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DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY Inaugural Lecture and Colloquia 31 st October and 1 st November 2003 Anthropology at Aberdeen - Lecture by Tim Ingold 5 p.m.

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Presentation on theme: "DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY Inaugural Lecture and Colloquia 31 st October and 1 st November 2003 Anthropology at Aberdeen - Lecture by Tim Ingold 5 p.m."— Presentation transcript:

1 DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY Inaugural Lecture and Colloquia 31 st October and 1 st November 2003 Anthropology at Aberdeen - Lecture by Tim Ingold 5 p.m. Friday October 31 st, Kings College Colloquium on the Anthropology of the North Gisli Palsson, Piers Vitebsky, Alex King, David Anderson 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday November 1 st, Marischal Museum Colloquium on Art, Anthropology and Visual Culture Susanne Kuechler, Chris Gosden, Nancy Wachowich, Elizabeth Hallam 2 – 5 p.m., Saturday November 1 st, Marischal Museum The British Academy Radcliffe-Brown Memorial Lecture: The genealogy of descent, Gillian Feeley-Harnik, 6 p.m., Saturday November 1 st, Kings College For further details,

2 Matriliny vs. Matriarchy Ego

3 Nature and Culture Nature is a symbol. Culturally constructed does not mean that it doesnt exist. No hotline to reality. Very few would defend naïve empiricism.

4 Family Natural unit - based on biological givens (couple+offspring) Residence is a critical feature of kinship

5 Kinship is everything Kinship is the study of relatedness in a given society Studying kinship requires an understanding of what a person is. Provides us with an understanding of social structures (relationships among persons) and institutions (politics, economics, religion, kinship)

6 Key concept in Anthropology Socialization of patently natural relations. British Social Anthropology, kinship was more or less synonymous with anthropology American cultural anthropology - personality & culture and kinship vied for most important Lévi-Strauss took center-stage with his Elementary Structures of Kinship Radcliffe-Brown, Evens-Pritchard, Fortes, Leach, Geertz, Murdock, White

7 Kinship does not really exist A Critique of the Study of Kinship, 1984 Schneiders critique: it is an artifact of the anthropologists and their culture more than it is of the subject cultures they study By 1980 interest had already fallen off.

8 Two views of Yapesse society 1. Follows the assumptions that it is a kin-based society, operating in an idiom of kinship 2. Does not make any of those assumptions, looks for symbols of sociality and the meaning of those symbols from the natives point of view.

9 Blood is thicker than water Fundamental, implicit assumption in kinship studies. Because blood is thicker than water kinship consists in bonds on which kinsmen can depend, are unquestionable, more compelling than other kinds of relationships. States of being, not doing Even Lévi-Strauss writes of …the natural links of kinship…

10 Kinship as an idiom Depends on the idea, our assumptions of kinship 1. Simple societies can be distinguished from complex societies 2. Kinship, economics, politics, religion - all universal 3. Reproduction of human beings. - biology (blood ties)

11 Doctrine of the Genealogical Unity of Humanity Biological kinship is usually distinguished sharply from social kinship Social kinship was about social facts (following Durkheim), but biology was relegated to the background, an assumption. Durkheim, Rivers, Radcliffe-Brown, Malinowski made biological kinship either an implicit or explicitly assumption.

12 So what? Kinship is about human reproduction, previous generations are replaced by new ones. A European preoccupation - blood is thicker than water This is not necessarily true for all people.

13 Now what? Anthropology is the study of particular cultures. The first task of anthropology is to understand and formulate the symbols and meanings and their configuration that a particular culture consists of.

14 The problem First we assume that kinship, economics, politics, and religion are distinct things. Then we describe a culture in terms one then another aspect. All of these institutions are inextricably interrelated so that in any particular case they cannot be distinguished. Society cannot be decomposed into constituent parts.

15 The solution Take kinship as an empirical question. Value and meaning in the total cultural configuration must be added to the investigation and analysis.

16 Kinship is again a key problem Not the reigning concept anymore (identity, power, body, gender, colonialism) Returned as the debate about the character of social structure and central to understanding embodied persons. Schneider remains key: symbols, natives point of view, belonging

17 Society no longer partible Kinship, economy, religion, political organization, etc. are not constituent parts of a society or a culture Kinship is a system not readily demarcated from economic, religious, and governmental domains. Kinship is certainly not something relegated to Others. Kinship of Europe, North America, China, etc.


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