Kinmaking, Progeneration, and Ethnography

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Philosophers of biology and biologists themselves for the most part assume that the concept of kin is progenerative: what makes two individuals kin is a direct or indirect function of reproduction. Derivatively, kinship might likewise be presumed to be progenerative in nature. Yet a prominent view of kinship in contemporary cultural anthropology is a kind of constructivism or performativism that rejects such progenerativist views. This paper critically examines an influential line of thinking used to critique progenerativism and support performativism that cites cross-cultural diversity in what I will call kinmaking. I challenge several key assumptions made in moving from this appeal to ethnography to conclusions about kinship and progeneration, arguing that closer scrutiny of both the ethnographic record and inferences that draw on it in fact support progenerative views of both kinship and kinmaking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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