A collection of specially commissioned essays dealing with general aspects of kinship, family and marriage from an anthropological point of view, that is, considering the total range of human societies. In his editorial introduction, Jack Goody explains that his aim has been to provide 'essays dealing with general themes rather than ethnographic conundrums or descriptive minutiae' in the hope of achieving 're-consideration of some central problem areas including those examined by an earlier generation of anthropologists and still raised by scholars outside the discipline itself'. Individual essays cover problems such as the nature of kinship and the family; why monogamy?; intermarriage and the creation of castes. The contributors include R. G. Abrahams, J. A. Barnes, Fredrik Barth, Maurice Bloch, Derek Freeman, Jack Goody, Grace Harris, Jean La Fontaine, Edmund Leach, Julian Pitt-Rivers, Raymond T. Smith, Andrew Strathern and S. J. Tambiah.
'Goody, an outstanding Cambridge University anthropologist, has provided another volume that contributes new approaches to the multiple, inextricable, complex facets of the character of kinship from theoretical perspectives within the context of the entire range of human societies. He has brought together essays by 13 leading anthropologists, including himself, who deal with general themes and problems rather than ethnographic, descriptive details ... . This volume is published to honour Cambridge University anthropologist Meyer Fortes upon his retirement. Fortes' major achievements include significant contributions to the understanding of kinship. Anthropologists, sociologists, and social scientists who are interested in social organization in general and/or kinship specifically will find this book to be a welcome asset.' H. Leon Abrams, Jr., Sociology, August 1974