Kinship and Gender

An Introduction


Linda Stone

Fifth Edition • July 30, 2013 • 352 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813348612 • $40.00 USD$51.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813348629 • $25.99 USD$25.99 CAN

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Does kinship still matter in today’s globalized, increasingly mobile world? Do family structures continue to influence the varied roles that men and women play in different cultures? Answering with a resounding “yes!”, Linda Stone offers a lively introduction to and working knowledge of kinship. She firmly links these concepts to cross-cultural gender studies, illuminating the malleable nature of gender roles around the world and over time.

Written to engage students, each chapter provides key terms and useful generalizations gleaned through cross-cultural research on the interplay of kinship and gender in both traditional societies and contemporary communities. Detailed case studies help students understand how such generalizations are experienced “in real life.” Stone also considers the ramifications of current social problems and recent developments in reproductive technology as she demonstrates the relevance of kinship and gender to students’ lives.

The fully-revised fifth edition features discussion of cross-cultural examples complimented by expanded coverage of kinship and gender dynamics within the United States. Stone considers current evolutionary research on kinship and gender, and offers new case studies addressing international adoptions and polygynous marriage. An entirely new chapter explores the globalization of kinship in the 21st century. The result is a broad and captivating exploration of anthropological approaches to family and gender.


Linda Stone is professor emeritus of anthropology at Washington State University. She is the coauthor of Gender and Culture in America and Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution.

Contents Illustrations Preface1 Gender, Reproduction, and Kinship Enacting and Embodying GenderGender and ReproductionWhat Is Kinship?The Kinship CodeKey ConceptsKinship TheoryKinship and GenderNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences2 The Evolution of Kinship and Gender  Kin RecognitionCase 1: Deaths in the Families of Chimps Kin SelectionPrimate KinshipReproduction, Aggression and DominanceThe Human TransitionThe Incest TabooNature, Culture and Human KinshipNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences3 The Power of Patrilines Lineage and ClanPatrilocalityLineal MasculinityCase 2: The NuerCase 3: Nepalese Brahmans Patrilineal ContrastsNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences4 Through the Mother The Matrilineal PuzzleCase 4: The NavajoCase 5: The Nayar and The MosuoThe Matrifocal FamilyMatrilineal ContrastsNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences5 Double, Bilateral, and Cognatic Descent Double DescentCase 6: The Beng Bilateral SocietiesCognatic DescentCase 7: The KwaioCase 8: The HuliDescent, Residence, and Female PollutionDouble and Cognatic ConcernsNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences6 Marriage Monogamy, Polygyny, and PolyandryCase 9: Nyinba Polyandry Marriage and Alliance Exogamy and Cross-Cousin MarriageExogamy and Exchange: Manipulating Women?EndogamyMarriage and FertilityNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences7 A History of Euro-American Kinship and GenderDowry and the Double StandardFrom the Middle Ages to Modern TimesThe Rise of the Christian ChurchThe North American ExperienceCase 10: Breadwinning WomenNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences8 Kinship, Gender, and Contemporary Social IssuesAlternative Families, Alternative Sexualities Case 11: New and Novel Families in the United StatesCase 12: Polygyny in the United States Violence against WomenCase 13: Honor KillingsDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences9 Kinship, Gender, and the New Reproductive Technologies The New Reproductive TechnologiesCase 14: New Reproductive Technologies in Israel Social, Legal, and Moral ImplicationsKinship and GenderNotesDiscussion QuestionsSuggested Further Reading Suggested Classroom MediaWebsiteReferences 10 The Globalization of KinshipKinship, Urbanization and Transnational MigrationKinship and Transnational AdoptionCase 15: Child Circulation in Peru ContinuitiesAppendix: Kinship TerminologyGlossaryIndex

Praise for Previous Editions:

“Stone’s excellent text offers a broad introduction to key concepts in an anthropological understanding of the family.” –William Donner, Kutztown University

“A wonderfully nuanced introduction to the relationships between kinship, gender roles, and reproductive life in a cross-cultural perspective. In addition to exploring the diversity of gendered relationships, Stone provides mechanisms that allow students to understand why particular gender roles develop in particular societies.” —Shane Macfarlan, Oregon State University

“This is an excellent text for teaching, with compelling case studies and an engaging, accessible style. In offering an argument for the combining of ‘kinship’ and ‘gender’ into one domain of inquiry, it represents an invitation to students and scholars alike to revitalize kinship studies by drawing on gender scholarship. Now with additional material on contemporary social problems, this book is more user-friendly than ever.”
—Diane E. King, University of Kentucky

“Now in its fourth edition, Kinship and Gender provides an expansive, sophisticated, yet thoroughly accessible introduction to the reconstituted field of kinship studies. Stone adeptly combines an encyclopedic treatment of classic themes with incisive analyses of the shifting contours of a field that has much to contribute to the increasingly high-stakes political debates concerning ‘kinship’, ‘marriage’, and ‘reproduction’ in the new millennium. The end result is a text that will be of great value in the classroom and far beyond.”
—Michael G. Peletz, Emory University

“The study of kinship within anthropology has been re-energized by its association with gender, by its exploration of the impact of new reproductive technologies, and by new ethnographic research on household and family forms in Euro-American contexts to complement the long tradition of studying kinship in other parts of the globe. Stone’s book integrates these new problems and approaches into a comprehensive volume replete with interesting case studies that is accessible to undergraduate students. Finally, there is an excellent text to assign.”
— Caroline Brettell, Southern Methodist University

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