In recent years, different family types have begun demanding recognition to an unprecedented extent. Despite notable changes to our cultural and academic landscapes, however, adoptive families remain overlooked. According to census data, about two and a half percent of children in the United States are adopted. But mere numbers do not begin to indicate the profound impact that these families have on cultural definitions of kinship.
Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society brings together twenty-one prominent scholars to explore the experience, practice, and policy of adoption in North America. While much existing literature tends to stress the potential problems inherent in non-biological kinship, the essays in this volume consider adoptive family life in a broad and balanced context.
Essays explore our current fascination with genetics, showing how our intense belief that we are produced, shaped, and controlled by our genes has affected the authenticity and value that we credit to adoptive parent/child relations. Other essays look at identity development, community attitudes toward adoption, gay adoptive fathers’ experiences, the ways in which single mother adoptive families create kinship, and the ways in which cultural assumptions about race and class operate in the system.
Bringing new perspectives to the topics of kinship, identity, and belonging, this path-breaking book expands more than our understandings of adoptive family life; it urges us to rethink the limits and possibilities of diversity and assimilation in American society.
The influx of African migrants into Europe in recent years has raised important issues about changing labor economies, new technologies of border control, and the effects of armed conflict. But attention to such broad questions often obscures a fundamental fact of migration: its effects on ordinary life. Affective Circuits brings together essays by an international group of well-known anthropologists to place the migrant family front and center. Moving between Africa and Europe, the book explores the many ways migrants sustain and rework family ties and intimate relationships at home and abroad. It demonstrates how their quotidian efforts—on such a mass scale—contribute to a broader process of social regeneration.
The contributors point to the intersecting streams of goods, people, ideas, and money as they circulate between African migrants and their kin who remain back home. They also show the complex ways that emotions become entangled in these exchanges. Examining how these circuits operate in domains of social life ranging from child fosterage to binational marriages, from coming-of-age to healing and religious rituals, the book also registers the tremendous impact of state officials, laws, and policies on migrant experience. Together these essays paint an especially vivid portrait of new forms of kinship at a time of both intense mobility and ever-tightening borders.
When a new baby arrives among the Beng people of West Africa, they see it not as being born, but as being reincarnated after a rich life in a previous world. Far from being a tabula rasa, a Beng infant is thought to begin its life filled with spiritual knowledge. How do these beliefs affect the way the Beng rear their children?
In this unique and engaging ethnography of babies, Alma Gottlieb explores how religious ideology affects every aspect of Beng childrearing practices—from bathing infants to protecting them from disease to teaching them how to crawl and walk—and how widespread poverty limits these practices. A mother of two, Gottlieb includes moving discussions of how her experiences among the Beng changed the way she saw her own parenting. Throughout the book she also draws telling comparisons between Beng and Euro-American parenting, bringing home just how deeply culture matters to the way we all rear our children.
All parents and anyone interested in the place of culture in the lives of infants, and vice versa, will enjoy The Afterlife Is Where We Come From.
"This wonderfully reflective text should provide the impetus for formulating research possibilities about infancy and toddlerhood for this century." — Caren J. Frost, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
“Alma Gottlieb’s careful and thought-provoking account of infancy sheds spectacular light upon a much neglected topic. . . . [It] makes a strong case for the central place of babies in anthropological accounts of religion. Gottlieb’s remarkably rich account, delivered after a long and reflective period of gestation, deserves a wide audience across a range of disciplines.”—Anthony Simpson, Critique of Anthropology
Patricia C. Henderson, a South African anthropologist, resided from March 2003 to February 2006 in Okhahlamba, a municipality in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. In this book, she recounts her experience among this rural population who lived under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Spanning a period that starts before antiretrovirals were readily available to a time when these treatments were finally used to care for the ill, this powerful account of a terrible disease and the communities which it affects focuses on the ties between suffering and kinship in South Africa.
American Kinship is the first attempt to deal systematically with kinship as a system of symbols and meanings, and not simply as a network of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the study of a highly differentiated society such as our own may be more revealing of the nature of kinship than the study of anthropologically more familiar, but less differentiated societies. He goes to the heart of the ideology of relations among relatives in America by locating the underlying features of the definition of kinship—nature vs. law, substance vs. code. One of the most significant features of American Kinship, then, is the explicit development of a theory of culture on which the analysis is based, a theory that has since proved valuable in the analysis of other cultures. For this Phoenix edition, Schneider has written a substantial new chapter, responding to his critics and recounting the charges in his thought since the book was first published in 1968.
Ancestral Connections unlocks the inner meaning of Australian Aboriginal bark painting. Drawing on more than ten years of fieldwork among the Yolngu—an Aboriginal people of Northeast Arnhem Land—and applying both anthropological and art historical methods, Howard Morphy explores systematically the graphic representation of traditional knowledge in Yolngu art. He also charts the role that art has played in Aboriginal society both present and past.
The rich symbolism of Yolngu art links the Yolngu directly with the "Dreaming," the time of world-creation that continues as the spiritual dimension of the present. Morphy shows how a complex dialectic of "inside" and "outside" interpretations of painting structures the system of knowledge in Yolngu society, and how European interest in this art has caused certain changes in the conditions of its production. The "inside" significance of the art, however, has not changed; it retains its dual ability to represent and to constitute relationships between things.
Ancestral Connections is a major contribution to the anthropology of art. A subtle commentary on the colonial encounter in northern Australia, the book demonstrates how the Yolngu have used their art—against all odds—as an instrument of cultural survival and as a component of the economic and political transformation of their society.
Archaeology has been subjected to a wide range of misunderstandings of kinship theory and many of its central concepts. Demonstrating that kinship is the foundation for past societies’ social organization, particularly in non-state societies, Bradley E. Ensor offers a lucid presentation of kinship principles and theories accessible to a broad audience. He provides not only descriptions of what the principles entail but also an understanding of their relevance to past and present topics of interest to archaeologists. His overall goal is always clear: to illustrate how kinship analysis can advance archaeological interpretation and how archaeology can advance kinship theory.
The Archaeology of Kinship supports Ensor’s objectives: to demonstrate the relevance of kinship to major archaeological questions, to describe archaeological methods for kinship analysis independent of ethnological interpretation, to illustrate the use of those techniques with a case study, and to provide specific examples of how diachronic analyses address broader theory. As Ensor shows, archaeological diachronic analyses of kinship are independently possible, necessary, and capable of providing new insights into past cultures and broader anthropological theory. Although it is an old subject in anthropology, The Archaeology of Kinship can offer new and exciting frontiers for inquiry.
Kinship research in general—and prehistoric kinship in particular—is rapidly reemerging as a topical subject in anthropology. This book is a timely archaeological contribution to that growing literature otherwise dominated by ethnology.
Thirty-five years after its initial success as a form of technologically assisted human reproduction, and five million miracle babies later, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a routine procedure worldwide. In Biological Relatives, Sarah Franklin explores how the normalization of IVF has changed how both technology and biology are understood. Drawing on anthropology, feminist theory, and science studies, Franklin charts the evolution of IVF from an experimental research technique into a global technological platform used for a wide variety of applications, including genetic diagnosis, livestock breeding, cloning, and stem cell research. She contends that despite its ubiquity, IVF remains a highly paradoxical technology that confirms the relative and contingent nature of biology while creating new biological relatives. Using IVF as a lens, Franklin presents a bold and lucid thesis linking technologies of gender and sex to reproductive biomedicine, contemporary bioinnovation, and the future of kinship.
In modern Latin America, profound social inequalities have persisted despite the promise of equality. Nara B. Milanich argues that social and legal practices surrounding family and kinship have helped produce and sustain these inequalities. Tracing families both elite and plebeian in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Chile, she focuses on a group largely invisible in Latin American historiography: children. The concept of family constituted a crucial dimension of an individual’s identity and status, but also denoted a privileged set of gendered and generational dependencies that not all people could claim. Children of Fate explores such themes as paternity, illegitimacy, kinship, and child circulation over the course of eighty years of Chile’s modern history to illuminate the ways family practices and ideologies powerfully shaped the lives of individuals as well as broader social structures.
Milanich pays particular attention to family law, arguing that liberal legal reforms wrought in the 1850s, which left the paternity of illegitimate children purposely unrecorded, reinforced not only patriarchal power but also hierarchies of class. Through vivid stories culled from judicial and notarial sources and from a cache of documents found in the closet of a Santiago orphanage, she reveals how law and bureaucracy helped create an anonymous underclass bereft of kin entitlements, dependent on the charity of others, and marginalized from public bureaucracies. Milanich also challenges the recent scholarly emphasis on state formation by highlighting the enduring importance of private, informal, and extralegal relations of power within and across households. Children of Fate demonstrates how the study of children can illuminate the social organization of gender and class, liberalism, law, and state power in modern Latin America.
In this vivid ethnography, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver explores “child circulation,” informal arrangements in which indigenous Andean children are sent by their parents to live in other households. At first glance, child circulation appears tantamount to child abandonment. When seen in that light, the practice is a violation of international norms regarding children’s rights, guidelines that the Peruvian state relies on in regulating legal adoptions. Leinaweaver demonstrates that such an understanding of the practice is simplistic and misleading. Her in-depth ethnographic analysis reveals child circulation to be a meaningful, pragmatic social practice for poor and indigenous Peruvians, a flexible system of kinship that has likely been part of Andean lives for centuries. Child circulation may be initiated because parents cannot care for their children, because a childless elder wants company, or because it gives a young person the opportunity to gain needed skills.
Leinaweaver provides insight into the emotional and material factors that bring together and separate indigenous Andean families in the highland city of Ayacucho. She describes how child circulation is intimately linked to survival in the city, which has had to withstand colonialism, economic isolation, and the devastating civil war unleashed by the Shining Path. Leinaweaver examines the practice from the perspective of parents who send their children to live in other households, the adults who receive them, and the children themselves. She relates child circulation to international laws and norms regarding children’s rights, adoptions, and orphans, and to Peru’s history of racial conflict and violence. Given that history, Leinaweaver maintains that it is not surprising that child circulation, a practice associated with Peru’s impoverished indigenous community, is alternately ignored, tolerated, or condemned by the state.
By contextualizing classes and their kinship behavior within the overall political economy, Crafting Prehispanic Maya Kinship provides an example of how archaeology can help to explain the formation of disparate classes and kinship patterns within an ancient state-level society.
Bradley E. Ensor provides a new theoretical contribution to Maya ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archaeological research. Rather than operating solely as a symbolic order unobservable to archaeologists, kinship, according to Ensor, forms concrete social relations that structure daily life and can be reflected in the material remains of a society. Ensor argues that the use of cross-culturally identified and confirmed material indicators of postmarital residence and descent group organization enable archaeologists—those with the most direct material evidence on prehispanic Maya social organization—to overturn a traditional reliance on competing and problematic ethnohistorical models.
Using recent data from an arch aeological project within the Chontalpa Maya region of Tabasco, Mexico, Ensor illustrates how archaeologists can interpret and explain the diversity of kinship behavior and its influence on gender within any given Maya social formation.
Schneider challenges the assumptions on which anthropology has depended for the last century by showing that one of the major categories in terms of which social life has been understood is largely untenable. The idea of kinship is subject to penetrating scrutiny. Unlike the proverbial Emperor, it is not that kinship has no clothes. The question is whether there is anything at all underneath those clothes. And even when the clothes appear to be shreds and patches held together by a web of illusions.
The critique uses a novel device in that the same set of ethnographic “facts” are looked at through different theories. This reveals a good deal about the different theories. By the same token, of course, this critique goes into the question of what a “fact” of “kinship” might be and how to recognize one either at home or in the field.
Schneider’s critique also uses history to raise cogent questions about how kinship has been studied. But it is not as 20/20 hindsight that history is used. Due respect is paid to the climate of the time, as well as the climatic changes and the ways in which these helped to create the emperor’s clothes. Right, wrong, or indifferent, Schneider’s study of how the emperor “kinship” was dressed and then redressed as the winds of change threatened disarray, proves challenging to the theories by which anthropology lives, as well as to the specifically privileged domain of “kinship.” The implications of this study for a wide range of problems within theoretical anthropology are striking.
The “Crow-Omaha problem” has perplexed anthropologists since it was first described by Lewis Henry Morgan in 1871. During his worldwide survey of kinship systems, Morgan learned with astonishment that some Native American societies call some relatives of different generations by the same terms. Why? Intergenerational “skewing” in what came to be named “Crow” and “Omaha” systems has provoked a wealth of anthropological arguments, from Rivers to Radcliffe-Brown, from Lowie to Lévi-Strauss, and many more. Crow-Omaha systems, it turns out, are both uncommon and yet found distributed around the world. For anthropologists, cracking the Crow-Omaha problem is critical to understanding how social systems transform from one type into another, both historically in particular settings and evolutionarily in the broader sweep of human relations.
This volume examines the Crow-Omaha problem from a variety of perspectives—historical, linguistic, formalist, structuralist, culturalist, evolutionary, and phylogenetic. It focuses on the regions where Crow-Omaha systems occur: Native North America, Amazonia, West Africa, Northeast and East Africa, aboriginal Australia, northeast India, and the Tibeto-Burman area. The international roster of authors includes leading experts in their fields.
The book offers a state-of-the-art assessment of Crow-Omaha kinship and carries forward the work of the landmark volume Transformations of Kinship, published in 1998. Intended for students and scholars alike, it is composed of brief, accessible chapters that respect the complexity of the ideas while presenting them clearly. The work serves as both a new benchmark in the explanation of kinship systems and an introduction to kinship studies for a new generation of students.
Series Note: Formerly titled Amerind Studies in Archaeology, this series has recently been expanded and retitled Amerind Studies in Anthropology to incorporate a high quality and number of anthropology titles coming in to the series in addition to those in archaeology.
Why is culture a problem that can never be solved? Charles W. Nuckolls poses this question to his readers, and offers a genuinely synthetic approach to culture that is both cognitive and psychoanalytic. He develops a theory of cultural dialectics based on the concept of paradox, in which he shows how ambivalence and conflicts, and the desire to resolve them, are at the heart of all cultural knowledge systems.
Nuckolls combines and synthesizes the ideas of Max Weber and Sigmund Freud—major influences in the cognitive and psychoanalytic paradigms—and develops the concept basic to both: the dialectic. He recovers the legacy of Gregory Bateson, who provided the foundation for a theory of paradox in culture. With his integrated theory, Nuckolls explains the conflicts of knowledge and desire in a South Asian knowledge system, in particular the religious mythology and divinatory system of the Jalaris, a Telugu-speaking fishing caste on the southeastern coast of India.
This provocative book allows us to rethink the relationship between the currently competing discourses in psychological and cultural anthropology, and at the same time offers a general synthetic theory of cultural dynamics.
During the 1990s, the number of children adopted from poorer countries to the more affluent West grew exponentially. Close to 140,000 transnational adoptions occurred in the United States alone. While in an earlier era, adoption across borders was assumed to be straightforward—a child traveled to a new country and stayed there—by the late twentieth century, adoptees were expected to acquaint themselves with the countries of their birth and explore their multiple identities. Listservs, Web sites, and organizations creating international communities of adoptive parents and adoptees proliferated. With contributors including several adoptive parents, this unique collection looks at how transnational adoption creates and transforms cultures.
The cultural experiences considered in this volume raise important questions about race and nation; about kinship, biology, and belonging; and about the politics of the sending and receiving nations. Several essayists explore the images and narratives related to transnational adoption. Others examine the recent preoccupation with “roots” and “birth cultures.” They describe a trip during which a group of Chilean adoptees and their Swedish parents traveled “home” to Chile, the “culture camps” attended by thousands of young-adult Korean adoptees whom South Korea is now eager to reclaim as “overseas Koreans,” and adopted children from China and their North American parents grappling with the question of what “Chinese” or “Chinese American” identity might mean. Essays on Korean birth mothers, Chinese parents who adopt children within China, and the circulation of children in Brazilian families reveal the complexities surrounding adoption within the so-called sending countries. Together, the contributors trace the new geographies of kinship and belonging created by transnational adoption.
Contributors. Lisa Cartwright, Claudia Fonseca, Elizabeth Alice Honig, Kay Johnson, Laurel Kendall, Eleana Kim, Toby Alice Volkman, Barbara Yngvesson
French-Indigenous families were a central force in shaping Detroit’s history. Detroit’s Hidden Channels: The Power of French-Indigenous Families in the Eighteenth Century examines the role of these kinship networks in Detroit’s development as a site of singular political and economic importance in the continental interior. Situated where Anishinaabe, Wendat, Myaamia, and later French communities were established and where the system of waterways linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico narrowed, Detroit’s location was its primary attribute. While the French state viewed Detroit as a decaying site of illegal activities, the influence of the French-Indigenous networks grew as members diverted imperial resources to bolster an alternative configuration of power relations that crossed Indigenous and Euro-American nations. Women furthered commerce by navigating a multitude of gender norms of their nations, allowing them to defy the state that sought to control them by holding them to European ideals of womanhood. By the mid-eighteenth century, French-Indigenous families had become so powerful, incoming British traders and imperial officials courted their favor. These families would maintain that power as the British imperial presence splintered on the eve of the American Revolution.
Until the New Deal, most groups seeking protection from imports were successful in obtaining relief from Congress. In general the cost of paying the tariffs for consumers was less than the cost of mounting collective action to stop the tariffs. In 1934, with the passage of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, all of this changed. The six decades that followed have produced a remarkable liberalization of trade policy in the United States. This occurred despite the fact that domestic politics, according to some of the best developed theories, should have prevented this liberalization.
Michael Gilligan argues that liberalization has succeeded because it has been reciprocal with liberalization in other countries. Our trade barriers have been reduced as an explicit quid pro quo for reduction of trade barriers in other countries. Reciprocity, Gilligan argues, gives exporters the incentive to support free trade policies because it gives them a clear gain from free trade and thus enables the exporters to overcome collective action problems. The lobbying by exporters, balancing the interests of groups seeking protection, changes the preferences of political leaders in favor of more liberalization.
Gilligan tests his theory in a detailed exploration of the history of American trade policy and in a quantitative analysis showing increases in the demand for liberalization as the result of reciprocity in trade legislation from 1890 to the present. This book should appeal to political scientists, economists, and those who want to understand the political underpinnings of American trade policy.
Michael J. Gilligan is Assistant Professor of Politics, New York University.
Essays on Mexican Kinship
Hugo G. Nutini University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976 Library of Congress F1219.3.S6E73 | Dewey Decimal 301.420972
Essays in Mexican Kinship offers new and important data on the social structure of Indian and rural Mestizo communities of Mexico, particularly those of the highlands, and provides models and suggestions for future research.
In The Feeling of Kinship, David L. Eng investigates the emergence of “queer liberalism”—the empowerment of certain gays and lesbians in the United States, economically through an increasingly visible and mass-mediated queer consumer lifestyle, and politically through the legal protection of rights to privacy and intimacy. Eng argues that in our “colorblind” age the emergence of queer liberalism is a particular incarnation of liberal freedom and progress, one constituted by both the racialization of intimacy and the forgetting of race. Through a startling reading of Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark legal decision overturning Texas’s antisodomy statute, Eng reveals how the ghosts of miscegenation haunt both Lawrence and the advent of queer liberalism.
Eng develops the concept of “queer diasporas” as a critical response to queer liberalism. A methodology drawing attention to new forms of family and kinship, accounts of subjects and subjectivities, and relations of affect and desire, the concept differs from the traditional notions of diaspora, theories of the nation-state, and principles of neoliberal capitalism upon which queer liberalism thrives. Eng analyzes films, documentaries, and literature by Asian and Asian American artists including Wong Kar-wai, Monique Truong, Deann Borshay Liem, and Rea Tajiri, as well as a psychoanalytic case history of a transnational adoptee from Korea. In so doing, he demonstrates how queer Asian migrant labor, transnational adoption from Asia, and the political and psychic legacies of Japanese internment underwrite narratives of racial forgetting and queer freedom in the present. A focus on queer diasporas also highlights the need for a poststructuralist account of family and kinship, one offering psychic alternatives to Oedipal paradigms. The Feeling of Kinship makes a major contribution to American studies, Asian American studies, diaspora studies, psychoanalysis, and queer theory.
Through a systematic comparison of the life circumstances, child-rearing practices, and personalities of the FulBe and their former slaves, the RiimaayBe, this book develops an alternative theory of the way personality is formed in the Fulani society of West Africa. Riesman discusses the different characters, economies, and life plans of adult men and women of both groups, focusing on their ideas about the value of relatives. He further presents detailed observations of child-rearing practices, and concludes that the FulBe and RiimaayBe do not differ in these practices. Contrasting Fulani and Western notions of parenting, he suggests that child-rearing practices are themselves irrelevant to the formation of adult personality, but that a people's ideas about the meaning of life, social relations, and the development of character are very important. Finally, Riesman outlines a sociocultural theory of personality and its formation, and uses this theory to make sense of the differences between FulBe and RiimaayBe.
Among a growing number of ethnographies of eastern Indonesia that deal with cosmology, exchange, and kinship, From a Shattered Sun is the first to address squarely issues originally broached by Edmund Leach and Claude Lévi-Strauss concerning the relation between hierarchy and equality in asymmetric systems of marriage.
On the basis of extensive fieldwork in the Tamimbar islands, Susan McKinnon analyzes the simultaneous presence of both closed, asymmetric cycles and open, asymmetric pathways of alliance—of both egalitarian and hierarchical configurations. In addition, Tamimbarese society is marked by the existence of multiple, differentially valued forms of marriage, affiliation, and residence. Rather than seeing these various forms as analytically separable types, McKinnon demonstrates that it is only by viewing them as integrally related—in terms of culturally specific understandings of "houses," gender, and exchange—that one can perceive the processes through which hierarchy and equality are created.
Until twenty years ago we had no idea which of our genes came from our father and which came from our mother. We took it for granted that our genes expressed themselves identically and that there was a 50/50 chance that they came from either parent. We also assumed that they worked in cooperation with each other. The biggest breakthrough in genetics in the past two decades has been the discovery of genomic imprinting, which allows us to trace genes to the parent of origin. David Haig has been at the forefront of theorizing these developments. He argues that these "paternally and maternally active genes" comprise less than one percent of our total gene count and are far from being cooperative. In fact, they have been shown to be in competition with one another. If Haig's theory holds true, imprinted genes exemplify an extraordinary within-individual conflict, while shaking up our fundamental ideas of what it means to be an individual. This collection of Haig's papers represents a unique comprehensive overview of the state of evolutionary biology. The pages are linked by a commentary that provides background, and brings readers up-to-date on developments that occurred after the paper's original publication. Since genomic imprinting touches on many areas in the life sciences, including evolutionary biology and developmental genetics, Haig's work is scattered through the literature. This volume brings his work together for the first time. A volume in the Rutgers Series in Human Evolution, edited by Robert Trivers. David Haig is an associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University.
“The authors make some very critical interventions in this debate and scholars engaged in the environmental ‘pollution haven’ and ‘race to the bottom’ debates will need to take the arguments made here seriously, re-evaluating their own preferred theories to respond to the insightful theorizing and empirically rigorous testing that Zeng and Eastin present in the book.”
—Ronald Mitchell, University of Oregon
China has earned a reputation for lax environmental standards that allegedly attract corporations more interested in profit than in moral responsibility and, consequently, further negate incentives to raise environmental standards. Surprisingly, Ka Zeng and Joshua Eastin find that international economic integration with nation-states that have stringent environmental regulations facilitates the diffusion of corporate environmental norms and standards to Chinese provinces. At the same time, concerns about “green” tariffs imposed by importing countries encourage Chinese export-oriented firms to ratchet up their own environmental standards. The authors present systematic quantitative and qualitative analyses and data that not only demonstrate the ways in which external market pressure influences domestic environmental policy but also lend credence to arguments for the ameliorative effect of trade and foreign direct investment on the global environment.
'Honor' is used as a justification for violence perpetrated against women and girls considered to have violated social taboos related to sexual behavior. Several ‘honor’-based murders of Kurdish women, such as Fadime Sahindal, Banaz Mahmod and Du’a Khalil Aswad, and campaigns against 'honor'-based violence by Kurdish feminists have drawn international attention to this phenomenon within Kurdish communities.
Honor and the Political Economy of Marriage provides a description of ‘honor’-based violence that focuses upon the structure of the family rather than the perpetrator’s culture. The author, Joanne Payton, argues that within societies primarily organized by familial and marital connections, women’s ‘honor’ is a form of symbolic capital within a ‘political economy’ in which marriage organizes intergroup connections.
Drawing on statistical analysis of original data contextualized with historical and anthropological readings, Payton explores forms of marriage and their relationship to ‘honor’, sketching changing norms around the familial control of women from agrarian/pastoral roots to the contemporary era.
Michael Jackson has spent much of his career elaborating his rich conception of lifeworlds, mining his ethnographic and personal experience for insights into how our subjective and social lives are mutually constituted.
In How Lifeworlds Work, Jackson draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa to highlight the dynamic quality of human relationships and reinvigorate the study of kinship and ritual. How, he asks, do we manage the perpetual process of accommodation between social norms and personal emotions, impulses, and desires? How are these two dimensions of lived reality joined, and how are the dual imperatives of individual expression and collective viability managed? Drawing on the pragmatist tradition, psychology, and phenomenology, Jackson offers an unforgettable, beautifully written account of how we make, unmake, and remake, our lifeworlds.
AIDS has devastated communities across southern Africa. In Lesotho, where a quarter of adults are infected, the wide-ranging implications of the disease have been felt in every family, disrupting key aspects of social life. In Infected Kin, Ellen Block and Will McGrath argue that AIDS is fundamentally a kinship disease, examining the ways it transcends infected individuals and seeps into kin relations and networks of care. While much AIDS scholarship has turned away from the difficult daily realities of those affected by the disease, Infected Kin uses both ethnographic scholarship and creative nonfiction to bring to life the joys and struggles of the Basotho people at the heart of the AIDS pandemic. The result is a book accessible to wide readership, yet built upon scholarship and theoretical contributions that ensure Infected Kin will remain relevant to anyone interested in anthropology, kinship, global health, and care.
By reconstructing the history of kings and clans in the Kivu Rift Valley (on the border of today's Rwanda and Zaire) at a time of critical social change, David Newbury enlarges our understanding of social process and the growth of state power in Africa. In the early nineteenth century, many factors contributed to the creation of new social relations in the Lake Kivu region—ecological change, population movement, the expansion of the Rwandan state from the east, the rise of new political units to the west, and the movement of many population groups and their ritual forms through the area. Newbury looks in particular at the role of clans in the establishment of a new kingdom on Ijwi Island in Lake Kivu.
Drawing on detailed ethnographic observations of the social and ritual organizations of Ijwi society, an extensive body of oral data, and evidence from written sources, Newbury shows that the clans of Ijwi were not static formations, nor did the establishment of a royal family on the island emerge from military conquest and internal social breakdown. Instead, clan identities changed over time, and these changes actually facilitated the creation of kingship on Ijwi. Through a detailed examination of succession struggles, of local factors influencing the outcome of such struggles, and of specific clan participation in public rituals that legitimize royalty, Newbury’s study illustrates the importance of clan identities in both the creation of state power and its reproduction over time.
Reaffirms the importance of the larger kinship network through analysis of extensive data on the clients of one social agency. The authors show that the less kinship-oriented caseworkers often attempt to change clients' kin relationships in the direction of less involvement, raising questions about value differences in therapeutic practice. The book also points to the importance of concepts, such as those dealing with family kinship, that will enable the caseworker to appraise the client's social relationships more fully. The authors emphasize the benefits to be derived from a closer liaison between social work and social science.
Kinship in Bali
Hildred Geertz and Clifford Geertz University of Chicago Press, 1978 Library of Congress GN635.B3G42 | Dewey Decimal 301.421095986
This work constitutes the first book-length examination of Balinese kinship in English and an important theoretical analysis of the central ethnographic concept of "kinship system." Hildred and Clifford Geertz's findings challenge the prevailing anthropological notion of a kinship system as an autonomous set of institutionalized social relationships. Their research in Bali suggests that kinship cannot be studied in isolation but must be perceived as a symbolic subsystem governed by ideas and beliefs unique to each culture.
A chronicle of the renaissance in kinship studies, these seventeen articles pay tribute to Per Hage, one of the founding fathers of the movement and long-time faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah. With mathematician Frank Harary, Hage pioneered the use of graph theoretical models in anthropology, a systematic analysis of diverse cognitive, social, and cultural components that provides a common technical vocabulary for the entire field. Anthropological studies have benefited from quantitative evaluation, particularly kinship, which is newly appreciated for its application to all social sciences. The chapters of this book, some original works by the contributors and some unpublished Hage material, attest to the importance of the continual study of kinship.
Kinship systems are the glue that holds social groups together. This volume presents a novel approach to understanding the genesis of these systems and how and why they change. The editors bring together experts from the disciplines of anthropology and linguistics to explore kinship in societies around the world and to reconstruct kinship in ancient times. Kinship Systems presents evidence of renewed activity and advances in this field in recent years which will contribute to the current interdisciplinary focus on the evolution of society. While all continents are touched on in this book, there is special emphasis on Australian indigenous societies, which have been a source of fascination in kinship studies.
One key argument in the book is that linguistic evidence for reconstruction of ancient terminologies can provide strong independent evidence to complement anthropologists’ notions of structural kinship transformations and ground them in actual historical and geographical contexts. There are principles that we all share, no matter what kind of society we live in, and these provide a common “language” for anthropology and linguistics. With this language we can accurately compare how family relations are organized in different societies, as well as how we talk about such relations. Because this concept has often been denied by the trajectories in anthropology over the last few decades, Kinship Systems represents a reassertion of, and advances on, classical kinship theory and methods. Innovations and interdisciplinary methods are described by the originators of the new approaches and other leading regional experts.
Kinship to Mastery is a fascinating and accessible exploration of the notion of biophilia -- the idea that humans, having evolved with the rest of creation, possess a biologically based attraction to nature and exhibit an innate affinity for life and lifelike processes. Stephen R. Kellert sets forth the idea that people exhibit different expressions of biophilia in different contexts, and demonstrates how our quality of life in the largest sense is dependent upon the richness of our connections with nature.
While the natural world provides us with material necessities -- food, clothing, medicine, clean air, pure water -- it just as importantly plays a key role in other aspects of our lives, including intellectual capacity, emotional bonding, aesthetic attraction, creativity, imagination, and even the recognition of a just and purposeful existence. As Kellert explains, each expression of biophilia shows how our physical, material, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being is to a great extent dependent on our relationships with the natural world that surrounds us.
Kinship to Mastery is a thought-provoking examination of a concept that, while not widely known, has a significant and direct effect on the lives of people everywhere. Because the full expression of biophilia is integral to our overall health, our ongoing destruction of the environment could have far more serious consequences than many people think. In a readable and compelling style, Kellert describes and explains the concept of biophilia, and demonstrates to a general audience the wide-ranging implications of environmental degradation.
Kinship to Mastery continues the exploration of biophilia begun with Edward O. Wilson's landmark book Biophilia (Harvard University Press, 1984) and followed by The Biophilia Hypothesis (Island Press, 1993), co-edited by Wilson and Kellert, which brought together some of the most creative scientists of our time to explore Wilson's theory in depth.
Pioneers moving into Iowa in the nineteenth century created a distinctly rural culture: family, farm, church, and school were its dominant institutions. After decades of settlement, however, several lively and perceptive generations interpreted their political, economic, and cultural environment—their Iowa—much more imaginatively; they offered such abundant insight, understanding, meaning, and mission that they mentally and spiritually recreates Iowa. In Kinship with the Land historian Brad Burns celebrates this intense period of intellectual and cultural development.
Through their novels, short stories, poems, essays, drawings, and paintings, Iowa's regionalists expressed a rich abstraction of people and place. They conferred meaning, imparted understanding, defined the soil and the folk, conveyed a sense of place. Grant Wood in his overalls—the quintessential symbol of sophisticated talent and rural values—clearly represented regionalism's spiritual solidarity with the land and the people who worked it. Burns lets these Iowans speak for themselves, then interprets their distinctive voices to present a cogent case for and an understanding of the rural in an overwhelming urban America.
Kinship with the Land emphasizes the importance of Iowa's intellectual and cultural history and reaffirms the state's identity at the very moment that standardization threatened to eradicate it. By endowing Iowa with vibrant, independent art and literature, regionalists made refreshing sense of their environment. Readers from every state will appreciate their generous legacy.
Anthropologist Diane E. King has written about everyday life in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which covers much of the area long known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’thist Iraqi government by the United States and its allies in 2003, Kurdistan became a recognized part of the federal Iraqi system. The Region is now integrated through technology, media, and migration to the rest of the world.
Focusing on household life in Kurdistan’s towns and villages, King explores the ways that residents connect socially, particularly through patron-client relationships and as people belonging to gendered categories. She emphasizes that patrilineages (male ancestral lines) seem well adapted to the Middle Eastern modern stage and viceversa. The idea of patrilineal descent influences the meaning of refuge-seeking and migration as well as how identity and place are understood, how women and men interact, and how “politicking” is conducted.
In the new Kurdistan, old values may be maintained, reformulated, or questioned. King offers a sensitive interpretation of the challenges resulting from the intersection of tradition with modernity. Honor killings still occur when males believe their female relatives have dishonored their families, and female genital cutting endures. Yet, this is a region where modern technology has spread and seemingly everyone has a mobile phone. Households may have a startling combination of illiterate older women and educated young women. New ideas about citizenship coexist with older forms of patronage.
King is one of the very few scholars who conducted research in Iraq under extremely difficult conditions during the Saddam Hussein regime. How she was able to work in the midst of danger and in the wake of genocide is woven throughout the stories she tells. Kurdistan on the Global Stage serves as a lesson in field research as well as a valuable ethnography.
For decades, social scientists have assumed that “fictive kinship” is a phenomenon associated only with marginal peoples and people of color in the United States. In this innovative book, Nelson reveals the frequency, texture and dynamics of relationships which are felt to be “like family” among the white middle-class. Drawing on extensive, in-depth interviews, Nelson describes the quandaries and contradictions, delight and anxiety, benefits and costs, choice and obligation in these relationships. She shows the ways these fictive kinships are similar to one another as well as the ways they vary—whether around age or generation, co-residence, or the possibility of becoming “real” families. Moreover she shows that different parties to the same relationship understand them in some similar – and some very different – ways. Theoretically rich and beautifully written, the book is accessible to the general public while breaking new ground for scholars in the field of family studies.
Eva-Marie Dubuisson provides a fascinating anthropological inquiry into the deeply ingrained presence of ancestors within the cultural, political, and spiritual discourse of Kazakhs. In a climate of authoritarianism and economic uncertainty, many people in this region turn to their forebearers for care, guidance, and advice, invoking them on a daily basis. This “living language” creates a powerful link to the past and a stable foundation for the present. Through Dubuisson’s participatory, observational, and lived experience among Kazakhs, we witness firsthand the public performances and private rituals that show how memory and identity are sustained through an oral tradition of invoking ancestors. This ancestral dialogue sustains a unifying worldview by mediating questions of faith and morality, providing role models, and offering a mechanism for socio-political critique, change, and meaning-making. Looking beyond studies of Islam or heritage alone, Dubuisson provides fresh insights into understanding the Kazakh worldview that will serve students, researchers, GMOs, and policymakers in the region.
Masculinity, Motherhood, and Mockery analyzes the relationship between masculinity and motherhood in an Eastern Iatmul village along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. It focuses on a metaphorical dialogue between two countervailing images of the body, dubbed by literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin as the "moral" and the "grotesque." Eastern Iatmul men in Tambunum village idealize an image of motherhood that is nurturing, sheltering, cleansing, fertile, and chaste--in a word, moral. But men also fear an equally compelling image of motherhood that is defiling, dangerous, orificial, aggressive, and carnal--hence, grotesque. Masculinity in Tambunum is a rejoinder both subtle and strident, both muted and impassioned, to these contrary, embodied images of motherhood.
Throughout this work, Eric Silverman details the dialogics of mothering and manhood throughout Eastern Iatmul culture, including in his analysis cosmology and myth; food- and childraising; architecture and canoes; ethnophysiology and sexuality; shame and hygiene; marriage and kinship; and perhaps most significantly, a ceremonial locus classicus in anthropology: the famous Iatmul naven rite. This book provides the first sustained examination of naven since Bateson, presenting new data and interpretations that are based entirely on original, first-hand ethnographic research.
The sustained engagement with anthropological and psychoanalytic theory coupled with a refreshing examination of a famous and still-enigmatic ritual is sure to make multiple contributions to pressing debates in contemporary anthropology and social theory.
Eric Silverman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, DePauw University.
Jacob Lee offers a new understanding of the conquest of the American West based on the long history of warfare and resistance in the Mississippi River valley. The river and its tributaries were never simply a backdrop to unfolding events but advanced and thwarted the aspirations of Native nations, European imperialists, and American settlers alike.
Karen KRAMER Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress F1435.3.C47K73 2005 | Dewey Decimal 305.2308997427
Among the Maya of Xculoc, an isolated farming village in the lowland forests of the Yucatán peninsula, children contribute to household production in considerable ways. Thus this village, the subject of anthropologist Karen Kramer's study, affords a remarkable opportunity for understanding the economics of childhood in a pre-modern agricultural setting.
Drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives and extensive data gathered over many years, Kramer interprets the form, value, and consequences of children's labor in this maize-based culture. She looks directly at family size and birth spacing as they figure in the economics of families; and she considers the timing of children's economic contributions and their role in underwriting the cost of large families. Kramer's findings--in particular, that the children of Xculoc begin to produce more than they consume long before they marry and leave home--have a number of interesting implications for the study of family reproductive decisions and parent-offspring conflict, and for debates within anthropology over children's contributions in hunter/gatherer versus agricultural societies.
With its theoretical breadth, and its detail on crop yields, reproductive histories, diet, work scheduling, and agricultural production, this book sets a new standard for measuring and interpreting child productivity in a subsistence farming community.
In this volume, which has been hailed as a major breakthrough in understanding the meaning of the elaborate kinship systems currently existing in Australian Aboriginal societies, C. G. von Brandenstein argues that such systems refer to an archaic theory of "world order" common to all these societies. This controversial conclusion is based on native testimony and on a sophisticated linguistic analysis of a vast quantity of data collected by the author and others.
Though the author has restricted the results of his research to Aboriginal Australia, his methodological approach is generalizable. Hence this work will be of importance to specialists in many areas.
In a rigorous and innovative study, Thomas R. Rocek examines the 150-year-old ethnohistorical and archaeological record of Navajo settlement on Black Mesa in northern Arizona. Rocek's study, the first of its kind, not only reveals a rich array of interacting factors that have helped to shape Navajo life during this period but also constructs a valuable case study in archaeological method and theory, certain to be useful to other researchers of nonurban societies.
Rocek explores a neglected but major source of social flexibility in these societies. While many studies have focused on household and community-level organization, few have examined the flexible, intermediate-sized, "middle-level" cooperative units that bind small groups of households together. Middle-level units, says the author, must be recognized as important sources of social flexibility in many such cultural contexts. Futhermore, attention to middle-level units is critical for understanding household or community-level organization, because the flexibility they offer can fundamentally alter the behavior of social units of a larger or smaller scale.
In examining the archaeological record of Navajo settlement, Rocek develops archaeological methods for examing multiple-household social units (variously called "outfits or "cooperating groups") through spatial analysis, investigates evidence of change in middle-level units over time, relates these changes to economic and demographic flux, and compares the Navajo case study to the broader ethnographic literature of middle-level units. Rocek finds similarities with social organization in non-unilineally organized societies, in groups that have been traditionally described as characterized by network organization, and particularly in pastoral societies. The results of Rocek's study offer a new perspective on variability in Navajo social organization while suggesting general patterns of the response of social groups to change.
Rocek's work will be of significant interest not only to those with a professional interest in Navajo history and culture, but also, for its methodological insights, to a far broader range of archaeologists, social anthropologists, ethnohistorians, ethnoarchaeologists, historians, cultural geographers, and political scientists.
The Owners of Kinship investigates how kinship in Indigenous Amazonia is derived from the asymmetrical relation between an “owner” and his or her dependents. Through a comprehensive ethnography of the Kanamari, Luiz Costa shows how this relationship is centered around the bond created between the feeder and the fed.
Building on anthropological studies of the acquisition, distribution, and consumption of food and its role in establishing relations of asymmetrical mutuality and kinship, this book breaks theoretical ground for studies in Amazonia and beyond. By investigating how the feeding relation traverses Kanamari society—from the relation between women and the pets they raise, shaman and familiar spirit, mother and child, chiefs and followers, to those between the Brazilian state and the Kanamari—The Owners of Kinship reveals how the mutuality of kinship is determined by the asymmetry of ownership.
The Poison in the Gift is a detailed ethnography of gift-giving in a North Indian village that powerfully demonstrates a new theoretical interpretation of caste. Introducing the concept of ritual centrality, Raheja shows that the position of the dominant landholding caste in the village is grounded in a central-peripheral configuration of castes rather than a hierarchical ordering. She advances a view of caste as semiotically constituted of contextually shifting sets of meanings, rather than one overarching ideological feature. This new understanding undermines the controversial interpretation advanced by Louis Dumont in his 1966 book, Homo Hierarchicus, in which he proposed a disjunction between the ideology of hierarchy based on the "purity" of the Brahman priest and the "temporal power" of the dominant caste or the king.
We do not consider it noteworthy when somebody moves three thousand miles from New York to Los Angeles. Yet we think that movement across borders requires a major degree of adjustment, and that an individual who migrates 750 miles from Haiti to Miami has done something extraordinary. Charles V. Carnegie suggests that to people from the Caribbean, migration is simply one of many ways to pursue a better future and to survive in a world over which they have little control
Carnegie shows not only that the nation-state is an exhausted form of political organization, but that in the Caribbean the ideological and political reach of the nation-state has always been tenuous at best. Caribbean peoples, he suggests, live continually in breach of the nation-state configuration. Drawing both on his own experiences as a Jamaican-born anthropologist and on the examples provided by those who have always considered national borders as little more than artificial administrative nuisances, Carnegie investigates a fascinating spectrum of individuals, including Marcus Garvey, traders, black albinos, and Caribbean Ba’hais. If these people have not themselves developed a scholarly doctrine of transnationalism, they have, nevertheless, effectively lived its demand and prefigured a postnational life.
Until the late twentieth century, the majority of foreign-born children adopted in the United States came from Korea. In the absorbing book Reframing Transracial Adoption, Kristi Brian investigates the power dynamics at work between the white families, the Korean adoptees, and the unknown birth mothers. Brian conducts interviews with adult adopted Koreans, adoptive parents, and adoption agency facilitators in the United States to explore the conflicting interpretations of race, culture, multiculturalism, and family.
Brian argues for broad changes as she critiques the so-called "colorblind" adoption policy in the United States. Analyzing the process of kinship formation, the racial aspects of these adoptions, and the experience of adoptees, she reveals the stifling impact of dominant nuclear-family ideologies and the crowded intersections of competing racial discourses.
Brian finds a resolution in the efforts of adult adoptees to form coherent identities and launch powerful adoption reform movements.
The essays in Relative Values draw on new work in anthropology, science studies, gender theory, critical race studies, and postmodernism to offer a radical revisioning of kinship and kinship theory. Through a combination of vivid case studies and trenchant theoretical essays, the contributors—a group of internationally recognized scholars—examine both the history of kinship theory and its future, at once raising questions that have long occupied a central place within the discipline of anthropology and moving beyond them. Ideas about kinship are vital not only to understanding but also to forming many of the practices and innovations of contemporary society. How do the cultural logics of contemporary biopolitics, commodification, and globalization intersect with kinship practices and theories? In what ways do kinship analogies inform scientific and clinical practices; and what happens to kinship when it is created in such unfamiliar sites as biogenetic labs, new reproductive technology clinics, and the computers of artificial life scientists? How does kinship constitute—and get constituted by—the relations of power that draw lines of hierarchy and equality, exclusion and inclusion, ambivalence and violence? The contributors assess the implications for kinship of such phenomena as blood transfusions, adoption across national borders, genetic support groups, photography, and the new reproductive technologies while ranging from rural China to mid-century Africa to contemporary Norway and the United States. Addressing these and other timely issues, Relative Values injects new life into one of anthropology's most important disciplinary traditions. Posing these and other timely questions, Relative Values injects an important interdisciplinary curiosity into one of anthropology’s most important disciplinary traditions.
Contributors. Mary Bouquet, Janet Carsten, Charis Thompson Cussins, Carol Delaney, Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Sarah Franklin, Deborah Heath, Stefan Helmreich, Signe Howell, Jonathan Marks, Susan McKinnon, Michael G. Peletz, Rayna Rapp, Martine Segalen, Pauline Turner Strong, Melbourne Tapper, Karen-Sue Taussig, Kath Weston, Yunxiang Yan
To listen to David M. Schneider is to hear the voice of American anthropology. To listen at length is to hear much of the discipline’s history, from the realities of postwar practice and theory to Schneider’s own influence on the development of symbolic and interpretive anthropology in the 1970s and 1980s. Schneider on Schneider offers readers this rare opportunity, and with it an engrossing introduction into a world of intellectual rigor, personal charm, and wit. In this work, based on conversations with Richard Handler, Schneider tells the story of his days devoted to anthropology—as a student of Clyde Kluckhohn and Talcott Parsons and as a writer and teacher whose work on kinship and culture theory revolutionized the discipline. With a master’s sense of the telling anecdote, he describes his education at Cornell, Yale, and Harvard, his fieldwork on the Micronesian island of Yap and among the Mescalero Apache, and his years teaching at the London School of Economics, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago. Musing on the current state and the future of anthropology, Schneider’s cast of characters reads like a who’s who of postwar social science. His reflections on anthropological field research and academic politics address some of the most pressing ethical and epistemological issues facing scholars today, while yielding tales of unexpected amusement. With its humor and irony, its wealth of information and searching questions about the state of anthropology, Schneider on Schneider not only provides an important resource for the history of twentieth-century social science, but also brings to life the entertaining voice of an engaging storyteller.
The tumultuous decade of the 1960s in America gave birth to many new ideas and forms of expression, among them the rock musical. An unlikely offspring of the performing arts, the rock musical appeared when two highly distinctive and American art forms joined onstage in New York City. The Theater Will Rock explores the history of the rock musical, which has since evolved to become one of the most important cultural influences on American musical theater and a major cultural export. Packed with candid commentary by members of New York's vibrant theater community, The Theater Will Rock traces the rock musical's evolution over nearly fifty years, in popular productions such as Hair, The Who's Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, and Mamma Mia!---and in notable flops such as The Capeman.
"A much-needed study of the impact of rock music on the musical theater and its resulting challenges, complexities, failures, and successes. Anyone interested in Broadway will learn a great deal from this book."
---William Everett, author of The Musical: A Research Guide to Musical Theatre
"This well-written account puts the highs and lows of producing staged rock musicals in New York City into perspective and is well worth reading for the depth of insight it provides."
---Studies in Musical Theatre
Elizabeth L. Wollman is Assistant Professor of Music at Baruch College, City University of New York.
In this comprehensive and provocative study of maternal reactions to child death in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, anthropologist Jónína Einarsdóttir challenges the assumption that mothers in high-poverty societies will neglect their children and fail to mourn their deaths as a survival strategy. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 1993 to 1998 among the matrilineal Papel, who reside in the Biombo region, this work includes theoretical discussion of reproductive practices, conceptions of children, childcare customs, interpretations of diseases and death, and infanticide. Einarsdóttir also brings compelling narratives of life experiences and reflections of Papel women.
Transnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work documents the social and material contributions of older persons to their families in settings shaped by migration, their everyday lives in domestic and community spaces, and in the context of intergenerational relationships and diasporas. Much of this work is oriented toward supporting, connecting, and maintaining kin members and kin relationships—the work that enables a family to reproduce and regenerate itself across generations and across the globe.
According to public health orthodoxy, blood for transfusion is safer when derived from voluntary, nonremunerated donors. As developing nations phase out compensated blood collection efforts to comply with this current policy, many struggle to keep their blood stores up.
Veins of Devotion details recent collaborations between guru-led devotional movements and public health campaigns to encourage voluntary blood donation in northern India. Focusing primarily on Delhi, Jacob Copeman carefully situates the practice within the context of religious gift-giving, sacrifice, caste, kinship, and nationalism. The book analyzes the operations of several high-profile religious orders that organize large-scale public blood-giving events and argues that blood donation has become a site not only of frenetic competition between different devotional movements, but also of intense spiritual creativity.
Despite tensions between blood banks and these religious groups, their collaboration is a remarkable success storyùthe nation's blood supply is replenished while blood donors discover new devotional possibilities.
It is common to think of the Arctic as remote, perched at the farthest reaches of the world—a simple and harmonious, isolated utopia. But the reality, as Janne Flora shows us, is anything but. In Wandering Spirits, Flora reveals how deeply connected the Arctic is to the rest of the world and how it has been affected by the social, political, economic, and environmental shifts that ushered in the modern age.
In this innovative study, Flora focuses on Inuit communities in Greenland and addresses a central puzzle: their alarmingly high suicide rate. She explores the deep connections between loneliness and modernity in the Arctic, tracing the history of Greenland and analyzing the social dynamics that shaped it. Flora’s thorough, sensitive engagement with the families that make up these communities uncovers the complex interplay between loneliness and a host of economic and environmental practices, including the widespread local tradition of hunting. Wandering Spirits offers a vivid portrait of a largely overlooked world, in all its fragility and nuance, while engaging with core anthropological concerns of kinship and the structure of social relations.
Bronislaw Malinowski’s path-breaking research in the Trobriand Islands shaped much of modern anthropology’s disciplinary paradigm. Yet many conundrums remain. For example, Malinowski asserted that baloma spirits of the dead were responsible for procreation but had limited influence on their living descendants in magic and other matters, claims largely unchallenged by subsequent field investigators, until now. Based on extended fieldwork at Omarakana village—home of the Tabalu “Paramount Chief”—Mark S. Mosko argues instead that these and virtually all contexts of indigenous sociality are conceived as sacrificial reciprocities between the mirror worlds that baloma and humans inhabit.
Informed by a synthesis of Strathern’s model of “dividual personhood” and Lévy-Bruhl’s theory of “participation,” Mosko upends a century of discussion and debate extending from Malinowski to anthropology’s other leading thinkers. His account of the intimate interdependencies of humans and spirits in the cosmic generation and coordination of “life” (momova) and “death” (kaliga) strikes at the nexus of anthropology’s received wisdom, and Ways of Baloma will inevitably lead practitioners and students to reflect anew on the discipline’s multifold theories of personhood, ritual agency, and sociality.
What Kinship Is-And Is Not
Marshall Sahlins University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress GN487.S25 2012 | Dewey Decimal 306.83
In this pithy two-part essay, Marshall Sahlins reinvigorates the debates on what constitutes kinship, building on some of the best scholarship in the field to produce an original outlook on the deepest bond humans can have. Covering thinkers from Aristotle and Lévy- Bruhl to Émile Durkheim and David Schneider, and communities from the Maori and the English to the Korowai of New Guinea, he draws on a breadth of theory and a range of ethnographic examples to form an acute definition of kinship, what he calls the “mutuality of being.” Kinfolk are persons who are parts of one another to the extent that what happens to one is felt by the other. Meaningfully and emotionally, relatives live each other’s lives and die each other’s deaths.
In the second part of his essay, Sahlins shows that mutuality of being is a symbolic notion of belonging, not a biological connection by “blood.” Quite apart from relations of birth, people may become kin in ways ranging from sharing the same name or the same food to helping each other survive the perils of the high seas. In a groundbreaking argument, he demonstrates that even where kinship is reckoned from births, it is because the wider kindred or the clan ancestors are already involved in procreation, so that the notion of birth is meaningfully dependent on kinship rather than kinship on birth. By formulating this reversal, Sahlins identifies what kinship truly is: not nature, but culture.
This classic study of Black
Carib culture and its preservation through ancestral rituals organized
by older women now includes a foreword by Constance R. Sutton and an afterword
by the author.
"One of the outstanding
studies of this genre. . . . Refreshingly, the book has good photographs,
as well as strong endnotes and bibliography, and very useful tables, figures,
maps, and index." -- Choice
"An outstanding contribution
to the literature on female-centered bilateral kinship and residence."
-- Grant D. Jones, American Ethnologist
"A richly detailed account
of a contemporary culture in which older women are important, valued,
-- Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly
"A combination of competent
research, interwoven themes, and an easily readable, sometimes beautifully
evocative, prose style." -- Heather Strange, The Gerontologist
Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, a brilliant historian of the Annales school, skillfully uncovers the lives of ordinary Italians of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Tuscans in particular, young and old, rich, middle-class, and poor. From the extraordinarily detailed records kept by Florentine tax collectors and the equally precise ricordanze (household accounts with notations of events great and small), Klapisch-Zuber draws a living picture of the Tuscan household. We learn, for example, how children were named, how wet nurses were engaged, how marriages were negotiated and celebrated. A wealth of other sources are tapped—including city statutes, private letters, philosophical works on marriage, paintings—to determine the social status of women. Klapisch-Zuber reveals how women, in their roles as daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers, were largely subject to a family system that needed them but valued them little.