chapter  4
40 Pages

Kinship Domain: Family (Dis)connections

Kinship studies flourished in anthropology until the 1980s, when they supposedly lost their popular appeal. To at least one notable scholar in the field, research on kinship, after decades of decline, is beginning to rise “phoenix-like…from its ashes” as contemporary anthropologists rediscover its importance in explorations of cultural institutions (Schneider, 1995, p. 193). For others, this line of research has neither dwindled nor is experiencing a sudden resurgence in its former focuses of inquiry. Instead, it has been undergoing a steady transformation from investigations emphasizing genealogies, domestic group cycles, alliance, and descent theories to inquiries focusing on how people actually construct and utilize their kinship connections (Stone, 2001).11 New directions, including those followed in this chapter, are being spearheaded by scholars who explore kinship in terms of sexuality, reproduction, and new forms of the family by “examining ideologies, using narratives, and placing the anthropologist among his or her subjects” (Lamphere, 2001, p. 42).