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The Politics of Making Kinship: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives

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The Politics of Making Kinship

Historical and Anthropological Perspectives

Edited by Erdmute Alber, David Warren Sabean, Simon Teuscher, and Tatjana Thelen

496 pages, 6 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-800-3 $155.00/£107.00 / Hb / Not Yet Published (December 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-785-3 eBook Not Yet Published

View CartYour country: - edit  Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is a powerful volume that argues for kinship and politics to be studied and analyzed in conjunction and not separately, as is still common within the social and political sciences. […] What makes the volume particularly strong is that it combines discussions of semantic shifts, political contestations, philosophy and theory, of house(hold), kin, and family relations. It shows why the dominant methods of measuring kinship relations that are so highly biased towards European — if not British — terminology eclipse other ways of organizing filiation.”• Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology


A long tradition of Western political thought included the concepts of a household, the family, and kinship in models of public order, but during the nineteenth century the newly constructed social sciences developed a conceptualization of “the West and the Rest” and excised family and kinship from theories of the state, public sphere, and democratic order. Kinship has, however, neither completely disappeared from the political cultures of the West nor played the determining social and political role elsewhere that has been ascribed to it. Exploring the issues that arise once the sharp divide between kinship and politics is no longer taken for granted, The Politic of Making Kinship, demonstrates how political processes have shaped concepts of kinship over time and, conversely, how political projects have been shaped by specific understandings, idioms and uses of kinship. Taking vantage points from the post-Roman era to early modernity, from colonial imperialism to the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond this international set of scholars expertly place kinship centerstage and reintegrating it with political theory.

Erdmute Alber is professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth. She co-led the research group on Kinship and Politics at ZIF in Bielefeld. Her books include Transfers of Belonging (Brill 2018) and (with Tatjana Thelen) Re-connecting State and Kinship (2017).

David Warren Sabean is Henry J. Bruman endowed professor of German history Emeritus and distinguished research professor of European history at the university of California, Los Angeles. He co-led the research group on kinship and politics at ZIF in Bielefeld. His books include Kinship in Neckarhausen (1998).

Simon Teuscher is professor of medieval history at the University of Zurich. He co-led the group on Kinship and Politics at ZIF in Bielefeld. His books include Lords’ Rights and Peasants’ Answers (2012) and (with David Sabean and Jon Mathieu) Kinship in Europe: Approaches to Long-Term Developments (1300-1900) (2007).

Tatjana Thelen is professor at the department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna. She co-led the group on Kinship and Politics at ZIF in Bielefeld. She co-edited Reconnecting State and Kinship (2017) and Stategraphy: Toward a Relational Anthropology of the State (2017).

Subject: History (General)Political and Economic AnthropologyAnthropology (General)
Area: Europe


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