from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Relating to, based on, or tracing ancestral descent through the maternal line.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Tracing descent only through female lines.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. tracing descent through the female line.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. based on or tracing descent through the female line
Such an emphasis, or reasoning, for the * mwali life position would make far more obvious sociocultural sense in matrilineal and matrifocal societies than imagining that marriage and male sexual pleasure were most important.
The attention given to the new mother by her matrilineage foregrounds the importance of children to the maintenance of clan and lineage in matrilineal societies. 22 Fittingly, the women involved in this were those clanswomen who had given birth to the young women themselves and guided them through later female initiation instruction, which itself aimed above all at securing fertility, a topic we will return to later in the chapter.
The attentiveness Ruvu people gave, particularly Ruvu women, to guaranteeing successful births and infant survival is an example of the importance placed on bearing children in matrilineal Ruvu societies.
The narrator then went on to say that this is why male prosperity depends on the power wielded over a man's sister's children, a common view and associated practice in matrilineal societies.
And it intimates that in matrilineal societies, as has been suggested by other researchers, grandmothers personified power and importance in their communities. 25 Such research may begin to shed some light, for instance, on the missing pieces of our understanding about women in these societies, which have been usually only gleaned by the prominent role that grandmothers commonly have in marriage negotiations for their granddaughters.
93The institution of marriage represents another persistent feature in matrilineal Ruvu communities.
Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) [Right: An artist's rendition] is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans.
Their method consisted of studying two distinct social groups: the Maasai in Tanzania, a “textbook example of a patriarchal society” in which women and children are considered “property,” and the Khasi in India, who are matrilineal, meaning female-dominated through inheritance laws, household authority, and social structures — though still distinct from “matriarchal,” since, as the authors point out, “the sociological literature is almost unanimous in the conclusion that truly matriarchal societies no longer exist.”
Iroquois society was matrilineal, meaning descent was traced through the mother rather than through the father, as it was in colonial society.
Women here make most major decisions; they control household finances, have the rightful ownership of land and houses, and full rights to the children born to them - quite radical considering that many parts of China still practise arranged marriages - although political power tends to rest with the men making the description "matrilineal" more accurate.