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Milk kinship, formed during nursing by a non-biological mother, was a form of fostering allegiance with fellow community members. This particular form of kinship did not exclude particular groups, such that class and other hierarchal systems did not matter in terms of milk kinship participation.
Traditionally speaking, this practice predates the early modern period, though it became a widely used mechanism for developing alliances in many hierarchical societies during that time. Milk kinship used the practice of breast feeding by a wet nurse to feed a child either from the same community, or a neighbouring one. This wet nurse played the strategic role in forging relations between her family and the family of the child she was nursing, as well as their community.
In the early modern period, milk kinship was widely practiced in many Arab countries for both religious and strategic purposes. Like the Christian practice of godparenting, milk kinship established a second family that could take responsibility for a child whose biological parents came to harm. "Milk kinship in Islam thus appears to be a culturally distinctive, but by no means unique, institutional form of adoptive kinship." 308 :
The childhood of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, illustrates the practice of traditional Arab milk kinship. In his early childhood, he was sent away to foster-parents amongst the Bedouin. By nursing him, Halimah bint Abdullah became his "milk-mother." The rest of her family was drawn into the relationship as well: her husband al-Harith became Muhammad's "milk-father," and Muhammad was raised alongside their biological children as a "milk-brother". 309 This milk kinship creates a familial relationship, such that a man may not marry his milk-mother or his milk-sister (the daughter or milk-daughter of his milk-mother).:
When Crazy Horse was a baby, he nursed at the breast of every woman in the tribe. The Sioux raised their children that way. Every warrior called every woman in the tribe "Mother". Every older warrior, they called him "Grandfather". 309:
"Colactation links two families of unequal status and creates a durable and intimate bond; it removes from 'clients' their outsider status but excludes them as marriage partners…it brings about a social relationship that is an alternative to kinship bonds based on blood."People of different races and religions could be brought together strategically through the bonding of the milk mother and their milk ‘children’.
Milk kinship was as relevant for peasants as ‘fostering’ or as ‘hosting’ other children, in that it secured the good will from their masters and their wives. As previously mentioned the milk women’s family is the ‘core range’ to the child she is nursing and they become milk kin, which may strategically be useful for the future if the child is from a higher class family, as the milk women’s children will become ‘milk-brothers’ and ‘milk-sisters.’ Thus peasant women would most often play the role of the ‘milk’ mother to her non-biological children, and they held an important role in maintaining the connection between herself and the master whose baby she is nursing. It is also important to note that it was also a practical way to assist families who were of a very ill mother or whose mother died in childbirth. This would have been helpful in many societies where, especially in times of war, if families perished, other members of society would end up co-parenting through the link of milk-kinship.
Noble offspring were often sent to milk kin fosterers that would foster them to maturity so that the children would be raised by their successive status subordinates. The purpose of this was for political importance to build milk kin as bodyguards. This was a major practice in the Hindu Kush society. 315:
One particular theory mentioned by Peter Parkes is an Arab folk-analogy that breast milk is supposed to be “transformed male semen” that arises from Hertiers Somatic Scheme. 308 There is no evidence that Arabs ever considered a mother's milk to be ‘transformed sperm’. :312 Another suggested analogy is that breast milk was a refinement of uterine blood. It is also suggested since that milk is of the woman, her moods and dispositions are transferred through the breast milk. Parkes mentions that milk-kinship was “further endorsed as a canonical impediment to marriage by several eastern Christian churches”. :320 This indicates that this procedure was widely practiced among numerous religious communities, not just Islamic communities, in the early modern Mediterranean.:
Soraya Altorki (1980) published a pioneering article on Sunni Arab notions of kinship created through suckling breast milk (Arabic: rida’a orrada’). Altorki indicated that milk kinship had received little attention from anthropologists, despite its recognised significance in Muslim family law as a complex impediment to marriage. Milk kinship has since attracted further fieldwork throughout Islamic Asia and North Africa, demonstrating its importance as a culturally distinctive institution of adoptive affiliation.
Héritier's somatic thesis posits that Islamic marriage between milk kin is forbidden because of an ancient pre-Islamic meme that is communicated in the Arab saying ‘the milk is from the man’.Héritier’s somatic explanation has since been endorsed – and apparently confirmed – by several French ethnographers of the Maghreb, also being further developed in her monograph on incest.
In reaction, a few scholars have cited Islamic commentaries and jurisprudence. "A child is the product of the conjoint seed of man and woman . . . but milk is the property of woman alone; one should not conflate by analogy (qiyas) milk with male semen." Al-Qurtubi, Jami’ al-ahkam V.83, cited in Benkheira (2001a: 26). The rules of Sunni marital incest apply through a standard of adoptive kin relations. But the modern jurisprudence does not negate nor explain the origin of the taboo.
Héritier explains Islamic juridical reckonings of milk kinship as the continuation of a somatic scheme of male filiative substances transmitted by lactation. 310But Parker critically interrogates its supposition of a peculiar Arab folk-physiology of lactation, whereby breast milk is supposed to be transformed male semen, yet mentions that Héritier has properly focused attention on evidently contested issues of ‘patrifiliation’ by breast-feeding, which remain to be understood. Parker posits that this somatic scheme seems to be unsubstantiated by current ethnographies, and also unwarranted in understanding the juridical reckoning of milk kinship that it purports to explain. :
Weisner-Hanks mentions the introduction in the fifteenth century of prohibitions in the Christian Canon Law, in which one is not allowed to marry any one suspected to be of respective kin. Individuals who shared godparents, and great grandparents were prohibited against marrying. The prohibitions against marriage also extended to that of natural godparents. This was because both natural and ‘foster’ or ‘spiritual’ parents had an investment on the child’s spiritual well being, which would not be achieved by going against Canon Law. 310 The practice of milk kinship is paralleled quite frequently, among scholarly works, with that of Christian godparent-hood or spiritual kinship. Parkes states that in both milk kinship and god-or co-parenthood “we deal with a fictitious kinship relationship between people of unequal status that is embedded in a long-term exchange of goods and services that we know as patronage”. Iranians seemed to have “taken care to confine delegated suckling to subordinate non-kin - particularly those with whom marriage would be undesirable in any event”. :322 Marriage taboos due to milk kinship were taken very seriously since some regarded breast milk to be refined female blood from the womb, thus conveying a ‘uterine substance’ of kinship. :314 Children who were milk kin to each other were prohibited to marry as well as two children from different parents who were suckled by the same woman. It was as much of a taboo to marry your milk-brother or -sister, as it was to marry a biological brother or sister. It is extremely important to understand that in all cases “What is forbidden by blood kinship is equally forbidden by milk kinship”.:
Incest is human sexual activity between family members or close relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity, and sometimes those related by affinity, adoption, clan, or lineage.
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.
A wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds and cares for another's child. Wet nurses are employed if the mother dies, or if she is unable or elects not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", and in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of milk kinship. Mothers who nurse each other's babies are engaging in a reciprocal act known as cross-nursing or co-nursing. Wetnursing existed in cultures around the world until the invention of reliable formula milk in the 20th century.
The Serbo-Croatian standard languages have one of the more elaborate kinship (srodstvo) systems among European languages. Terminology may differ from place to place. Most words are common to other Slavic languages, though some derive from Turkish. The standardized languages may recognize slightly different pronunciations or dialectical forms; all terms are considered standard in all four languages, unless otherwise marked: [B] (Bosnian), [C] (Croatian), [M] (Montenegrin) and [S] (Serbian) below.
Consanguinity is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.
Breast milk or mother's milk is milk produced by mammary glands located in the breast of a human female to feed a child. Milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods; older infants and toddlers may continue to be breastfed, in combination with other foods from six months of age when solid foods should be introduced.
In Islam, a mahram is a member of one's family with whom marriage or sexual intercourse would be considered haram ; from whom purdah, or concealment of the body with hijab, is not obligatory; and who may serve as a legal escort of a woman during journeys longer than three days.
Fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologists and ethnographers to describe forms of kinship or social ties that are based on neither consanguineal nor affinal ties, in contrast to true kinship ties.
In discussing consanguineal kinship in anthropology, a parallel cousin or ortho-cousin is a cousin from a parent's same-sex sibling, while a cross-cousin is from a parent's opposite-sex sibling. Thus, a parallel cousin is the child of the father's brother or of the mother's sister, while a cross-cousin is the child of the mother's brother or of the father's sister. Where there are unilineal descent groups in a society, one's parallel cousins on one or both sides will belong to one's own descent group, while cross-cousins will not.
Islamic views on adoption are generally distinct from practices and customs of adoption in other non-Muslim parts of the world like Western or East Asian societies.
Kinship care is a term used in the United States and Great Britain for the raising of children by grandparents, other extended family members, and adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship such as godparents and close family friends because biological parents are unable to do so for whatever reason. Legal custody of a child may or may not be involved, and the child may be related by blood, marriage, or adoption. This arrangement is also known as "kincare" or "relative care." Kinship placement may reduce the number of home placements children experience; allow children to maintain connections to communities, schools, and family members; and increase the likelihood of eventual reunification with birth parents. It is less costly to taxpayers than formal foster care and keeps many children out of the foster care system. "Grandfamily" is a recently coined term in the United States that refers to families engaged in kinship care.
The compadre relationship between the parents and godparents of a child is an important bond that originates when a child is baptized in Iberian, Latin American, and Filipino Christian families. The abstract noun compadrazgo, compadrio, both meaning "co-parenthood," is sometimes used to refer to the institutional relationship between compadres.
Erotic lactation is sexual arousal by breastfeeding on a woman's breast. Depending on the context, the practice can also be referred to as adult suckling, adult nursing, and adult breastfeeding. Practitioners sometimes refer to themselves as being in an adult nursing relationship (ANR). Two persons in an exclusive relationship can be called a nursing couple.
The topic of Islam and children includes the rights of children in Islam, the duties of children towards their parents, and the rights of parents over their children, both biological and foster children. Also discussed are some of the differences regarding rights with respect to different schools of thought.
The history and culture of breastfeeding traces changing social, medical and legal attitudes to breastfeeding, the act of feeding a child breast milk directly from breast to mouth. Breastfeeding may be performed by the infant's mother or by a surrogate, typically called a wet nurse.
Mother's rights are the legal obligations for expecting mothers, existing mothers, and adoptive mothers in the United States. Issues that involve mothers' rights include labor rights, breast feeding, and family rights.
Raḍāʿ or riḍāʿa is a technical term in Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) meaning "the suckling which produces the legal impediment to marriage of foster-kinship", and refers to the fact that under Sunni jurispurdence, a wet nurse is considered related to the infant she nurses. The term derives from the infinitive noun of the Arabic word radiʿa or radaʿa. Often it is translated as "fosterage" or "milk kinship".
Lactivism is the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving a breastfeeding culture, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc. of breastfeeding. Supporters, referred to as "lactivists", seek to protest the violation of International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by formula companies and industry.
Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman's breast. Health professionals recommend that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby's life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants. During the first few weeks of life babies may nurse roughly every two to three hours, and the duration of a feeding is usually ten to fifteen minutes on each breast. Older children feed less often. Mothers may pump milk so that it can be used later when breastfeeding is not possible. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits to both mother and baby, which infant formula lacks.
The concept of nurture kinship in the anthropological study of human social relationships (kinship) highlights the extent to which such relationships are brought into being through the performance of various acts of nurture between individuals. Additionally the concept highlights ethnographic findings that, in a wide swath of human societies, people understand, conceptualize and symbolize their relationships predominantly in terms of giving, receiving and sharing nurture. The concept stands in contrast to the earlier anthropological concepts of human kinship relations being fundamentally based on "blood ties", some other form of shared substance, or a proxy for these, and the accompanying notion that people universally understand their social relationships predominantly in these terms.