1. (noun) A social relationship established by marriage.
Example: A mother-in-law is an alliance established by marriage.
2. (noun) A social relationship created for common cause or interest.
Audio Pronunciation: (al·li·ance)
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- Plural: alliances
- Alliance theory to create familial bonds is most closely associated with Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009). Lévi-Strauss contended that kinship systems are less about descent (vertical relationships) and more about alliances (horizontal relationships). Alliances create opportunities for exchange and reciprocity while providing identity and integration to an individual or group.
- Lévi-Strauss’s (1908–2009) The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949) along with Lewis Henry Morgan‘s (1818–1881) Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity in the Human Family (1871) helped establish the study of kinship as a distinct field of anthropology and sociology. Morgan and Lévi-Strauss among other kinship writers were critiqued by David M. Schneider (1918–1995) in American Kinship: A Cultural Account and A Critique of the Study of Kinship (1984). Schneider ‘s work reinvigorated the study of kinship. Alliance theory sought to explain the function of exogamy and incest taboos among other aspects of kinship.
- The study of kinship was once divided into alliance theory and descent theory but the debate has shifted to a less universal theory of kinship.
- Alliance used in a sentence:
- An individual or group (verb) aligns with another individual or group.
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “alliance” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- common-law marriage
- family life course
- family life cycle
- family of orientation
- family of procreation
- extended family
- open marriage
How to Cite the Definition of Alliance
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “alliance.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/alliance/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
alliance. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/alliance/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “alliance.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/alliance/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“alliance.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/alliance/>.