A sociological term used to specificy a human relationship that is very difficult to understand outside of the context of a society where these types of interactions are common.The base definition of this term is a defined relationship involving ritualized and reciprocal exchanges of mild abuse in friendly situations. The important factor here is the expectation to behave towards others in the relationship in ways that would offend people outside it.

The point isn't to make convoluted terminology out of common friendships that happen in almost every work place. The point is that these relationships are ubiquitous yet really difficult to explain in universal terms. In some cultures (notably African tribes and the Native American Winnebago tribe) this relationships are a rigid part of social protocol (in essence, enforcing tribal hierarchy through humor) that would be completely weird to those of us accustomed to establishing casual joking relationships with co-workers or whatnot.

This idea is extended further by other tribal protocols that require the establishment of this type of relationship between a groom and the bride's family. The idea (and a pretty sensible one at that) is that the simulated hostility will break down the natural hostilities between the groom and the father of the bride.

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