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Network Mediation of Exchange Structures:
Ambilateral Sidedness and Property Flows in Pul Eliya (Sri Lanka)

Abstract : Edmund Leach's data on kinship and marriage is the starting point for a network analysis of marriage exchange and the bilateral devolution of property. The analysis resolves the "Dravidian controversy" over the possibility of fit between the egocentric perspective of dual organization encoded in the Dravidian languages of South Asia and a sociocentric dual organization that is NOT based on matrimonial moieties and unilineal descent, but a more flexible and network-based application of marriage strategies. A network concept of "sidedness" is developed as a new alternative to the moiety concept for dual matrimonial organization. In a significant number of cases where Pul Eliyan villagers marry cousins or other types of consanguineal kin, perfect sidedness is maintained in the actual network of kinship and marriage relations, consistent with the Dravidian "two-sided" terminology of direct matrimonial exchange. The Pul Eliya material illustrates a system of social rules and strategies that are reconciled against each other in the freedom to realign and readjust terminological discrepancies in favor of a continually reemergent but consistent network structure of dual matrimonial organization that lacks a basis in a strict rule of descent.
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Michael Houseman, Douglas White. Network Mediation of Exchange Structures:
Ambilateral Sidedness and Property Flows in Pul Eliya (Sri Lanka). R.R. White, T. Schweizer. Kinship, Networks and Exchange, Cambridge University Press, pp.58-88, 1998. ⟨halshs-00119442⟩

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