John W. Cole and Eric R. Wolf

in The Hidden Frontier

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780520216815
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520922174 | DOI:

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This chapter examines the inheritance process, those mechanisms which operate ecologically and socially to divide available resources among possible claimants. It examines the ideology of inheritance; the realities of life; ecological constraints; the age factor in inheritance; the inheritance processes in Tret and St. Felix; inheritance and women; and secondary heirs. The inheritance process works simultaneously at two levels: at the level of the domestic group and at the level of the village as a whole, in the public domain. On the level of the domestic group, it sorts a sibling set into heirs, the disadvantaged, and the disinherited. On the level of the village, the heirs emerge as the anchormen in social exchange, who, as owners and managers, are eligible to marry, to engage in labor exchanges, and to represent the domestic group in public affairs.

Keywords: Tret; age factor; inheritance; domestic group; St. Felix; social exchange; heir

Chapter.  12816 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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