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July 06 , 2008

Relative Values

Reconfiguring Kinship Studies


The essays in Relative Values draw on new work in anthropology, science studies, gender theory, critical race studies, and postmodernism to offer a radical revisioning of kinship and kinship theory. Through a combination of vivid case studies and trenchant theoretical essays, the contributors—a group of internationally recognized scholars—examine both the history of kinship theory and its future, at once raising questions that have long occupied a central place within the discipline of anthropology and moving beyond them.
Ideas about kinship are vital not only to understanding but also to forming many of the practices and innovations of contemporary society. How do the cultural logics of contemporary biopolitics, commodification, and globalization intersect with kinship practices and theories? In what ways do kinship analogies inform scientific and clinical practices; and what happens to kinship when it is created in such unfamiliar sites as biogenetic labs, new reproductive technology clinics, and the computers of artificial life scientists? How does kinship constitute—and get constituted by—the relations of power that draw lines of hierarchy and equality, exclusion and inclusion, ambivalence and violence? The contributors assess the implications for kinship of such phenomena as blood transfusions, adoption across national borders, genetic support groups, photography, and the new reproductive technologies while ranging from rural China to mid-century Africa to contemporary Norway and the United States. Addressing these and other timely issues, Relative Values injects new life into one of anthropology's most important disciplinary traditions.
Posing these and other timely questions, Relative Values injects an important interdisciplinary curiosity into one of anthropology’s most important disciplinary traditions.

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Contributors. Mary Bouquet, Janet Carsten, Charis Thompson Cussins, Carol Delaney, Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Sarah Franklin, Deborah Heath, Stefan Helmreich, Signe Howell, Jonathan Marks, Susan McKinnon, Michael G. Peletz, Rayna Rapp, Martine Segalen, Pauline Turner Strong, Melbourne Tapper, Karen-Sue Taussig, Kath Weston, Yunxiang Yan

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