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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if actual lineage patterns are unknown, clan members may nonetheless recognize a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be merely symbolical in nature, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan's unity. When this ancestor is not human, it is referred to as an animalian totem. Clans can be most easily described as tribes or sub-groups of tribes. The word clan is derived from 'clann' meaning 'children' in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. The word was taken into English about 1425 as a label for the tribal nature of Irish and Scottish Gaelic society.[1] The Gaelic term for clan is fine /finɨ/. Clans are located in every country; members may identify with a coat of arms to show they are an independent clan.

Organization of clans in anthropology

Some clans are patrilineal, meaning its members are related through the male line; for example, the clans of Armenia. Others are matrilineal; its members are related through the female line, such as in some Native American clans. Still other clans are bilateral, consisting of all the descendants of the apical ancestor through both the male and female lines; the Irish and Scottish clans are examples. Another example is the Jewish people defined mainly as the clan of descendants of one male ancestor (Jacob) and four female ancestors (Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah). Whether a clan is patrilineal, matrilineal, or bilateral depends on the kinship rules and norms of their society.

In different cultures and situations, a clan may mean the same thing as other kin-based groups, such as tribes and bands. Often, the distinguishing factor is that a clan is a smaller part of a larger society such as a tribe, a chiefdom, or a state. Examples include Scottish, Irish, Chinese, Japanese clans and Rajput clans in India and Pakistan, which exist as kin groups within their respective nations. Note, however, that tribes and bands can also be components of larger societies. Probably the most famous tribes, the 12 Biblical tribes of Israel, composed one people. Arab tribes are small groups within Arab society, and Ojibwa bands are smaller parts of the Ojibwa tribe in North America. In some cases multiple tribes recognized the same clans, such as the bear and fox clans of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes.

Apart from these different traditions of kinship, further conceptual confusion arises from colloquial usages of the term. In post-Soviet countries, for example, it is quite common to speak of clans in reference to informal networks within the economic and political sphere. This usage reflects the assumption that their members act towards each other in a particularly close and mutually supportive way approximating the solidarity among kinsmen. However, the Norse clans, the ätter, can not be translated with tribe or band, and consequently they are often translated with house or line.

Polish clans differ from most others as they are a collection of families who bear the same coat of arms, as opposed to claiming a common descent. This is discussed under the topic of Polish Heraldry.

Clans in indigenous societies are likely to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. In some societies, clans may have an official leader such as a chieftain or patriarch; in others, leadership positions may have to be achieved, or people may say that 'elders' make decisions.

Clans by country

References

  1. ^ "Clan", Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ "Irish Families" Edward Mac Lysaght, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1985

1911 encyclopedia

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also clan, and član

Contents

German

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Clan

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Alternative spellings

Noun

Clan m. (genitive Clans, plural Clans)

  1. clan

Synonyms


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

A clan is a group of people united by kinship and descent, which is defined by perceived descent from a common ancestor. Even if actual lineage patterns are unknown, clan members nonetheless recognize a founding member or apical ancestor. As kinship based bonds can be merely symbolical in nature some clans share a "stipulated" common ancestor, which is a symbol of the clan's unity. When this ancestor is not human, this is referred to as animallian totem. Generally speaking, kinship differs from biological relation, as it also involves adoption, marriage, and fictive genealogical ties. Clans can be most easily described as sub-groups of tribes and usually constitute groups of 7,000 to 10,000 people.

Contents

Etymology

Clan is the English spelling of clann[1], a Gaelic word meaning children or family. An Chlann Aoidh, the Scottish Gaelic name for the Clan Mackay, literally means "The Children of Fire"—"fire" being the literal meaning of the Gaelic name "Aodh", genitive and vocative case, "hAoidh"—which translates to Scots and English, variously and as phonetically as possible, as Eth, Y, Hy, Heth, Huey, and Hugh.

Organization of clans

Some clans are patrilineal, meaning its members are related through the male line; for example, the clans of Armenia. Others are matrilineal; its members are related through the female line. Still other clans are bilateral, consisting of all the descendants of the apical ancestor through both the male and female lines; the clans of Scotland are one example. Whether a clan is patrilineal, matrilineal, or bilateral depends on the kinship rules and norms of their society.

In different cultures and situations a clan may mean the same thing as other kin-based groups such as tribes and bands. Often, the distinguishing factor is that a clan is a smaller part of a larger society such as a tribe, a chiefdom, or a state. Examples include Irish, Scottish, Chinese, and Japanese clans, which exist as kin groups within their respective nations. Note, however, that tribes and bands can also be components of larger societies. Arab tribes are small groups within Arab society, and Ojibwa bands are smaller parts of the Ojibwa tribe. In some cases multiple tribes recognized the same clans, such as the bear and fox clans of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes.

Apart from these different traditions of kinship, further conceptual confusion arises from colloquial usages of the term. In post-Soviet countries for example it is quite common to speak of clans referring to informal networks within the economic and political sphere. This usage reflects the assumption that their members act towards each other in a particularly close and mutually supportive way approximating the solidarity among kinsmen. However, the Norse clans, the ätter, can not be translated with tribe or band, and consequently they are often translated with house or line.

Polish clans differ from most others in being a collection of families bearing the same coat of arms, as opposed to actually claiming a common descent. This is discussed under the topic of Polish Heraldry.

Most clans are exogamous, meaning that its members cannot marry one another. Most clans have an official leader such as a chieftain or patriarch. More recently a clan in South Londonn called the TRV clan has been formed by two people called JTFA and Nemo. Their real names are Josh and Nimesh. It is an exclusive club for people just from Trivandrum, a city in the state of Kerala in India. Anyone who wants to join must have proof that they are from Trivandrum.

Clans by country

References

  1. ^ Oxford Pocket Irish Dictionary (paperback), Breandan O. Croinin (editor), Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ "Irish Families" Edward Mac Lysaght, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1985
This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Clan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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Simple English

A clan is a group of people who - following a tradition - belong to the same kin.

The easiest way to describe them is as sub-groups of tribes. Usually they form groups of 7000 to 10,000 people.









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