American Kinship

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Transferof payments and gifts

TheAmerican culture values gifts and presents, especially duringfestivals and holiday seasons. The most important gift seasons in theUnited States are the Christmas seasons and the New Years Eve. St.Valentine’s Day has also evolved into an important gift season onthe American culture. Traditional, Americans give presents and giftsto family members, friends and business partners and associates. TheAmerican cultural and customs about gifts have been adopted by manysocieties around the world. Although they are some visibledifference, gifts seasons in Europe, Asia, South America and Africaare relatively similar to the American seasons (Spindler, 2012).

Systemof descent

TheUnited States is commonly referred to as the nation of immigrants.People from all descent live in the United States. Unlike othersocieties around the world where the local or natives are thedominant group, majority of people living in the United States areeither immigrants or descendants of immigrants. When the immigrantsor their ancestors arrived in the United States varies from oneindividual to another (Spindler, 2012).


Dueto cultural diversity in the United States, there are severalresidential patterns. However, the most common residential pattern isinfluenced by modernity. This is what is commonly referred to asneolocal residence or avuculocal residence. This residence pattern ismore common in the more development nations especially the unitedstates and Europe. This is a residential pattern in which marriedcouples resides separately from the man or the woman household. Thismeans that after marriage or before marriage, individuals areexpected to move out of their parents’ household and establishtheir own households. However, this is dependent on the economicstability of the individual. However, other forms of residentialpatterns are also visible in the United States. This includes bothmatrilocal and patrilocal residence (Spindler, 2012).

Numberof spouses

TheAmerican culture view of marriage is based on both traditions andlaw. Thus, in the American culture an individual can have only onespouse at a given time. Due to changes in law, the spouse can be froma different race or the same gender. In many modern societies,individuals are legally and culturally required to have only onespouse. However, some cultures allow men and women to have multiplespouses. Additionally, an individual can get married to anotherspouse after a being legally divorced from the former spouse(Spindler, 2012). There are increased incidences of individualshaving sexual relationship with more than one partner, outsidemarriage. This is one of the leading causes of divorce in America.

Familyand kin group composition

TheAmerican families and kin ship groups are relatively similar to thoseof other cultures around the world. However, it is important to notethat the American society is more liberal on their view of familiesare therefore easily adopt new kin group composition and structurescompared to other relatively more conservative society. Thetraditional family structure in the American society is two marriedindividuals, mainly of the opposite sex living together with theirbiological offspring. Therefore, the ideal family in the Americanculture is a nuclear family. This is similar to other societiesaround the world. Additionally, the kin group may include the membersof the extended family, which includes parents, brothers, cousins,uncles, aunts, grandparents and grand children. Like in many culturesaround the world, the extended family in the American societyprovides both social and economic support to the nuclear family. Dueto changes in the American culture, there are various changes in theAmerican family which includes increases cases of single parenthood,adopted children in the family and same sex marriages (Spindler,2012). These are less common in the more conservative cultures.


Spindler,G. (2012). TheAmerican Cultural Dialogue and Its Transmission.Routledge, ISBN 1136615539.

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