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Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia   By: (1868-1936)

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In Kinship Organizations and Group Marriage in Australia, Northcote Whitridge Thomas explores the intricate social structures, practices, and traditions of Aboriginal kinship systems in Australia. Drawing upon extensive field research conducted during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Thomas offers a comprehensive examination of the complex web of relationships and the unique social configurations that governed Aboriginal communities.

One of the most striking aspects of this book is Thomas's meticulous attention to detail. Through his extensive study of marriage customs, rules, and rituals, he uncovers the various kinship organizations that Aboriginal groups established. By delving into the intricate systems of descent, marriage rules, and associated rituals, Thomas reveals the profound importance of kinship in Aboriginal societies.

Furthermore, Thomas provides a fascinating exploration of group marriage, a practice that was vastly different from the Western concept of marriage. He examines the dynamics of group marriage systems, shedding light on how they were structured and functioned within specific Aboriginal communities. This analysis challenges conventional notions of marriage and demonstrates the richness and diversity of human relationship structures.

The ethnographic accounts presented in this book offer valuable insights into the lived experiences of Aboriginal individuals at the time. Thomas demonstrates great sensitivity and respect for the cultural practices he encounters, refraining from imposing his own judgments or assumptions upon the indigenous communities he studied. His observations and interviews with community members provide readers with a unique glimpse into a vanishing way of life and highlight the importance of preserving and understanding these cultural practices.

While the book is undoubtedly an important contribution to the field of anthropology, it is worth noting that it reflects the attitudes and perspectives prevalent during the colonial era in which it was written. Some readers may find certain passages outdated or uncomfortable, as colonial biases inevitably seep into the narratives. However, it is crucial to approach this work with historical context in mind and recognize the dedication and scientific rigor Thomas applied to his research.

Overall, Kinship Organizations and Group Marriage in Australia offers invaluable insights into the complexities of Aboriginal kinship systems and the practice of group marriage. It serves as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Aboriginal communities and the significance of their unique social structures. Recommended for readers interested in anthropology and indigenous studies, this book is a profound exploration of human relationships and the diversity of cultural practices that shape our societies.

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Transcriber's Note:

This text has several characters which cannot be displayed in a text format file. The following codes have been substituted for these characters:

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This text has many tables, which are best viewed using a fixed width font.

Table I a and the Arunta: Eight class Table were printed on fold out pages. These have been split into sections (3 and 2 sections, respectively) to fit within the display boundaries.

The original book had a number of words with inconsistant hyphenation or spelling, as well as a small number of typographical errors. These have been maintained in this version. The inconsistencies and errors are detailed at the end of the present text.

The Cambridge Archaeological and Ethnological Series is supervised by an Editorial Committee consisting of WILLIAM RIDGEWAY, M.A., F.B.A., Disney Professor of Archaeology, A.C. HADDON, Sc.D... Continue reading book >>

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