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Using the Miller and McDonald families, this paper seeks to analyze different meanings of biological and social kin relations.
Reading through the transcript, one comes across two babies who end up in families, which are absolutely different from each other in numerous aspects. While the Millers are dedicated to the church, the McDonald’s are outgoing. Even though the Millers knew about the exchange immediately after reaching home, the family decides to keep quiet about the exchange because they want to preserve their good relationship with the family doctor, Dr. Deslack. The two women easily accept their biological lineage despite having been exchanged at birth and living away from their biological families, which depicts how strong biological bonds are in terms of human relationships. The Miller and MacDonald’s families belong to distinct ethnic groups as portrayed by the complexion of the switched babies. Martha is biologically different from her family members. She is blonde and need no glasses for nearsightedness whereas all her siblings have dark hair and are also myopic. The attitudes, interests and activities of the families differ widely. While at the ‘wrong’ family, Martha’s behavior and interest is completely different from her siblings as revealed in the transcript, “Martha excelled in music, was a great cheerleader at school, very popular, and a blonde” while her siblings were very serious. The difference in Martha’s interest from her siblings can be attributed to her inclination to the biological family.
Kinship is a product of culture that determines how people relate to each other and explains roles, rights as well as responsibilities of people. Kinship can either be formed through genealogical descent or marriage and affinal unions. Kinship groups are characterized by biologic foundation that links each member of the group to one another. Examples of kinship include descent group, marriage and affinal unions. A
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