House society models, based on the work of Levi-Strauss but since refined by cultural anthropologists and archaeologists, provide a good model for understanding social organization among the ancient Maya and their neighbors in Mesoamerica based on a comparative study of societies in the Copan Valley, the lower Ulua Valley (Sula Valley), and the Cuyumapa Valley, all in Honduras. Social Houses are flexible, enduring social groupings that define kinship flexibly, recognizing adoption, marriage, shared residency, and other factors as ways to create ties that endure over generations.
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Hendon, Julia A., and Rosemary A. Joyce 2001. A Flexible Corporation: Classic Period House Societies from Eastern Mesoamerica. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, New Orleans, LA.