( pn116 )

Kinship Relevance in Today’s Transformed World


    Dwight W. Read

    United States

    Department of Anthropology; University of California, Los Angeles

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence



Kinship study has been the core of anthropology since the inception of the discipline in the 19th century, although it is now increasingly recognized that it has been theorized profoundly as early as the 14th century when social philosopher of North Africa, Ibn Khaldun, formulated a ‘new science’ centering kinship in the study of cultural development and societal change. This is of utmost importance today as colonized folks in the nonwestern world are peeling off western colonial cultural and economic impositions, re-emerging in re-imagined forms which reveal the richness and relevance of their own changing traditions while carving their space in the contemporary global landscape. Kinship knowledge, whether manifested in the form of sociocultural practices of marriage, ritual, economic exchange, or as theoretical advances in anthropological theory, has become highly relevant for understanding emerging aspects of today’s transforming world. Theoretically, kinship in its conceptualization as a substance of human relations (L.H. Morgan), or, in structural terms as a consequence of social prohibitions (C. Lévi-Strauss), or, in post-structural positions as a target of subjective negation (D. Schneider) or, ontologically as a universal frame of reference for ‘mutuality of being’ (M. Sahlins), it has shown remarkable tenacity and dynamism. As practice, it continues to reveal its relevance and vitality for central aspects of human social life. As theory, it continues to show that there is no anthropology without kinship study. This panel covers any and all such aspects and perspectives of kinship as panelists contribute to current ethnography of kinship, recall kinship-related field experiences, or propose advances to the anthropological study and conceptualization of kinship as a universal category.