Anthropology of kinship


Anthropology of kinship

Kinship refers to relations between individuals who are in relationships either by descent or marriage (and in some occasions fictive kinship).A field that is now ignored by researchers and scholars, despite it's use for areas like gender studies.

Members: 83
Latest Activity: Aug 19, 2015

Discussion Forum

Software for kinship relationships 6 Replies

Hi all, I am doing some work on historical documents and I am looking around for an appropriate application to create a genealogical database. I have looked at the Ingres database, which looks…Continue

Started by Aris Anagnostopoulos. Last reply by Jamieson-Lee Scott Aug 19, 2015.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Anthropology of kinship to add comments!

Comment by Thomas Cormier on September 5, 2014 at 1:38am

Hello all, 

I am an undergrad at Mount Allison University. I am currently working on a research project dealing with same-sex relationships and parenting cross-culturally. Can anyone point me in the right direction for good books/articles for this topic?

Comment by Fabiane Vinente dos Santos on September 19, 2011 at 7:42pm

Hi Natia, thanks for your feed-back, this will help me a lot! I'll wainting the file anxiously.


Comment by Natia Amiridze on September 19, 2011 at 6:59am

Dear Miruna Rolea,

I was notified by e-mail about the recent activity within the group, namely about the fact that one of the members (Fabiane Vinente dos Santos) was looking for a book: "The curse of Souw: principles of Daribi clan definition and alliance in New Guinea". Could you please let me know how to contact her in order to send her a copy of the book (in PDF format)? Thank you in advance.

Best regards,


Natia Amiridze.

Comment by Fabiane Vinente dos Santos on September 19, 2011 at 5:46am

"The curse of Souw: principles of Daribi clan definition and alliance in New Guinea", a precious Roy Wagner's book edited in 67, is very, very rare in Brazil, and even more in Manaus, Amazonas, where I'm living now. Does anyone had a scan of the book? I really need to read it for my thesis...

Comment by Alice C. Linsley on September 6, 2010 at 8:35pm
Miruna, your group may be intersted in this blog post:

It includes kinship diagrams that may be of interest.
Comment by Miruna Rolea on November 24, 2009 at 1:50pm
Thank you so much for your comments. I do not believe either that kinship is an old-fashioned subject (because this was actually my problem), and also I do not think that kinship can stand alone, isolated from other areas.
My thesis focuses on marriage alliances and marriage transactions in North India. (these two go hand in hand). The subject can be integrated in economical anthropology as well, but it is useless without kinship analysis. Because, for example, what matters first here is the family background when chosing a partner for one's child (I am talking about arranged marriages, which are the norm).
Also in all the literature I've read, people focus on the consequences/causes of the dowry in India, not on the dowry process itself. And I came to realize that term "dowry" describes only a small part of what is actually happening there. Because it is inclusive and exclusive at the same time. What is actually happening is by far more complex than what can be described through "dowry".
Comment by Sabina Rossignoli on November 23, 2009 at 11:05pm
I agree with Keith in that kinship still represents a considerable topic for anthropologists but under alternative forms. Certainly classical approaches to kinship have often frightened me at uni for their complexity. Kinship often appears as an important dimension of anthropological analysis in texts that don't necessarily follow the conceptual framework of classical kinship theory. Hutchinson has worked among Evans-Pritchard's Nuer during the ethnic conflicts taking place in the 1980s. She has shown how kinship and more generally gender relations have changed since EP's time as a consequence of ongoing ethnic violence. A completely different approach from EP's analysis of patrilineal descent, and it shows well how the conceptualisation of kinship has changed within the discipline. In his fantastic book on crack dealers in New York, Philippe Bourgois has analysed how kinship structures have been negotiated among first generation Puerto Ricans in East Harlem. Notions of pride and masculinity associated with endemic unemployment have, according to Bourgois, led to the often tragic redefinition of household economies.
Comment by Keith Hart on November 23, 2009 at 2:50pm
My point was not to rule out formal kinship analysis, but to reconnect to what made it originally exciting before it became a way of asserting professional authority. Human life is in its nature highly unstable and the arrangements we make for living together likewise. But Morgan found that kin terms changed very slowly, if at all. A focus on terminology thus became a way of identifying features of a society that somehow persisted through the turmoil of human lives. Meyer Fortes, in his Morgan lectures (1969), Kinship and the Social Order, pushed this connection further than anyone. I don't doubt that anthropologists still get interesting results from formal kinship analysis, but the claim that kinship is dead refers to a kind of sterile detachment from anything that matters in contemporary society. In order to reconnect a new generation of students and researchers to the importance of kinship for anthropology, we need to show that many of the things that interest us are in fact kinship by another name. It's a pedagogical point really, not a way of selling kinship to people who have already found its professional value.
Comment by Alice C. Linsley on November 23, 2009 at 2:25pm
Formal kinship analysis does indeed have an important place in cultural anthropology. It certainly is NOT dead, although it can be used to do gender and identity studies, as Keith says. However, the real payoff comes when we can connect people groups that have common ancestors yet are now geographically separated. When oral tradition and kinship patterns align we have an indication that seemingly unrelated peoples have a common origin. I think of the Inadan of Niger. Their chiefs have a marriage pattern like that found among the rulers of Abraham's people. When asked about their connections to biblical people, the Inadan claim to be related to the House of David. We might dismiss this claim or ignore it, but the parallels between the marriage pattern of Inadan chiefs and that of the rulers of Abraham's people nudges us to investigate further.
Comment by Jacob Lee on November 23, 2009 at 2:17am
Kinship is not dead. I'll repeat it as many times as is necessary. I'll respectfully disagree with Keith Hart here, and assert that kinship in itself is an interesting and open problem for study.

I think it is unfortunate that so many anthropologists dismiss formal and cognitive analyses of kinship as if the old problems of kinship have just gone away or have been solved.

Members (82)



OAC Press



© 2019   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service