Marshall Sahlins—What Kinship Is-And Is Not

Marshall Sahlins—bookstore member and Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago—will discuss his latest book, What Kinship Is-And Is Not.

In this pithy two-part essay, Sahlins reinvigorates the debates on what constitutes kinship, building on some of the best scholarship in the field to produce an original outlook on the deepest bond humans can have. Covering thinkers from Aristotle and Lévy- Bruhl to Émile Durkheim and David Schneider, and communities from the Maori and the English to the Korowai of New Guinea, he draws on a breadth of theory and a range of ethnographic examples to form an acute definition of kinship, what he calls the “mutuality of being.”

In a groundbreaking argument, he demonstrates that even where kinship is reckoned from births, it is because the wider kindred or the clan ancestors are already involved in procreation, so that the notion of birth is meaningfully dependent on kinship rather than kinship on birth. By formulating this reversal, Sahlins identifies what kinship truly is: not nature, but culture.

Event date: 
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
60637-1507 Chicago
What Kinship Is - And Is Not Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780226925127
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - January 25th, 2013