The Kinship Wars

An Essay on the Prehistory of Social Anthropology

by William Y. Adams



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 1/27/2018

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 114
ISBN : 9781480854871
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 114
ISBN : 9781480854857
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 114
ISBN : 9781480854864

About the Book

In the later nineteenth century, a number of learned scholars discovered, independently of one another, some basic principles of human kinship organization that had previously gone unrecognized.

They noticed the existence of matrilineal descent (reckoning descent and inheritance through the mother rather than the father), exogamy (the necessity of marrying outside one’s group), and the principle of kin group property-owning.

With evolution the hottest intellectual topic of the times, the scholars viewed their ideas as critical to a general understanding of human social development. They proposed sweeping evolutionary schemes based on their discoveries.

But the scholars disagreed on many points, including whether matrilineal descent was the earliest form of human kinship reckoning. As time went on, numerous other scholars entered the debate, which they saw as key to understanding human social evolution.

From early theories that had little ethnographic grounding to later ideas that relied on a “fieldwork revolution” led by intrepid ethnographers who studied the cultures of tribal peoples around the world, The Kinship Wars reveals that the issue of kinship was a good deal more complex than theorists first supposed.

About the Author

William Y. Adams, a professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky, is a recognized authority on the history of social thought, and the author of the widely acclaimed Philosophical Roots of Anthropology as well as The Boasians, Founding Fathers and Mothers of American Anthropology.