Inheretance Question for a conculture

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
Post Reply
User avatar
LinguistCat
sinic
sinic
Posts: 268
Joined: 06 May 2017 07:48

Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by LinguistCat »

I'm not sure how to phrase my actual question but I'm thinking of working with a conculture where most individuals are hermaphroditic but there are cultural limits about who can mate with whom. Some of these limits are based on physical attributes but which do not actually limit the ability to produce offspring by a couple. Lets say the physical trait is even on a spectrum, with culturally defined limits on who goes into which box. (While I'm not using this trait, lets go with trunk length on an elephant species.)

If there are two subsets and you just have to marry someone in the other set, it would be easy to have some kind of inheritance pattern such as Long Trunk Child (LTC) inherits from Long Trunk Parent (LTP) and Short Trunk Child (STC) from Short Trunk Parent (STP), or vice versus.

But if there are more than 2 (say short, mid and long), and you do not get only the two options that are inputs, then things become more complicated. Does anyone have some ideas about how this could work? Where some of the children are likely to be in the same groupings as one of their parents, and therefor would easily have reasons to inherit, but some also likely will not. I expect Eldin will weigh in at some point and I look forward to his input should he do so.
User avatar
Titus Flavius
sinic
sinic
Posts: 246
Joined: 13 Apr 2021 14:53
Location: Sol III

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by Titus Flavius »

ω - near-close near-back unrounded vowel.
XIPA
:pol: :mrgreen:
:eng: [:)]
:esp: [:S]
:lat: [:'(]
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2537
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by Salmoneus »

I'm not sure why you assume inheritance would by default be same-sex. On earth, although same-sex-inheritance systems do exist*, they're by far the minority.
[as distinct from sex-based inheritance per se. In male-preference primogeniture, for example, males inherit from males... but males also inherit from females when females have anything to inherit. The key characteristic in this system is sex per se, and not sex relative to the person they're inheriting from]




*The classic example (which I believe occurs quite a bit in West Africa?) is where women inherit land and houses from their mothers, but men inherit tools and boats from their fathers.
User avatar
LinguistCat
sinic
sinic
Posts: 268
Joined: 06 May 2017 07:48

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by LinguistCat »

Salmoneus wrote: 13 Jan 2022 01:00 I'm not sure why you assume inheritance would by default be same-sex.
I didn't, but with the example I used I understand why you thought I did. I mentioned "... some kind of inheritance pattern such as Long Trunk Child (LTC) inherits from Long Trunk Parent (LTP) and Short Trunk Child (STC) from Short Trunk Parent (STP), or vice versus." Meaning that I was looking at same-grouping inheritance, and alternate-grouping inheritance in a two group system. I also didn't mean to exclude only inheriting from one type of parent, or only one type of child typically inheriting the majority of whatever is passed down. But those systems are less interesting to me.

And that still breaks down if you have multiple groups that one could be in that neither parent is from.

Titus, thank you for the link. I knew Eldin probably wrote something up on here before and I'll refresh my memory later.
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2537
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by Salmoneus »

LinguistCat wrote: 13 Jan 2022 12:54 And that still breaks down if you have multiple groups that one could be in that neither parent is from.
But what I'm getting at is: why? You've said it "breaks down", and "becomes more complicated", but I don't see why, and hence I don't understand what problem you're asking for a solution to.

Here on Earth, many human cultures have more than two genders (including increasingly our own), and therefore situations arise in which a child is of a gender different from either of their parents. Many human cultures also have same-gender marriages, so that, again, even in a two-gender culture there are situations in which a child is of a different gender from either of their parents. But I'm not aware of this causing any problems for the system of inheritance: if two gay men have a daughter, or a man and a woman have a non-binary child, there can of course be difficulties to navigate (arising from our culture currently being in flux in this regard), but I've never heard of the problem of inheritance law being one of them. [at least, in terms of the daughter not being a boy; there may complications with inheritance laws regarding one parent not being a biological parent, or the parents not being legally married, depending on local laws]

So given that we manage it here on Earth, why does it 'break down' on your planet?
User avatar
LinguistCat
sinic
sinic
Posts: 268
Joined: 06 May 2017 07:48

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by LinguistCat »

Salmoneus wrote: 13 Jan 2022 13:41
LinguistCat wrote: 13 Jan 2022 12:54 And that still breaks down if you have multiple groups that one could be in that neither parent is from.
But what I'm getting at is: why? You've said it "breaks down", and "becomes more complicated", but I don't see why, and hence I don't understand what problem you're asking for a solution to.

Here on Earth, many human cultures have more than two genders (including increasingly our own), and therefore situations arise in which a child is of a gender different from either of their parents. Many human cultures also have same-gender marriages, so that, again, even in a two-gender culture there are situations in which a child is of a different gender from either of their parents. But I'm not aware of this causing any problems for the system of inheritance: if two gay men have a daughter, or a man and a woman have a non-binary child, there can of course be difficulties to navigate (arising from our culture currently being in flux in this regard), but I've never heard of the problem of inheritance law being one of them. [at least, in terms of the daughter not being a boy; there may complications with inheritance laws regarding one parent not being a biological parent, or the parents not being legally married, depending on local laws]

So given that we manage it here on Earth, why does it 'break down' on your planet?
Ok I see why there was an issue and why I was confused about you assuming it had to be same "gender". I was assuming that it would still be connected to "gender". Just it wasn't limited to Short Trunk inherits from their Short Trunk parent and Long Trunk inherits from their Long Trunk parent. So if inheriting still depends on the Trunk class of both parent and child, but there were more classes, that would foul things up if there were no children of the right class regardless of the "right" class compared to the parent. Now that it's not 4 in the morning for me, like when I wrote the the response about it not being limited to same gender inheritance, the obvious solution IN PRACTICE is of course, just give the other kids the inheritance in some way. Just like how even in most societies in which men inherited from their fathers almost exclusively, you can still find the occasional daughter inheriting or a son receiving inheritance from the mother. It's not on anyone else that I was thinking about IN PRINCIPLE and that I was thinking of a stricter system than "bequeath things to the offspring or person you feel deserves it most."

But I suppose the answer would be "They wouldn't make a system like this." If it were purely social, there would just be rules to assign folks to a specific group and they would also have rules to say how inheriting works with regards to that. And if it were self assigned, then it likely wouldn't come into inheritance at all. If it were purely based on who was physically able to reproduce, then it would just be a sex system, even if more complex than ours. The fact that it's none of these makes me think that even if there was a socially relevant reason for them to have these social classes, and even if they played into who could or could not (in their view) produce kids, they would not use it to decide inheritance. Or at best as a final deciding factor after other reasons someone should get something or not had been gone through.
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2537
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by Salmoneus »

LinguistCat wrote: 14 Jan 2022 00:10 Ok I see why there was an issue and why I was confused about you assuming it had to be same "gender". I was assuming that it would still be connected to "gender". Just it wasn't limited to Short Trunk inherits from their Short Trunk parent and Long Trunk inherits from their Long Trunk parent. So if inheriting still depends on the Trunk class of both parent and child, but there were more classes, that would foul things up if there were no children of the right class regardless of the "right" class compared to the parent. Now that it's not 4 in the morning for me, like when I wrote the the response about it not being limited to same gender inheritance, the obvious solution IN PRACTICE is of course, just give the other kids the inheritance in some way. Just like how even in most societies in which men inherited from their fathers almost exclusively, you can still find the occasional daughter inheriting or a son receiving inheritance from the mother. It's not on anyone else that I was thinking about IN PRINCIPLE and that I was thinking of a stricter system than "bequeath things to the offspring or person you feel deserves it most."
Well, systems can be strict without being gender-based! Absolute primogeniture is very strict, but not gender-based! And if that's the problem, I'd point out that it happens in any system, because you can never normally guarantee that each male-female couple will have at least two children and that at least one will be male and at least one will be female: you could have one son, or you could have five daughters.

As you say, one way around this problem is allowing the 'wrong' gender to inherit if there's no immediate 'right' gender heir. But this isn't the only way! You can also have a system where inheritance is by a non-immediate heir: so if you don't have a son, your throne goes to your nephew, or your cousin-once-removed, or... [eg go back to the earliest male ancestor who still has a male descendent living and then down the line to him]. You can also have a rule in which inheritance simply doesn't happen if there's no appropiate immediate heir. This happens with some aristocratic titles, and some land rights iirc: when the line is 'exhausted', everything reverts to the crown (or to the clan patriarch, or...).

You can also have a system in which you can just change daughters into sons where needed. This is famously the case with Nuer marriage obligation inheritance: where custom calls for X's son to marry Y's daughter, but X has no son, X's daughter can just become a son to complete the marriage. It's also the case with... I want to say Albanian?... military obligations: where the son was obliged to become a soldier but there is no son, a daughter could just become a son (and remain a son in all other respects as well, for life). And speaking of Nuer marriages, you could always have inheritance be by a dead person (dead people can easily own things, because ownership is not the same as management, and the dead person can just appoint someone else to manage things on their behalf). So if a father only has daughters, maybe his own dead father could inherit from him? [the Nuer practice ghost marriage: if the man who has inherited the obligation to marry a woman is dead, she just marries him anyway (and her children are legally his, etc). Interestingly, this is also practiced by the French, albeit for different reasons.]

Or you can just use widespread adoption. The classic case here are the aristocracy of China, where for hundreds of years it was commonplace for sons to be bought as slaves and adopted (for reasons of land prices: you needed one male heir to continue your line, but females were just an expense and too many males would lead to the land being broken up; so many families were over-cautious and ended up childless, and thus needing to adopt). Another example is Rome: less extreme, but adoption of male relatives as heirs of men without sons was far more common than in later European culture. [eg: Julius Caesar adopted his niece's son, Gaius Octavius, who changed his name to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus to show both his birth family and his adopted father (the -ianus element in Roman names signifies adoption, at least early on). Octavian adopted his grandsons, and when they died he adopted his stepson, Tiberius. Tiberius adopted his nephew's son, Caligula. Claudius adopted his stepson, Nero. And so on.]
But I suppose the answer would be "They wouldn't make a system like this." If it were purely social, there would just be rules to assign folks to a specific group and they would also have rules to say how inheriting works with regards to that. And if it were self assigned, then it likely wouldn't come into inheritance at all.
I wouldn't go that far. Monasticism, for example, could be considered a self-assigned gender that affects inheritance, in that it prevents it (and iirc many transgender and third-gender genders associated with religious functions work similarly).


[/quote]
User avatar
Torco
sinic
sinic
Posts: 289
Joined: 14 Oct 2010 08:36

Re: Inheretance Question for a conculture

Post by Torco »

You know what could be cool? just make it insanely complex! like, I don't know, say you have longs and short trunkers: you could have a system by which.

> long trunkers inherit from other long trunkers unless the son doesn't have a long parent. (it may be taboo, but then again, it's going to happen)
> all people sired by same trunk unions are called crossed, and don't inherit.
> short trunkers inherit from other short trunkers, unless they don't have a short parent.
> people sired by two longs, or two shorts, are called stars: long star , short stars.
> of course, all stars are crossed.
> the estate of a short trunker who sired with another short trunker goes to their short closest trunker sibling
> longs and shorts use different sets of rules to determine who is 'closest' to whom in this sense.
> the estate of a long trunker who sired with another long trunker goes to their parents first.
> short trunkers who have inherited from a long trunker parent are called straight shorts, longers who inherit from shorters straight longs.
> if your parents are both straight, you're a moon whatever you are, so a moon shorter or moon longer.
> if your parents are both crossed, you're a moon too.
> the estate of a moon goes to whatever star siblings they have. if they don't have any, it goes to any star cousins or nephews they have.
> long stars inheri before short stars
> the estate of moon longs is indivisible (the closes relative gets all), that of moon shorts is split up amongst claimants
> if you're straight and enter into a same-trunk pairing with another straight, one of you gets to be said to be a ceremonial member of the opposite trunk gender.
> if you're crossed, and pair up with a moon, they become crossed instead.

and so on and so forth.
Post Reply