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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Issues of Kinship Theory: Solidarity or Logic? [Commission on Theoretical Anthropology]


Location: Poznań, Poland
Date: 29 Aug 11:00 - 17:15


Room 3.135

The 14thcentury scholar, Abdul Rahman Ibn Khaldun, was the first to develop a theory of society and societal change based on the notion of ‘asabiyya, translated from the Arabic as ‘solidarity’. Ibn Khaldun’s theory is embedded in kinship – ‘asabiyya being the genealogical bond among relatives-- four centuries before Emile Durkheim bifurcated solidarity into mechanical and organic. As a construct, kinship has been a defining foundation in the development of anthropological theory. Ethnography continues to show the centrality of the kinship domain in people’s lives. The past decade has seen visceral debates across the four fields of anthropology regarding the position of kinship study in anthropology. Attempts have been made at synthesizing ethnographic, linguistic and population-genetic approaches to human kinship into a single theoretical paradigm. This session proposes to build on early conceptualizations and emergent issues, presenting a new theory or new cross-cultural data, or both. Analyses of data on kinship formed by non-procreative means raises the issue of what procreation really means. A new look at old debates leads to questions such as: Must there be an atom of kinship and what would be its content? To what extent, and how, does, the incest taboo become a fundamental and shared feature of the domain called kinship.? Kinship terminologies have a long and rich history of analysis. How can a focus on the study of kinship terminology today advance our understanding of kinship as a universal category of analysis and a pervasive human activity around the world?


  • P 49.1
    • Dr. Read, Dwight (University of California)
    • Dr. Popov, Vladimir (University of St. Petersburg)
    • Dr. El Guindi, Fadwa (American University in Cairo)
  • P 49.2
    • Dr. Read, Dwight (University of California)
    • Dr. Popov, Vladimir (University of St. Petersburg)
    • Dr. El Guindi, Fadwa (American University in Cairo)

Timetable | Contribution List

Displaying 13 contributions out of 13
Lewis Henry Morgan's definition of classificatory terminologies (i.e., bifurcate merging terminologies) by whether the terminology consistently distinguishes between lineal and collateral genealogical relations has long posed a fundamental question: On what conceptual basis is the seemingly self-evident genealogical distinction between lineal and collateral genealogical relations cross-cut by kin ... More
Presented by Dr. Dwight READ on 29/8/2019 at 13:50
Evolutionary theory in linguistics and anthropology developed under European colonialist mentalities of innate racial and cultural difference (whereby genes = culture = language) used to justify interventions and abuses, and subsequently to foment racist and ethnic nationalisms. In our contemporary context, do anthropological uses of those same evolutionary models to organize and interpret data - ... More
Presented by Dr. Bradley ENSOR on 29/8/2019 at 13:30
The Arara are a Carib-speaking people living on the left bank of the Iriri River, a tributary of the Xingu River, near the city of Altamira, State of Para, Brazil. With a small population isolated due to non-indigenous occupation around the Transamazonica Road between 1960 and 1980, the Arara lived a reality of effective endogamy, creating an extremely dense and complex network of relationships. W ... More
Presented by Dr. Marnio TEIXEIRA-PINTO
Claude Lévi-Strauss (1963) analyzing the spatial structure of a typical historical village of the Winnebago from the Great Lakes region, referred to the interesting discrepancy in its description presented by representatives of each of the exogamous moieties of the tribe. In the monumental monograph “The Winnebago Tribe” by Paul Radin (1923) one can find information that all researcherʼs inf ... More
Presented by Michał ŻERKOWSKI on 29/8/2019 at 14:10
Every community has multiple recognized types of social organization.Each type usually involves multiple actual organizations.Each organization is built up interactively by the use of a specific idea system: governmental organizations are built up by the use of governmental ideas, military organizations by the use of military ideas, economic organizations by the use of economic ideas, and so on. E ... More
Presented by Dr. Murray LEAF on 29/8/2019 at 10:00
The practical business of living with one’s kin and neighbours, and with people who are neither, changes with the economic basis of society – and this is reflected in changing descent and marriage rules, and in terminological systems. At the same time there are certain formal features of these rules and systems – their ‘logic’ if you like – which strongly persist through all or several ... More
Presented by Dr. Patrick HEADY on 29/8/2019 at 10:20
Recent field research on Arabian kinship reveals that there are three integrated, culturally recognized pathways for the incorporation of kin: birth, ‘marriage’ and suckling. Analysis of field data shows that kinship structure needs suckling to transcend the rigid binarism usually presented as procreation. As Kinship Study regains its core position in anthropological knowledge after a perio ... More
Presented by Dr. Fadwa EL GUINDI on 29/8/2019 at 14:50
The concepts of ""tribe"" and ""clan"" have been widely used throughout Sudanic Africa or in reference to this region. Both “tribes” and “clans” have been seen as kinship-centered entities cemented by “tribal” or “clanic” solidarity among their members. Such perception of kinship does not, however, hold up at a closer look. Fiction of ""tribe"", ""clan"" and ""tribal\clanic"" ... More
Presented by Dr. Nikolay DOBRONRAVIN on 29/8/2019 at 9:20
The search for the marriage rule, and tacit norms for sexual encounters between the people of the ‘quilombola’ communities of the “Area das Cabeceiras” (Lower Amazonas, State of Pará, Brazil) has always been unsuccessful. Apart from the nuclear family - father, mother, brothers, sisters and children - there does not seem to be any formal prohibition on marital unions or sexual relationshi ... More
Presented by Dr. Miriam HARTUNG
For the anthropologist interested in the evolution of kinship terminologies, the position of Crow-Omaha terminologies presents a somewhat knotty problem. Strengthened by Lévi-Strauss’s labelling of them as ‘semi-complex structures’, we have become used to seeing them as an intermediate stage between ‘elementary structures’ (linked with cross-cousin marriage; cf. Needham’s ‘prescript ... More
Presented by Dr. Robert PARKIN on 29/8/2019 at 9:40
This paper presents data on the Gawigl speaking people, living in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. In particular, I look into the correlation between kinship terminology and the composition and maintenance of social units. The terminology of this complex system shows certain dissymmetries concerning affinal relationships which give important clues for understanding the kind of i ... More
Presented by Dr. Almut SCHNEIDER on 29/8/2019 at 9:00
Prior to the onset of kinship studies in anthropolgy in the middle of the 19th century two distinct trends can be detected in the philosophical and religious writings that touch upon the phenomenon of human kinship. The logical trend can be found in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, John Locke and David Hume. The theme of kinship as solidarity was addressed by Aristotle, Ibn Khaldun, St. Augustine, ... More
Presented by Dr. German DZIEBEL on 29/8/2019 at 14:30
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