Paper short abstract:
The comparative study of ritual and mimetic kinship is barely existent. Stressing the intended construction of kinship, a widened concept of alliance enables us to perceive any kin form as resting on converged power interests and emancipates the study of 'fictive kinship' from biological reasoning.
Paper long abstract:
The comparative study of "fictive kinship" is barely existent. Setting the field of kinship studies in a quandary, Schneider's critique offers an explanation. I propose to extend Lévi-Strauss's notion of alliance in which the concept of "artificial kinship", i. e. affinal relations, is central. Albeit vague on other "fictive" kinship forms, such as godparenthood, it enables us to establish a theoretical assumption beyond biological reasoning to understand any kinship form as an alliance practice ultimately resting on converged power interests. Therefore, Lévi-Strauss's emphasis on the intended construction of kinship opens up a significant perspective for critical social research and emancipates ritual and mimetic kinship from their traditional anthropological treatment.
Rethinking ritual kinship