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In anthropology, a joking relationship is a relationship between two people that involves a ritualised banter of teasing or mocking.
Analysed by British social anthropologist Alfred Radcliffe-Brown in 1940,it describes a kind of ritualised banter that takes place, for example between a man and his maternal mother-in-law in some South African indigenous societies. Two main variations are described: an asymmetrical relationship where one party is required to take no offence at constant teasing or mocking by the other, and a symmetrical relationship where each party makes fun at the other's expense.
The joking relationship is an interaction that mediates and stabilizes social relationships where there is tension, competition, or potential conflict, such as between in-laws and between clans and tribes.
While first encountered by Radcliffe-Brown in the 1920s, this type of relationship is now understood to be very widespread across societies in general. In West Africa, particularly in Mali, it is regarded as a centuries-old cultural institution known as sanankuya .
This type of relationship contrasts strongly with societies where so-called avoidance speech or "mother-in-law" language is imposed to minimise interaction between the two parties, as in many Australian Aboriginal languages. Donald F. Thomson's article "The Joking Relationship and Organized Obscenity in North Queensland" gives an in-depth discussion of a number of societies where these two speech styles co-exist.The joking relationships which are most unconstrained and free are between classificatory Father's Father and Son's Son—which appears to be the same situation in the Plains cultures of North America.
Anthropology is the scientific study of humans, human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology studies patterns of behaviour and cultural anthropology studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. Linguistic anthropology studies how language influences social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Visual anthropology, which is usually considered to be a part of social anthropology, can mean both ethnographic film as well as the study of "visuals", including art, visual images, cinema etc. Oxford Bibliographies describes visual anthropology as "the anthropological study of the visual and the visual study of the anthropological".
Politeness is the practical application of good manners or etiquette so as not to offend others. It is a culturally defined phenomenon, and therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context.
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.
Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, FBA, known as E. E. Evans-Pritchard, was an English anthropologist who was instrumental in the development of social anthropology. He was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford from 1946 to 1970.
Anthropological linguistics is the subfield of linguistics and anthropology, which deals with the place of language in its wider social and cultural context, and its role in making and maintaining cultural practices and societal structures. While many linguists believe that a true field of anthropological linguistics is nonexistent, preferring the term linguistic anthropology to cover this subfield, many others regard the two as interchangeable.
A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe.
A sibling is one of two or more individuals having one or both parents in common. A full sibling is a first-degree relative. A male sibling is a brother, and a female sibling is a sister. In most societies throughout the world, siblings often grow up together, thereby facilitating the development of strong emotional bonds. The emotional bond between siblings is often complicated and is influenced by factors such as parental treatment, birth order, personality, and personal experiences outside the family.
Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown, FBA was an English social anthropologist who developed the theory of structural functionalism and coadaptation.
Herman Max Gluckman was a South African and British social anthropologist. He is best known as the founder of the Manchester School of anthropology.
The avunculate, sometimes called avunculism or avuncularism, is any social institution where a special relationship exists between an uncle and his sisters' children. This relationship can be formal or informal, depending on the society. Early anthropological research focused on the association between the avunculate and matrilineal descent, while later research has expanded to consider the avunculate in general society.
Picong or Piquant is light comical banter, usually at someone else's expense. It is the way in which West Indians tease, heckle and mock each other in a friendly manner. However, the line between humour and insult is fine and constantly shifting, and at times the convivial spirit may degenerate into more heated debate and perhaps, physical altercations. The ability to engage in picong without crossing over into insult is highly valued in the culture of calypso music.
The sociology of culture, and the related cultural sociology, concerns the systematic analysis of culture, usually understood as the ensemble of symbolic codes used by a member of a society, as it is manifested in the society. For Georg Simmel, culture referred to "the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history". Culture in the sociological field is analyzed as the ways of thinking and describing, acting, and the material objects that together shape a group of people's way of life.
Françoise Héritier was a French anthropologist, ethnologist, and feminist. She was the successor of Claude Lévi-Strauss at the Collège de France. Her work dealt mainly with the theory of alliances and on the prohibition of incest. In addition to Lévi-Strauss, she was also influenced by Alfred Radcliffe-Brown. She was replaced by Philippe Descola, who is the current holder of the chair of anthropology at the Collège.
A cultural universal, as discussed by Emile Durkheim, George Murdock, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others, is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide. Taken together, the whole body of cultural universals is known as the human condition. Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations. Some anthropological and sociological theorists that take a cultural relativist perspective may deny the existence of cultural universals: the extent to which these universals are "cultural" in the narrow sense, or in fact biologically inherited behavior is an issue of "nature versus nurture".
Systems theory in anthropology is an interdisciplinary, non-representative, non-referential, and non-Cartesian approach that brings together natural and social sciences to understand society in its complexity. The basic idea of a system theory in social science is to solve the classical problem of duality; mind-body, subject-object, form-content, signifier-signified, and structure-agency. System theory suggests that instead of creating closed categories into binaries (subject-object); the system should stay open so as to allow free flow of process and interactions. In this way the binaries are dissolved.
Interactional sociolinguistics is a subdiscipline of linguistics that uses discourse analysis to study how language users create meaning via social interaction. It is one of the ways in which linguists look at the intersections of human language and human society; other subfields that take this perspective are language planning, minority language studies, quantitative sociolinguistics, and sociohistorical linguistics, among others. Interactional sociolinguistics is a theoretical and methodological framework within the discipline of linguistic anthropology, which combines the methodology of linguistics with the cultural consideration of anthropology in order to understand how the use of language informs social and cultural interaction. Interactional sociolinguistics was founded by linguistic anthropologist John J. Gumperz. Topics that might benefit from an Interactional sociolinguistic analysis include: cross-cultural miscommunication, politeness, and framing.
Social anthropology is the dominant constituent of anthropology throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and much of Europe, where it is distinguished from cultural anthropology. In the United States, social anthropology is commonly subsumed within cultural anthropology.
African Political Systems is an academic anthology edited by the anthropologists Meyer Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard which was published by Oxford University Press on the behalf of the International African Institute in 1940. The book contains eight separate papers produced by scholars working in the field of anthropology, each of which focuses in on a different society in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was the intention of the editors to bring together information on African political systems on a "broad, comparative basis" for the very first time.
Agnes Winifred Hoernlé née Tucker was a South African anthropologist, widely recognized as the "mother of social anthropology in South Africa". Beyond her scientific work, she is remembered for her social activism and staunch disapproval of Apartheid based on white supremacy. Born in 1885 in the Cape Colony, as an infant she moved with her family to Johannesburg, where she completed her secondary education. After earning an undergraduate degree in 1906 from South African College, she studied abroad at Newnham College, Cambridge, Leipzig University, the University of Bonn, and the Sorbonne. Returning to South Africa in 1912, she undertook anthropological research among the Khoekhoe people, until she married in 1914.