American Kinship: A Cultural Account by David Murray Schneider

By David Murray Schneider

American Kinship is the 1st try and deal systematically with kinship as a approach of symbols and meanings, and never easily as a community of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the learn of a hugely differentiated society reminiscent of our personal should be extra revealing of the character of kinship than the research of anthropologically extra accepted, yet much less differentiated societies. He is going to the guts of the ideology of family between kinfolk in the United States through finding the underlying positive aspects of the definition of kinship—nature vs. legislation, substance vs. code. probably the most major gains of American Kinship, then, is the categorical improvement of a idea of tradition on which the research is predicated, a conception that has on the grounds that proved worthy 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 inspiration because the ebook used to be first released in 1968.

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1965 ), p . 4. . "·�:·. . :} The Fomily 33 family," in American kinship. " I then will order certain ethnographic facts which lead to the hypothesis which I have just stated, that is, that the fact of nature which serves as the symbol in terms of which members of the family are de­ fined and differentiated and in terms of which each member of the fam­ ily's proper mode of conduct is deflned is that of sexual intercourse. II. uThe family" is a cultural unit which contains a husband and wife who are the mother and father of their child or children.

For the child brings together and unifies in one person the different biogenetic substances of both parents. The child thus affirms the oneness or unity of blood with each of his parents; this is a substantive affirmation. of the unity of the child with each of his parents and with his siblings by those parents. At the same time, that unity or identity of flesh and blood, that oneness of material, stands for the unity of cognatic love. Both love and sexual intercourse turn on two distinct elements.

The distinctive features which define the members of the family and differentiate them from each other and which at the same time define the family as a unit and distinguish it from all other cultural units are those which are contained in the symbol sexual intercourse. Father is the genitor, mother the genetrix of the child which is their offspring. Husband and wife are in sexual relationship and theirs is the only legiti­ mate and proper sexual relationship. Husband and wife are lovers and the child is the product of their love as well as the object of their love; it is in this sense that there are two kinds of love which define family relationslrips> one conjugal and the other cognatic, and it is in this sense that love is a synonym for sexual intercourse.

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