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Open Access Unilineal descent and the house – again: The Ngadha, eastern Indonesia

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Unilineal descent and the house – again: The Ngadha, eastern Indonesia

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The article deals with the social organisation of the Ngadha (Flores, eastern Indonesia), of which there are contradictory accounts. While it has been suggested that that the Ngadha are best described as unilineal (matrilineal), others, including the author, hold that the more accurate label is cognatic. The first part of the article outlines central characteristics of unilineality. The second part is more ethnographic. Drawing on his own field research and publications as well as on earlier literature, the author discusses the claim advanced in BKI (by Susanne Schröter, 2005) that the Ngadha have a matrilineal kinship system. He concludes that, superficial appearances notwithstanding, the appellation is misplaced.

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