Kinship. An Introduction to the Basic Concepts

  • ID: 2250809
  • Book
  • 224 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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This book is an introduction to the social anthropology of kinship – to the ways in which the peoples of different cultures marry and relate to each other within and outside the family, and to the means by which one generation relates to those that come before and after it. It is addressed in particular to students of anthropology, but is also intended as a one–volume guide to those, such as social historians, demographers and geographers, who find it necessary to understand patterns of kinship in different places and at different times.

The book is divided into two parts. Part I opens with a discussion of what kinship means to the social anthropologist as distinct from the biologist, and considers the different possible approaches to the subject within social anthropology itself. The following chapters cover topics such as descent, inheritance, succession, the family, residence, marriage, kinship terminology, systems of affinal alliance, the new reproductive technologies, and symbolic approaches to kinship.

In Part II the first four chapters provide an overview of theoretical debates concerning different aspects of kinship. The final chapter provides ethnographic examples, together with an annotated guide to further reading, divided by chapter.

The book applies and illustrates these concepts and topics to a number of contrasting case studies. These illustrate the insights that can be achieved from the study of kinship, and also show that the complexity of even the most familar kinship patterns rarely lends itself to simple description. The author also includes annotated guides to further reading.

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List of Figures.


Part I: Basic Concepts:.

1. Introductory.

2. Descent.

3. The Family and Other Kin Groupings.

4. Marriage and Sexual Relations.

5. Kinship (Relationship) Terminology.

6. Symmetric Affinal Alliance.

7. Asymmetric Affinal Alliance.

8. FZD and ZD Marriage.

9. Non–prescriptive Pseudo–systems.

10. The Meaning of Kinship.

Part II: Theories of Kinship:.

11. The Significance of Kinship in Anthropology.

12. Theories of Descent.

13. Kinship Terminology and Affinal Alliance.

14. Typologies and Terminological Change.

15. Ethnographic Examples and Further Reading.



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Robert Parkin trained at the University of Oxford, where he took his doctorate for a thesis on kinship in tribal India, which was later published by Oxford University Press asThe Munda of Central India. He has written extensively on kinship, both theoretically and ethnographically. He is the author of a study of the life and work of the early French sociologist of religion, Robert Hertz,The Dark Side of Humanity (1996), and ofA Guide to Austroasiatic Speakers and their Languages (1991). He is currently teaching at the Universities of Oxford and Oxford Brookes, having previously taught at the Free University of Berlin and the Jagiellonian University, Cracow.
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