World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Clans

Article Id: WHEBN0000871007
Reproduction Date:

Title: Clans  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Clan, GT Interactive Software, Statism in Shōwa Japan, Mandore, Italian exonyms, CrimeCraft
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Clans

For other uses, see Clan (disambiguation).

Template:Anthropology of kinship

A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, 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. Clans can be most easily described as tribes or sub-groups of tribes. The word clan is derived from 'clann' meaning 'family' in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. The word was taken into English about 1425 as a label for the tribal nature of Irish and Scottish Gaelic society.[1] Clans in indigenous societies are likely to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. Clans preceded more centralized forms of community organization and government; they are located in every country. Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show they are an independent clan.

Clans as political units

In different cultures and situations, a clan may mean the same thing as other kin-based groups, such as tribes, castes, and bands. Often, the distinguishing factor is that a clan is a smaller part of a larger society such as a tribe, a chiefdom, or a state. In some societies, clans may have an official leader such as a chieftain or patriarch; in others, leadership positions may have to be achieved, or people may say that 'elders' make decisions.

Examples include Irish, Scottish, Chinese, Japanese clans, Rajput clans, Nair Clan or Malayala Kshatriya Clan in India and Pakistan, 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, cannot be translated with tribe or band, and consequently they are often translated as house or line. The Biblical tribes of Israel were composed of many clans,[2][3] Arab clans are sub-tribal groups within Arab society. Ojibwa bands are smaller parts of the Ojibwa tribe or people in North America, as one example of the many Native American peoples distinguished by language and culture, most having clans and bands as the basic kinship organizations. In some cases more than one tribe recognized each other's clans; for instance, both the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes had fox and bear clans whose membership could supersede the tribe.

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. 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. This is discussed under the topic of Polish Heraldry. There are multiple closely related clans in the Indian sub-continent, especially south India.

Clans by region

See also

  • Clan of a matrix
  • Clan (computer gaming)

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.