Kinship & Community - an Anthropological Perspective
All kinship depends upon the passage of generations. But what is a generation, and how should we understand the relations between them? Western bioscience has tended to separate lifelines from lines of genealogical succession, confining the former within generations while drawing the latter between them. Kinship, then is reckoned in terms of a calculus of genealogical relatedness, which specifies individuals in their basic constitution independently and in advance of their lifelong involvement in relationships with one another. We argue, to the contrary, that the process of begetting and being begotten that brings generations into being, and defines their interrelations, is itself a life-process. Generational lifespans do not succeed one another so much as proceed in parallel, overlapping for at least part of their length. For begetting is a labour of love, through which parents produce their offspring, and the latter theirs, in the everyday work of nurturance and care. Herein lies the essence of kinship.
This course is part of Week 5 of the KINSHIP Online Course. In Week 5, we dive into The Community.
We will explore how community creates belonging and kinship, and how it can also fracture it (building on lessons learned from the previous week). What, exactly, comprises a community? How does kinship come into this? Can there be community without kinship? What might community mean in the contexts we find ourselves in? How does it go beyond sentimental images of sitting around a campfire?
Can we be in community with those who are “not like us”? We will also explore being in community with the more-than-human later in the course. We want to understand how community tugs at the thresholds between the individual and the collective - how does this tension affect the quality of our relationships.
KINSHIP: An Online Course
Tim Ingold #
Tim is a British anthropologist & Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He received his BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 1970, and his PhD in 1976. For his doctoral research he carried out ethnographic fieldwork among the Skolt Saami of northeastern Finland, & the resulting monograph (‘The Skolt Lapps Today’, 1976) was a study of the ecological adaptation, social organisation & ethnic politics of this small minority community under conditions of post-war resettlement.