▷ Kinds of kinship » Characteristics, differences and degrees

In addition to establishing a kind of familial social hierarchy, kinship ties established through marriage, reproduction, or adoption guide the norms of communication and obligations among members of a society. Kinship types constitute the socially recognized relationships between people in a given culture and by descent and lineage define kinship relationships and even establish guidelines for interactions between people and define appropriate and acceptable relationships. But let’s find out in more detail who are direct relatives, what is consanguinity and what are the degrees of consanguinity that exist.

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blood relation

They are the relatives related by blood or genetics, ie. those people with whom they share ancestors or known common ancestors, this is the most basic and universal type of kinship. The word derives from Lat closely relatedmeaning: of common blood, implying that Roman individuals were of the same father and thus shared the right to his inheritance.

This kinship, also known as primary or direct family relationship, is based on blood or birth, the relationship between parents and children, as well as between siblings, children of the same parents. Also, children, uncles, nephews and cousins ​​are blood relatives.

There are some exceptions to the term or meaning of consanguinity in the world, such as in polyandrous communities an adopted child is treated as a biological child because the parentage of the father is unknown; so the blood relation is recognized on the basis of social recognition. But generally speaking, consanguineous genealogy is graphically represented in two directions:

  • Lineal relatives: they are direct ancestors or descendants of a person, lineal relatives are parents and grandparents or children and grandchildren. Descent can be traced lineally through the reproductive line of great-grandparents.
  • Relatives in the silver line are a person’s siblings and dependents of their siblings, not a direct ancestor or descendant. Silver line relatives include sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. From the father’s point of view, relatives in the silver line would include his brother, as well as cross cousins ​​and parallel cousins.

Degrees of consanguinity

According to the closeness or distance of kinship in the civil code, relatives can be classified into several categories:

Primary Blood Relationship:

Primary blood relatives are those relatives who are directly related to each other by birth. Sociology states that there are eight basic kin consisting of: husband/wife, father/son, mother/daughter, father/daughter, mother/son, younger/elder brothers, younger/elder sisters, and sister/brother.

Secondary consanguinity

They are primary relatives of our primary relatives, for example my father’s brother or my sister’s husband. My uncles are secondary relatives because they are the primary relative of my primary relative, they are directly related. There are 33 secondary blood relatives and the most basic type of secondary kinship is the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. It also addresses the definition of first cousins.

Tertiary consanguinity

They are the secondary relatives of our primary relative or the primary relatives of our secondary relatives, as in the case of my brother-in-law’s wife. He is a third-degree relative because the son-in-law is my second-degree relative and his wife is the primary relative of the son-in-law. There are thirty-three secondary and 151 third relatives for each person, for example the relationship between great-grandchildren and great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles.


They are people related by marriage, that is, dependent on legality or contract, although they are still considered family members. The relationship can disappear if the legal union and the affective relationship break down.

The husband’s family also becomes a matchmaker at the time of the couple’s marriage. The husband’s parents are called in-laws and the couple takes on the role of daughter-in-law or son-in-law. However, relationships are not limited to the nuclear family, kinship is also made with the husband’s uncles, who are called political uncles and nephews.

If one of your biological parents happens to marry, depending on what the affinity is, their partner becomes your stepfather or stepmother. If they have children, they are called stepbrothers and stepsisters. Half-siblings arise from the union between one of your biological parents and a relative, whether a stepmother or a stepfather.

After marriage, many relationships are created, the husband also becomes son-in-law and son-in-law. Likewise, a woman assumes the title of wife and also that of the bridegroom’s brothers’ daughter-in-law and the bridegroom’s parents’ daughter-in-law.

Related family degrees

Just as with family ties by blood, there are categories that establish the closeness of kinship ties at three levels:

  • Primary consanguinity: This is the direct relationship formed by marriage between husband and wife.
  • Secondary Kinship by Affinity: Covers the relationships between a person and his brothers-in-law and in-laws, i.e. their spouse’s parents and siblings or vice versa. In the figures of son-in-law or daughter-in-law, brother-in-law or daughter-in-law.
  • Tertiary Affine: It is the primary relative of the primary affine relative or the primary relative of the secondary affine relative or the secondary relative of the primary affine relative. These connections are numerous, such as a spouse’s grandparents, uncles and aunts, spouses and children of a brother-in-law, etc.

Social, civil or adoptive legal relationship

Some sociologists argue that there is not only consanguinity or consanguinity, but that there is a third type that includes ties even if there is no connection by birth or marriage.

These are known as social or civil kinship, especially related to legal kinship through adoption, but by definition two people living in different communities can share a kinship through religious affiliation or social group, also within a society. through close ties between its members.

It is believed that the role played by the family in a society is not complete without the inclusion of fictitious family ties, as another of its denominations, though no less important than ties by blood or marriage, since it also implies a universe of obligations. This is the case with the most common figure of godfather or co-parent, who is related to his parents’ closest friends.

These relationships, depending on the importance of kinship, can imitate family relationships with their own rules, voluntarily and with the consent of both parties to establish the relationship, inside or outside the foster care system. They serve to expand networks of mutual support, create a sense of community, and improve social control.

Both this and legally binding types of kinship can serve to establish the social norms of orientation and communication of social groups, but in particular they provide a sense of security and protection. They are used to help in situations where someone may be displaced or isolated, such as orphaned children or elderly people finding a family home in care or social services. Family relations then encompass a broader concept of all people who are born or created in life in the eyes of their society.

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