This article reflects the long-standing use of the term kinship in anthropology, which refers to the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of most humans in most societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life - mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we "are working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children, and the formation of basic economic, political, and religious groups.
Within anthropology, kinship can refer both to the patterns of social relationships themselves, or it can refer to the study of the patterns of social relationships in one or more human cultures (i.e. kinship studies). Over its history, anthropology has developed a number of related concepts and terms in the study of kinship, such as descent, descent group, lineage, affine, cognate and fictive kinship. Further, even within these two broad usages of the term, there are different theoretical approaches.
Kinship terminology refers to the various systems used in languages to refer to the persons to whom an individual is related through kinship. Different societies classify kinship relations differently and therefore use different systems of kinship terminology - for example some languages distinguish between affinal and consanguine uncles, whereas others have only one word to refer to both a father and his brothers. Kinship terminologies include the terms of address used in different languages or communities for different relatives and the terms of reference used to identify the relationship of these relatives to ego or to each other.
The Serbo-Croatian standard languages (Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian) have one of the more elaborate kinship (srodstvo) systems among European languages. Terminology may differ from place to place. Most words are common to other Slavic languages, though some derive from Turkish. The standardized languages may recognize slightly different pronunciations or dialectical forms; all terms are considered standard in all four languages, unless otherwise marked: [B] (Bosnian), [C] (Croatian), [M] (Montenegrin) and [S] (Serbian) below.
There are four main types of kinship in the family: biological AKA blood kinship, kinship by law (in-laws), spiritual kinship (such as godparents), and legal kinship through adoption and remarriage.