Rural Irish Society And Gender Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Sociology Type: Essay Paper: #17495399 Related Topics: Urban Sociology, Gender Roles, Gender Role, Land
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Family and the Land" addresses gender roles and social structures in traditional rural Irish society. "Systems of kinship" are discussed liberally, as is the social construction of identity. Each individual maintains a network of social ties, and plays different roles in the society depending on the relationship and its ascription of status and hierarchy. Thus, a son is inferior to the father but superior to his own son or daughter.

Marriage in traditional Irish society forms the backbone of family and community life. Marriages are matches made for social expediency and political reasons, as well as for economic purposes. The marriage ritual confers adult status upon the young person and reaffirms a patriarchal social order. Moreover, marriage enables the legal transactions of inherited estates. Generally, large families hope for at least one son to marry well enough to create a situation in which the family farm possesses a clear heir. Few families are wealthy or lucky enough to be able to marry successfully all its children. In almost all cases, marriages are made with the help of friends, family and neighbors. The process much resembles a business transaction, in which both the proposing man and the target of his interest determine whether...

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Dowry is considered, in terms of how much wealth needs to be changed hands. The social conventions surrounding traditional marriages are patriarchal in nature, emphasizing the absolute power males in the family have over the economic and political life of the community.

Although love and "romance" are not the central purposes for a traditional marriage of this type, the arrangement does reflect traditional values fostering social stability and harmony. Marriage is a building block of the community, providing structure and longevity. In farming and rural life, community integrity and stability are of the utmost importance. Kinship bonds are paramount to all others, and the network of relations are flexible. Moreover, the nature of kinship in traditional Irish rural communities shows that these communities have strong networks of friendships and extended families. Blood ties are integral to the Irish concept of family and kinship.

Elders play a valuable role in traditional Irish life, which is why the economic stability of the kinship unit remains critical throughout the generations. It is important that money and power be retained in the family and are passed down legitimately, and it is likewise important that…

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"The Family and the Land."


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