Passing on: the materialisation of kinship
Simone Abram (Durham University)
Marianne Elisabeth Lien (University of Oslo)
Bodil Selmer (Aarhus University)
Horsal 8 (D8)
Friday 17 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

What gets left behind when people move on? As people live and die, move or settle, property ownership carries uncertainty, emotional depth and relational ties. How does inheritance or its absence shape kinship? How does property gather affective force as it passes between generations and sites?

Long abstract:

What gets left behind when people move on? What remains of people who have gone? This panel explores the materialisations of kin relations through a focus on inheritance writ large. We ask what happens when inherited goods are taken over by a new generation, and how property transfer reinforces or threatens such relations? We note that moments of inheritance define who is kin and who is not, and thus hold the potential for kinning (cf. Howell) but also for what we might call 'de-kinning'. We ask how property gathers affective force as it passes between generations. What is the significance of inheritance when refugees and migrants move and settle? What happens when 'emotional investment' meets 'property investment'? How does inter-generational transmission shape the meaning of materials and vice versa? What might experiences of loss tell us about notions of ownership across generations and sites?

Inherited goods may carry sentiments of duty, obligation, ownership or nostalgia and can evoke belonging or resentment, welcome or exclusion. Questions of inheritance may lead to generational rifts as well as consolidated estates. Enduring material forms, such as buildings, lands, frozen eggs, heirlooms or food recipes are thus important constituents in the ongoing manifestation of a name, a house, or a home. Anchored in anthropological theory of kinship and materiality, and inspired by the notion of House Societies, as well as by legal questions of property ownership, this panel explores the significance of inheritance as people move, stay, settle or are left behind.