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After Kinship


  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 306.83
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: GN487 .C37 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Kinship
    • Kin recognition

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521661980 | ISBN-10: 0521661986)

This innovative book takes a look at the anthropology of kinship and the comparative study of relatedness. Kinship has historically been central to the discipline of anthropology but what sort of future does it have? What is the impact of recent studies of reproductive technologies, of gender, and of the social construction of science in the West? What significance does public anxiety about the family, or new family forms in the West have for anthropology's analytic strategies? The study of kinship has rested on a distinction between the 'biological' and the 'social'. But recent technological developments have made this distinction no longer self-evident. What does this imply about the comparison of kinship institutions cross-culturally? Janet Carsten gives an approachable view of the past, present, and future of kinship in anthropology, which will be of interest not just to anthropologists but to social scientists generally.

• Takes up insights drawn from the study of gender and personhood, substance, the house, and new reproductive technologies • Problematizes the separation between the 'social' and the 'biological', which has been at the heart of kinship analysis in anthropology • Written to be accessible to a wide audience of readers


1. Introduction: after kinship?; 2. Houses of memory and kinship; 3. Gender, bodies, and kinship; 4. The person; 5. Uses and abuses of substance; 6. Families into nation: the power of metaphor and the transformation of kinship; 7. Assisted reproduction.


'In this creative book, Janet Carsten unsettles and reorients our traditional ideas about kinship. Through her deep understanding of kinship theory and comparative eye, we see kinship as it is made in shared experience, and interwoven with concepts of the house, person, gender, nationality, and new technologies. Kinship studies may once again become the heart of anthropology. After Carsten, they will never be the same.' Stephen Gudeman, The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences

'… the book provides students with good examples for the variable, local meanings of kinship …' Social Anthropology

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