avoidance relationship

(redirected from avoidance relationships)

avoidance relationship

a mode of behaviour that involves one person continually avoiding another, usually on the grounds of respect or deference. The most common case is when a man has the duty to avoid meeting his wife's mother. Structural-functionalist anthropologists have explained this pattern as a mechanism that expresses and prevents latent conflict. More latterly symbolic anthropologists have classed it as a form of TABOO which reflects native classification systems.