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What Kinship Is-And Is Not


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About the Author

Marshall Sahlins is the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy, he is the author of many books, including Culture and Practical Reason, How "Natives" Think, Islands of History, and Apologies to Thucydides, all published by the University of Chicago Press.


"What is most striking about Sahlins's discussion is the evocative way in which he captures something immediately recognizable about kinship. Across cultures, eras, and social backgrounds, the sense that kin "participate intrinsically in each other's existence,' that they share 'a mutuality of being,' and are 'members of one another' is intuitively graspable-not as an analytic abstraction, as many definitions of kinship seem to be, but in a way that palpably makes sense of the whole range of human experience as described in the ethnographic record, and also our own." (Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory) "Sahlins catalogs brilliantly the varied ways in which people construct family ties completely apart from their genetic relationships.... This is cultural anthropology at its best." (Cosmos & Culture, National Public Radio)"

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