Avunculocal Residence

Avunculocal residence is generated from a number of separate rules.
  1. Women usually take up residence with their husbands after marriage, and the couple's children reside with them until adulthood.
  2. Upon reaching maturity, sons are expected to move out of their parental home into their mothers' brothers' households.
  3. Daughters continue to follow a virilocal pattern, by moving to their husbands' households after marriage.

Avunculocal Residence, Stage I

In the initial stages of household development, a married couple resides in the husband's household, as do their young children (B and C). At this point the domestic unit assumes the form of a nuclear family.

Avunculocal Residence, Stage II

In the next generation, the children of the family, B and C, leave their natal household. The son (B) join's his mother's brother, and the daughter (C) joins her husband. In the same vein, A's adult sister's son (D) moves in with him and eventually marries and brings in his wife. D's young children reside with their mother and father until adulthood. (Note that matrilineally related kin are shaded in the same coulour.

Avunculocal Residence, Stage III

The same process is repeated in the next generation.

Avunculocal residence is a common pattern in matrilineal societies, as it brings the adult male members of a matrilineage into a single residential unit.

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Created 1995