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After Nature : English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century - Marilyn Strathern

After Nature

English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century

Paperback Published: 11th May 1992
ISBN: 9780521426800
Number Of Pages: 260

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After nature is a timely account of fundamental constructs in English kinship at a moment when developments in reproductive technology are raising questions about the natural basis of kin relations. Kinship in this anthropological study is viewed in the context of contemporary cultural change, and the book is also a unique commentary on late-twentieth-century English culture. This essay on middle-class English kinship challenges the traditional separation of western kinship studies from the study of the wider society. If contemporary society appears diverse, changing and fragmented, these same features also apply to people's ideas about kinship. Ideas of relatedness, nature and the biological constitution of persons are viewed in their cultural context, and the work offers new insight into late-twentieth-century values of individualism and consumerism. Central as kinship has been to the development of British social anthropology, this is the first attempt by an anthropologist to offer a cultural account of English kinship. Marilyn Strathern looks back at mid-century writings, both within anthropology and outside, and demonstrates continuities between middle-class folk models of kinship and anthropological kinship theory. She also shows how conceptualisations of change have enabled that past world to produce the present one. The values placed upon individual choice, as well as the vanishing of 'society' as a self-evident point of reference, are part of an evolving cultural explicitness about kinship and the naturalness of connections between persons. Thus the new reproductive technologies are seen to both indicate ways in which the natural base of kinship relations is being challengedand endorse the centrality of biology to late-twentieth-century views of procreation.

' ... her social critique, her commitment to environmental issues, and above all, her readiness to tackle all-encompassing and provocative themes, makes her book very stimulating reading.' Times Literary Supplement 'This is an innovatory work - a cultural account of kinship in England has not previously been attempted. Undoubtedly a tour de force ...' Sociology of Health and Illness

List of illustrationsp. xii
Acknowledgement of sourcesp. xiii
Forewordp. xv
Prefacep. xvii
Prologue: making explicitp. 1
Individuality and diversityp. 10
Facts of kinshipp. 11
Facts of naturep. 30
Analogies for a plural culturep. 47
Displacing visionsp. 47
Overlapping viewsp. 72
The progress of polite societyp. 88
Cultivationp. 89
Socialisationp. 109
Greenhouse effectp. 128
Literal metaphorsp. 129
Reproducing preferencep. 153
Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural worldp. 186
Notesp. 199
Referencesp. 218
Indexp. 228
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521426800
ISBN-10: 0521426804
Series: Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 11th May 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.4