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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Kinship, Class, and Community

  • Author(s): White, Douglas R.
  • et al.
Abstract

This review presents studies in various world regions. Each uses network analysis software designed explicitly for kinship studies with explicit network measures of cohesion. It presents evidence of fundamental differences in the forms of marital cohesion that show profoundly different effects over a wide range of social phenomena, regional scales, and diverse cultures. Social cohesion is the basis of mutuality, cooperation and well-being in human societies (Council of Europe, 2009). It includes the modes by which people are assimilated into societies, how groups hold power, stratify social relations, and manage the flow of resources. Kinship networks in the civil societies of nation-states, in contrast to smaller-scale societies, are far too rarely studied as a basis of social cohesion. Networks, the social tissues of our lives, are only partially visible to us; thus we fail to see how these are wrapped and embedded in larger networks. Thus the importance, as emphasized here, of an explicit science of social network analysis for kinship studies both at local and larger scales. The analyses of cohesive subsets show how constructions of social class, ethnicity, migration, inheritance, social movements, and other large- as well as small-scale social phenomena are implicated in kinship networks.

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