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Azim Malikov

group will often take its specific name’ ( DeWeese 1999: 507–508 ). Local conceptions of Xoja kinship systems have an impact on people’s identity formation. Kinship is one form of identification that constitutes people’s multiple identities. Kinship

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Delighting in kinship

Women’s relatedness and casual pleasures in village Tamil Nadu

Indira Arumugam

This paper is about pleasure, specifically the pleasure that women take in kinship. Contrary to its diminished importance within the discipline, kinship still resonates strongly for many of our interlocutors. Why is kinship so captivating? Kinship’s continued significance, I argue, is attributable not so much to its utility or morality but to the pleasure it evokes. In capturing the major implications of kinship, anthropologists have barely considered the small joys of living together with kin. Pleasure is understood in two terms. First, the experiential, where it is incidental to routine work and ritual obligations but is also deliberately sought and actively indulged in. Second, the aesthetic, where thinking abstractly and constructing genealogies are not simply anthropologists illusions, which is itself a form of pleasure for our interlocutors. Focusing on pleasure does not detract from structural constraints and customary suffering but textures everyday experiences of kinship. Offering another category to think with and opportunities to rethink extant ones, pleasure forces us to confront kinship’s open‐ended and improvisational qualities. While kinship’s consequence has been well scrutinised, privileging pleasure allows us to grapple with the insouciance with which kinship is also lived, felt and becomes taken for granted.

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Morgan Clarke

In Islamic law, breastfeeding institutes a type of kinship relation (, ‘milk kinship’), historically a medium for complex social and political networks in the Middle East, although of diminished frequency in modern times. My research focuses on Islamic Middle Eastern reactions to new reproductive technologies such as fertilisation: for Muslim religious specialists, milk kinship provides a way of thinking through and resolving the ethical dilemmas of the use of donor eggs and surrogacy arrangements. Rather than disappearing under modernity, then, milk kinship endures as a resource for the mediation of social relations and intellectual challenges.

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Capitalism, Kinship, and Fraud

The Case of Bernie Madoff

Sherry B. Ortner

Investment broker Bernie Madoff ran what is still considered the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over a 20-year period of more than $20 billion. He worked his game almost entirely through kinship connections—relatives, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. The relationship between kinship and capitalism has drawn renewed attention by anthropologists, part of a broader effort to rethink capitalism not as a free-standing ‘economy’ but as deeply embedded in a wide range of social relations. In this article I use the Madoff case to illustrate, and develop further, several aspects of the kinship/capitalism connection. I also consider briefly the boundary between fraud and ‘legitimate’ capitalism, which many economic historians consider a fuzzy boundary at best.

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What human kinship is primarily about

Toward a critique of the new kinship studies

Warren Shapiro

The claims of the so‐called ‘constructionist’ position in kinship studies are examined with reference to a recent article by Susan McKinnon. McKinnon's analysis is shown to be deeply flawed, primarily because she pays no attention to the phenomenon of focality, now widely established in cognitive science. Instead, she is trapped in unsupportable collectivist models of human kinship. It is argued that these models are part of a misguided critique of the Western European Enlightenment.

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Morgan Clarke

Anthropological debates on kinship in the Middle East have centred on the 'problems' of patriparallel cousin marriage and milk kinship. A focus on Middle Eastern reactions to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation allows a fresh perspective on the study of kinship in the region. My own research has investigated Islamic legal reactions to assisted reproductive technologies and the practice of assisted reproduction in Lebanon. Islamic legal reaction is diverse, as are the uses made of these techniques by non-specialist Muslims. Considerations of propriety and public reputation remain uppermost, although matters of kinship are debated and new patterns and ideologies of relatedness are potentially emerging.

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Robert Parkin

The article takes the form of a critical comment on Warren Shapiro's recent defence of approaches to kinship from evolutionary psychology against Susan McKinnon's attact on them from a position of cultural constructivism, but it also takes issue with some of McKinnon's own arguments, as well as reflecting critically on the assumptions of evolutionary psychology itself. Although far apart theoretically, Shapiro and McKinnon share a flawed understanding of the significance of kin term equations, while McKinnon and evolutionary psychology both rely in their arguments on notions of agency that are fundamentally ethnocentric and neglect the significance of social obligation. Nonetheless, Shapiro and McKinnon both represent established tendencies within social anthropology, though not exhaustively so. The article ends with a plea for a degree of reconciliation between these tendencies (echoing Janet Carsten), if only to defend them from often ill‐informed interventions in this area from other disciplines.

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Paul Clough

This article argues that the moral dimensions of the term 'culture' have been under-theorized in anthropology. The argument stems from a particular reading of the Western philosophy of ethics. Based in economic anthropology, I explore how an understanding of the moral imperative can illuminate differences in processes of accumulation. After a discussion of the concept of morality in philosophy and in recent anthropology, I go on to examine the principles of altruism and reciprocal utility in the light of theories of kinship and of rational choice. I then outline an argument concerning the general form of moral reasoning. According to this argument, kinship classifications function logically to synthesize variable distributions in different societies of two interconnected principles—altruism and reciprocal utility.

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Introduction

Emerging Kinship in a Changing Middle East

Soraya Tremayne

This issue is the outcome of a panel organised on ‘Emerging Kinship in Changing Middle East’, at a conference held by the Commission on the Anthropology of the Middle East in Krakow in 2016. But, this is also an opportunity to reflect on the

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‘Coming To Look Alike’

Materializing Affinity in Japanese Foster and Adoptive Care

Kathryn E. Goldfarb

’s the point.” Over a period of two minutes, Hashimoto had enjoined his audience several times to view the material evidence before us, pressing us to come to the conclusion that even non-biological kinship ties develop over time and are objectively