Skin Group - The Subsection System

The Subsection System

'Subsection system' is the technical term from anthropology for a social structure found in many Australian Aboriginal societies, particularly those in the centre and western half of Australia. Subsection systems divide all of society into a number of groups, each of which combines particular sets of kin. Each subsection is given a name that can be used to refer to individual members of that group. There are systems with two such groupings (these are known as 'moieties' in kinship studies), systems with four (sections), six and eight (subsection systems). Some language groups extend this by having distinct male and female forms, giving a total of sixteen skin names, for example the Pintupi (listed below) and Warlpiri. While membership in skin groups is ideally based on blood relations, Australian Aboriginal subsection systems are classificatory, meaning that even people who are not actual blood relations are assigned to a subsection. They are also universal, meaning that every member of the society is assigned a position in the system.

Subsection systems are found in Aboriginal societies across much of Central, Western and Northern Australia. On the basis of detailed analysis and comparison of the various subsection systems and their terminologies, and in particular the apparent prefix /j-/ for male and /n-/, for it has been identified as a social innovation originally from the Daly River region of the Northern Territory, which then spread rapidly southwards to other groups.

The subsection system is widely known in Central Australian Aboriginal English as a 'skin' system, 'skin' being a vernacular Aboriginal English term for 'subsection'.

Read more about this topic:  Skin Group

Other articles related to "subsection":

Strafgesetzbuch Section 86a - Law Text
3) Subsection (1) shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching ... or publicly uses, in a meeting or in writings (§ 11 subsection (3)) disseminated by him, symbols of one of the parties or organizations indicated in § 86 subsection (1), nos ... (2) Symbols, within the meaning of subsection (1), shall be, in particular, flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting ...
Misrepresentation Act 1967 - Section 2(3)
3) Damages may be awarded against a person under subsection (2) of this section whether or not he is liable to damages under subsection (1) thereof, but where he is so liable any award under ...

Famous quotes containing the word system:

    UG [universal grammar] may be regarded as a characterization of the genetically determined language faculty. One may think of this faculty as a ‘language acquisition device,’ an innate component of the human mind that yields a particular language through interaction with present experience, a device that converts experience into a system of knowledge attained: knowledge of one or another language.
    Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)