|Part of |
|Anthropology of |
The House society is a hybrid, transitional form between kin-based and class-based social orders, and is not one of Lévi-Strauss' '
Lévi-Strauss' most succinct definition of a House was that it is "a corporate body holding an estate made up of both material and immaterial wealth, which perpetuates itself through the transmission of its name, its goods and its titles down a real or imaginary line considered legitimate as long as this continuity can express itself in the language of kinship or of affinity and, most often, of both."
There are three elements to this definition:
Only the core group (the highest-ranking members) will inhabit the House as a residence. The other House members (which Errington refers to as the "server group") will only come together on special ritual occasions, making this an "occasional kinship group." Other House members have multiple overlapping ties to other Houses as well, through both mother's and father's kin. Their ability to assert a claim to membership in a House will depend on a number of criteria, such as their parents' participation, their ability to contribute to the House's upkeep, and their participation in its rituals. Successful claims of membership may bring special benefits, such as the right to utilize House resources with the consent of the core members.