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In some cultures, kinship relationships may be considered to extend out to people an individual has economic or political relationships with, or other forms of social connections.Within a culture, some descent groups may be considered to lead back to gods or animal ancestors (totems).Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life – mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups.Kinship can refer both to the patterns of social relationships themselves, or it can refer to the study of the patterns of social relationships in one or more human cultures (i.e. Over its history, anthropology has developed a number of related concepts and terms in the study of kinship, such as descent, descent group, lineage, affinity/affine, consanguinity/cognate and fictive kinship.A unilineal society is one in which the descent of an individual is reckoned either from the mother's or the father's line of descent.With matrilineal descent individuals belong to their mother's descent group.In many societies where kinship connections are important, there are rules, though they may be expressed or be taken for granted.

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Many codes of ethics consider the bond of kinship as creating obligations between the related persons stronger than those between strangers, as in Confucian filial piety.

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In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated.

social relations during development – and by marriage.

Human kinship relations through marriage are commonly called "affinity" in contrast to the relationships that arise in one's group of origin, which may be called one's descent group.

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