Tsubaki (tsubaki_ny) wrote in little_details,

fatherhood, avunculism, matrilineal descent

So far I've Googled/Wiki'd

Generative Uncle Nephew Relationships
Matrilineal Descent
Kinship and Descent (Iroquois Kinship, Eskimo Kinship, Hawaiian Kinship, Crow Kinship, Omaha Kinship, Sudanese Kinship)
Nuclear Family

Also followed links on a couple matriarchal and matrilineal groups.

What I'm trying to get at is hard for me to set down concretely.

This is a fantasy -- or at least, not-the-world-as-we-know-it -- setting. (No one is throwing firebolts or anything.)

I have two social groups grudgingly interacting with one another. One has a fairly run-of-the-mill definition of nuclear family -- mom and dad and kids, adults look after grandparents. There are some tweaks to this, but they aren't relevant to my question.

In the second society, matrilineal descent is the order of the day, and men bond far more with their sister's children than they do with their own blood children, whom they may never meet. (There is a fair bit of traveling.)

So I've got the social organization aspect down, more or less. But right now I am trying to get inside the head of a fellow from Society 2 who has actually met his son (who is being raised by mom from Society 1), and likes him well enough, but feels a greater responsibility to his sisters' kids "back home," and actually feels quite guilty he's been playing house with Society 1 mom for so long. Mom and son, firmly ensconced in Society 1, feel that they are married and a family and do not get this at all. I'm trying to get across the fact that Dad is not a deadbeat, but the situation still pretty much sucks.

I think what I'm after is recs of anecdotes or reading material, fiction or non, involving fathers who are not that emotionally attached to their biological kids, but to different kids. I realize it's a hard situation to replicate exactly, in modern-day Western society at least. (Heh -- I could also just avoid the whole thing by never writing anything from his point of view.)

Edited to add: I realized how extremely vague I was being after the fact, so to address a couple of things I'm seeing in the comments:

-- For Society 2 (dad's), I am definitely working with the idea of matrilineal descent, but not matriarchy per se. (In both societies I'd like to keep some measure of equality and civility between men and women, though.) Society 2 is also more than a little nomadic (although they're not "cursed to wander the earth" or anything fun like that. More like they have a summer trading place and a winter trading place, and various meet-ups with other groups at points in the year to keep the kids from being born with extra fingers. They are not at all averse to liasons with other ethnicities -- a woman's children are her own, period.) They regard marriage as practiced by Society 1 as slightly silly, since "what (or who) gives you a good (that is to say, healthy and gifted) child doesn't necessarily give you a happy life" whereas in contrast, your siblings are an act of God. (I haven't yet decided how incompatible siblings "divorce." More likely, they just work it out as best they can.) A woman having several kids by the same man is seen as "cute" but not common -- kind of how a lot of people in our society view "love at first sight." Men discipline children and make money -- women also make money, and they allocate resources. It's far more likely to find a loner man in Society 2 than a loner woman -- the women would travel in groups just for basic safety.

ETA: Incest is still taboo. ;-)

--Society 1 is also not matriarchal per se, but paternal lineage is what is counted upon, and the marital bond is the basis of the family unit -- however, for about half the village (those who are not doing agriculture as a profession) men leave home to join the woman's family. Marriages are arranged -- as far as they are arranged; there is room for spontenaity -- by the women of the family, who will go and "ask for" a suitable younger son. Having a lot of daughters to bring in responsible sons-in-law therefore makes a strong economic foundation. It's also a pretty teeny little society, so it wouldn't be that hard to keep track of who belongs to who, and their rules are flexible. They are far more likely, though, to consider a liason with another ethnicity slightly shady and not quite legit. An absentee father is completely shady and illegit.

Most of the story takes place within Society 1.

Ack. I hope that made even a little sense.

Your speediness and knowledge continue to impress!
Tags: ~native americans, ~science: biology: genetics

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