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Fajta a povaha příbuzenství obyvatel východoslovenských romských osad

Fajta and the Nature of Kinship among the Inhabitants of Roma Settlements in Eastern Slovakia
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Kobes, Tomáš

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Abstract European kinship is usually conceptualised as one of the elements that forms the boundary between nature and culture. However, this implicitly assumed biogenetic basis of membership in a particular descent group is not evident in the case of kinship among inhabitants of a Roma settlement. The nature of their kinship can be described as the incorporative process of women and pristašis into descent groups. The fundamental criterion for an expectant partner in marriage is to be ‘lačhe’ (good, proper, appropriate). The division of people in a Roma settlement into two basic groups (lačhe versus degešis) does not mean that these people form endogamous groups defi ned by procreation. It is rather a matter of moral ideas about what makes people good or bad. Two complementary principles play an important role in these ideas. The first principle relates to the natural base, the second to the process of socialisation. In this respect, fajta does not just refer to a cognatic descent group, but also has another dimension, which cannot simply be defined in terms of procreation and which indicates a shift towards a common basis. This can be demonstrated in the example of pristašis, which is a long-term process of incorporation in which fajta, as the domain of nature, shifts to the frame of culture. Despite of the difficulty of determining whether people were born or socialised into a particular fajta, kinship in a Roma settlement should be studied within the wider organisational complex that on the one hand makes some people related and homogenous and on the other hand excludes other people from this relatedness.
Classification Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology
Free Keywords Roma; Roma settlements; kinship; cognatic descent groups; nature; culture; Slovakia
Document language Other language
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages 235–255 p.
Journal Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review, 46 (2010) 2
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications