In many pre-industrial societies, social organization is based on kinship groups through descent in either the male or female line, but these kinship groups are then aggregated according to non-kinship principles into larger groups which (in some cases) the anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan termed ‘phratries’. Examples include several American Indian and Australian Aboriginal tribes. In other societies, extended kinship groups include the clan (usually a matrilineal descent group), and gens (patrilineal descent group). It is now common to designate as phratries any grouping or association of clans which recognize some relationship to each other. Often, therefore, phratries are organized around either a division of labour or distinct ritual functions. Moieties (the division of societies into two groups, based on any principle, such that there is a dual organization of the whole) are a particular form of phratry. However, all of these terms are subject to the vicissitudes of context, and have sensibly been used in very different ways. Students of kinship groups therefore have to live with a great deal of variation in the use of (sometimes poorly chosen) terminology-and are strongly advised to verify specific definitions and usage in particular circumstances.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Phratry — Phra try, n.; pl. {Phratries}. [Gr. ?, ?.] (Gr. Antiq.) A subdivision of a phyle, or tribe, in Athens. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • phratry — [frā′trē] n. pl. phratries [Gr phratria < phratēr, akin to L frater,BROTHER] 1. a subdivision of an ancient Greek phyle 2. any of the similar units, as a group of clans, of a primitive tribe phratric adj. phratral …   English World dictionary

  • Phratry — A phratry (Greek: φ(ρ)ατρία, English translation: brotherhood , kinfolk , derived from φρατήρ meaning brother ) was an anthropological term for a kinship division consisting of two or more distinct clans which are considered a single unit, but… …   Wikipedia

  • phratry — phratric, phratral, phratriac, phratrial, adj. /fray tree/, n., pl. phratries. 1. a grouping of clans or other social units within a tribe. 2. (in ancient Greece) a subdivision of a phyle. [1745 55; < Gk phratría, equiv. to phratr , s. of phratér …   Universalium

  • phratry — noun (plural phratries) Etymology: Greek phratria, from phratēr member of the same clan, member of a phratry more at brother Date: 1833 1. a kinship group forming a subdivision of a Greek phyle 2. a tribal subdivision; specifically an exogamous… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • phratry —   n. clan; tribe.    ♦ phrator, n. member of phratry.    ♦ phratric, a …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • phratry — fratrija statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Augalų bendrijų kongregacijų, kurios pagal savo morfologiją ir ekologiją priklauso prie įvairių morfologinių ir ekologinių augalijos tipų, visuma, jungiama bendro ardo. atitikmenys:… …   Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • phratry — noun A former kinship division consisting of two or more distinct clans with separate identities but considered to be a single unit …   Wiktionary

  • phratry — [ freɪtri] noun (plural phratries) Anthropology a descent group or kinship group in some tribal societies. Origin C19: from Gk phratria, from phratēr clansman …   English new terms dictionary

  • phratry — phra·try …   English syllables

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