An Internal Analysis of the Kinship System of the Mbowamb of the Central Highlands of New Guinea

Brandewie, Ernest

     This dissertation concentrates on the topic of kinship and descent groups, and the connection of the two. This is viewed from a very specific angle, however, and for a very specific purpose. This dissertation is . . . a structural analysis of the social morphology of Mbowamb society. Social groups in the Mt. Hagen area are built up in terms in descent groups, patrilineally conceived (with modifications). They are constituted as kin groups terminologically. . . . Insofar as we are able, we shall limit our discussion to the cultural understanding of the Mbowamb as regards their social system to see what light and insight this can give us relative to the constitution and integration, on this level, of their society. The study thus asks about how the social groups of the Mbowamb are constituted, and how they are integrated with each other to form a larger society, and it asks these questions specifically in terms of kinship.
     The study particularly focuses on the Kumdi Engamois, who lived in the Koma region, towards the northern end of the Mount Hagen range in the Central Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It describes the historical, physical, climatic, and social contexts, before analyzing the morphology of Mbowamb society. After considering locality and domestic organization, it turns to an extended treatment of the kinship system: the terminology of kinship; the content of kinship; 'the institution of marriage; and the system of affinity are all considered. In the final chapter, we first of all summarize and discuss the specific conclusions which have come out of our own descriptive material. Then we relate the kinship system to the more inclusive social groups, and relate both to the Mbowamb rules of exogamy. Thirdly, a brief discussion, an indication only, of how marriage/alliance theory might be applied to the Mbowamb (and Central Highlands) material . . . [is] presented.

David M. Scheider (chair), Lloyd Fallers, Clifford Geertz