A Critique of the Study of Kinship by David M. Schneider

By David M. Schneider

Schneider perspectives kinship research as a manufactured from Western bias and demanding situations its use because the common degree of the learn of social constitution

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Sample text

When the person in that status died or left it, someone always replaced him or her. Thus there was a reservoir of "fathers" lined up ready to fill the father role; a reservoir of "mothers" lined up to replace "mother" if she died or left in divorce; and so too, of course, given the levirate, a reservoir of husbands so that if a husband died, he could be replaced by a husband's brother. Perhaps, indeed, the reservoir system is not a good name for this because it assumes that status and role are all that an ethnographic statement need make.

If citamangen and citiningen can be reduced to the stems tarn- and tin-, and these are the proto-Austronesian terms for either father and mother, or male and female (depending on which historical linguist you read), does this not give us an important way of reaching an accurate translation of such words as tabinau, citamangen, and citiningen? Alas, no! This is the problem that this book is about. How does one properly translate not just the single words, but the sentences, acts, the states of affairs?

Alas, no! This is the problem that this book is about. How does one properly translate not just the single words, but the sentences, acts, the states of affairs? To shortcut the whole process by assuming somehow that a linguist or grammarian really knows what ta-, tarn-, and tin- mean and that the gloss such an ' 'expert'' provides is necessarily correct begs the question of how to determine the proper translation. Over and above that there is the question of the utility of such glosses of specific terms or grammatical forms without taking into account the culturally distinct kinds of uses in discourse.

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