This chapter explores the question of how people constitute social relationships.1 The central thesis is that there are distinct natural ways to constitute each of the four elementary relational mods. The other thesis is that the manner in which people naturally constitute a type of relationship is closely linked to the medium in which they have the greatest facility in communicating about it, and to the primary form of cognitive representation of that type of relationship. These are also homologous with the channels through which children discover the local cultural implementations of that

relational mod, and, conversely, the mechanisms by which these implementations are culturally reproduced or transformed.