American Kinship: A Cultural Account by David Murray Schneider PDF

By David Murray Schneider

ISBN-10: 0226739309

ISBN-13: 9780226739304

American Kinship is the 1st try to deal systematically with kinship as a process of symbols and meanings, and never easily as a community of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the examine of a hugely differentiated society comparable to our personal can be extra revealing of the character of kinship than the research of anthropologically extra favourite, yet much less differentiated societies. He is going to the center of the ideology of kin between relations in the USA by means of finding the underlying positive factors of the definition of kinship—nature vs. legislation, substance vs. code. probably the most major beneficial properties of American Kinship, then, is the specific improvement of a thought of tradition on which the research relies, a thought that has considering proved invaluable within the research of alternative cultures. For this Phoenix version, Schneider has written a considerable new bankruptcy, responding to his critics and recounting the costs in his notion because the publication was once first released in 1968.

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Extra resources for American Kinship: A Cultural Account

Example text

Yet at another level entirely_, certain ethnographic facts remain and constitute a fundamental part of the American kinship system. Wife, mother, sister, and daughter �re female; husband, father, brother, and son are male. Unless one of them is a step-relative, wife, mother, hus­ band, and father are all older than sister, daughter, brother, and son. Also, the norms which define what is right and proper for a lower-class father are different from those for a middlewclass father. Quite apart from the distinctive features that define the family and its members> each member is also a person and as a person is construct�d out of not one, but many different elements, each drawn from many dif­ ferent sources.

Cn1lareii:---------A<'married couple without children does not quite make a family. 1ther do a married woman and her children without a husband nor a /llarried man and his children without a wife. without children, one may say, "They have no family,, or, «Their family I has not arrived yet;' if they are very young. "Family" here means that t. the addition of children to the rnarried couple will complete the unit an e, bring about that state. t_ say of �n I� . Arri-erica_n kinship. The family, to be a fa1nily , must live together.

The family 31 entiated are not the same as those which define and differentiate the members of the family on one hand, and the family as a cultural unit on the other. And indeed, this proves to be the case. Sexual intercourse ( the act of procreation) is the symbol which provides the distinctive features in terms of which both the metnbers of the family as relatives and the family as a cultural unit are defined and differentiated. I must pause in this account to make certain points quite explicit and to warn the reader of certain problems which he may encounter in read­ ing this exposition.

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American Kinship: A Cultural Account by David Murray Schneider

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