and appreciation for the bride.

While it can strengthen social ties and serve as a form of economic exchange, critics argue that it can perpetuate gender inequalities, objectify women, and contribute to the commodification of marriage. In different cultures, the dynamics of bride price are very different, which is a reflection of the different beliefs and social structures that exist.

Q7) Incest taboo.

Ans) The incest taboo is a cultural prohibition that forbids sexual relations or marriage between close blood relatives, typically within the immediate family. Found in nearly all societies, the taboo aims to prevent genetic disorders, maintain social order, and define acceptable sexual behaviour. It extends beyond biological relationships to include culturally defined kinship, and its strength varies across cultures.

The incest taboo is often enforced through social norms, religious beliefs, and legal regulations. It is a reflection of the intricate interplay that exists between nature, culture, and morality in human civilizations that breaking this taboo might result in social humiliation, legal repercussions, or religious sanctions.

Q8) Endogamy.

Ans) Endogamy is a cultural practice where individuals marry within a specific social, ethnic, religious, or caste group. This custom restricts marriage to members within the same community, reinforcing social cohesion, preserving cultural identity, and often maintaining social hierarchies. Endogamous unions aim to sustain shared values and traditions while controlling the exchange of resources and maintaining social boundaries.

Endogamy, despite the fact that it fosters unity, can be a factor in the formation of social stratification and can restrict exposure to a variety of ideas. The intensity of endogamous behaviours varies from culture to culture, and it has the potential to affect the dynamics of communities as well as the structures of kinship.

Q9) Postmodern family.

Ans) The postmodern family refers to evolving and diverse family structures in contemporary society, reflecting departures from traditional norms. It embraces non-normative relationships, diverse gender roles, and unconventional family forms. Postmodern families challenge rigid definitions, incorporating stepfamilies, same-sex couples, single-parent households, and other non-traditional arrangements.

These families often emphasize individualism, fluidity, and the rejection of fixed gender roles. There are many different identities that make up the postmodern family, which is a reflection of shifting social attitudes, changes in the law, and the acknowledgment of the many different ways in which kinship can be expressed. Within the context of the postmodern era, this notion recognises the dynamic and ever-changing character of structure within the family.

Q10) Patriarchy.

Ans) Patriarchy is a social system where men hold primary power, dominating roles in political, economic, and social spheres. It perpetuates traditional gender norms, reinforcing male privilege and female subordination. Patriarchal structures often marginalize women, limiting their opportunities, and reinforcing stereotypes.

This system can manifest in various forms, from explicit legal discrimination to subtle cultural biases. Patriarchy is a pervasive social construct that influences norms, expectations, and power dynamics, contributing to gender inequality. The goal of the efforts to question and demolish patriarchy is to build societies that are more equal and inclusive, acknowledging the various contributions and potential of people of all genders.

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