Kinship

kinship, relationship by blood (consanguinity) or marriage (affinity) between persons; also, in anthropology and sociology, a system of rules, based on such relationships, governing descent, inheritance, marriage, extramarital sexual relations, and sometimes residence. All societies recognize consanguineal and affinal ties between individuals, but there is great divergence in the manner of reckoning descent and relationship. Kinship patterns are so specific and elaborate that they constitute an important and independent field of anthropological and sociological investigation. In many societies the concept of kinship extends beyond family ties, which vary in breadth and inclusiveness, to less precisely defined groupings such as the clan, where consanguinity is often hypothetical if not actually mythological. As a rule, however, these groups maintain incest taboos as strict as those for close biological relatives.

See R. Fox, Kinship and Marriage (1967); I. Buchler and H. A. Selby, Kinship and Social Organization (1968); B. Farber, Comparative Kinship Systems (1968); J. R. Goody, Comparative Studies in Kinship (1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Kinship and Gender: An Introduction
Linda Stone.
Westview Press, 1997
Conceptions of Kinship
Bernard Farber.
Elsevier, 1981
Kinship and Family Organization
Bernard Farber.
John Wiley & Sons, 1966
Filiation and Affiliation
Harold W. Scheffier.
Westview Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Kinship and Descent"
Families, History, and Social Change: Life Course and Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Tamara K. Hareven.
Westview Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Part One "Family and Kinship: Continuity and Change"
Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts
Nigel Rapport; Joanna Overing.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Kinship" begins on p. 217
Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family
Lewis Henry Morgan; Lewis Henry Morgan.
University of Nebraska Press, 1997
Dividends of Kinship: Meanings and Uses of Social Relatedness
Peter P. Schweitzer.
Routledge, 2000
Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship
Kath Weston.
Columbia University Press, 1991
Kinship Ideology and Practice in Latin America
Raymond T. Smith.
University of North Carolina Press, 1984
Kinship and Friendship in Modern Britain
Graham Allan.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Transforming the Past: Tradition and Kinship among Japanese Americans
Sylvia Junko Yanagisako.
Stanford University, 1985
Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household, Kinship, and Patronage
Naomi Tadmor.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
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