Of all the institutions of the traditional society, the family is in many ways the most resistant to change. Under the impact of a modern money and market economy and a centralized national government, many of the functions once associated with the family and clan have been given over more and more to specialized political, economic, educational and religious institutions. At the same time, however, those functions which tend to be the particular concern of the family are still strongly associated with the family. Allowing for some variation between ethnic groups and geographic regions, it appears that the family systems of the Ivory Coast are not radically different from what they were 100 years ago. The major celebrations of the life cycle still reunite most of the family, despite its increased geographical dispersion. The ways in which children are treated and brought up still reflect the same cultural values, although now a Western school may intervene more often and a traditional initiation society less often. Inheritance rules have undergone some changes to bring them in line with the exigencies of a cash-crop economy. Bride prices may be higher and betrothal later, but basic marriage and divorce patterns remain the same.
The family is changing in adjustment to modern life, but it remains the core allegiance of the African, a relatively stable element in a more rapidly changing environment.
Although an Ivory Coaster recognized kin relationships through males and females, relationships through one sex tend to differ importantly from relationships through the other. Kin through males and kin through females are often referred to by different terms, and behavior in relation to them differs.
In addition, relationship exclusively through males or females provides a basis for the formation of lineages. A lineage is a distinct group whose members--males and females--trace descent from a common ancestor and relationship to each other exclusively through either males (a patrilineage) or through females (a matrilineage). In the first instance, children belong to the lineage of their father; in the second,