American Kinship: A Cultural Account by David Murray Schneider

By David Murray Schneider

American Kinship is the 1st try to deal systematically with kinship as a method 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 akin to our personal should be extra revealing of the character of kinship than the research of anthropologically extra usual, yet much less differentiated societies. He is going to the guts of the ideology of relatives between family in the United States through finding the underlying beneficial properties of the definition of kinship—nature vs. legislations, substance vs. code. some of the most major positive aspects of American Kinship, then, is the specific improvement of a thought of tradition on which the research is predicated, a idea that has due to the fact proved important within the research of different cultures. For this Phoenix variation, Schneider has written a considerable new bankruptcy, responding to his critics and recounting the fees in his inspiration because the e-book used to be first released in 1968.

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Compare W. H. Goodenough, op. cit. For the difference between his view and mine, see footnote, p. 99 , below. It should also be noted that I do not offer this as a definitive or exhaustive list of American kinship terms. old lady," "governor," and so forth. It is really not possible to assume that there is a finite lexicon or vo­ cabulary of kinship terms without first providing a clear definition of just what a kinship term is and whether this definition is imposed on the data for analytic purposes or whether it is a definition inherent in the culture itself.

Or mother is not also female. � '1 � � �� � � i ; � < '. t }l � ·' r f ] ��! @ ·: ' The Family 43 The distinction I am drawing here between a defining element or distinctive feature and all other features is nicely illustrated by the area of sex-role definition which I have been describing. As I have said, there are two culturally defined categories> male and female. ind of genitalia, female another. Male has facial hair, female does not. Male is active and aggressive , female passive. Consider, now> these three features-genitals, facial hair, and activity.

Ship of parent and child and makes genitor and genetrix out of husband ':. arid wife. 4 These are the tenets of American culture. fl Sexual intercourse is an act in which and through which love is ex- �;· � pressed; it is often called ''making love/' and love is an explicit cultural symbol in American kinship. i� J This was expressed by one of our informants-an elderly lady-as fol- ::1 lows: We asked her to list all of her relatives and after she had been list- · ing them for a time she slowed down and stopped.

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