Although kinship studies have traditionally focused on ‘solidarity’
and ‘mutuality’, dis-alignment, exclusion, and difference are
equally crucial foci for analysis. In this introduction, we explore articulations
of mutuality and difference through the lens of materiality,
particularly the matter of politics and value and the semiotics of material
life. We suggest that non-mutuality and exclusion are especially
apparent in contexts where kinship intersects with the consolidation of
economic and human capital. We then draw attention to the ways in
which material signs are productive forces of relatedness in day-to-day
interactions between humans, non-humans, and other material things.
By examining the gaps and fissures within kinship through the lens
of material practice, the contributors to this special section uncover
new opportunities for critical engagement with theories of difference,
semiotics, and value.
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