Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Ellingson, Laura L. and Patricia J. Sotirin. Aunting: Cultural Practices That Sustain Family and Community Life

Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Ellingson, Laura L. and Patricia J. Sotirin. Aunting: Cultural Practices That Sustain Family and Community Life

Article excerpt

Ellingson, Laura L. and Patricia J. Sotirin. Aunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010. Pp. xiii, 223. ISBN 978-160258152-4 (cloth) $29.95.

As the authors note early on, everyone who has an aunt has a story about an aunt. The topic has personal and cultural resonance, but not so much a presence in the research tradition on kinship, whether in sociology, communication, anthropology, or family studies. "We intend this study," they write, "to provide a more nuanced and critical view of aunts than those offerend in contemporary nonfiction trade books that celebrate our aunties, contributing to the work of scholars and practitioners in family communication and family studies, sociology and anthropology of kinship, and women's studies" (pp. ix-x).

This ethnographic study explores this important relationship primarily through interviews, but also through personal experiences and observations. In some ways the book and the research serve to "reimagine aunting": "We encourage readers to think of the aunt not as a person or even a role, but as a practice, as something people do...[W]e follow recent research that emphasizes family as a dynamic experience rather than as a static accomplishment" (p. …

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