The Metamorphoses of Kinship

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Verso Books, 2011 - Social Science - 638 pages
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A masterwork of the anthropology of kinship by the heir to Levi-Strauss.

With marriage in decline, divorce on the rise, the demise of the nuclear family, and the increase in marriages and adoptions among same-sex partners, it is clear that the structures of kinship in the modern West are in a state of flux.

In The Metamorphoses of Kinship, the world-renowned anthropologist Maurice Godelier contextualizes these developments, surveying the accumulated experience of humanity with regard to such phenomena as the organization of lines of descent, sexuality and sexual prohibitions. In parallel, Godelier studies the evolution of Western conjugal and familial traditions from their roots in the nineteenth century to the present. The conclusion he draws is that it is never the case that a man and a woman are sufficient on their own to raise a child, and nowhere are relations of kinship or the family the keystone of society.

Godelier argues that the changes of the last thirty years do not herald the disappearance or death agony of kinship, but rather its remarkable metamorphosis—one that, ironically, is bringing us closer to the “traditional” societies studied by ethnologists.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Baruya ofNew Guinea
23
The Components of Kinship
75
Filiation and Descent First Component
87
Alliance and Residence Second and Third Components
123
Kinship Terminologies Fourth Component
179
The Functions and Field of Parenthood
219
Begetting Ordinary Humans Fifth Component 1
229
And a Few Other Misuses of Sex
319
Proposals for a Different Scenario
431
Assessing the Theories
479
What Futurefor What Kin Ties?
521
Glossary
555
Bibliography
573
Index ofGeneral Terms
607
Index ofPersonal Names
621

Begetting Extraordinary Humans Fifth Component 2
281
A Ventriloquists Dummy That Gives Voice
299

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Maurice Godelier is Professor of Anthropology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. His publications include Rationality and Irrationality in Economics, The Mental and the Material, The Making of Great Men, The Enigma of the Gift; In and Out of the West, and The Metamorphoses of Kinship.

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