Clan

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A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship [1] and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. Clans in indigenous societies tend to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. Clans preceded more centralized forms of community organization and government, and exist in every country. Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show they are an independent clan. The kinship-based bonds may also have a symbolic ancestor, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan's unity. When this "ancestor" is non-human, it is referred to as a totem, which is frequently an animal.

A people is a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as is the case with an ethnic group or nation, but that is distinct from a nation which is more abstract, and more overtly political. Collectively, for example, the contemporary Frisians and Danes are two related Germanic peoples, while various Middle Eastern ethnic groups are often linguistically categorized as Semitic peoples.

Kinship human relationship term; web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of most humans in most societies; form of social connection

In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life – mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups.

Exogamy is a social arrangement where marriage is allowed only outside a social group. The social groups define the scope and extent of exogamy, and the rules and enforcement mechanisms that ensure its continuity. In social studies, exogamy is viewed as a combination of two related aspects: biological and cultural. Biological exogamy is marriage of nonblood-related beings, regulated by forms of incest law. A form of exogamy is dual exogamy, in which two groups engage in continual wife exchange. Cultural exogamy is marrying outside a specific cultural group; the opposite being endogamy, marriage within a social group.

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The word clan is derived from the Gaelic clann [1] meaning "children" or "progeny"; it is not from the word for "family" in either Irish [2] [3] or Scottish Gaelic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary , the word was introduced into English in around 1425, as a label for the nature of the society of the Scottish Highlands. [4]

Irish language Goidelic (Gaelic) language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic (Gaelic) language originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.

Scottish Gaelic Celtic language native to Scotland

Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes also referred to simply as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced especially by Gaelic-language placenames.

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press. It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

Clans as political units

In different cultures and situations, a clan usually has different meaning than other kin-based groups, such as tribes and bands. Often, the distinguishing factor is that a clan is a smaller part of a larger society such as a chiefdom, or a state. In some societies, clans may have an official leader such as a chief, matriarch, [5] or patriarch; in others, leadership positions may have to be achieved, or people may say that "elders" make decisions.

In anthropology, a tribe is a human social group. Exact definitions of what constitutes a tribe vary among anthropologists, and the term is itself considered controversial in academic circles in part due to its association with colonialism. In general use, the term may refer to people perceived by a population to be primitive and may have negative connotations. The concept is often contrasted with other social groups concepts, such as nations, states, and forms of kinship.

A band society, sometimes called a camp or, in older usage, a horde, is the simplest form of human society. A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan. The general consensus of modern anthropology sees the average number of members of a social band at the simplest level of foraging societies with generally a maximum size of 30 to 50 people.

Society group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same territory, subject to the same authority and culture

A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Examples include Irish, Scottish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese clans, which exist as kin groups within their respective nations. Note, however, that tribes and bands can also be components of larger societies. However, the early Norse clans, the ætter, are often translated as house or line. The Biblical 'tribes' of Israel were composed of many clans. [6] Arab clans are sub-tribal groups within Arab society. Native American and First Nations peoples also had clans. For instance, Ojibwa bands are smaller parts of the Ojibwa people or tribe people in North America. The many Native American peoples are distinguished by language and culture, and most have clans and bands as the basic kinship organizations. In some cases tribes recognized each other's clans; for instance, both the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes of the Southeast United States had fox and bear clans, whose membership could supersede the tribe.[ citation needed ]

Irish clans

Irish clans are traditional kinship groups sharing a common surname and heritage and existing in a lineage based society prior to the 17th century. These clans included the chief and his relatives; however most members were unrelated clients who assumed the surname.

Scottish clan kinship group among the Scottish people

A Scottish clan is a kinship group among the Scottish people. Clans give a sense of shared identity and descent to members, and in modern times have an official structure recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon, which regulates Scottish heraldry and coats of arms. Most clans have their own tartan patterns, usually dating from the 19th century, which members may incorporate into kilts or other clothing.

Bon-gwan Type of kinship clan organization in Korean culture

Bon-gwan is the concept of clan in Korea, which is used to distinguish clans that happen to share a same family name. Since Korea has been traditionally a Buddhist country, this clan system is cognate with Gotra in Sanskrit texts and shares most features.

Apart from these different historical traditions of kinship, conceptual confusion arises from colloquial usages of the term. In post-Soviet countries, for example, it is quite common to speak of "clans" in reference to informal networks within the economic and political sphere. This usage reflects the assumption that their members act towards each other in a particularly close and mutually supportive way approximating the solidarity among kinsmen. Similar usage of the term applies to specific groups, of various cultures and nationalities, involved in organized crime. Polish clans differ from most others as they are a collection of families who bear the same coat of arms, as opposed to claiming a common descent (see Polish heraldry). There are multiple closely related clans in the Indian sub-continent, especially south India.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

A crime family is a unit of an organized crime syndicate, particularly the Mafia, often operating within a specific geographic territory. In its strictest sense, a family is a criminal gang, operating either on a unitary basis or as an organized collection of smaller gangs. In turn, a family can be a sole "enterprise", or part of a larger syndicate or cartel.

Poland republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Clans by continent or region

The Irish Gaelic term for clan is fine [ˈfʲɪnʲə] ; líon tí is a term for "family" in the sense of "household"; and muintir is a term for "family" in the sense of "kinsfolk". [3]

Africa
Americas
Asia
South Asia
Middle East
Eurasiaa
Europe
Oceania

a Meaning the transcontinental area between Asia and Europe.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clan"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 419–421.
  2. Dineen, Patrick S. (1927). Foclóir Gaeďilge agus Béarla an Irish-English Dictionary. Dublin and Cork, Ireland: The Educational Company of Ireland.
  3. 1 2 Ó Dónaill, Niall (1992). Foclóir Gaeilge–Béarla. Dublin, Ireland: An Gúm. ISBN   1-85791-037-0.
  4. "Clan", Online Etymology Dictionary
  5. "Definition of MATRIARCH". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  6. See, for example, 1 Chronicles 4 and Numbers 26 in the Old Testament.