What Really Happened to Kinship and Kinship Studies A DAM K UPER ¤ Paulo Sousa gives a very good account of the fall of kinship, but the highly focussed intellectualist perspective that he adopts leaves out too much. A broader context and a historical perspective are required if we are to make sense of what happened to kinship studies. And we have to look beyond anthropology. The modern orthodoxy on kinship in anthropology was part of a common paradigm of kinship, marriage and the family within the social sciences. And it collapsed, as the broader paradigm collapsed, in part because of internal problems – theoretical weaknesses, ethnographic contradictions – but more directly as a result of social and political developments in the outside world. John Barnes has remarked that the three key texts in the modern anthropology of kinship were all published in 1949: The Web of Kinship among the Tallensi , by Meyer Fortes, Les structures élementaires de la parenté , by Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Social Structure by George Peter Murdock. These books became sacred texts of rival schools of thought. In the 1960s, Barnes set himself the task of drawing out common themes for a uni
Journal of Cognition and Culture – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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