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T HE L EW I S H E N R Y M O R G A N L E C T U R E S ] 9 8 9

presented at The Universitv of Rochester Rochesler,New York

Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture Series Fred Eggan: The American Indian: Perspectives for the Study of Social Change Ward, H. Goodenough: Description and Comparison in Cultttral Anthropology Robert J. Smith: Japanese Societlt: Tradition, Self, and the Social Order Sally Falk Moore: Social Facts and Fabricqtions: "Custornary Lau," on Kilimanjaro, I 880- I 980 Nancy Munn: The Fame qf Gawa: A Symbolic Stud.v of Value Transformation in a Mussim ( Papua New Guinea) Society Lawrence Rosen: The Anthropology of Justice: Law as culture in Islamic So<:iety Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah; Magic, St:ience, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality Maurice Bloch: Prey into Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience

Lfter nature: English kinshiP in the

late twentieth century
Department of Social Anthropology Manchester Universitv

Watercolour, 1817 or 1818 The watercolour (painted by Diana Sperling in l8l7 or 1818) shows a conventionally attired couple (proprietor and servant) stepping through the half-open doors of the house (its choice interior visible) into the rain to improve the garden (with potted flowers). These relationships at once offer an allegory for the character of English kinship as one might think of it in 1989 or 1990 and are cancelled by it. Reproduced by kind permission of Victor Gollancz Ltd, from Mrs Hurst Dancing by Diana Sperling, illustrations by Neville Ollerenshaw.
The tigtu oI the Univerciry oI Conbidgc 1o ptint and sell att nannet of books was grcnted by Henty YllI in 1534. The Utiwrsit) has printed a n d publ i she.l rc n I inuous Iy





Published by the Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 IRP 4 0 We st 2 0 th Str e e t,Ne w Y ork. N Y l 00l l -421l . U S A l0 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Victoria 3166, Australia O Cambridee Universitv Press 1992 First published 1992 Printed in Creat Britain at the University Press,Cambridge Librarv o/ cataloguing in puhlicotion datu Strathern, Marilyn. After nature: English kinship in the late twentieth century/ Marilyn Strathern. p. cm. (The Lewis Henry Morgan lectures; 1989) Includes bibliographical references. Kinship England. 2. England Social conditions. 3. Kinship cross-cultural studies 4. Ethnology Philosophy. I. Title. II. Series. cN5 8 5 .G8S 77 1992 3 0 6 .8 3 ' 0 9 4 dc20 91 3775 CIP .4 catalogue record.for this book is available frorn lhe British Library ISBN 0 5 2 1 405254hardback ISBN 0 521 42680 4 paperback

For M.A.L.

2 .a ' ,,

) .1 .|



List of illustrations of sources Acknowledgement Foreword by Alfred Harris Preface making explicit I Individuality and diversity Facts of kinship Facts of nature

page xrr xiii


xvii I l0' ll r1O, ,-.-'/ 47 41 72 88 89 109 r28 129 153 186 199 218 228

2 Analogies for a plural culture Displacing visions Overlapping views The progress of polite society Cultivation Socialisation Greenhouseeffect Literal metaphors Reproducing preference Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world Notes References Index


Acknowledgement of sources

W a te rc o l o u r,1 8 1 7o r 1 8 1 8 . I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 l0 l1 The Secretaryfor State for Education, 1989. Terms of addressto consanguine kin, c.1960. Stockbrokers Tudor, early twentieth century. Ethnic monitoring, 1987. Oyster House, 1988. Glossary for the late twentieth century. Darwin and the face of nature, 1859. This is the Key, Traditional. Sense and Sensibility,l8l l. Dove Cottage Carob Petals, 1989. Amenities without and within.

frontispiece page 6 l8

The author is grateful to the following for permission to use published material from the following sourcesin the illustrations: Victor GollanczLtd, Mrs Hurst Dancing, by Diana Sperling, illustrations by Copyright l98l (Frontispieceand Plate l2). NevilleOllerenshaw, The Times Higher Education Supplement(Plare l, Plate l7 and Plate 20). International rhomson Publishing ServicesLtd for Routledge: Families and Their Relatives, by Raymond Firth, Jane Hubert and Anthony Forqe. Copyright 1969(Plate 2). John Murray (Publishers Ltd): A Cartoon History of Architecture, osbert Lancaster. Copyright 1975(plate 3). ManchesterCity Council (plate 4). Reed Publishing ServicesLtd: Signature magazine(plate 5 and plate l8). PergamonPressPLC: Macle to Ortler; The Myth of Reprocluctive and Genetic Progress, eds. Patricia Spallone and Deborah L St.inb".g. Copyright l9g7 (Plate6). Free Association Books: Languages of Nature, ed. Ludmilla Jordanova. Copyright l9g6 (plate 7). and Schusterfor Macdonald Children,s: Detights ancl Warnings, John ^Si1o1 and Gittian Beer. Copyright 1979(plate g). Dove Cottage Ltd, Westfield, New Jersey, USA (plate l0).

35 38 54 74 77 85 94 r02 104 107 126 138 143 160 164 t70 r8l-82 endPiece

12 T ud o r c o tta g e ,l 8 l 6 13 Ruskin's Two Paths, 1859. 14 Advice to a wife, fourteenth edition. l5 Progress, cost and rain, 1989.

16 Plastic. l7 l8 l9 20 What it means to be an active citizen, 1988. Tailor-made at ready-made prices. Natural justice, 1989. Baker's two paths, 1989. Greeting card: late twentieth century.

WaVma rk: A History oJ petts Wood,pettsWood Residents,Association f;1er (PIateI I leftl.

ln '' rreeman for Molloy Homes, Levenshulme, Manchester(plate ll right). Unwin Hyman Ltd: The Two paths,John Ruskin (plate l3).

Acknowledgement John Ezard: The Guardian WeekendSupplement(Plate l5). collins Publishers: Collins Dictionary of the English Language,2nd Edition, Copyright 1986(Plate l6). Neville Johnson Offices Ltd, Trafford Park, Manchester (plate lg). The Guardian News Service Ltd (Plate l9). Camden Graphics Ltd and Fine Art Photographic Library Ltd: 'Mother and Child'by Noel Smith (Endpiece).


to (and interaction with) the Englishdata.As a result,we are liill"*g in comparison that is sophisticated, illuminating ;d;;:";:;n;111ercise integral part of the analysis is a demonsrration *u"_",*lill,; of the }no,lh..r. wiltcnbngrrsh ideas aboutkinshiparerelated to Engrish ideas ^.,'" "' about sociery andhow ii works.rhe presentarion of English ;-ff,Ti::,::l!-"-qlith --"'', rrrcomDlnatlon with two carefully deveroped ^kindsof comparison 'toss-cultural and internar to England -io., morethan iluminate EnElish

professorMarilyn Strathern delivered rhe Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures in 1989, with the general title 'After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth century'. The four lectures were 'Diversity and Individuality'; 'Relatives: Analogiesfor a Plural culture'; 'persons:The progressof a polite Society';and 'Greenhouse Effect'. They were delivered on 14, 16,2l and 23 February and are here made available in a suitably modified form. The volume continues work carried on by professor Strathern for over twenty years,the development of which is to be found in several books and many articles.The scopeof her efforts is very broad, ranging ethnographically from England to Papua New Guinea, and engaging a numbeiof central theoreticalissues.Anthropologists who may haveLeen tempted to conclude that British anthropology has littre new to say wiI surely, facedwith her work, wishto think again. For while it is clear that sheis firmly basedin British social anthropology, Professor Strathern breaks new ground, and nowhere so clearly as here. The presentvolume underscores the fascination - and the comprexrty- of Srrathern is doing. Different readers of the manuscript have Ill l-t"Ft:or cnaracterised it in various ways, though attempts to categorise it simpry must This.iswork that doeJnot fit neatly into accepted categories. ff:::l:r.3il. 'ilif::, ro prgeonholeit serveonly to obscure its implications. rrevertheless it is important to recognize someof the key elements in what is ^ ottered' ProfessorStrathern's main cJncern is rate twentieth-century English xlnship'and her accountis couchedin cultural terms.In order to elucidate her material'much ethnographicdata from elsewhere, particurarryMelanesia,is



about more it kinship. It indicatesa need to rethink our ideas about and generalmatters as well' "anthropologist' n, trr" first cultural accountof Englishkinship by a British in Scholars generally. of anthropologists the attention attract this volume will it find will also oifrer aisciplineswho monitor developmentsin anthropology stimulation' and *"ii *".,fr consideration. Readers will find enlightenment theory (if complex of example as a fascinating or ethnography as Whether a maJor is present work these can be disambiguated), Professor Strathern's tt' understand to of how contribution to our understanding of the world and Alfred Harris, Editor The Lewis HenrY Morgan Lectures


This is an exercisein cultural imagination - with respectboth to its principal subjectnlatter (English kinship) and to the disciplinewhich is my enabling technology(socialanthropology).True to the personifyingidioms of each,I - --wish to demonstratehow ideas b6F ve. I rnust acknowledgeinspiration from the few works of which it will be seenI make extensiveuse, not just for their materials but for their interpretations and analyses. They serve to demonstratemy interest in the proceduresby which thosewith a conceptof culture make'culture'explicitto themselves. As a consequence, though, the reader should be warned about the status of primary information in this study. Observatio_n-s a-lout the English or about kinship are treate-d as ethnograp.hic_ally continuous with the secondary -dniiyiicaf ind interpretive works. The .observaiions derived from the 'arguments I ci(e from other scholarcthu, carry their own, and illustratrve. burden of cultural evidence.As a result, the account can not pretend to a historyor a sociology,though it incorporateswhat otherwisewould comprise historical and sociological data; nor can it pretend to a history of ideas, and the apparentascriptionof attitudesand beliefsto this or rhat set of persons should not be mistaken for a study of what people think or feel. It h$l!s- oyn limitations. A problem tha! besgts is 1----------------111!1o-p-otogists-a . Inat_tlgi$qglne_Tqy_ry,1_9-yg_lqo-k account,Sue has become likea eultgr4_! tures,whereaswhat I offer here is a methodological scandal by any of those standards. The difficulty lies, one might say, lessin its distance from such SenreithEn in its inevitable proximity to them. Or, to borrow from paul Rabinow'sintroduction to Finch Moiern(1939), 'while the whole may seem too complex, the parts may seemtoo simple'. The original format of The Lewis Morgan Lectures is preservedin the four prtncipal chapters.I owe the invitation to give the Lectures to Professor Alfred Harris and the Department of SocialAnthropology at the University of Rochester. Thosewho haveenjoyedthe privilegein the past will know what I alsoowe them for their hospitality:I can only thank Graceand Alfred Harris

ut.a io-*ini-.thiiogiaplies;I;clal tlsfoiiei"ui-tt"lo.6logiesof subcul-



for their especialkindness,and the Department for their stimulation. With an extension of time and critical attention that was a privilege in itself, members of the Anthropology Department and of Women's Studiesat the University of Virginia also heard the full set of lectures. I should add that the book was finished in June 1990. Since then the are made, has becomethe basis Warnock Report, to which severalreferences I make mention of this. There has also been a no of legislation, although premiership. it While would have beenin keepingto have changein the British text, this would have sounded odd, and I have made the original retained alterations. the appropriate Severalcolleagueshave read the manuscript, and they are thanked warmly for their comments and criticisms: Anthony Cohen, Frederick Damon, JeanetteEdwards, Sarah Franklin, Jane Haggis, Eric Hirsch, Frances Price, Nigel Rapport, Tim Swindlehurst and Nicholas Thomas, as are the Press's readers.Jean Ashton has also taken care of it in her own inimitable way. I should add that where 'n.d.' appearsin the bibliography, I am grateful for permissionto cite as yet unpublishedwork. David Schneideris the anthropological father of this booK since it is both with and againsthis ideason kinship that it is written; his reactionshave been characteristically incisive and generous.Another colleague,Joyce Evans, is the mother of this book, sinceit is from her Englishness that I write; her love and knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature have kept me culturally on track. She is also my mother in the literal sense,and my thanks are also filial. Marilyn Strathern Manchester January 1989/June1990

Prologue: making explicit

Visitors to England, the English are fond of telling themselves,are often struckby the spacedevoted to gardens and parks, so different from the civic plazas that grace continental Europe. Towns and cities are likely to be cramped,higgledy piggledy. But go into the suburbs with their lawns and and you will sense an avenuearchitectureof its own kind, at once flower-beds domestic(the semi-detached houses)and public (a common front of shrubs, hedges, fences).What might be regarded as typically English, however, is the productnot only of the demandsof a particular social classbut of a particular period from mid-victorian town houses built as country homes to Edwardian villas at the very edges of the countryside and garden cities enclosingthe idea of countryside within. That is, of course, no revelation. On the contrary. the English also tell themselves about the particular periods they are heir to and the extent to which things have altered since.If it is no revelation, then one might wonder how the twin ideas of continuity and changecoexist. How come that the one (change) seemsas much in place as the oiher (continuity)? i, is equally conventional to deny that the typical ever exists. When - , lo. vlsltors to England remark, as they do, on rubbish in the streets of the me.tropolis or when the English abroad are treated as responsiblefor forestac^id rain. the senseis of falling on changed times. In denying the lltlltllt of particular characteristics,one may well deny that one can ever :ll]:.,t? what is typical abour rhe English. A vision of consrant change ;T:l:t that of perpetual conrinuity; all appears transient and nothing J:iil":: -'*qs Lo?tlBeand continuity are thus playedoffagainstone another.Indeed, be visualised as a sequence of eventsthat,happens'to something ;;;'|..,"un '"at otherwise retains its identity, such as the English ihemselves, or the m akes change just evidenr . is r t in such a coexist ence ;T::l ytl gt' c ont inuir y "'+lt^":-tfit culturalepochs are formed. I wish to a sense of epoch. and the transientcoexistin a manner"onu"y that makes it possibleto u*u'll llublt respectto almosr anything, how much change has raken place. This i l'.:lrn '" o verYgeneral, ordinary and otherwiseunremarkaltr tind of question.It

Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Prologue:making explicit

seemsto lead naturally to further questions about what should be conserved and what should be reformed. It also exerts a presencein certain academic ways of thinking, where the relationshipbetweenchangeand continuity is often spelled out with considerableexplicitness.Let me illustrate the general idea through a particular example. Take attitudes towards the natural world. When what variesseemto be the different meanings that different historical periods have put on it, or the different effects of diverse social practices, then 'nature' itself appears an enduring, even timeless,phenomenon.In Keith Thomas's (1984) detailed account of the dramatic changesthat occurred in the idea of nature in England point throughout remainsthe countryside betweenI 500and 1800,the reference plants and wiid and domesticanimals.This means,of course,that Alan and its (1987), with an equal order of detail, can tracea traditional love of Macfarlane nature back to medieval England and argue the reversethesis:far f;om there to contemporary having beenradical change,one finds consistentantecedents attitudes. His evidenceincludes the longstanding English obsessionwith gardening, and their habit of keeping animals as pets. The observations are not trivial. Macfarlane points to an intimate connection between these characteristicsof the English and the individualism of their modern kinship system,a connection that, he claims, has roots in English societyfor as long as records go back. The cultural preconditions for later changes were always in his view, rather there.It is the extent of the continuity that is impressive, than the extent ofchange. Whether or not there have beenchangeson the faceof the countryside,or in ideasabout the environment.the conceptof nature thus remainsa constant fact in the debate. One can therefore dispute as to whether activities and attitudes in relation to it have altered or have stayedthe sameover the course of time. The result is that change and continuity becomemeasurableentities insofar as each appearsto have had more or lesseffect on the sameobject. The one may be conceivedas a quantifiable (how much, to what extent) constraint on the other. Now an academicdebate such as this, about the relative amount of change and continuity, is consonant with that mid-twentieth-century mode of scholarly theorising known as 'social constructionism'.The theory is that what is constructedis 'after' a fact. It is proved in the way peoplecan be seento fabricate their world and in the models they build of it, and offers a kind of autoproof, since it knows itself as a model also. In this theory that is also a can be model, valuescan be seenas constructionsafter social facts,or societies ! seen as constructions after natural facts. What becomesquantifiable is the that has taken place.Implicit in the amount of human activity ('construction') theory/model is the assumption that changeis a mark of activity or endeavour whereascontinuity somehow is not. But I propose we disarm the antithesisbetweenchangeand continuity of its

of thinking what they measure,we might think --r;firble power. Instead to demonstrate its effect.Magnifying one is to other the on a.oends llljrr.i hindsight that, the over the span of an epoch,the with write I _""".,fu borh. 'j..'liirf,,ttuu" brought the most radical changeson their headsby striving most of continuity with thepast. And have in the a sense i)T"nentlq ro preserve very concept of nature to which they would the revolutionised ll"..r, faithful' be to i)"aualy Prefer model of the world containsmore than '' Ther"holars'social-constructionist up built after, or out of, elementsother than itself is society rhe idea that individuals reproductive and primordial sentiments as such inaturalentities pairs It and families). incorporates the idea that, also parental as or unitssuch the natural world, human must at the modifying artifice and upon in working its to I to laws and that extent imitate it. that true suspect remain sametime much it models ideas is borrowed from, as as describes, of thisconcatenation held. The academic debate to which I alluded, between the more!.generally anthropologically minded historian (Thomas) and the historiananthropologist(Macfarlane), leads us to an area where such models are to be found: kinshiP. The anthropological study of kinship since mid-Victorian and Edwardian times,aswell as the (indigenous)models held by others of the social classfrom which by and large the authors of such studies came, has drawn heavily on the idea that kinship systemsare also after the facts, and specificallyafter-r certainwell-known lacts of nature.r The facts, it is held, are universalwhereas ideas about kinship obviously vary. In this view, for instance,cultural dogmas differin the extent to which they recognise biological connection, social classes in the extent to which they emphasise maternal and paternal roles, and historicalperiods in the emphasis given to family life. In short. societiesor sections of society differ in the way they handle the same facts. This is an axiom or assumptionthar is u, .uth pirt ol English kinship thinking as it ts ol social constructionisttheorising about it. I capitaliseon the thought that making this implicit assumption explicit has alieady deprived it of its axtomaticand paradigmaticstatus. The epochin question coversa span of modern Western thought of particular hterest to anthropology, following the hundred yearsor so after Lewis Henry r ---oJt tr rvlorgan's endeavours of the 1860s. Among other things,its practitioners were
rrr vtrurrrwr 4Lrvrr quu Jt4LrJtr94r p4rlvl uruE

tn te re s red i quu"ii n" ui ;; ;;; ; j; ;;;;;#;il ;;;;i,li. i ui,.,.',,', " "j whether whole cultures might have.more'or.less'culture (the
.more' .less' "vttuarlt]), or persons -' be v! symbolised or oJrrruvrrowu as rrlvlw or luJJ vl r-'" " rrs close to 9ru)9 Lv nature lldLul9 /.,,- .. | " \women's u urrr4 distance lluc from lIOm social s ocla centrality). One might think of the modern cPochas pluralist. then, and i ts successoras postplural in character.

Yardsticks of civilisation), or groups.Iun""'more'or'ress'cohesion (indices of

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Thatthlreh"r b..;;r;;;;;i"';il;;iinir.p""r,

is superseded isoneor

English kinship in the late twentieth century

Prologue: making explicit

the ways in which such successtons my themes.At least,I hope to show one of point from which to look back to a il;p;.; by contriving a postplural vantage one. The motive lies in a thwarted ambition' rnod.rn ^^^ David time, it had been my ambition to write a counterparl'to F;;"*. kinship. English of account cultural a Schneider,sAmerican Kinship (tbot): later was to realisethat coming to the task more than two decades H;;";., was confident Schneider which on ii_., iruo crranged.The twin constructs to be identified not were kinship .rr"gt, to premise his analysisof American of Law' order the and Nature of with such transparency.Thesewere the order culture. or Society vlz. ,n" ,rJ", of Law referring to human organisation, major dimensionsof American iney naO appearedto Schieider to constitute were indigenous exemplifiindeed about kinship in the 1960s,and ,hi;ilC had- developed its ' anthropology cations of constructs on whose basis cultural construcor social The disciplinary force over the previous century' manner in general the of instance finsnlp had always been a special iion "fhuman beingsconsiructed socLtiesand cultures'out of ' nature. Indeed, which models of human life had thus the developmentoispecifically anthropological systems.I believethis was kinship of eiucidation ;;;; h"rd'in hand *itn tn. anthropology' American Jqually true of British as it was of Nowlhaddeli b e ra te l y w i s h e d to a v o i d a .soci al ,accounti nfavourofa . c ult ur al' o ne.In th e m i d -tw e n ti e th c e n tu ry,thesetermscodedasi gni fi cant However' my cultural differencebetweenBritish and American anthropology' my anthroAmericanise to desire a from interest stemmed, I thought, not seemedto that assumptions certain light pology but from a desireio bring to models anthropological social The inhere in British approachesto i<inship., illuminating so and mid-century' the in of kinship so well nurtured in Britain inr elat iontono n -w e s te rn s o c i e ti e s ' s e e me dafteral l toobscureratherthan I had in my mind an clarify things when it came to elucidating the English' whatever it was that gave this subtitle to alternative cultural account because, and Law were there to be Schneider'swork, the twin constructs of Nature English model and of the unpacked as premises both of the indigenous it' I think in (British) anthropological studies that sought to describ-e that I am (a cultural) retrospect I had beei interestingly naive; oi rather' book' this write me made that of the processes "*.-plu. I t is wide ly th e c a s e i n c o n te mp o ra ry Bri tai nthatone' ssenseofti meor c hange- u y ul,o b e s e n s e d a s th e Ame ri c a n i sati onoftheE ngl i sh.Y eti nmy of kinship that have own case it is notlust home-grown conceptualisations c om et os eemi n s u ffi c i e n t,s o to o d o S c h n e i der' smoti vati ngconstructs. Neit her s eeing th e E n g l i s ,h th ro u g h mo d e l sdevel opedfornon-W estern cultural model of American systems,nor seeingth"t ith'o"gh that particular k ins hip, willqu i te d o to d a y .An d th e s e c o n structi onsappeari nsuffi ci entfor the point of view of their one simple reason. fhey are now visible from assumptions' previously taken-for-granted ' T hepr oc es s th a tl e a -d s to th e d i s p l a c e me ntofanal yti cal model s,anoutcome

, s,Iiherate endeavour on the part of scholars,matches or is an analogy for 9tIi^, .rncessesin Western (Anglo-Euro-American) social life at large. In (as they often do) llTJ'^"ifrr,'oologists collapsethis analogy when they claim general the social and anthropological accounts are informed by iili "urti", not seen then, is 11,i"""f prcceptsof their times. What was implicit, and I refer to as a Making things explicit ii.r.Uu 6xde explicit, and is seennow. e1 literalisation,that is, a mode of laying out the coordinatesor ^,^.tir. granted. One I^nventional points of referenceof what is otherwise taken for process is of construction is to realisethat describinga filr., of litcralisation of social constructionism. is the autoproof iiselia constructionof sorts.This entails,so to speak,a half-movement;its complementis the Literalisrrtion of what must be taken for granted and thus apprehendedessentially recreation for its intrinsic qualities.But the constant opening out of the figuratively or convintions upon which human endeavour is seen to rest has had such an emphaticplace in Anglo-Euro-American discoursepreciselyfor the emphasis to the role of human construction in the making of societyand culture. It eiven lsthisparticular investmentin the efficacyof 'construction' that leadsstudents of sociallife to make evident to themselvesthe basis of their own particular constructions. Considerthe revelations of change and continuity. What we might take as characteristicallytypical, a product of some continuous and taken-forgranted identity, may well be revealed as equally the product of specific historicaltimes and thus of change. Such an opening out or literalisation of thetypical as belonging to one particular period rather than another recreates in turn the taken-for-granted idea that it is, after all, historical periods that are distinctiveby what typifies them. Thereis one specificmove towards literalisation whoseeffectI wish to make explicit: in the currentlv orevalent idea that nature and culture are both cultural constructionr, itt. on. term (culture) seemsto consume the other lnature).We might put it that an antithesis between nature and culture as it mtght have shaped certain discoursesin English life has become flattened, if so,it is flattened in a mode specificto the lat! twentieth century, and one that nastndeedhad an interestingeffect as far as culture is concerned.This may be tttustrated in the awkwardness of a recentcritique of mine (Strathern 1988). ruy objection there was to the way the distinctions between Nature and Societ)'and Individual, had in the past been attributed unthinkingly +L-lllure' -l^1lt:t*|"lic systemsof certain non-Westernpeoples.The critique m uy i"il oeJustified, but icould not account for the r,n.iry status that culture retained o*l.unalysis. Culture in the sense of systemor organisationwas easyro TII {'dKe explicit as an analytical device; but ihe narrative was left taking for culture in the senseof a distinctivenessof style or imagery. Crudely, :;:Ttd


un outcome of anexcess Theexcess is thatof r of sorts.

Lulture exceeds itself (Nature vanishes)and. outcultivated. Culture is

Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Prologue:making explicit

of individualism?Does Societyalso vanish; manifestas style.And an excess of an agencywhere all is will the Individual becomevisible only in the exercise choice? Excessesof style and choice may appear an obvious process of Americanisation from an 'English' point of view. Yet holding that view is equally a processof Anglicisation. While much of what I say applies to Anglo-Euro-American or Western culture in general,such culture is only lived in specificforms. None of us lives lives, generalise generalised as we might about life as such, and I take English as one form. In any case,the English are adepts at literalisation a penchant

, ^r^.rcwithEuro-Americans becomesa posture in their commitment to the lliJ,]'"i.61oiricism and practical action. The stereotypeof pragmatism3has tlliii^"*of Their in it. They apparentlylove the literal-minded. persuasion you only clear away the assumptions and world' real about'the are :]'-;;:", you get will to the and rhe truth; only clearaway the constructions ;ii;;, ro facts' r,r,kins the implicit explicit is a mode of constructingknowledgewhich has i""" u,i.ngine for changefor more than a hundred years.It has also produced in int.tnut senseof complexity and diversity. But to make explicit t/ris mode outliteralisation of the literal-minded. I suspect tur i6 own effect: the particular literalisating move has been behind the this to similar something of a now that is after an event. This senseof being after an sense prevalent of being post-. definesthe presentepoch. "vent. The single most significant event in question is the earlier modern epoch. whenconstructionswere instead after a fact - the facts of reality, nature or procreation- and where human endeavour bore the imprint of a complex This was the epoch that produced the scholars'social constructionenterprise. ism. Anthropology was the discipline that uncovered the quantity of in human endeavoureverywhere.It is its own enterprisethat is now enterprise madevisible.and 'after' the facts has come to mean after the facts have ceased to bequantifiable.We know today that there are asmany of them as we care to make. Hence this book is written from hindsisht. It deals with the modern epoch from the vantagepoinr of its displacemenl. The resultis no more than a teleology that extendsback from the present and in asking about how things appear in the late twentiethcenturyattendsonly to their possibleantecedents. The following coordinates may be useful to the reader.a Modernists characterised Englishsocietyas complex or plural, a product of long history and much change. The typical was timeless, and tradition or continuity rmplied homogeneity; changeimplied innovation, the introduction of foreign elements, heterogeneity,in short. diversity. Hindsight tells us that it was, of course, the senseof continuity which was subiect to chanse. and all that was necessary to transform a tradition was to brini it into the f,resentand give it a contemporaryplace. (The stylistic re-introduction of 'traditional' forms that c^onstitutes postmodernism in art ancl architecture presents this as a reveIt was simply a matter of valuing one'salreadyestablished values.In fl:".:) ractall that was necessary to transform ones' valueswas to value them in such ut make explicit (ro oneself) rheirconrextor basis.In therebymaking ljlV lo tne trnplicit explicit, one took away that axiomatic status and created new 'axen-for-granted assumptionsfor excavation. With hindsight we can further a model of knowledge, such a practice offered a constantly l]l^11*.-as horizon of what there was to know: one could seekto know more ::cqlng otQ *ot.thing by investigating its context or the assumptions on which its *"sumptions were grounded.

Why do I Drefer that we in Britain shouldtake the route of expansion throueh diversification and' differentiatioil? Most profoundly,because it seems to me to be the onewhichis natural to us. Historically,traditionally,Britain is a bottom-uP,not a top-down societv. We should build oil our nation'al g_qnius,-on what comesnaturallyto us. We do bestwhenwe avoidthe abstract i .rtellectual construct, the grand detign. We do much, much be"tter when the practical inteUieence of themanvis applied at the levefwhere, in thiscate, the studentsare tausht and the research is done.This if the wav I hope British higher education will growin tne next quarter century.
I The Secretary of State.for Education, 1989 Exlract from a speechby the Secretary of State for Education and Science,Kenneth Baker "Higher Education: the next 25 years". The Times Higher Education Supplement. I 3 January 1989. Reproduced by kind permissron.

English kinship in the late twentieth century

Prologue: making explicit

That modern dimension of grounding or context in turn yielded a senseol perspective,the 'point of view' from which an entity was seen. One could always gain a new perspectiveby providing a new context for what was being oUs"iu"d. There were thus as many points of view as there were facetsof social and cultural, including scientific, life. Thisplurality was a given, and complex perspectives (self-conscious societyawarded itself the abiliry to superimpose 'constructions') upon a plurality inherent in the nature of things. British anthropology participated in that literalising endeavour. Its claims to attention restedon the dual skills of putting things into (socialand cultural) context, and in making implicit (cultural and social) assumptionsexplicit. It also claimed kinship as a particular domain of expertiseand activity. Again ran into problems when it came with hindsight one can seethat it nonetheless to dealing with kinship in its culture of origin: there was too intimate a connection between anthropological theories of kinship and indigenous constructs. The connection can be turned to use. In thinking about what English kinship was to become, I propose to use British anthropological kinship theory and English kin constructs as mutual perspectiveson each other's modernisms. This necessarily deprives each of its perspectival completeness. The processesby which the English produced a senseof complexity for themselveswere alarmingly simple. But, like simple computer viruses, they could proliferate at speedthrough the social machinery. In showing the way one has said all that need literalisation constantly produced fresh perspectives. be said about the mechanism by which we once imagined ourselves in a complex world. The effects were everywhere. The mechanism might be simple, but the products or results were innumerable. Thus when members of a complex both as societycompared it with that of others, they could think of themselves (more subjectivity), and as producing 'more' individualistic individuals providing 'more' cultural and social contexts in which to act (more institutions).sIn the account that follows, I give recentexamplesof simple proliferations of form - the shapesthat ideasand valuesand idioms take. The material will appear inevitably disparate, out of scale even, an observation about kitchens in London illustrated by office designs in Manchester; an introduction to the field of English kinship [in Chapter One] offering observations drawn from quite disjunct levels. The immediate effect may suggestplurality taken to excess;but the disparatenessis not quite what it seems.It is with postplural vision that the pluralism of the preceding epoch becomesevident.6 widely but not at random. I have hoped Illustrations have been selected both to make it evident that the observations that apply to kinship or to anthropological study are not applicable only to these domains and to draw in the managementof present-daypolitical and social life from which in issues neither kinship nor anthropology is isolated.At the same time I have also

hoped to suggest that such free-ranging access,such apparent freedom of choice, in the end turns the senseof plurality into an artefact of accessor choiceitself.An approximationto the insight,then, of what it might be like to belong to a culture whose next imaginative leap is to think of itself as having nothing to construct.It would not, after all, be after anything.

Individuality and diversity
To those who were bringing up families in the 1950sor 1960s,their children are already quite a long way down the road from dreams of garden cities, as they are from taking for granted a view of enclosed fields and hedgerows. Prairie farms can be found in southern England, and the rain that has kept the countryside with its own parks and gardens proverbially green prompts thoughts of a man-made pluvial. Despite such global manifestations of too much enterprise,however, the slogansof the self-namedEnterprise Culturel assert that a natural and traditional individualism is being restor{ to the English. If so, its environment has changed. Today's is the individualism of zapping between television channels, of single-minded captivatioq by east Asian computer screens,of a world where social conditions are taken for cultural style and First World shopperscan consume the food of almost any country on earth. In t964, I saw sugar cane and taro for the first time in the Papua New Guinea Highlands; twenty-five years on, I can choose African varieties of them in a suburban Safeway in Manchester. Meanwhile, there is talk of schemesto privatise city streets with security guards and residents' patrols public areasare said to make the defenceof domestic property too difficult. It is tautologous to say that the changecomesfrom microchips or consumer demand or urban decay: this is the change. And so is the form that late iwentieth-century individualism takes.Such individualism as the English wish to award themselvesis after all a new individualism. In any case,individual enterpriseis regardedas containing an inherent momentum towards novelty. In what sense,then, might we regard individualism as traditional if, as is also the case,it is the enterprise of individuals that is held up as a source of innovation, development and the transformation of tradition? The one to work againstand at oncemask and exposethe abstraction (tradition) seems other (novelty). Theseare issuesin the construction ofideas that are not to be settledby deciding'how much'tradition or novelty is found at this moment or that. It is in order to approach the construction of ideasthen, that I start with a field of phenomena in English culture that epitomises tradition under the l0

Individuality and diversity


pressure of change.. Kinship is my example. The period is roughly the to 1960s, but the view is from now (cf. Hastrup n.d.). modeinismof the 1860s shift in tense, it is because the late twentieth century contains as sornetimes If I supersedes this it earlier modernism. I speak of kinship; the Fnglishl as rnuch refer to family and relatives readily more Family relationships are conventionAlly taken as embodying primordial i*.'r. . ries rhat somehow exist outside or beyond the technologicaland political f # *' rnachinationsof the world, that suffer change rather than act as a force for I $ "/ Indeed, the enduring ties of kinship may be regardedas archetypicallyI I change. traditional in antithesis to the conditions of modern life. The wider the network and the more extensive the reach of kin relations or the more emphaticthe solidarity of the family, the more traditional they seem.It is, however,possible both to accept that conceptualisation of tradition and to realiseits contemporary force. Precisely becausekinship is supposed to be about primordial relations, the fundamental facts it endorses have been intrinsicto the cultural enterprisebuilt up after it. Ideas about what is natural, primordial and embedded in the verities of family life are thereby made relevantto the present, will be refashioned for the future. Where I rurn to earlier historical periods, it will be to amplify how such ideas revolve on themselves and revolutionise us in the process. Facts of kinship Pets and children An antithesisbetweenan extensivereach of kin relations and the enterpriseof individualsis one that Macfarlane (1978) would project far back into the Englishpast. There he finds quite habitual the denial of relationships and of kin claims beyond the narrowest span. Individualism is traditionil for the English.Go back to the thirteenth century, even, and you will discover the Englishbehaving in the sameindividualistic way we take as so typical of our own tlmes. These connections led Macfarlane to conclude that the great his.torical divide (the origins of capitalism) was not such a divide after all, and ndeed there was a reason why England was the first industrial nation -" -- of>k:np -''t

iJ*, o"iy.nau,o 1 insofar l hr no,^- ,r as tneyare'r;;;;;; in new forms: tradition is thereby reinvented ,--, converselywe arriveat theffin other view, that new ideas can :S!gy{ha!se. onlyemerge fiom thei ir antecedents.It i s tradii tion that chanses: : indeed, it
th ^ t rvrrrrlrrrlu

wouldstress the lu, *h.r"u, hisaccount '9..1', or of proclivitiesthat are curiously ""rti;;;;;it;;r"il;;;J:")a: .preserved', ^"'a ' 't"/ ''/ ir is it i afso-an lY"l

-:' L:r^"f:ll::.,f1 9L]uio,lq;i:" i?'.0 conditions 'ue,e.'t' for the modern viewof naturewerealready.rtuuilrn.a egTg:gj). "( .



thaiby"l50o, una.certainly



i, uil ,t,ut iun.

of course,a view implicated in the very claim (which is my claim) to ,',Lhl,-tt, 'rlndsight.There is a similar view implicated in the craim ro perceive


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Individuality and diversiry


appear connections.It is an anthropological axiom that howeverdiscretethey some in to be, entities are the product of relations; nothing is not embedded axtom the contexr or worldview that givesit its specialshape.I propose to take to individull literally, as though what applies to discreteconceptsalso app.lies 'relations lonc s p.rron, and that by relations we may also understand the relatives) of English kinshiP' emotion for dwelling on tradition. or for _ The English iave. u ,p"iiul Their . ii dwellins on-what is jusiout of reach of enterprise:sentimentality. rhomas's with is taken for pets is a casein point. Macfarlane *-.*/:^ -;;il;?;i;ty .*

Hereandin Liverpool, asin-London, theEngrish character canbe seen in theirway of building. Thetownsman does everything in hispowerto..ur. ulinfu townsman, and triesto fit a country-house and a bit of countryinto a corneroithe town. He theneed feels to bein hisown home,to bearone, king of hisfamityanJ seruants, arro to haveabout him a bit ofpark or garden in whichhe can relai afterhis artificial business life. (Macfarlanel9g7: 7g, relerences deleted) The individualism associated with a low birth rate, with a high value on each unique child and with keeping pets for surrogate emotional satisfaction was also to be seenin a.cherishingof particular patches of the countryside both the wild moors and mountains of the romantic aestheteand those pieces, of private property which meant that 'the Englishman, could retire behind walls. Individualism becamevisible in professedsolitude, and solitude was a condition in which wildernesswas also to be appreciated.So where Thomas arguesthat a perceivedseparation ofman from nature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the precondition for a new and individualistic attitude towards specific animals (quoted in Macfarlane l9g7: g0), Macfarlane himself insists that such cultural traits were in evidence long before. Along with a market mentality and high mobility. they were p* or.a very ancientsystem' (1987: r37), exemprifiedin the most intimate of rerationships when children could physically remove themserves from their parents and pT,r"lt who wanted to be cared for by chirdren had to enter into conrracts wtln them. It is lessthe claims to the historicalcontinuity of individualismthat I find inlerestingin Macfarlane's account than the contemporary rendering he gives of one of its forms. An individual in his view is u p".ron who can ,"t t i- o. herselfofffrom proximity to and relationships with others, and is thus created 1pDern! separated from the constraints of relationship itself. Society is the Frenchman's meat and drink; to be lelt alone,the Englishman,s. Hence it is that government of any kind irks him wrote one Macneile Dixon (r93g: 70) in the interwar years,a sentimenrto I shall have causeto return. what Macfarlane's observationsadd is that Illtl tndividualism was also to be found in the literal capacity of a person to move the society of others. Isolation was a physical (geographicat) fact. 7 XY?,T:. householdsfacilitated the individual's removir from the' ;:: ".sep^arare prror relarionships, then separation appears as a quantifiablefact! ;;::::it "t possibteto.assess its degree or incidence by eitaUtistring how i;::::,:" :e, ,y^.hrldren were able to set up on their own. This indeed is similar to ;;"'l.Ti ol questions often askedof historicar materiar.yet whetheror nor ir is i;;:':f by enumeration, such a relationship betweenindividualism ann"",ll,uTtnutecl -- rourit'o' rs arso one of analogy, and the anal0gy is an apparatus for uBtification.

V":-'' il;;';;'il;

satisfaction- pets act as system' (19S7:-t5).The link is that of emotional back into medieval traces j&: substitutes for children - and is one Macfarlane exists beyond or that a need as '\ ir-"r.'fl" tri-self puts emotional attachment out s idet he relati o n s h i p s a n d ,i n d e e d ,s u g g estsi ti sacause.ratherl han' a coming into being. such a needfor surrogatesis to be f .oau", of relationships English kinship that set it interpreted *itt ,.rp."ito ail tle characteristicsof ""

kinship atomistic, petsand 'a modern, keepins tint uetwe"n

offfromitsEuropeancongeners'suchaslatemarriage,lowbirthrate,isolated children' which in living units. Pets were regardedas luxuries, a1 altgllative tur nm eant t hatth e E n g l i s h c a m e to re g a r d ch i l dren.asl uxuri esal so,as therebS kind of uniqueness superior pets, and sentimlntally accordedthem a children of depictions He cites (u86: 5afl sixteenth-and seventeenth-century in< lulgedu" op" .* a a s p l a y th i n g s .2 An d l i ke p ets,hei ntri gui ngl yadds,i nti me .they would leave theii.,owners": pets died, children left home and withdrew emotionallY'(1986:55)' I t is t hus as oc i a l re l a ti o n s h i p p fa p a rti cu l a rki| ybetw eenparents he callsindividualism.For much of and children *t,i.n..n,rulty "uirii6i'*hat early modern times, Macfarlane into the medievai period, and exiending

doc um ent s the c o n c o mi ta n ti n d e p e n d e n ce ofchi l drenfromparents,the nature ofinheritance, prevalenceoi*ug" labour and service,the contractual were strong and emotions private , in short an individualistic system where .fo-rm-altlnsrrin' wsak (lggi: 139). The individualism that these (social) . of uniqueness often arrangements nourished was exemplified in a sense ex pr es s edas is o l a ti o n i s m.Ita l s o h a d a n e l e cti venature,thati s,w asamatter of choice. countryside back to a His own reach is generous:he traces the love of the of Anglo/Saxon, waves three the Germanic preference that came through about the something as and iountry, the Viking und No.-un settlementsof quotes He century' nineteenth the in English that was still to surprise visitors visitor a as gardens parks and on the Frenchman Taine and his comments to England in the 1860s: lnmyopinionthesegardensreveal,betterthananyotherwork,thepoeticdreamin has gone all their nativeinventiveness the Englishsoul. . . All their imagination, into their Parks. " t of t het heni n d u s tri a l to w n o fMa n c h e ste rTai new rotethat]

could srand for anexercise of independence. rn rheimage "rs uuue Delngsent away from home or breaking free "rllJ:i.|lt:T:]rl from its parents was


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


being set against the givens oI an invitation to imagine the inclividual person relationships' pre-existing his or her social situation, and against individualism as a to regard It is somewhat paradoxical, therefore, as we have The evidence, themselves. c oJ certain relationships characteristi arranged past have the in might seen,is the way that parents and children be the may pets children like how or contractual ug...m.nt, with one another, is 'special' as someone To treat objects of their parents' special affection. c onc eiv ablyas m u c h a re l a ti o n a l d e v i c e a S to enteri ntoanapparentl y make one kind of impersonal contract with them: both reconstructions What these particular kind. another ..i'utlonrrrip out of a relationship of character of pre-existing the that possibilities have in common is the notion 'relationships status of the implicit The granted. for need not after all be taken reexplicitly relationship the and parent-chiid tie can be circumvented, individual the of satisfaction private constructed to the greater or lesser parties. ' the individuality of English ideas about the value of individualism and they describe' what of terms in simply"n, are not to be understood taken-for-granted to resistance or solituae namely by documenting people's exist on their own! They relationshtps - uny *o." than ideas or concepts look at the management .consequently must coexist witir others. The observer of r elat ions hips a n d a tth e re l a ti o n s b e tw e e n i deas' W emi ghtconsi der' then' the image child generates how the partiiular social relationship of parent and we Indeed, individual. a unique as but of the child not just as son or daughier kinship. English oJ' the as prrtont is ./act frst I might considerlfte indivielualitv Let m es p ellou tth e i mp l i c a ti o n s .L i k e c o n ti nui tyandchangeortradi ti on in antithesis'Any one of and novelty, societyand individual may be construed force or principle that has a theseconceptsmay be thought of as an elementor as it competeswith its insofar lives people's on governing or reguiative effe:ct Each pair of concepts thus seems to ofler a iair in {uantitative effect. At the same time there are many such life. iotalisini perspective on culture' 'Tradip".rp."tiu.i, for many such antithesesrun through English overlapswith the idea of tion, is similar to but not quite the sameas and hence . c ont inuit y ,;itis c o n ti n u i ty S e e n fro m th e p o i ntofvi ew ofw hati sregardedas overlapsin turn characteristicor typical about something.The'conventional' point of view of what is with the idea of 'tradition'; it is tradition seenfrom the may form a similar regarded as regulative in social life' Pairs of concepts .enterprise'working againstthe inert influence of series.For instance,the idea of . c ult ur e' (trad i ti o n /c o n ti n u i ty /c o n v e n ti o n)addsanotherperspecti veto not of isolatedconceptsbut of analogies'Finally what then appears ^well as a string be comp-osedof elements (enterprise/inertia) internally a pair may in a prior (inertia) or connected as though each were, so to speak, the other state. transformed (enterprise) antithesesas though they modelled a reproductive partic;lar Think of these from its parents is not its parents.That the child comes that process.The chili

is not its parents provides an image for thinking about the contrast between versus individuals;that the child comes traditionversusnovelty,relationships parents prompts its a counterinterpretation. Tradition innovates; from produce individuals. relationships Supposethese conceptualisationsdid indeed once constitute a reproductive, or procreative(after Yeatman 1983),model. The model would be both grounds for and an outcome of kinship thinking. Its implicit developmentalism rnakes generation appear irreversible: children seem further on in time from their parents; tradition comes 'before' change. we could thus say that come'before'persons.Parentsalreadyunited in a relationship relationships produce individual children. we might further say that their unity as one the individuality of the child. yet, in their children, person presupposes parents (rersons in a relationship) also produce other than themselves (individualpersons).Individuality would thus be borh a fact of and .after. ki nshi p. and choice Convention Individualism has its own quantification effect - persons are thought to exercise more or less individuality, by analogy with the amount of freedom one has to act in this or that manner. It is even measurablebetweenparents and children, at least to the extent that the English regard children as more individualistic than parents. In the relationship between them, it seemsthdf , the parent can stand for the idea of relationship itself, cast in terms of given ties,obligation and responsibility,while the child demonstratesthe capacity to grow away from relationships, as an independent personconstructinghii qJher own referencepoints. Thus, as Janet Finch describes(19g9: 53). the parent's duty to care for the helplesschild is more of a certainty than the child'sduty to care in later years for a helpless parent. However, it is quit6' possibleto reversethe case,and stressthe greater individuation ofthe parents (eachrepresentinga unigue-ti-dg-p-lrhe family; by conrrast with the child who oelongsto both. The Sarenr chil]\ relationship in fact offers a two-way ' appa-ratus for imagi ning-degreesof i nd i vid uality. It is a characteristicof the organisation of ideas that I describethat almost any perspective can be countermanded by another. Hence the view ,from the cnlld'finds, so to speak, another version in the view ,from the parent'. The vtew from the child seems a specifically English echo of Macfarlane's seventeenthand eighteenth-cenluryobiervation'that obligations, like ernotion, flowed down [from pur"nt to child]' in that, after the jurist Drackstone. 'natural afrection descends more strongly than it ascends ' (19g6: "4,. lhe vrew from the parent has nineteenth-century antecedents in the uniqueness claimed for the parent-child relationshipby virtue of its basisin the individual identities of each parent. This uniqueness became, for an index for those kinship systems to which English was li_ll$:,"ty, 'tttmatly perceivedto belone.


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Individuality and diversity


It was the American Morgan who, in classifying systems by their designations of kin persons,showed that the conventionsof descriptivekin terminology were not universal but constituted a distinct type. The type was common to ancestral Aryan, Semitic and Uralian language groups. as he called them, the last a category that included Europeans and Muslim peoples of the biblical lands of the Near East, and thus in his view the ancestorsof what we would call Westerncivilisation(Trautmann 1987:133).Anthropologists who by and large reject the evolutionary model that lay behind Morgan's eventual sequencingof types nonethelessby and large accept the distinctivenessof descriptive terminologies. A descriptive terminology acknowledges the uniqueness of a child's parents, being based upon the 'correct appreciation' (so he said) of the distinction betweena lineal and a collateralconnection.A child's individual parents are differentiated from other senior kin, as in the English designation of these as aunts and uncles. Descriptive systems contrast with those in the world which classificatorysystemsof kin terminologies from elsewhere confound theserelations with others, and where parents and parents' siblings mav be known bv a singleterm. Now originally, Morgan conceivedthe contrast as betweenthose closer to and more distant from nature. The descriptivesystemwas closer to the facts'---. Thus he characterisedit as one that 'follows the actual streams of blood' (quoted by Trautmann 1987: 137). Indeed the draft opening chapter of Sl,stems of Consanguinityreferred to family relationships existing in nature independently of human creation. If genealogy was, in his view, a natural arrangement, then the genius of the descriptive terminology was that it implied true knowledge of the (universal) processesof parenthood and reproduction (cf. Schneider1984:98). The individuality of a child's particular mother and particular father was preservedin the distinctive kin terms. on about the time of Taine'sobservations Morgan was writing in the 1860s, (1988: Morgan reminds that 64-5) us the English countryside. Adam Kuper in 1871. was also a visitor to England, when he deliveredcopiesof his S.ysle,fls Darwin Huxley, and'took the He called on Maine, Mclennan, Lubbock, and Lubbock Tylor model [of social evolution] back to America'. British social anthropology was to become in turn heir to this American intervention (cf. Fortes 1969).However, parts of Morgan's theory were too much for some at the time. John Mclennan's subsequentquarrel with Morgan included an attack on his explanation for classificatoryterminologies,pointing to the absurdity of imagining that anyone might not recognise'his' own individual mother. Ever since,anthropological debate has largely concernedthe validity of Morgan's classificatorymodels;but we might turn that around and reclaim Morgan from a Western perspective. In the courseof making his classificatory discoveryevident,he had also made the uniqueness of parental identity the founding assumption of his analysis of that class of advanced, descriptive usage. kinship terminologies which includedthosebasedon Englishlanguage

Whatever one might say about the formal properties of the terminology, the popularity of Morgan's schemeamong anthropologistsrestsin perh.rps to i he d.montt r at ion t hat t he individualit yof t he par ent svisiblycont r ibut es of the parent-child relationshifis a whole. The contrast is the uniquenels. that do not afford such a senseof uniqueiress. For the twentiethwith systems English, that contrast reappears as internal an feature of the century itself, in the same way, as I have suggested, that one party to the relationship can ggique or individuated than the other. relationship Lpp-ggl:.Tglel The generalpoint is indicated in"ttre frequent interdigiration of kinship termsand personal names.It is as though the very use of kin terms in English hasa classificatorycast to it, while personal namesare held to be descriptiveof the unique individual.3 A kin term denotes a relationship and thus a on the person from another's viewpoint. of course,a contrast lies perspective kin terms themselves. Terms of referencefor absent relativesappear between more formal than the often familiar diminution of terms of address.But when a nameis regardedas more informal or personal than a kin term, then all kin termscome to have generic connotations. Betweennames, there is a further in the differentiationof surnameand Christianname.Thesedaysone contrast talks of first rather than christian name and, for most people, the connotationsof the baptisedname as admitting the personto a community of souls is displacedby its personalisingfeatures(Firth, Hubert and Forge (1969:304) equate the Christiannamewith'personalname').In that aspect, the first name is more personal, we might say, than the surname or family name. Here lies a history within a history. Harold Nicolson, writing in 1955, commentsthus on the twentieth-century revival of a fashion for first names which had prevailed briefly in certain circles at the turn of the eiehteenthand nineteenthcenturies:a In my own life-time ... the feeling aboutChristian names has [again]changed completely. My fatherwould neverhaveusedthe Christiannameof any man or woman who wasnot a relationor whomhe had not knownfor at leastthirty years. My auntcalled herhusband by hissurname until thedayof hisdeath. It wasin the reign of EdwardVII that the useof christian names first became fashionable, and even thenit wassurrounded by all manner ofprecautions andrestrictions. Todayto address a manby hissurname might appear distant,snobbish, old-fashionable and rather rude. . . I am oftenamazed by thedexterity with whichactors, band-leaders, merchants, clubrrenand wireless-producers will remember to say 'Veronica'or 'Shirley' to womento whom theyiave not evenbeenintroducea. tnis engagrng naottderives, I suppose, from the united states:from the beliefcherishea uy tni crtlzens of that Republic that all men,asall women, arecreated equalandthat these gambits of intimacyform part of the pursuitof happiness. (Nic'holson 1955:273) N-otethe consensus about the signification of such shifts, that among any ctrcle of people the move from surnames to first names is a move from tormality to informality; it parallelsthe decisions peoplemake as to whether rrrey usekin termsor namesfor their relatives. The latter is also interpretedas


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity



\ z'cnrar.cnrNoeA Great-cnndra i






Aunt \


G.r nny ( N an) N anna


UNCTE co u slN...


Mothcr Mummy(Mum) Mamma (Mr) Mom

Aunt Auntie C our l n...


Terms of Address to ConsanguineKin and other kin of levels. For cousins The figureis rranged in generation Note. are used. names and belowpersonal own generation

2 Terms of address lo consanguite kin c.1960 Reproduced by kind permission of Routledge, from Fomilies and Their Relatives, Kinship in a Middle-Class Sector of Londor. by Raymond Firth. Jane Hubert and Anthony Forge, 1969.

4n interesting aspect of the interplay between personal names and kin family life, then, lies in the asymmetry of reciprocal usage. terrnsin intimate called by their personal names,parents and grand-parentsby kin are Children aunts and uncles are often known by a combination of kin term while terrns, name. Members of a junior generationare also assumedto be personal and ('children' age means both offspring and young persons).In some in younger affectation is an to address someoneas son or daughter face to face, it circles, joking overtones. and brother as terns of address often carries sister In while generic contrast between (for kin parents) terms individual and principal the personalnames (for children), individuality seeminglybelongs 'more' to the child than the Parent. It is parents who normally bestow these individual names. Although by what name they please,convention has it that anyonecan call themselves are bestowed by the parents.So this individuationis established at your names birth. Parentsproduce a unique offspring; it is the parents'duty to name their the child'sindividualityin exercising their own. While there child,anticipating is no choiceabout giving the child a name,they can choosewhich name it is to be, and may even think they have invented a name - my own Marilyn being a in point. The child may, of course,determine usage;I do not usemy initial case name. Friends, like kin, also reserve to themselvesthe right to vary the person'sname as they please. Such practices can be taken as a particular exampleof a more generaldistinction betweenconvention and choice.Within theparent child relationship, I have asserted, that distinctionis played out in terms of expectationsthat parents will implement convention - 'socialising' their children - while children will implement choice - making 'their own' lives;or betweenthe roles in which personsfind themselves and their freedom to act as individuals, to which a generation difference adds weight (cf. Strathern1982:80, 84). o.uary. ]inship- pr"actice inrhe. I 980s" $* leat u ry o,[ c-o-nlemp is-a.further shift i n ctose seniorkin to a choice betweenthat and the personal name. Again, where

rro-qlhe-b-i!-q+J.us9-9-lk-is*$-rl-edd-r lnqlisht95m-i"qol9gi9+lp-et-t-ggg,

a gesture towards inforn-rality, as down-playing the given role element in a relationship and up-playing the uniquenessof the interpersonal dimension. is illuminating in this regard.Plate 2 is What happensin everydayaddress reproducedfrom a study of families in London begun by Raymond Firth and his colleaguessome five years after Nicolson's observations (Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969:302).(An accompanyingdiagram not reproducedhere shows the rather different spread of terms used when people refer to kin in the presence of third parties.)The authors of the study remark that English terms of address were regularly replaced or supplemented by personal names provided,that is, the addressees equalto orjunior to ego. wereofa generation (6%) Only a tiny percenta in of their respondents the early 1960srecorded Ce using personal names to addressparents (1969:.304-6).

lnlormality. Using the first name to personalisethe person named seemsof a ptecewith the idea that to treat people as persons one must treat them as unique individuals. For the current trend towards apparent terminological reciprocity is frequently held to be an act of mutual individuation: in having the liberty to treat the parent as an individual person, the child is 'more' of an tndividual him/herself thereby.Yet calling a pirent by a first name is not quite the same as calling the child by a first name. The child claims the greater rloerty.Rather than establishing new conventionsfor relationships, then, the move is colloquially regarded as treating the parties to a relationship as tndividual personsrather than.asrelatives.That ii, it is regardedas a negation of convention. Now there is no inherent reason why calling a person Ann is more or less

as suctr is-regarffi'as"cdn$fairir-'tlii; i;-i;IG,il, folmaritv


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Individuality and diversity


individuating than calling that person Mother (cf' Firth, Hubert and Forge number of Anns in the world no doubt run in hundredsof 1969:310).s-The thousands, while each person has only one mother. Indeed, Mary, a nriddleclassrespondentin Firth's London study (Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969 311) explained her small daughter's use of a kin term towards her thus: 'To her there is only one Mother, but there are two or three Mary's in our circle.' Another said that to use first names among kin was actually to introduce a distance, to make them feel less close. With respect to a circle of named individuals, then, the (generic)kin term can also work to a personalisingeffect. It singlesout a specifictie. But much more than kin terms, namesseemto add to the personalisingmove the significant factor of choice, itself an ingredient of informalitY. That a move away from kin terms in address, or away from titles and surnamesin other spheres,is imagined to be a move away from formality or It conventionperhapsderivespart of its power from former habitsof address. the by inferior an was once the casethat a superior was at liberty to address as well as first name but not the other way round. ln Morgan's time. servants have servant would the personally,although children will have beenaddressed might Employers had to take regard of the rank order among the children. invent names for their servants.What lent this liberty importance, however, has long ceased to signify. Rank has been reconceptualisedin terms of personal interaction, for the present choice appears simply betweenmore or less formality. Formality still carries connotations of respect, but it has become a matter of individual style whether or not one implements that formality in intimate circles. by their firsl name- is A practiceoncedefinitiveof rank - calling solrleone not by is challenged convention one That is, no*i".n as a negationofrank. perceive to English the by what but what is perceivedas another convention, 'real' the discovers one convention, the be anti-convention. Underneath a sign of person. Thus. to call a parent by a first name today is not necessarily by may be encouraged it the contrary, respect. On insubordinationor lack of has the everyone family within the that indication the parent as a positive choice of being treated 'in their own right', as a person rather than simply as some role-player. They are all special, all as it were one another's pets. To borrow the words of a Canadian sociologist,the solidarity of the modern individualmembers(Cheal between family depends on'personalattachments' effect of anti-conventional in the is concealed 1988: 144). Convention 'personal' expression.This bears on views of change and diversity. Like certain kin obligations, time is seento flow downward. It thereby contributes to the asymmetry in relations between parents and children, and as actingmore from convention, to the contextsin which parentsare regarded choice. Out of the fact and individual for from their capacity children more convention and choice or between generation, the antitheses of direction relationshipsand individuality acquire a temporal dimension.Convention,

to be antecedent, to'come from' the past, while choice, like tradition, seems to lie seems in the future. In kinship idiom, children are future invention, like past. parents' Increased variation and differentiation invariably lie to the future as afragmented compared with the communal past. To be new is ahead. Time increases complexity; different. complexity in turn implies a be to plurality or of viewpoints. myltiplicity and 1960s did indeedseethe future as full of Ilmodern peoplein the 1950s persons, individualised more heterogeneity, many more highly and more process for the were available to them. Change could be identified: analogies was convention challenged, in the as shift from formality to when l. persons in kin address; 2. greaterchoice when were able to exercise informality in as what they wished to call another; 3. in increasing before, attention to than individuality, so that when personal relationships overrode kinship obligations.individual agencywas seento override stultifying givens of existence, in the equation of physicalwith relationalseparateness; 4. in the manifested association betweengreaterindividuation and greatervariation consequent asin the notion that, asindividuals,persons weresingularin ordifferentiation, the sense of being unique and therefore innately variable; 5. in simple in that with more thingsin the world more individuals- increase magnitude, itselfindicatedchange;and so forth. In sum, the future was knowableby the infinite possibilitiesit held. Although any of these conditions might be imaginedin reverse- more red tape, more constraints - such a reverseflow also appearedto go against what was apprehendedas natural development. For the conditionscould all be referredto the further suppositionthat over time things naturally evolve from simple to complex states.6 Complexity displayeda variety and plurality of individual forms whose interconnections challenged any simple systematisation.Thus we arrive at the English view of the individualist who knew his/her own mind and made a life for him/herself, with thepast thought of as relatively communaland homogeneous by contrast with a varied. heterogeneous future. This proliferation of concepts,forming a string of associations between .. roeas that are not quite the same (continuity/tradition/convention: change/novelty/choice) supports the modern connection between the twin processes ofdifferentiation and complexification. There were'many' concepts in the sameway that the world was full of 'many' things- so that evenwhat appears the same(suchas continuity/tradition)on closerinspectioncould be differentiated(continuity is a question of time, tradition one of form). This anticipatedproliferation modelled the very comprehensionof change.It also suggested that one's perspectivewas a matter of choice. socialcomplexitywereconcordantwith ideasabout . Ideasabout increasing tncreasing natural complexity (cf. Cohen 1985: 22). Time and variation oecameinextricably linked in this scheme,and the mid-twentieth-century habit of referring io contemporary society as 'complex' had just such a resonance. All I wish to bring into this well-known picture is the fact that the


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


same sequence was reproduced in the context of family relationships, encapsulatedin the widely held notion that as personal choice and autonomy became more important, kin conventions became less so. The diminishing importance of kinship over the generations appeared a reflex not just of complexityin life at large.That the individuality but of increasing increasing developmentwas anticipated meant that suchdiminution was also intrinsic to the conceptualisation of kinship relations themselves. Modernist complexity was perceived not so much as the complexity of patterns, oflayer upon layer oftextual exegesis or involute and self-repeating of the juxtaposing of mystical and mundane experience, as above all an effect or outcome of quantity. The more people there were, the more points of view, the more potential differences of perspective. This intimate connection betweencomplexity and plurality restedon one presupposition.Proliferation. led to complexity provided what increased was not homogeneity but heterogeneity.Complexity was thus held in place through a commitment to preservingdiversity, underpinned by the notion that if what were reproduced were unique individuals.diversity would be the natural result.But insofar as diversity appearedto be in the nature of things, its naturalnessalso made it a precondition. This gave a fresh twist to the reproductive model. As part of the supposedmodelling of the reproductive processto which I referred earlier, I take diversity as a secondfact of modern kinship. Whrle individuals strive to exercisetheir ingenuity and individuality rn the way they createtheir unique lives, they also remain faithful to a conceptualisationof a natural world as diverse and manifold. Individual partners come together to make (unified) relationships; yet as parents they ought at the same time to stand in an initial condition ofnatural differentiation from each other. In the relationshipsthey build and elaborateupon, it is important that the prior diversity and individuality of the partners remain. Such relationships are 'after' individuality, even as human enterprise is modelled upon and in that 'after'nature with its own impetusto variation.If in order to reproduce sense personsmust preservenatural diversity, then diversity would be both a fact of and have a priority 'before' kinship.

Diversitt, and the individuql case Such a reproductive model would have no purchaseif the facts of kinship did not resonatewith how people seeand know the world. Let me exemplify the workings of the model in connection with one way in which the modern English reproduce and createknowledge afreshfor themselves. Conceptualising a world full of individuality and diversitygave rise to certain'questions'. My'answer' offers an explanation or context for one particular question,from hindsight. The question sounds obvious: to whom are my present remarks meant to apply?

canons of generalisr Isingmyself as I have occasionallydone offends the qua individual, that is, by virtue of my uniqueness,I have no ^rif,ns: l,..esentative status. One would only draw so narrowly on one case by aggregate:generalisations .i'"*ing some connection with individuals in the plurality sharein common. Hence individuals from what a of fashioned "re point for features form the reference replicable specify what really lne should general about making observations purport be all, I to After ln.'r .*u.ple. - and to what areaor regiondo the observations I fit in where do but tcinsirip. cannot be collapsed into a refer?If the vast diversity of Western culture There is true of Britain. are class,geographical, the same also homogeneity, between the British, none of days ethnic differences and these occupational English'. In fact, the sameis with'the in any simple way aligned be can which life Whenever I her experiences. with his or own each individual, of alsotrue person, if it is myself,it and even including the individual unit, social a at look putting that unit by sense of the isolated case only make I can though as seems for both thus and accounting their cultural context, into social or person or the specificityand replicability of its or his/her position. Obviously, this qualification puts innumerable problems in the way of characterising 'English'kinship. Theproblems evidently faced Schneiderapropos'America', and his exercise hasbeencriticised on this account. Sylvia Yanagisako (l 978: I 985) showsthat a JapaneseAmerican understanding of the relationship between Japanese and American culture distinctively qualifies the way in which Japanese Americansinterpret'relatives'and 'persons',the apparentlybasic elementsof American kinship.T Anyone embarking on a study of English kinshippracticeswould certainly feel bound to specify the classbackground of their study, and would expectto be dealing with classdistinctivefeatures. Taine'sEnglishman is all very well in his country home, but we know that the numberofcountry homesper head ofpopulation has never been very great at any time in England's history. We cannot conceive of not qualifying generalisation by attention to the specificsocial and cultural background of the individdals to whom it is meant to apply. To what context, then, do I addressmyself? Habits, practices,norms, nomenclature - anything the English might wish to say about 'English rtnship' (cf. Schneider's subjectto diversity.And to list, 1968:l4-18) seems what range of practicesdo I addressmyself? Individualism and diversity do not seemon the face of it to have any specificplace in the domain of kinship at Mo..ou.r, I have not only invoked a high level of generalitybut have gone lll. .o.yondeven 'the English' in implying that these or similar conceptsalso belongto a field of Western ideas,while social scientistsknow that when they took al specificinstitutions they find there is never any single Western type. This has beenMichael Anderson's(1980:l4) argumentas far as the family rsconcerned. MichdleBarrett and Mary Mclntosh (1982)cite him to this effect tn their own characterisation of 'the anti-social family'.

English kinship in the late twentieth century is an essentially Do we suggestthat the family, recognizablein its different forms, is anti-social?In one of family type particular this that or institution, anti-social to a particular, sensethere ls a'correct'answer to this questioni v'e must refer or essential,category general no since offamily specifc,form historicalty and socially commonly lumped can be derived analytically from the many varied arrangements . . ' that 'the one writes instance, for togrtnq as thefamity. . . Michael Anderson, there can be no years is that last twenty the in has emerged wirich un'ambiguousfact there is not, ,i*pte nlrto.y of the Western family sincethe sixteenthcentury because been has always West The system. family nor ever hai there been, a single and by functions family of diversity by forms, family of diversity by characterized pointl diversity in attitudes to family relationshipsnot only over time but at any-one type' family Western no level, [Anderson trivial most the in time. There is, exceptat 1980: l4]. (Barrett and Mclntosh 1982:81; my emphasis,origina| emphasis removed) A related position is encapsulated in the opposite argument which they also (and see David cite, not that there are potentially many forms but only one

Individuality and diversity


incati is at once *.-or on ,, , xrfi':"",.ffi ,]i""h*l [H:i;ilff ff ;; :Ji t?l'""".in.tess to.specify what might be particular to the
appearsnecessary. to a specific I .^:: i" which render English kinship itself. I should be true will becomeapparent (seeChapter Four), there are severalreasons l"rr*;.As class .'-.-,.--, f.,"u, on middle-classusage,largely to do with the way the middle general social values. Yet communicate what they regard as J",i".ir,, and not stop there. There are many middle-classways of doing does iuriiJuri,y suburbs are not the same as northern ones, and not all itrrr, and southern question raisesits head. What then is .,r#rrionulr are yuppies. The original is to be exemplified in its middle-class Iie middleclasstype?If English kinship middle class is to be exemplified in some the that seem would it ttt"n iorr, particular education, regional and cultural style, a choice that invites us to ionsider further occupational and local variants; and so on' WhenDavid Schneiderand Raymond Smith (19'73)attempted to grasp the diversity of American kinship, they did so by making middle-class kinship (1968)earlierstudy in Chicagoin the Schneider's in a strongsense. exemplary population. Although this population had focusedon a middle income 1960s 'American kinship', there were also marked evinced the cultural apparatus of divergencesfrom what Schneider and Smith call 'lower-class' kinship practices, and the comparison is the subject of the joint monograph. They concluded that the middle-class values they had analysed - including emphasisput on the growing autonomy of the child and intra-familial individualism(cf. Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969 460)- in fact encompassed lower-class values. Lower-class kinship did not comprise a separatesubculture, but promoted values and attitud-esspecifically in referenceto middleclass ones,which thus held a hegemonicstatus.Moreover, middle-classvalues weresymbolicallydeferred to as ideal and generalisable (conventional),while tower-class values were taken to represent a particular and specific kind of struggle('real life' choices) with the 'real world' of limited resources. One contrast between middle- and lower-classkinship practiceslay in the extentto which middle-classfamilies emphasised.o-p"i*". in the managementofsocial relations and applied rationality principles to decision-making tDchneider and Smith lg73: 114). They endorsed innovation, and were on enterprises, including the .making' of relationships, that is, ll"t:-|* relationships through explicit affective and pracrical dimen:;:::tru.cting tn love-making, cf. varenne rgjj: lggff). Similar featureshavebeen f'.*'tas retelant to middle-classEnglish kinship; more than that, the middle ;;"s1iy beena vehiclefor widespreadand radical social change.However, I il"::.",* the material to hand to contrast middle- and (what the English n*"1"_'luu. Prcfer to call) working-classkinship practices as far as the English are

generalideas' values' norms' habits of conduct in particular ond encounters. that I take 'English kinship' as a particular form of - rr ic in thls sense f@t--l'u'""hio. But my concernis not with a subcultureof Westernculture

16ff1. Morgan 1985:

Anderson's position . . . is entirely denied by Peter Laslett. Far from endorsing the view that nosingle lamily form is characteristicof the West, Laslett maintains that, to the contrary, we should assumethat the nuclear form of the pending evidenCe iamily prevails. He argues . . . that tleparturesfrom this J'amily form are merely the 'fortuitousoutcomes'of localtzeddemographic,economic or personalfactors' In his that the extendedfamily is no more than a sociologicalmyth, Laslett puts insistence forward the proposition that'the present state of evidenceforces us to assumethat the family's organization was always and invariably nuclear, unless the contrary my emphasis) can be proved' [Laslett 1972 x,73]. (1982:83,

Barrett and Mclntosh's own conclusion, and one to which I shall return, is that the family is a contested concept. lt is the place of diversity that is of immediate interest. Diversity appears as an interference to generalisation; either there are .many' typ-es oielse only 'one'. Once diversity is admitted, we can conceiveit as starting with individual experienceand proliferating through heteroge-

in a way that defiesasmuch as it aids neouspotulations and organiiations

reduction. Social scientistsare generallyhappy to settle for a middle range just diversity, such as class and ethnic background. Firth's study was not to familiesin London, but to middle-classfamilies in two residential addressed to reveal that in talking mainly about middle-class kinship Indeed, areas. as a values I am drawing on a privileged educational background, as well feel suburban upbringing in souihe.n England, will perhaps make the reader of on securerground and might even allow me to use myself as an informant sorts. My representativestatus would be evident' defend But as far as the account as a whole is concernedI do not propose to They are intended to my remarks on the grounds of their representativeness' lives' be exemplary. To repeat an earlier point: none of us leads generalised instances' only speiific ones. One therefore always works through concrete


English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

Individuality and diversity


concerned.I cannot make the middle classexemplary in the hegemonic and encompassing sensethat Schneiderand Smith intended. If thereis a class dimensionto my account,it addresses the opportunitiesfor communication the middle class have made for themselvesin tenns of educationand the dissemination of ideasthrough writing and reflection. This is the classthat doesnot just advertise but analyses its own conventions. This is the class that makes its implicit practicesexplicit to itself. Here is the common backgroundto the intimate connectionbetweenindigenousmodels of kinship and the way in which scholars over the century between the 1860s-1960s have describedsociety and the nature of social relationships, especiallythe way in which anthropologists have approachedand reflectedon kinship systemsthemselves. one could think, for instance.of the connection that George Stocking (1987:20u2) makesaproposcertain changingcircumstances of middle-class family life in Englandfrom the I 8 50sonwards.The attentionbeingpaid to the possibility of divorce going through the courts rather than throueh parliament can be related to the then current debate among anthrJpological scholars on matriarchal institutions. Thus he suggeststhat the argument of Mclennan's Primitive Marriage, published in 1g65,two years before the first Matrimonial causes Act was passed,'was conditioned by the contemporary concern with problems of human sexuality and by the processesof social changeaffectingthe institution of human marriage' (Stocking 19g7:201). That particular legislative practicesin England raised in people'sminds universal issuesto do with human sexuality returns us to the relationship between the particularand the generalas a cultural fact. The questionofhow one moves from individual casesto generalisationsabout systemsis, so to speak,an indigenousone. Indeed the ielationshipis a problematicthat has both informed the aims of descriptivepractice and has seemedto prevent the elucidation of the perfect system. If overcoming imperfect desciiption has driven scholarly practice for a century, it in turn has at once been iuelled by and sought resolution in a pluralist specification of quantity. The specificationhas had two dimensions.Generalisationimplies that collectivitiesare made up of units which can be enumerated.Societycan thus be imagined as a plurality of particulars,as'a collection of individuals'(cf. Schneiderand Smith 1973:21). However, there have always been competing modelsto this vision of society.Michael carrithers (19g5:236)observes that 'a view of how individual human beings should interact face to face is not necessarilythe same as a view of how they should interact in respect of a significant collectivity'. The latter, alternative, rendering evokes another quantification:the extentor degree to which a collectivitytranscends its parts. Under this second specification, individuals can only be defined in reflerences to the whole. The question then becomes 'how much' of the transcendentwhole is to be found in each. For if the former specificationgives rise to enumeration and thus to quantity in the senseof trre plurality or

ol lsingular )unit st hat can be count ed.t hent he lat t ergivesr iset o ,nul ti pl i cit y by volume or weight. What can be traced back to Edward Tylor's ",,unii,V cf. as Tim Ingold notes (1986: 441, lrltrt.-rtug.' or'degree of culture', greater or lesser of was in Morgan's notion already there stocking 1968), It is also there in the historicaldisputeabout whether civilisation. of J.*r.m well as in what I have ,oJr. or lesschange/continuitycan be observed,as people being in positions deducedto be kinship assumptionsabout some or more individuality than othersand who wherethey show more uniqueness 'more' might no longer speakof of a person.Sociaiscientists arein that sense but were still in the in an evolutionary idiom, social development of erades 1960ru"ry concernedwith the amount of choice or volume of freedom that individuals could exercise. quantity is part of the middlein specifying Whetheror not this investment endeavour,s pursuit of rationality as a utilitarian, competence-enhancing class also make individuality and diversity into generalisable the specifications phenomena.They in turn resolve the phenomenon of individual difference measurable What becomes into anotherphenomenon.the capacityto analyse. isthedegreeof applicability of either the individual caseor diverseexamplesto account of them. I give a brief illustration. a generalised (1987: that it is from the 1860s that one finds the 200 1) suggests Stocking in middle-class family. The idea first hint of a number decline the English prevalentin the 1960sthat 'the [middle class]family is small in size' (Fletcher 1962 125) seems eminently quantifiable. If the reference point were the nuclear family based on the household, then one could look at changing household demography(by contrastwith the past)or at comparativestatistics (by contrastwith the working class); that what is to eitherprocedureassumes be enumeratedare the numbers of individuals. What relatives live together? On the other hand. one could look at the degreeto which family members cooperate perhapsin one another,a volume of behaviourmeasurable or assist terms of frequencyof visits and amount of help (e.g.Young and Willmott 1957). Now both types How strong is the link betweenthis or that kinsperson? of magnitudehave a significantnon-quantifiabledimension.The very idea that families evince one or other kind of 'size'is taken to be a generalstate of affairs. That is, the analyticalproposition can be appliedto all families,so that regardless particular the measurements all are measurable. of In short, quantity (volume and enumeration)solvesthe problem of how to think of both individuality and diversity with respectto the general.One can measurethe degreeto which values are prevalent or how a society allows this or that through the behaviour of individual persons as in showing the percentageof personal name usage for parents. Description based on such analysis encompassesboth the representative and the unrepresentative. Conversely, any analytical type can be shown to have its counterpart in a particular (segment of) population. Only where the population cannot be specified does generality or representativenessmake no sense. Hence


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Individuality and diversity


Anderson's sarcasm:there is no western family type because, of course,there is no generalwestern population as such. There are only a massofdifferences between people who imagine themselvesas Westerners. This self-evidentproposition becomesin turn my own starting point. we are dealing with people who themselves make generalisationr,*ho imagine they are part of larger collectivities, who act with reference to what they assume to be widespread norms and such like, and who are consequently preoccupied with what they take to be a relationship between the pariiculai and the general. The English thus distinguish between phenomena whose own character includes the fact of their generality and those that seem characteristically atypical or individual. A version of this familiar to anthropologists is the question of how far 'symbols' are shared. lt rs not confined to the English. As Anthony cohen (19g6; l9g7) has shown in his study of whalsay in the Shetland Islands, the truth of the matter is that when people draw on certain symbolic usages they are drawing on constructswhose property includes the assumption that they are shared - it is they who generalise, and also thus (in the whalsay case)evoke a community of sharing. social scientists(including anthropologists) replicate people's accounts, and what we might call indigenous analysis, in attemptingto measure the extentof the sharing: how many people hold this view; how strongly they hold it, and so on. Quantification presumesdiversity as a given. Now' as Yanagisako shows in Japanese-American attitudes towards tradition, kinship offers a field for the display of diversity. when thought of against other facetsof life, kinship relationshipsare redoGnt of tradition and community; yet by the sametoken tracing genealogical connectionsback into the past, thinking about one's roots, can also diversify the past into innumerable'different'and specifictraditions. Esther Goody and christine Groothues (r9g2: 2r7) cite the judgement of the President of the High court Family Division in 1972 ton"rrn,ng u Ghanaian girl being fostered by a professional English couple. whereas her Ghanaian parents had intended to have her grow up with an educational advantage before returning to Ghana, the Englisir couple pressed for adoption. one of the grounds was the length of time the giil hai been with them. Thejudge felt obliged to offer some generalremarks.-Hisanalysisof the situation was that a problem had beencreatedby the west African practice of coming to Britain to study or work and then fostering out children, problem a insofar as the children were 'brought up in and learn our British ways of life. [For thenj when a strong bond of attachment and love has been forged betweenthe children and foster parents, the natural parents take them away., In other words, in providing a home, the foster parents had accustomecr the child to a specific way of life. sngclficfamily arrangementsof the English couple are being contrasted .lh1 with the failure of the Ghanaian parents(he iaid) to'provide u hI-"'for the

this perspective, the specific belongs to a general ('British') child. From sharedvalues.But if home is whereways of iradition and is held to represent further source of diversity becomesapparent. The a life are transmitted. particular become and non-representative. also can specific private lives, the home is are an intimate place, and every family Kin lives Whether or not they are sharedwith others of like conventions. has its own can be the nation, or claimed for lives are lived according to classor region, past styles. If is style, tradition style is presenttradition; and domestic soecific famtlies like many individuals. are so Hence the judge's in ttrelr styles, particular attachments. While each family has the opportunity to to reference general generic ('class') style or tradition the way children are in a reareare in becoming the focus of deliberate, decision-making up, transmisbrought style may equally well claimed The be as unique innovative. and sion, such point to the changes they have seen since the early twentieth century in English rates of divorce, meaning patterns structure, the of adoption, of household couplesdo their particular care,stateintervention,and so forth. In any case, relation parents in to their own children, move on from what thing. Certainly quite parents did; each family appropriately creates its own modes,even their aseachparentalcoupleproducein eachchild a new individual.In short, every 'home' (to use the judge's term) exemplifiesthe same,unique combination of possibilities. The relationship betweenthe particular and the general,the unique and the representative, belongsto an elementarymathematics that both differentiates oneness and plurality and seeseach as a product of operations done on the other.Thus, like'society'itself,kinship may carry the resonance of a tradition or a community made up of a collectivity of valuesor of individuals;their attributescontribute to its aggregate character(enumeration).At the same time, kinship may also appear as a transcendent order which allows fbr degrees of relatedness or solidarity or liberty and for relative strength in the 'expression' of values;it is like an organismwhich functionsas a whole entity to determinethe character of its parts (volume). This is true both of relatives (the number one knows, the extent of attachment) and of families (how large they are and how cohesive).'The English' similarly appear as now aggregate, now organism. Quantity is compelling. It offers a way of imagining the generalisations through which the English have analysed their own culture. But unless we completely take the actors'view,suchindigenous analysis must be a subjectof and not merelythe meansto study.It is particularlyinteresting for the natural limits it sets to comprehension. Recall the framing of the questions that if I wrsh to generalise about English culture then complexity the pluralism of socialforms inevitably appearsto interfere with my task. Diversity seemsan inevitable fact of nature, self-evident when one thinks of human beings as themselves so many individuals.On its head, however,the problem is rather


Englishkinship in the late twentiethcentury

Individualityand diversity


how the English make it self-evidentthat the world is plural, complex and full of individuals. Of what, then, and how is this pressingsenseof heterogeneity composed? Facts of nature Who are the English? and 1960s,'theEnglish'acquiredcertain Over the century betweenthe 1860s definitive features, although they are ones that have, since the counterand 1980s, of ethnicpoliticsin the 1970s beenthrown into disarray. emergence In that period of innocent ethnicity, the English were regarded both as a productive amalgam of diverse peoplesand as a highly individualistic nation holding on to individualism as a transcendent characteristic of themselves. The aggregating concept stressedthe 'melting pot' symbolism of heterogeneity, the organic concept that of a redoubtable character that was only to be exemplified idiosyncratically in eachindividual English(man).The English were thus self-definedin an overlapping way as at once a people and a set of cultural characteristics.I exploit the ambiguity in my own account. and refer to the English as though they were identifiably both. The following rendition sets out some definitions of a sort. In 1929, the Professor Dixon to whom I alluded gave a seriesof public lectures on the Englishman at University College London. He took the occasion as an of the English. We are treated to invitation to expatiate on the distinctiveness The English People,the English The English Genius, The English Character, it indubitably (cf. Brooker and English Bible, and to cap Soul, The 'Shakespeare I the Englishman'. It is in his lectureon Widdowson 1986: l9), genius the English that Dixon claims the Englishman is typically an (1938: the Englishare also 65).As a population of individualists, individualist 'a many headedpeople' (1938: 71). What is an individualist? our sageasks.'He is a man more guided by his own opinions than by those he hears about him, not content to blindly follow the crowd, who desires to see things for himself, one in short who 'shoulders responsibility for his acts and judgements', with all the latter-day qualities of reliance and initiative (1938: 68-9). Indeed, rather than following the suggestionsof others, he would by choice work 'in his own garden on his pr iv at e pla n' (1 9 3 8 :6 7 ). By th e s a meto k e n , he i s' tol erant' of the habi ts of others. Dixon slides into a paean on diversity. Becauseof its respect for individuality, he argues, England has nurtured a multiplicity of spirits and opinions,and '[W]here in any societywill you meetsucha curiouslyvaried,so parti-coloured mental tapestry' (1938:72).This in turn leadsto the celebration of the English as a hybrid people in terms of their origins; 'an astonishingly mixed blend', this 'glorious amalgam' (1938:90) is the natural generatorof manifold talent.

In the framing chapter on The English people, he quantifies the phenomenon.

with Norfolk and Suffolkhighest Kent. whichstands on [the] roll of fameamong Englishcounties,although extremelyprolific in the sixteenthand seventeenth decayed in theeighteenth, centuries, andwhollylost hergenius-producing powerin . . Thusa countryor a countymay lose,thoughwe know not why, the nineteenth. vitality. its mysterious The predominantly Saxondistricts.Middlesex, Surrey,Sussex, Berkshire and standlow on the list of talent,comparingvery unfavourably Hampshire, in this with Dorsetand Somerset respect in thewest. Buckinghamshire to theNorth, and Kent, Norfolk and Suffolkto the East.we observe, thenthat in the regions where elements thecomponent aremostnumerous, wherethereis mostmixedblood,the greatest ethniccomplexity, genius or ability most frequently appears. The hybrids it. Norfolk, SuffolkandKent arethecounties have in whichtheminglingof races is greatest, andprecisely these counties, andnot thepurelySaxon or purelyNorse, are in talent.(1938: richest 108) His book is about the genericEnglishman,and 'his' geniusin that sense; what the analysisthen uncovers are the hybrid individuals (literally, the geniuses) whosequalificationfor being considered truly English lies in their talent and thus in their evident exerciseof it. And if he can count up the number of counties who haveproducedgeniuses by comparisonwith thosethat havenot, he can also talk about Englishness itself as a matter of degree. In realising that the term is not susceptibleto exact definition, he writes: 'Some of us in these islands are more, somelessEnglish,someof us, of course,in no sense Enslish at al l ' (193 8;5) . The lecturescelebratethe achievementof a period - particularly between 1880and 1920- when 'English' was being legitirnated is a national culture (colls and Dodd l987). Nations did not just havecharacteristics or traits,they had cultures. In the later years of the nineteenth century, the new system of education was held in part responsible for the state of this freshly acknowledged nationhood (Dodd ilaZ' :;. The salientquestion becamewhat attributes were to be taken as representativeenough to be taught in schools, how a senseof being English might be conveyed. Among th. trudition, promoted in art, letters,music and architecturewith which pupils became tamiliar was the ruralism of southern England (cf. Howkin, DSZ, O:;. Institutions such as 'English' u, un .du.utionar curriculum or as an academic disciplinetaught at universities had to be invented:rural cortages and the countryside were there to be discovered.But they had to be discovered oeyond the distress of the then agricultural depression, and were evoked above all in a particular form of past rurality, namely the Tudorism of rttzabeth'sEngland (Howkins 1987:70).As a style,Tudorism was eminently recoverable. Under the Henrys and Elizabeth, domestic dwellings had for the rrrsttime become significantboth in number and in substance. Manor houses


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


aDd were built in the newly durable combiacquired a novel spaciousness cottages nations of brickwork and half-timbering that meant even modest by Bard claimed later. Like the years rtiff be occupied three hundred once at was Tudorism the name, of -ignt Diion, and despite the Welsh origins visible in the landscapeand indubitably English' In ,",.orp.ct, Engiishnessthus takes an architectural form, humorously which first conveyed Uy OsUe.i Lancaster's drawings of domestic interiors of number one of a hand any uppear"d in tSfS. But under Lancaster's which through diversity the evoke evocative forms serves: his sketchings Englishnesscould c/so appear. Stockbrokers Tudor is flanked by Aldwych Faicical. Modernistic, Cultured Cottage and Vogue Regency' olde electroliers. All overEuropethe lightsare goingout, oilJamps,gas-mantles, go on again not they or whether and anJwall-brackets, staniards lanthorns, Tudor the asgoodasany in whichto contemplate momentseems in our time,thepresent the provides home of the the history For past. in the roomstheyhavi illuminated growth and most intimate,and in someways ihe most reliable,picture of the whetherit be a Tudor culture.. . [F]or self-revelation, of European development no placelike there's Berchtesgaden, at chalet a bomb-proof oi villa on the by-pass 1939) to lst edn, Preface 1953: home.(Lancaster
IS But although he Europeanises the context. it is clear that Lancaster 'home' he word the on culture. European of version presentingan English comments:

- 'homeloving'; a it serves,among other duties, to distinguish a psychologicaltype values 'there's moral of high of Jiscomfort -'home comforts'; a standard 'homely'; and a radio physical charm ol lack noticeable no ptaci like it'; a pro g.u t,o.ofout s t andingbor edom B' B' C'H om e s e r v i c e B u t d e s p i t e t h i s of the i.e.i"ndou, adjectival expinsion it still retains. beneath layer after layer one lives' in which house the of meaning substantive its original treacliestsentiment, the word on closer investigation-oneis able to isolate the proper application of .home' still further, and properly confine it to the inside ol one's house. . . [T]he hence tts word implies a sphere over which the individual has complete control; appearance the whereas And .norrnou, pop ulirity in a land oJ'rugged individualists. prejudices of the interioi of one's house is ihe outcome ol'one's own personal tastes, cases out ofa hundredis the expression the outsidein ninety-nine and bank balance, or evn of the views on architectureof a speculativebuilder, a luxury flat magnate' (1953: 9' my emphasis' gentleman' country eighteenth-century an occasionally punctuation emended)



Fnc! round my bed, Oakc bcam.s overhead. Oldc ruggro on yc floor, No stek6rolcr;utd asic for mo.c.,, Sur.x hou.-dqab,one. (Tloditional, .otlt tu ntieth .att/).)

widely of all the styles he brought to light, stockbrokers Tudor became gently so thus were pretensions whose those adopted as a self-descriptionby parodied. lies in the My own disaffectiontiom/affection for Stockbrokers Tudor houses, semi-detached of Its avenue up. grew southern English road in which I the late in built was gables, Tudorbethan at black and white fiontages hinting interior Lancaster Osbert the grand as as .n"un, the houses*"."-by no 1920s; round the suggests.though such houses and no doubt such people were

OT even rhe first uorld rvar and its afrcrmath could scnsibly diminish f thc antiquarian cnrhusiesm which hrd first gripped the Errglislr I \ ! public early in Vicroria's reign ^ ; and tl,e .rcrmou. advance in mass-production mcthods that took place during the iDter_war period only served to increase the enormous output of handicrafts. The experience gained in aircraft and munition factorics tvas soon bcinq utilizeJ itr the manufa.ture ofold oak beams, bottle-glassrrind6y-panq. Jnd wrouglrt_iron Tudor )ighting lixturcs. In intcrior dccc'ration thc chcrishcd idcal, relentlcssly and all too succesfulJy pursud,.uas a glorificd vcrsion of i\nne Hatharvay,s cortagc, \!1tI 5u( n modlh(altuns as were r)e(es\trv lo cuDfi,rm to trrl)\illrlrtic standards ofplumbing. In construction the Tudor note was truly sounded : in thc furnishing considerablc deviations from s(rict period accuracv w.,. pcrmissible. Thus cightcenth-ccn(ury four-p,,srers, Rcgcncy sampleis, and Victorian chintzcs all soon came to be regardcd u, TrJo, by adoption_at least in estate agcncy circles. Soon certain classes of the community were in a position to pass thcir whole livcs in long Elizabethan day-drcam; spencling tlr;ir nigirrs -one undcr high-pitched roofs and ancient eaves, thcir days in lrekking from Tudor golf clubs to half-timbercd cocktail, anj their evcnires rn contemplating I\{r. Laughton,s robusr intcrprcration of Henrv Vlll ;mid the Jacobcen plesterwork of the Glorirnr prh, e. \

nl:{lr .t Tudor, ear l.t.rtrt nrieIh ce ntur1. i.*il ' rum the 1953 editionof HontesSv,eer Hones by OsbertLancaster, originally uuDtishe d in 19i9. by kind permission of osbert Lancaster, A Cortrxtn Hisroryof Architecture, irTt"^ltq -'ru JohnMurray(publishers) Ltd.


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


corner. The estatewas thus under construction at the time when Dixon was deliveringhis lectures. Aspiring to a gardensuburb,it had beencarvedout of an ancientwoodland that once suppliedElizabeth I's successor with timber for his fleet,and someof whoseremainingoaks carry individual preservation orders. Like nrany statelyhomes in England, the treesare no longer private property but part of everyone's past. The Garden Suburbhad sprungup in the wake of the gardencity movement of the 1900s. one visionarymodel of the gardencity, in the words of Ebenezer Howard, restedon making the distinction betweentown and country quite exphcit.'Town and country must be married and out of thisjoyous union will springa new hope,a new life and a new civilization';it was to be a marriage'of rustic health and sanity and activity [and] of urban knowledge and urban technical facility, urban political co-operation' (quoted by Thorns 1973: 17). The very phenomenon to be avoided was the formlesshomogeneity of the old urban suburbs.The gardencity promiseda completelynew urban form. But it was the gardensuburb that spreadwith suchpopularity in the interwar years; and, neither urban nor rural, it was to collapse rather than sustain the distinction. Let me return to one aspectof Dixon's rendition. This is the notion that diversity is a natural outcomeof the mingling of difl'erentpeoples,an amalgam which preserves its original vigour. Inter-minglingcontainsa genetic imageof cross-fertilisation, though the difference between plant and animal imagery might give one pause.I suspectthe hybrid that Dixon celebrates is to be thought of as roseratherthan mule. Unlike the sterilemule, the cultivatedrose with its Tudorbethan resonances grows healthily on a wild rootstock. Indeed, the vigorous programme of hybridisationdevelopedby plant-breeders over the hundred years since the 1860sliterally turned a modest victorian shrub into the most prolific and diversefloweringbush in the Englishgarden.Above all, in the rangeof rosescalledHybrid rea, accordingto my 1976gardeners' manual, one finds both 'old favourites' and 'new exciting varieties'. New varietiesappear each year. As Dixon intimated, infinite diversitv is oossible for the future. 1989,sixty years on, lies in Dixon's future. How fares the hybrid? In the late twentiethcentury, the English are more consciousthan ever of ethnic diversity. Yet the result does not seem to be an ever more heady amalgam. or at least people do not readily assimilatelatter day ethnic differentiation to that of the celts and the saxons and the Danes whose diversity, children were once taught at school, made up 'our isrand race'. value was put on the mixing of ancestrywherewe now only seemabreto see the proliferation and diversification itself. In the late twentieth century it has becomedoubtful who or what 'the English' aree- or indeed whether the term is usableat all. As a consequence. we might remark, former perceptionsof quantity do indeed seem to have lost some of their power. Has something 'happened'then?

Whot is Ethnic Record keeping?

Ihe collecting of informotion obouto person's group. ethnic

in MonchesterCity Councilbelieves for oll opportunities ond equolrights In itsrole os the lorgest itscitizens. ond on im Por iont emP l o Y er l ocol the Councilknows services, of provider towords equol work it must Putting thot policyinto opportunities. time ond we needto tokes oroctice progress we ore much how see moki ng.

Whot is on Erhnic Group?

groupisone in whichthe members An ethnic hoveo shored cullurolbockoround ond identity. ThisdoesNOT meo"n countryof birih or notionolity.

How would Erhnic Record keeping be done?

io sovwhich Fochperson wouldbe osked groupheor shefeels theybelongio by ticking


Why theseProposols for EthnicRecordkeeping ond Monitoring?

Ethnicrecordkeepingond monitoring to tellif mokeit possible Monchester's equol opportunity policyisworking

eaxrsranr ! trlroorrrlsr arntcalt ! ! vrrrult:sr f] rrnocanrraean ! OTHERBLACKT-.l elxouorsxr ! ?LEA5l3taCtfY U aucxanrrrsx ! rnrsx ! cxtrrs:f] ! EASTAFR!5^N wxrreanrrrsx n OTHERWHITE fI ftl^ltttacrfY U rNotet !

WouldI hoveto give my Ethnic Origin?

Not if you don't wont to. Butthe CityCouncil youwillco-operote thot hopes sowe concheck policyisbeins put inio *::r?.r":'.oo.rtunities

DefendingJois - tmproring Servkes



Whor is the Purpose of Record Keeping?

Io mokesure thotoll oppliconts for lobsond everyone who uses Councilservices ore treotedfoirly ond equolly.


4 EthniLnonitorins. 1987 Mant'hesterCiry Council's categoriesfor a proposed ethnic monitoring scheme (1987). E ngl tsh'does not appear.

If I suggest somethinghas happened, it is only to point to somethingthat , 'happening' b..n all the time, namely the way peopleput value on what lut they value.When this takes the form of making the implicit explicit, then what *1t on." taken for granted becomes an object of promotion, and less the cultural certainty it was. A cultural certainty to which I refer here is the associationbetween the twin concepts of individuality and diversity. It was once a fact of nature that these went tosether.


kinshipin the latetwentieth English century

Individuality and diversity


Somepart of the story as it was told in the period betweenthe establishment ofEnglish as a national culture at the turn ofthe centuryand (say) 1960went along lines like this. The English made variation, evinced in complexity and multiplicity, one of the vehiclesfor their sense of civilisationand enterprise. Variety was also reproductive variety. The greater the genetic diversity, the more rugged the offspring, and that was as true of culture as of peoples.If England formed the basisof a hybrid nation, it was a vigorous hybrid, created centuries ago by waves of conquerors each of whom added their genesand skills to the stock. Over England's history, the displacement of royal dynasties,the rise and fall of classes of merchantsand industrialists,the absorptionof smallgroupssuchas Flemingsand Huguenots-'additions to an alreadyinfinite complexity' (Dixon 1938:100) all sustained the imagery of constant infusions of 'new blood'.lo The country's institutions were invigoratedby cross-fertilisation. Each individual therebycontributed his/her uniqueportion without losingthe transcendent characteristic of individuality; that was preservedin the singularity of 'the English' themselves. That is a story that now belongsto the past. Uniqueness and variety have become an aim of cultural practice. Ethnic groups must be recognisably 'ethnic'. The constantproduction of new goods includesthe reproductionof old ones, as the media promote freshjuxtapositions of familiar and exotic waysof living. Thoselate twentieth-century peoplewho can afford it live in an infinitude of other people's variations, with the rider that many can be sampled,consumed,partaken of bread done in the styleof Vienna, of Poland, ofTurkey. A consequence ofthis production ofdiversity is that'real' (natural) diversitybecomes elusive. Distinctionsseemto collapse. The cognoscenti now know that Chinese food served in Manchester take-aways is Chinese food intended for English (?British) tastes; that novelty is specially created by specialists in creations;that giving your pet cat rabbit from a pink tin instead of lamb from a greenone panders to a consumer demand for colour coding variety is 'colourful'. Everywhere we seepromotions and creations that seem to referenceat whim this or that tradition. It is as though unique cultural forms must take after other unique cultural forms (Jameson1985). In the words of one 1980sjournalist, Britain has become a wholesale imitation, of itself and of others imitating itself. Thereis apparently no Briton too incongruous or mis-shapen to sport a T-shirt proclaiming allegiance to Harvard, Yaleor theMiamiDolphins. I even once sawa down-and-out underCharingCrossarches in baseball cap bearingthe elegantly intertwined initialsof theNew York YachtClub. (Wholesale imitationof a culture loundedon wholesale imitation naturallyproduces someparadox.The'yuppie' style favoured by young bankers and brokers in Mrs. Thatcher,seconomlc Wonderland is believed the epitomeof hard-nosed, thrusting, fingerpopping New York. It is actuallyNew York's rather confused parody of English'classic (PhilipNorman, Weekend elegance'.) Guardian. l0 lI December 1988) Culture in turn somehowseems at once lessthan real and larger than life, in the same way as the relationshipbetweenEnglish and British has become

ambiguous. This would be the view from the late twentieth thoroughly centurY -the time, everything feels as A senseof epoch has to be retrospective.At poignantly present experiencedin the The is in crisis. crisis is though it 'less'nature in the world today than there once is there much that ..nrojion to human benefit about turning the world's natural resources was.Confidence fear consumption. Teenagers talk about what it is to about their way hasgiven vegetarian, I course about becoming the of endless discussions In right to eat. that on similar to the sixteenthand appear the surface reasons haveheard hesitationsover barbarous slaughterfor the table that seventeenth-century 2934) records, although they are hardly based on the same (1984: Thomas composition.It is not that animalsshould not eat temperamental of theories I think, that human beings are too easily systematicabout but other anirnals, the domestic slaughteris 'unnatural'. purposefulness of it. The plants kind of proximatenaturewhich may rather than comprise a Animals (cf. Haraway 1985:68). Whether with interests of their own endowed be also pets house filming wild creaturesin their own in the or keeping through habitats, the English can coopt them to preserve an essentialsenseof the sensitivity that diversityand plurality of natural life. a late twentieth-century belongsto a moment consciousof the numerical reduction of the world's destruction of England's own wildlife seems to have species. Systen-ratic of reached its peak at the end of the eighteenth century.By I 800 many species bird that had been common centuries earlier were gone for ever and the countrysidewas already denuded of the small mammal life that had been hunted out or vermined out; fish that once swam in the Elizabethan Thames were polluted long before the corning of pesticides and chemical fertilisers (Thomas1984:27 on the denuding 4-6).The present crisis, focused of the planet. I suspectthere is too closea parallel betweenwhat is taken to affect natural life and what is taken to affect human life. Among other things, cultural diversityas such seemsnewly at risk. Societies are content to cocacolarise themselves; anyone'slogo will do when costumesand customs are glossily preserved as the exotic face of adventurousmulti-nationals. A paradox becomes a commonplace: changeis bringing about homogenisation. When it was a caseof exporting constitutionalreform or development schemes for health,educationand standardof living, homogenisation had its justifiers. Uniform laws and universal rights were to be made available everywhere. But culture itself as a common export? The anthropologist at leasthas resisted the idea with his or her insistence on the individual integrity and plurality of cultures;the very idea of culture implied a distinctiveness of tradition and style. As long as the colonial encounter meant the clash of culturesor culture contact, there was the possibility that new forms would naturally yield unique and vigorous hybrids.Today, and to thosethat reflect on it, what seems to be tradedeverywhere is the'same'heterogeneity: cultures borrow bits and piecesfrom one another, reassembling the old stock of styles.


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


new'; or ratherthereis'too much'traffic.At least,suchviews .rt ercis'nothing j-,i,f.,. nostalgia they evincefor other timeswerestandardin the middle-class into 1990.They have a powerful counterpartin the future and 1""'",in 1989 possibility the that new forms of procreation will produce f^r-linrtrip' to enhance but of diversity. not at the expense iiaiu;auott more technologY Lessnuture' that, self-evident as the I call postplural.I do so to suggest nostalgia the Thisis prior and very specific also stem from a seem, they may anxieties (modern/pluralist)modelling of the world. If English ideas about reproductformed a model, it was not just for the making of personsbut for ive process of the future. Kinship delineated a developmental process that making the diversity, the individuality ofpersons and the generationoffuture guaranteed possibilities. Hybrids were one element of the model. Out of a plurality of stocks was to of the English(man) who preserveddiversity comethe singular characteristics in a tolerance for all forms of life. In the language of the time, one could In the languageof the gardeners'manual,'one identifyan Englishcharacter. hundredand fifty years ofhybridisation has given us the perfect [rose] plant'. If individuality were swamped,on the other hand, then hybrid could turn into mongrel, and The Societyof Pure English,founded in l9l3 (Dodd 1987:15), saw only contamination in the blundering corruptions that contact with 'other-speakingraces' produced. Here the purity of the individual form (in this case the English language)wasjeopardised.Individual forms must also be kept separate. The English sense of plurality was much indulged in the making of distinctions. Thus most thinkers on the subject have urged the readers of books and articles to keep separatethe diverse meanings of 'nature'. With hindsight,however, it is intriguing to seehow environment has been literally imaginedas countryside, the life cycle of organismsas the habits of plants and animals, the taken-for-granted background to human enterprise as the socalledlawsof the physicalworld, and so forth. In the sameway, diversityhas oeenliterally imaginedas a matter of geneticvariation. Sincethe late 1970s, this last connection has acquired a new and pressing salience,and one that directly affects the cultural keepers of natural diversity, human beings themselves. For a decade now, considerable publicity has been given to artificial 7 parenthood, and particularly to the figure of the surrogate mother. In the \ of the surrogate mother appears the possibility of splitting apart . I )t^mage tunctions that in nature are contained in the one body. ovulation and r.{' Sestation. The English reaction to the new reproductive technologies in /r "'ii generalhas predictably ranged from wonder to fear. For they appear to make within human reach other dreams/nightmares, such as cloning - the


Editor Marv Arl Direclor Ratcliffe Graeme Murdoch Publisher Marina ThaineProduclion Caroline EmertonAdverlisement Manager Direclor Barry Hadden lSrgnature is djstributed exclusively to Members in is published of Diners Club of Diners onbehalt (01) by Reed Publishing Services Ltd,7-11 StJohn's Hill, London 1TE, Tel: SW'l1 228-3344 REt Telex: 923115 (01) publishers Fax. 350-1586 Part International PLC, of Reed Europe's largest of travel, leisure andbusiness IThe opinions In Signature expressed those ForInformation arenotnecessarily 0f theDrners Club. 0n andqueries please (0252) membership, telephone: 516261 Pubiishing Services Ltd1988 @ Reed Valley lPrinled: Severn PressOriginated: Phoenix Scanner Graphics

Oystcr House is a pearl among restaurants. The popularity of this, the second Restaurant to be openedin the last two years, has been quite phenomenal. with his undoubted knowledgeof the fish trade, is the third generationof fishmongers and knows that top quality, fresh produce is oi paramount importance. Oysters are flown into Heathrow twice a weekfrom lreland,crabsare despatched from Cornwall, live lobstersfrom Scotlandand the wild salmonarrivesdirect from the Scottish rivers. There's quail, guinea fowl, wild duck,saddleof hare,fillet of venison, duckling from Norfolk and chicken from Surrey. Looking after the "drinks", has compiled an imaginative and extensivewine list. Bookingis advisable.

5 Oyster House, 1988 Reproduced by kind permission of Reed Publishing Services


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


possibility of individuals reproducing themselvesmany times over and geneticdetermination that parents may be able to screenout or preselect certain attributesof the child for whom they wish. The divergence of views can be summarised in the two positions stated during the Parliamentary debate on Enoch Powell's The Unborn Children (Protection) Bill in 1985.The debate raised general questions about medical researchinto human fertilisation; I quote from Naomi Pfeffer's 1987 essay. One Member of Parliament stated the case as follows: 'The object of our interestin medical researchinto embryology and human fertilisation is to help humanity. It is to help those who are infertile and to help control infertility. . . The researchers are not monsters, but scientists.They are medical scientists working in response to a great human need.We should be proud of them. The infertile parents who have been helped are grateful to them' (House of CommonsDebates,198+5, 73,column 654).Opposingthis view,Pfefferadds (1987:8l), 'are thosewho seethesemeansof treatinginfertility as misguided and unethical because they seethem as meddling with the secrets of life itself. This technology, they argue,"promisesbenefits perhaps,but [it]could end by destroying the essentialhumanity of man . . . The technology that promised a paradise now shows signs of delivering a hell" (ibid., column 649)'. "._. \ ) Technology can also be understood as 'too much' culture; nonetheless as a source of anxiety in this field it seemsa relatively new target. Anxieties over artificial insemination, for instance, have taken interestingly different forms over the last fifty years. I continue Pfeffer's account. Artificial insernination (using donor semen)has been clinical practice as an a infertility treatmentin England sincethe late 1930s.11 I However,not until case \, details were later published in the British Medical Journal was it widely ', kno*n. It then became a matter of public outcry. likened to 'human stud 1 n lfarming'. a referenceto the introduction of agricultural centresfor cattle linsemination in the early 1940s. L- An articlepublished in theSunday Desparcft in Novemb er lg45articulated manyo[ the contemporary concerns about artificialinsemination usingdonor semen. It ' 'a super-race warned that of test-tube babies will become i the f euardians of atom-# ' ' 4 \i bombsecrets . . . Fathers will bechosen by eugenic experts of tie UnitedNations'. ( 1987 :93) Different concernssurfacedduring the 1950s. A divorce court had been asked whether artificial insemination by donor constituted adultery if a wife went aheadwithout her husband'sconsent.A committeeof enquiry was set up in 1959.
The social issue. . . was the question of legitimacy.As Lord Brabazon of Tara put it, 'When we come down to brass tacks, the whole thing revolveson whether the child should be a bastard or not'. Bastardy was perceivedas a growing threat; since the SecondWorld War the number of illegitimate births had been rising steadily. . . To many it appeared that the institution of the family, which they believed underpinned Western civilisation, was under threat. Children conceived through

child ti t a conscious effort to bring forth an illegitimate represented tli donor semen greedy and l i t be used by the . insemination would . . artificial marriage Lltnin not rightly theirs.And not only ,,"..ruputorsto defeatclaimsto titlesand estates jeopardy . . . 'knowledge that there itself was in threatened;paternity .l-. oairimony potential of to the security is a threat the fatherhood ofsome about ,.lrn..r,ointy rz 94, r ef er ences om it t ed) 119 87: ut| . less about the animality of the In the 1980s,however, the debates are less into biologicalprocess, the intrusion oftechnology about than nrocedures t he kind of cont r act t he par t ies union t han about of a l aw f ulness rh. l bort property claims to bastards shouldmake with each other, and lessabout the products Finally, they are lessabout the ofone's body. to the rights about than persons whole than about the ownership and disposal of and ownership cells. reProductive of disposal Long establishedas procedures for artificial insemination might be, they find a new context in the 1982 committee chaired by Mary Warnock.




outside of thebodyraised andsperm]andembryos humangametes [eggs f, Handling lt is not surprising -.\ legal ownership. responsibility and of moral problem I the of the WarnockReport to find that very many of the recommendations ' therefore ';,.. In manywaystheWarnockReport ,- a' supplyanddisposal. *3r-e ebouttheirownership, Then of childrencurrentin the 1920s. abotit'iidoption the anxieties recapitulates . i,. ,, of -1 ...-.'' asa source wasnot regulated by thelaw; it couldbe and wasexploited adoption cheap child labour. . . Insteadof a traffic in children.we have [today] a tradein traders,in the public humangametes and in placeof white-slave and embryos, doctorsand imagination infertilemenand womenandunscrupulous aredesperate scientists. for the inclusionof artificialinsemination ln this context,the reasons using chaired by donor semen for consideratiop"j,y_-llp-"Qgmmittee and surrogacy Mary Warnockbecome by doctorsor areipgghasedleither clear;in both gametes throughcommercial (Pfeffer1987;'916,emphasis removed) agencies. The public mind, as reflectedthrough the Warnock Committee, links artificial l insemination to commercialism, to market manipulation and consumerl choice.r3 And where those earlier anxieties touched on the implications for people'slegal and social standing, the present anxiety concerns interference with natural relations. Civilisation is not so much under threaJlNglugggll much is. Natural processis also about future potential. Hence clinically established proceduressuch as artificial insemination, and newer ones such as in vitro fertilisation, come to be put aside 'technologies' such as ectogenesisand parthenogenesis which are little more than imaginative extrapolations into the Iuture. The Warnock Report (1985:4) claims they all have in common'the pgb-li-c--mind'; the question is the kind of -auxrety they-lhey.e].e9n9i1teg iL 1_h-9 Iuture one can expect.Hilaiy Rose expandsthe point. Certainly beyond gene IVF andtheactualor potential and therapies liesa scientific technological horizonalongwhichareranged intervenreproductive otherpossible ttons:wouldit be possible 'birth' to reara foetusfrom fertilization to independent entirelyin vitro (ectogenesis)? from single To cloneidentikitcopies of individuals

A) T-

English kinship in the late twentiethcentury

In d i vi d u a l i ty a n d d i ve r si ty


To rear a humanembryoin the uterusof a non-human cellsor 'genelibraries'? that hybrids? or evenmakehuman-non-human Or to providea technique creature to fertilizetheireggs womento givebirth withouttheneedfor sperm wouldenable and Couldmenhavebabies? prospects (parthenogenesis, These a form ofcloning)? (Rose1987:158) dreams. othersform the stuff of science-fantasy Here the hybrid is no metaphordrawn from anotherdomain (plant breeding), and does not describe cultivated characteristics. It refers to the literal possibility of producing human beings by graft. with thoseof other species is at presenttechnically Crossinghuman gametes impossible (Ferguson 1990:24), and in any caseunlikely to be developedfor therapeutic purposes when transpecies genetic implants hold instead a realisticpromise of development.Much of this thinking must remain in its science-fictionform, but it still remains thinking about the future. And the future has always been imagined as a matter of infinite possibilities. Thus Fergusonnotes it is a possibility that the embryo may be manipulated 'so as to engineerinto it additional geneswhich, for example,may not naturally occur )sin the human species'(1990: la). Perhapssome of the apparentlyirrational fears such writers seek to allay are fears for the future of possibility itself. If technological mastery were indeed gained over genetic makeup, the expressedfear is that the way would be open for eugenic programmes that would inevitably lead to preferencesfor particular types of persons. As the it is lessthe technology that is in doubt , English are used to telling themselves, prominence of the clone image in will be Perhaps the how it used. $tran tv people's vision of the future encapsulatesthe anticipation that the exercise of choice in this regard would take away choice. The very idea of selecting for clones obviates the idea of selectionitself. Choice would thus be shown up for something other than it seemed.More technology does not seem to compenesatefor less nature. , - Technology, for those who are afraid of it, is a kind of culture without I people. Meanwhile one is at the mercy of people. The reduction of naturally \ produced genetic material, like reduction in the diversity of the world's is symbolised in the fantasy that if those with the power in fact get f species, ,\' \ / their hands on the appropriate technology, they would produce versions of 1l i': over and again and/or counter versionssuch as drones and slaves. ,, i. 1 , i i themselves '{ particular A individual would be reproduced- but its multiplication would be \ the very opposite of individuation. Diversity without individuality; individuality without diversity. I have referred to the modern English opinion that kinship diminishes in importance over the generations.Perhapsthis has fed the present-dayfeelings of being at a point at which there is actually 'less'nature in the world than there usedto be. And here we come to a conflusion.In one sense it would seem ? **-.---that 'more' 'more' culture. But if more culture creates technology means o choice that is no choice, then with the reduction of diversity there is also 'less' culture. The mathematics does not work. The perception that there is less

joined to the feeling that there is lessculture, nature in the world is thus n/so less community, less tradition, less and less society for that matter convention. Tradition was traditionally perceivedas under assault from the individual who exercisedchoice, from innovation, from changethat made the world a more variedplaceto be in. It is now individuality that is under assault of individual choice, from innovations that reduce from the over-exercise of genetic with the engineering less'choice': variation.ra'More'choiceseems I **f .1rather than reduced variation may be long:term future potential for the stock, * tJ enhanced. When diversity appears to depend literally on the vagaries of human individuals, it suddenly seemsat risk; variation may not ensue. In the modern epoch, kinship and family could play either nature to the I ildividual's cultural creativity,or societyto the individual'snatural spirit of i But if that former symbolic order pitted natural givens against.f enrerprise.


choice, pggl ,ql"qltig!-q-gg,ilg!*qatiua!. cultural 919-]onger ! -vsrip-!iglr.-t!9n Thd;;;rspa-Aivil;itffi ;l piay off ag*nJi' oirenffihei. Thei persua<les.
postplural nostalgia is for the simultaneous loss of convention and loss of choice. At the root of current debate (for example, the several contributions to Stanworth's volume 1987; Magarey 1985; Spallone and Steinberg 1987; is a profound issueabout the shapenot just the Dyson and Harris 1990)1s English but Westernersin generalgive to ideas.They have in the recent pastl usedthe idea of nature, including the idea of natural variation, as a vehiclefor thinking about human organisation and its future potential. In its place is 4 late twentieth-century equivocation about the relationship between human and natural process.For every image of technological advance as increasing humanpotentialliesa counter-image of profligatewastefor trivial endsand of -lgsource dpletron. This includes Westerners' reproductive capacities.Artificial processesare seen to substitute for natural ones, and thus present themsel ve saSWG lover l989: l8) . What isint er f er edl with is the very idea-o-fTlfr-aJuraffict. Or, to put it another way, of the' -differencebetween natural and cultural ones. Schneider's as a core symbol: sexual'intercourse Ameiidah Kinship dei,pi,cted the diffuse enduring solidarity of close family relations was attributed to jl sharingsubstance through the act ofprocreation. Procreationwas a natural fact of lil'e.But that 'natural' imagehas lost its obviousness in a world where ; ji couplescan seekassistance to begetoffspring without intercourse.So too have li the 'cultural' conventions of the union. The otherwise lawful connection of r husbandand wife may conceivablysubsumea contract with a birthing mother ' or an agreementto obtain gametesby donation. Yet changecan alwaysbe denied.Some will seekcomparisonswith other , cultures and other conventions,although the reassurance that these newi modes are simply part of the manifold diversity of human ways ofl reproduction is, I shall suggestin the next chapter, misleading. Others who cast their minds back to the science-fictionwriters of earlier this century. or


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Individuality and diversity


will say, as it is said of individualism, even to Mary Shelley'sFrankenstein, have always been with us. Human beings have always these things that , ,, have always been ways of dealing with there creating life; about ffifantasised u infertility; there have always been those who deplored the spoiling of the countryside, as the English Lakeland poets protested with horror at the railways that were to bring tourists to their beloved spots (cf. Lowenthal 1990).It is, in fact, this very capacity to think one is perpetuatingold ideas, I simply doing again what has been done at other times and in other places, i before, elsewhere,that is itself a profound engine for change. ' Anthropologists have always had problems in the analysisof social change. Perhaps it is becausesocial change sometimescomes about in a very simple way. As far as aspectsof English culture are concerned,all that is required is peopledo all the time, namelythat they do what they think what (middleclass) an effort to promote and implement can be done. Put into action,this becomes Values are acted upon; implicit assumptionsbecomeexplicit, current values.16 and that includesrenderingculturally visible what may be perceivedas natural process. This has beena conceptualenablementof changein the West sincemedieval times. Over the last century, it has also become a matter of rendering visible themselves. Thus what is madeexplicit of the perceptions the cultural premises of the is the basisnot just of natural or moral but also socialunderstandings world. The senseof new values, new ideas, new epochs, comes from the consciouseffort to make evident the valuesand ideaspeople already hold. To feelcontemporary time as a time of crisisis part of this: there is no going back. One cannot recapture the point before explicitness.Hence, as I remarked at i the beginning, new ideas always come from old but this is accomplished acting on and finding simply through putting current ideasinto perspective, ' ' for them. The resultantand constant relativisingof 'our' contextsor reasons ': understanding of 'ourselves'helps produce the sensethat there appearsto be and less to be taken for granted and thus less nature in the world. r--"_lgss The modern English middle classhave put effort into valuing their values, having ideasabout their ideas,trying to typify their type of epoch.We might regardtheir curiosityasindeeda peculiarly'Western' approachto knowledge. Sincepeoplesimply value their values,it looks as though they are upholding their traditions. Yet it is that active promotion that takes them where they have never been before. Consider again the English concept of individualism and the individuality of persons. The 1980switnessedan interesting phenomenon. To a remarkable extent, British public discourse hasbecomedominatedby the metaphorsand symbols of the government, by which I mean not a constitutionalconsciousness but the specific depictionof socialand cultural life promoted by the political party in power. Its discourse generates a single powerful metaphor: that the way forward is also recovering traditional values.Tradition has becomea reason for progress.The way forward is defined not as building a better society, for

present that smacks of the collective and state idioms against which the life for individual For forward is a better way constructed. the is ideology persons, and that is to be achieved by pror4oting what is proclaimed as 'Britain's lEngland's)long lived 'individualism'.'A return to Victorian Values,, ,. state intervention intervention interfering interferins in individual individual choice choice and personal retreat --irc^r from state privatised, and the must be as a consequence, enterprise Rather, effort.r? sovernment has indeed privatised one of the country's foremost plantinstitutesalong with its seedbank. Such a projectionof the past into 6reeding the future is beautifully exemplified in the elision with Contemporary American: recapturing traditional valueswill bring the bright future promised Englishpubs as)Americanenterprise. In the 1980s, by (what Englishfantasise Victorian decor in high streets dominated havebecomeheavywith reinstated by over-lit fast-food outlets. As a pieceof history, of course,the'return to Victorian values'is nonsense. A traditional value is claimed for But it ought to interest social scientists. England's (Britain's) true heritage, and individualism promoted and encouraged in the name of returning to tradition-.i Not only is the individualism promoted so actively in the late twentieth centuryradicallydifferentfrom its counterpartof a century ago, it would not be conceivablewith the intervening era which made the state an explicit instrument of public welfare. For the target of presentpolitical discourseis the tyranny of the collective. Indeed, the way in which the present 'individual' is construedcomesdirectly from valuesand ideasthat belong to that collectivist era. This is also true of many of the ways in which anthropologists have r. thought about the study of kinship. Schneider was right to celebrate1984with a critique of the idea of kinship. His book is an attack on the unthinking manner in which generationsof anthropologists havetaken kinship to be the socialor cultural constructionof natural facts. But underlying the attack is the recognition that this is how kinship has been constructed in anthropology from the start, and indeed that this is its identity. The anthropologicalconstruction of kinship as a domain of study was formed in a specific epoch.It cameinitially from the modernismo[ Morgan's era, from the 1860s of onwards, but flowered in England in the middle decades the twentieth century. This was the era when the anthropological task was to understand other people's cultures and societies,being thereby directed to their modes of collectivisation and public welfare. The concept of kinship as a set of principles by which people organised their fundamental relations epitomisedthe anthropologicalcapacity to describecultural production on the one hand and the way people made collective and social life known to themselves on the other. It was thus no accidentthat kinship played such a part in the making of British Social Anthropology, which - and however hybrid the origins of their practitioners- between 1910-1960was basically

nred as at once--eyqki y-:fu_i te.e_-d_e_991.L."-lg l-.-sgtl*-ley-:1b_i9_iru_"qi11.1-"..l.y,a is prese 9_tru_"gll i19l


English kinship in the late twentieth century

English anthropology. Kinship was above all seento be concernedwith what peoples did everywhere with the facts of human nature. For the modern anthropologist the facts of kinship were simultaneously facts of nature and facts of culture and society. In this light, it is more than intriguing to look back on these mid-twentieth-century assumptionsfrom a world that seems, if only from the ability for endless printout or in the timeless attributes of role-playing games, to post-date Society, and whose culture might no longer mould or modify nature but could be everything that is left once Nature has gone.

for a plural culture Analogies

Looking back almost ten yearslater, the British obstetricianwho pioneered of in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer gave his motive as selftechniques 'It evident: is a fact that there is a biological drive to reproduce',Patrick Steptoesaid, and to thwart this drive would be harmful (quoted in Stanworth lggT: 15). The procedure involves fertilisation outside the body. The first person in England conceived this way was born in 1978; she was also in the pressas the world's first. r Her birth has come to be regarded celebrated as cultural property for it 'servesas a symbolic watershed' for a deeply felt in general(Rose 1987:152). debateabout the new reproductivetechnologies It is, I suggest, a symbolic watershedfor former reproductive models, and I interpret aspectsof the debate in the reflectedlight of the model I have called modern. The debate turns on ideas about persons and relations that can no longer be taken for granted, and on this fact. While many women wish to have children, Michelle Stanworth comments (1987: l5), the views that have gatheredround the issuedo not simply reflect that wish; they institute their own vision of what is risht and natural. Displacing visions Images in anticipation The future orientation of the debate is provocative in itself. The last chapter touched on the ease with which discussion slides from the immediate accomplishment of embryologists to futuristic fears about genetic manipulation. Such leaps into the future accompany the scientisation of existing procedures. Diverse forms of assistedreproduction are classed as medical intervention,and medicineas science, 'science'providing the technologythat enables otherwise personsto havechildren(cf. Doyal 1987;Spallone childless 19871. on the other hand On the one hand technologyis thus seen as enabling;2 intervention has becomea symbol of interference.'The Surrogate Mother has become . . . the personification of anxietiesabout unpredictabletechnological and social developments' (Zipper and Sevenhuijsen 1987: 138).


century kinshipin the late twentieth English

Analogies for a plural culture


Feminist reactions,on both sidesof the Atlantic and on the continent as irony (Petchesky 1980; well as in Britain, havenot beenwithout their reflective earlieras utopian the possibility What to somehad appeared Stolcke 1986). of freeing women from their biological burden - now appearstotalitarian. Far from being regarded as liberating women from their bodies, the new technologiesmay be taken to representthe supremedomination of them. The language of this debate matches violence with violence when motherhood is likened to female prostitution. 'Whereas in the beginning of this century the metaphor of the prostitute was a way of delineating decent heterosexual behaviour,cultural feminismnow tendsto useit as a way to createan overall feminist identity that denouncesheterosexualityitself' (Zipper and Sevenhuijs en 1987:1 2 5 ). 1'he concept of heterosexuality is sustained by a specific gender imagery The consequence a mother'sbody as axiomatically'female'. is which classifies interventionis axiomatically'male' either in relation that any technological (cf. 'the woman' or in relation to male interests to the instrumentsthemselves and 'the doctor' in Emily Martin's study of contemporary American attitudes (1987: Ch. 4)). From this perspectiveeven the foetus can appear as intruder. Ann Oakley (1987: 39) draws attention to findings which suggestthat whereas disappointmentwith a girl at birth, during somewomen may express pregnancy it may be the discovery that they are harbouring a boy which they find disturbing.ShequotesBarbara Rothman (1986:144)as observingthat it is one thing to have given birth to a son, quite another to be told that the foetus growing inside you is male. 'To have a male growing in a female body is to It makes of the foetus not a continuation and contain your own antithesis. extensionof self, but an "other".' That the male foetus has a nature distinct from the mother is thus symbolisedin its distinct masculinity. The assumption on which all this rests that genderdefinesthe whole person thereby allows one to seethe gender of the foetus as separatefrom that of the mother: the foetus becomesa miniature 'whole person' within the mother. The same assumptionalso implies that switching the gender might alter the mother's here, but not the perception of the feelingsof identity, as they are expressed person. The body of the child is not the body of the mother, and its claims to an individual existencebecome as much its own claims to personhood as do hers. The distinct identity of the child is also used by protagonistswho may be of a very different political persuasion, those who desire to promote not female autonony but maternal bonding. In the last decade,obstetricshas taken on a new and explicit responsibility, 'to bond mother and child' (Oakley 1987:53).It camewith the realisation that obstetricianshad at their technicaldisposal a means to institutionalisethis to the natural emotionalbond,just as making fertilisationpossibleresponded natural drive to reproduce.The meanslay in being able to show the motherto-be her unborn child via ultrasound imagery. Now virtually routine in

producessonograms that monitoring. diagnosticultrasonography 61ssodnc! l^,it,, reproducedas visual images.The ability to'see'the foetus is felt to the mother's impending senseof attachment to it an experience "lfrnn.. by tnothersthemselves. This is the benign face of science. .nnntmed inia.ty natural process,promoting the conditions under apparently an in assisting The kind of emotionsthat can be which'nature'will happen(seePrice 1990). the is is forward in time, a relationship is child born brought when expressed In is is the child as an relationship. short, what being a anticipated of out made persons when visible individuals person. It is become as that the indiviclual E ngl i shfee l t hey'r elat e't o one anot her .I expandt he obser vat ion. is regardedas If thereis a defect in natural functioning, then medical science having a legitimaterole to play in remedyingit. What natural functioning might be defectivein the extension of monitoring practicesto the question of bonrling? Maternal bonding refers to the child's capacity to bond with its is beingprovided.The remedy mother yet it is for the mother that assistance lack of bonding is believed to put the child at risk of neglect or is anticipatory: abuse,and encouragementof bonding is preventative action to protect the future child.3In other words, the mother is obliged to make herselfinto an must entitythat the child can bond with, and her own emotionaldevelopment provideit with an appropriateenvironment.If the mother showsa proper flow of emotionstowards the child, the child will respond,while in the absence of suchcuesit may not. The flow of obligation and emotion is downwards:being ableto 'see'the child cuesthe mother's emotions in order that the mother's emotions should be ready to cue the child when it is born. Indeed,the screen imagewhich invitesthe mother's eye anticipates the eyecontact that mothers are told is so important for their babies. However positive the experiencemay be for mothers - and flor fathersa suchprocedureshave also attracted outside critical comment. The ultrasound ptcture presentedto the mother of the baby is interpretedas presenting her with her own self image as its 'mere' environment.her body appearingas its enabling technology or, in Oakley's phrase, support system. The mother seems visible only as an appendageto the foetus, in the sameway as nutrients are simply regarded as resources.For the image has an existencebeyond the socialcontext of the clinic or the parents' responses: e/selooking at it someone sees not the parent-child relationshipit may evokefor the parents,but only a prcture of the (future) child.s On this interpretation, even the mother's presence as a support system may seem to have been screenedout. . Rosalind Petiliesky provides an American example. She analysesthe l nnuence of a r epor t which claim ed thatearlyfoetal ultrasound possibly'fewer tests resulted in'maternal bonding'and abortions' . . . [for] upon viewingan ultrasound imageof the foetus'parents probably will experience a shockof recognition that thefetusbelongs to them'and wrll more thanlikety resolve 'ambivalent' 'in.favoroJ'the./btus'. pregnancies Such parental recognition of thefetalJorm', theywrote,'is a fundamental in the element


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogiesfor a plural culture


stimulatedthe imaginationof Dr bond.'... Theseassertions later parent-t:hild BernardNathansonand the National Right-to-LifeCommittee.The resulting to reinforce the visual'bonding'theoryat the levol videoproductionwasintended (1987: into everyone's the livefoetalimage living-rooms. of theclinicby bringing emphasis) 59,author's The video, The Silent Scream,purports to show a medical event, a real-time film of a twelve-week-old foetus being aborted: thingabouthow people receive TheSilentScream, The mostdisturbing andindeed all the dominantfoetalimagery, is their apparent acceptance of the imageitselfas profile,with its enlarged an accurate representation The curled-up ofa realfoetus. headand fin-like arms,suspended in its balloonof amnioticfluid, is by now so familiar that not evenmost feminists question its authenticity . . . ['Photographs' typicallypresentthe foetusasl solitary,danglingin the air (or in its sac)with nothing to connectit to any life-support system but 'a clearlydefinedumbilical cord'... From theirbeginning, suchphotographs haverepresented the foetus as primary and autonomous, (1987 61-2) the woman as absent or peripheral. She underlinesthe depiction of physical isolationism: In fact, everyimageof a loetuswe are shown . . . is viewedfrom the standpoint womanbut of thecamera. The foetus aswe neither of thefoetus nor of thepregnant (1986: p. ll4): 'The fetusin know it is a fetish. Barbara Katz Rothmanobserves for "man" in space, floatingfree,attached only by the uterohasbecome a metaphor But where is themotherin that metaphor? Shehas umbilicalcordto the spaceship. Insidethe futurizingspacesuit, however, liesa much older become emptyspace.' free-floating foetusmerelyextends to gestation the image.For the autonomous, (1987: viewof born humanbeings asdisconnected, solitaryindividuals. Hobbesian 63) Yet if we go back to the rationale for making the video, at its heart is a concern for relationship: to make the parents, and especiallythe mother, feel positively towards the unborn child. In presenting an image of the foetus, the intention is to presenta 'person', to make one seethe person that is already there. An anthropologistmight remark that one does not 'see' a person: a person is a subject who acts in the context of relationships.But I suspectthat in this American view, there is also an English one. Culturally speaking, we can seethe person when the person appears as an individual, and we seean individual when we see a body. The elation that mothers report when the ultrasound image is shown them - the senseof reassurance that it gives that the child is real, and the self-reporting that they do feel bonded with it - is real elation. Here perhaps is a reason for the dissonancebetween such positive reports and much critical reaction, especially from feminists. The appeal to the personhoodofthe foetustakesplacein a cultural context whererelationsare imagined as existing betweenindividuals. What is claimed to be promoted is the bonding betweenchild and mother, not that the mother contains the child nor indeedthat the child containsthe mother. At the sametime, showinethe

parent. For the mother to child as a separateindividual appearsto excludethe an individual is to invite rer response; but the imageof the child as child the see in English cultural idiom also image an of the mother. Hence, not is in itself mother is And hence that the displaced.6 the critique that counter-critique the image of a foetus requires creating the foetus as an image. an creating FrancesPrice (1990) notes that from a clinician's point of view, ultrathe foetus from the pregnant woman as a visible second sonographyreleases monitoring and therapy.I take this practiceas an instanceof the for oatient propensity Western towards making the implicit explicit. It is general more involves of perspective. a shift inevitably that one of maternal displacementon which observers(nonPerhaps,then, the sense clinical rather than clinical and third parties rather than mothers) comment comes from the fact that, from an outside image is being displacedby another. No doubt the child felt through the thickness of the mother's skin, or manifest in her reported nauseaand weight change,can be imagined as though it were an object of vision. Yet live eye contact with the born child mobilises another field of perception: before ultrasound, eye contact with the child was a function of its physical separation from the mother, a displacementof earlier perceptions of bulk and movement. In the premature portrait of the unborn, what is displaced is the perception of the child mediated by alterations in the mother's physical state. At the same time it seems,very simply, just a matter of making what is otherwise hidden visibleto the eye, sincewe 'know' the foetus is there, we are curious to prove the matter. It is there as a natural fact, and its perceptible body is evidence of that fact in singular, individual form. Certain relationships are also natural, and that for the English is reason to value them. Maternal bonding confronts mothers as a necessity. Ultrasonographycan be regardedas a method for revealingthe'true nature' ofthe relationship as individual-to-individualcontact.Indeed,we might charactertsescientificendeavour as a whole as an effort to enable us to apprehend our own natures. I also take this as an instanceof the abstractpoint made in Chapter One: the desireto make what we think is there known to ourselvesleads the English to embracethe techniquesthat in apparently fortifying their values irrevocably cnanges them. The motive may be no more than the desireto be explicit about the source of values. In this case one wants to see what is not otherwise experienced through vision. The way this changesthe nature ofthe experience ts described. by some at least,as though the processwere denigratory rather than enhancing of the mother as herselfan individual person.For if what has uterallyhappenedis that one mode of perceiving the mother-child relationsntp has displacedanother, it perhaps evokesan earlier displacement. This concernsthe identity of the father. It has always been a fact of nature for the English that while you can see rnaternity, it is much harder to'see'paternity (e.g.Rowland 1987:68 9). lt is


kinshipin the latetwentieth century English

Analo-eies for a pluralculture


not just that the role that the father plays in conception and childbirth is thought to put men at a remove from paternal feelings but, it is held, the father's genetic tie must be a matter of inference. The father is naturally invisible. Paternity thus has to be symbolically or socially constructed (a is picture made of it) in the way, it is held, that maternity is not. The necessity supposedto be a primeval sourceof men's allegedgreaterinterestin social life. Whole theoriesof socialevolution were once built on the suppositionthat in primitive society,so-called, children would not know who their fatherswere, and that civilisation has been a long processof making paternity explicit.? This was the supposition towards which. if we are to believe Thomas Trautmann (1987) (and see Kuper 1988: 5960), Morgan was reluctantly pushed by his contemporaries. It would be ironic if the new techniquesof image-makingwerethought to make maternity invisible.Certainly,when the 1980s debates on assisted reproductiondealt with the child'ssocialorigins,the just who the real father is but (Warnock 1985:37) who guestion became not i if '-,tr. the real mother is. These debates reveal analogies between certain values implicit in the way ' J the Englishmake kinship known to themselves. One liesin the very valuegiven to making natural relationships explicit;kinship is to do with tracing natural ,, ' )-:" t1q;A secondlies in the value given to a person'sdesireto reproduce.and /?,-" --/,,' it is real, reproducethemselves. Third is the idea that if somethingcan be seen, and to uncover the normally hidden makes the latter especially 'real', formulations that may be contested in other domains but, in matters to do with procreation.carry an equ,a.tion betweenwhat is seen.what is real and what.i-g_gg_!1gal,.lFinally\identityl:like time and obligation, flows downward "* from parent to child; thdt is why who the real parent is matters. The present epoch substantiates these values through an exaggerated attention to biological idiom. After all, it was not so very long ago that the 'natural child' was a stigma. The naturalness of the procreativeact was not sufficient to establish real relations.There was also the issue, we might say,of the naturalness of socialstatus.Reproducingone'sown did not literally mean one's genetic material: one's own flesh and blood were family members and offspring legitimated through lawful marriage. Although illegitimate 1'natural') children were consanguines, they did not reproducetheir procreative parentssocially.Schneider (1984: 103)quotes N.W. Thomas in 1906on the point that in Englishlaw the father of an illegitimatechild was not akin to it, ; . despite the blood tie between them. It was thus improper for the offspring of illicit relationsto go into public mourning for their parent (Wolfram 1987:59). The fact of private grief was irrelevant:to claim kinship was a public (social)' act. Ifthere were once,so to speak,a'natural'conjoining ofnatural and social relations,it would be taken for grantedthat the paramount socialreality was the legitimacyof the claimsto kinship. But it is as though sociallegitin-racy has since been displaced by the legitimacy of natural facts. This is an effect of a

'social' switch in what is made explicit. Increasingdiscourseon the role of - of the social relations natural and in the of conjoining construction artificiality of human enterprise - has given a different visibility to natural relations.They acquire a new priority or autonomy. And out of everything that might contribute to the substanceof natural relations, geneticsaffords a complex map of inheritance and the transmission of traits. Genetic relations an have thus come to stand for the naturalnessof biological kinship genetic'engineering' in the face flourishes of we should note. that assumption, of the Warnock Committeeas to whether,in the caseof and the deliberations it is the geneticor the birthing nrother who is the real ))-" rnotherhood, surrogate

mo lh e r.

model of to this biologismwereevidentin the reproductive The antecedents kin reckoning reality. English For model reproduced epoch. that the modern alwaysdistinguished between'real' relativesand courtesy or fictional or step, To call a number of peopleby the relatives. and thus in somesense'artificial', qualification of how one was 'actually' (e.g. uncle) invited the term same mother, real except when the term was And mother meant a them. to related Indeed. the very differentiation extension. deliberate metaphorical in used that meanings implied the literal meaningwas and metaphoric literal between the one that matched reality. The questionbecamewhat was taken for real. relationshiphas since We could put it that the reality of a sociallysanctioned been displaced by the reality of a biologically conceived one. Today's, problems are the ('natural')parents.For the ('social')child is bound to wan! to f:' really are. know, it is said, what its biological antecedents ,/ 1, ',, The language of realism had a further effect. The very fact that one could r , debateabout'who' was the real relativeimplied that individual personswere somehow prior to the relationship. The child was there,accordingto this view, as an outcome of the acts of other individuals whateverrelation they might claim afterwards. From such a perspective, Ihen, individuals reprocfuce individuals.This was the third fact of modern kinship. Relationships, in this English model, were not reproducedin the act of procreation had to be made evident itself.For, howevernatural, relationships in a way that individualsdid not. In this sense. individualswere regardedas real whereasall relationshioshad a conventional or artificial dimension to them.Thus whetheron. ,pok. of individual familiesor individual persons, as unitsthey enjoyedan autonomousexistence them while the relationsbetween wereopen to negotiation.Units composedentitiesthat 'made' relations.And when it came to perpetuating themselves,individuals did indeed have to produce'real'individuals,that is, new ones:the individual personreproduced nrm or herselfas anotherindividual person. Parentshad to reproducepersonswho were individual in themselves. In ^ tact. this model guaranteednatural singularity insofar as the potential for variation was somethingeachpersoncarriesin their geneticmakeup.8While the studv of senetics had borrowed the social terminologvof inheritanceand


Englishkinship in the late twentiethcenturv

i s e xp a n d in g th e sco p e o fg cn cr ic scr e eni ng;di agnosti c rcsrsrre bci ne (l cvcl opcd t o id e n tify g e n e tica lly r e la te d "su sccpt i bi l i ty" to ccrrri r.ltl i sc;rscs or qcl cti c.rl l y r e l a te d "se n sicivity" to to xin s in th e cnvi r onmcna: D N A ti ng.,rprrn-trrrq rs:rn a p p lica tio no f g e n e ticscr e cn in gb cin s u s cd i n pol i ce w ork. (S ce.gerre ri c ntoni tori rqg.) g e n e tk th e r d p yT h e u se o f g e n ctic cn g in e er i ng t cchni ques to l l rcr or rcpl .rce',dcfi ,ct i v e " g e n e s.T h e te ch n iq u e sa r e e xp e r iment al bur rcseerchcrs prcdi ci the technol o g y ca n b e u se d to p r e ve n t o r tr e a t ccr t ai n ei eneti c condi ti ons. & e n e tksT h e scie n cea im e d a t u n d e r sr Jn di ng r vhat gcncs rre rnd horv they rvork. T o d a y g cn ctics co m p r iscs th e stu d y of a rvi cl e range oi bi ol ogi crl proccsscs i n f l u e n ccd b y g cn e s, in clu d in e cn r b r yo devel opmcnt, nrer.rbol i srn, qcncti c drs_ c 3 s e , ctc. M o d e r n g cn e tics b cq .r n b .' fo r c t hc..gcrrc" rvl s.rctu:l l y Ji sco1...r.,l . , b e g a n a s th e b r ln ch o f b io lo q y u ' h ich dc: r l s rvi th hcrcdi ty r1d vari l ti ol . ap.l thc o r i g in o f in d ivid u a l ch r r a ctcr isr ics. g e n o rn e T h eco m p le te se t o fg e n e s o fr n o r gani sm or spcci ts. clFT, .ganeteintrafallopiantransferA vrrrario. ot IVF in rvhich collcctccl csr:s .lnd s p e r m a r e in je cte d in to th e wo m a n ' s fal l opi an tube so thl t tcrrrl i z.rti on..rl ,,.^. p l a ceth e r e . in ste a do fin th e la b o r a to r y d i sh. H C C , h u n a n ch o r io n it.q o n a r ltttr oA p in h o r m o nc t rscdas .t druq rn rnti ,rti l i tv trcttl l l cnr. I t i s e xtr a cte d fr o m th e u r in c o f p r cg nant w omen. It tri qgcrs ovul ati on rvhcn a d m in iste r e da s p a r t o f H.!IC th e r a p v a n d C htmi d thcrapy. H f , l C , h u n u n m e n o p a u sa l r tr a d o tr o p it A co 't r ncrci al prcparati on of t*.o hornto.cs .q ( F S H a n d L H, fo llicle - stim u la tin g h o r monc a.d l utci ni zi ng hormonc) 'eccssrry f o r o vu la tio n . It is e xtr a cte d lr o m th e u r i nc of .ew l y nrcnopl usal rvonrcn. H M(l s c i m u le te stb ilicle d e ve lo p m e n t. It is e x t r cmel v porvcrti i :nd rhc ri sks i .cl udc o v e r str m u la tio no f th e wo m a n ' s o va r ics and enl argcrncntoi hcr ovari cs. i t t t r r u t e r in er iltu r e , IL tc A va r ia tio n o ilVF r vhcre the cqq anclspcrm arc pl rcctl i , a t u b e 6 lle d with cu ltu r e n r cd iu m . T h e tu b es: r rc phced i , ,..,qi na. ",r..n,an's i n u r t ro L ite r a llv, "in g la ss." lt is u sc.din sci cnce to tj cscri bc bi ol oei cai pr()ccsscs r v h ich a r e m a d c to o ccu r o u tsid e r h e livi ng body, i n rl borarorv ,,p.prr.,r.,.. c--,,,r,p e t e m r r vo . i t t u i t r o Je r ttliza tio nIVF , Jo in in g o f cq q a n d spcr m outsi dc the fcmal c bodv. E c{:.rnci s p e r m a r e p la ce din a la b o r a to r y d ish in a cul ture rncdi ur'*hi ch.u,,i ri .r,ru,r,e n t s a n d su b sta n ccs tr e ce ssa r y lo r tr o r vt h- I t ncccssi t:rtcs usrng othcr l tbor.rtory a n d m e d ica l p r o ce d u r e so n wo m cn , th a t i s, r n ri tro fi 'rti l i zati onl ncl u.l cs l nurrrber o f o th e r p r o ce d u r e s,su ch a s su p e r o vu l at i on and cnrbrl 'o trl nsfcr. 'rhc ri sks to w o n le n a n d o lfsp r in g a r e u n kn o w.n . u r u i u o L ite r illy, "in litc. " It is u scd in scic'cc t o dcscri bc bi ol oqi crl proccsses r,,hrch a r e o b se r ' ,' cd o ccu r r in g in th cir n .r tr r r a le nvi r onmcnt w i thrn rhc l i vi nq.rq.r.i srrr. Compare irr zitro. l a p a r o sto p y Visu a l cx.r m in a tio no f a r vo m a n ' s ovari es (or othcr abtl omi nl l .rqr's) by i n s e r tio n o fa lig h r e u id e r h r o u g h a sm a r ri nci si on i 'hcrabdonri 'al rv.ri l .H cr.l r:r:s c a n b e r e m o ve d d u r in g la p a r o sco p y,b y t he r .scrti on.f a sucti ...rcr.i cc.r.d ttxc e p s to r g r a sp in g th e r vo m a ' ' s o va r y. It i s a surgi cel proccdurc rcqui ri .g r'csthcs i a a n d th e d iste n sio no f h e r a b d o m cn wit h a carbon di oxi de ql s ni i *,rr.,. tnettslrua rle q u la tio n o r m e ilstn kre l xtr ,tctio u A s uct i on mcth<l dof cstrl cti nq I \vonl .l n s u t e r in e lin in g r vh ich is b u ilt u p d u r i.g h c r nr cnsrrualcycl c. Ir ,, c.,rri .]i out rvi rhi n l - l d a ys t> [ th c m isscd m cn str u a l p cr io c r , end crn bc uscd rs .r' cl rry rborti o'

Analogies for a plural culture


(geneswere transmitted over time like so much property or status), succession transmitted was significantly subject to random variation so that, was what identical twinning, each offspring appearedas a unique individual. outside piece of commonsense implied that a child was regarded as a apparent This not person, an old one. The notion that individuals produced new new - was thus sustainedby the novel combinations of themselves individuals were people, babies new that novelty so was built into the passage of ideathat generations. the of sequence and time But in what sense could one say that individuals thereby reproduced individuals when the English knew that a child was born of two parents'l invisibleor the mother, their invisibility Whetherit was the father who seems far as the identity of the child's genetic a'social construction'. For as wasalso was concerned, it was natural fact that every person had two real a inl.reritance This fact evident in make-up of the body. And while it might was the parents. who made English individuals relationships, the alwayssaid it took two of be I suggest. that was not concernedwith If then, the reproductive model them. perspective it must from of relationships, be a that distances the reproduction my account. To pnt the English ot a distance One anthropological reaction to the present debateshas been to observethat thereis nothing new in diversesocial arrangements for assisting fertility in any case, women have alwayshelpedone another.The naturalness of human ingenuity!But thoseeasyparallelswith other times or other cultureswill not hold in situationswherenature is not construedas the Englishconstrueit, for it lbllows that neitherpersonsnor relationswill be construedin the sameway either.We may expectdifferent analogies. ln order to bring out the particularity of the Englishcase,I of the societiesof Melanesia who entertain very non-English ideas about persons and relationships, and about time and number. They do not necessarily hold, lbr instance, Moreover, the way that babiesare new persons. tn which people imagine the processof conception may surprise us. The Englishniight well regard the test-tubebaby of 1978as the world's first, and by their criteria of human accomplishment sheis, as they may hold in equally high regardscientific photography,amniocentesis and devices for making the hidden foetusappearvisuallyto the imagination.But considerfor a moment how certain Melanesians construct imtrgesof the foetus. In her 1986Morgan Lectures,Nancy Munn drew on material from the Melanesianisland of Gawa in the Massim an archipelagooff the eastern seaboard of Papua New Guinea dominated by matrilineal systems of kinship reckoning.Thesepeopledeploy techniques for imaginingfoetuses externalto the maternal body; in addition. they monitor their imaginings,becauseto them whether somethinsis hidden or concealed affectsits state of beins. So

6 Glossary ./br the late tn,entieth centurv Reproduced by kind permission of pergamon press pLC from Matre to ortrer; The of Reproductiveand Generit Progress.edited by patricia Spallone and Deborah L Steinberg. '

English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


of a foetusin two ways,one of which is visuallyaccessible, theypresentirnages while the other has a hidden form which contrastswith the visible one. I extrapolatehere from Munn's (1986: 138fI) account of the connection the human body and body decor.e The woodenmaterialsare, canoes, between metaphoricallyidentifiedwith internal bodily fluids. 'The most sheobserves, marked connection is ... betweenthe red wood ... of the hull and blood. medium from which which is the body's maternal component and the essential of thi s medi urn G awanssay th e fe tu si s fo rm e d ' (1 9 8 6 ;1 3 8 ).The vi sual i mage is thus present all around in the red wood treesfrom which canoesare carved. While blood is the material out of which the fetus is made (1986: 140)and comesfrom the mother's body, its chief property in its interior location. lt is the hull of a canoewhich is compared to maternal blood, and the processof canoe-makingemphasises the creation of a hollow container. So although within her to form the child, Gawans say that the mother's blood coagulates perhaps the canoe image in addition invites us to imagine the blood in the be filled by form of the interior maternal body itself. If so, its cavity wor"rld I suggest invisiblepersons-to-be. one might think of theseas the as yet unborn children of a collectivity of kin. such have generaliydesignated Now the manner in which anthropologists What is at issue is the collectivities of kin hasbeena sourceof much theorising. way bodiesof kin may be seenasthe offspringof males('brothers')or asin this ('sisters') and presentthemselves as a group thereby.Membersof casefemales the former will seeminglytrace descentthrough their fathers, of the latter following, wherea through their mothers.However,hereand in the discussion 'clan' rather than 'descentgroup'. genericis required I propose to use the terr.t.t In the caseof Gawa, the designation contradicts the author's specificusage. My reason,as will becomeapparent,is that descentis not the neutral term it seemsto be. owned by dala, small land-owninggroups. On Gawa canoes are collectively Dala may be regarded as refractions of clans. However, the crews that sail in the canoesare varied. In fact it is mandatory that canoescirculatein affinal so that the living personsborne by thesecontainersare always exchanges, more than simply members of a matrilineal clan unit they also have an identity through affinal and paternal connections.It is these connections which make it travel betweenclans. The canoeitself is thus likened to a (kin) group that itselfcontainsa group (of members).While there are potentially many personswithin, the entire vessel may be treated as a singleperson, and here of courseone has to imagine in the company of otherswhen it sails.A canoeis sometimes\ that singlevessel of the produce it carriesin its interior (1986:147),and calledmother because we have seenthat Gawans make analogies between canoeand maternal body and foetus. I suggestwe are invited to imagine the mother as containing 'mothers' (future members of the clan) or, equally, the canoe as a 'child' containing children. What one sees. however,is a body.

Body is made visible in the only way that vision works for Melanesians, perceivedas a matter of exterior form. Perhapsthe standing treeson dala soil If so, they are also like mothers:once the are like so many externalfoetuses. processof (canoe)creation begins then the particular body (the tree to be made into the canoe)will concealother potential and undifferentiatedfoetuses rvithin,while the outer body takesshapeas a singlevisiblefoetus-childin the a resultof the actionswhich form of its mother. A canoeonly ever'appears'as men perform on the outsideof the hull. It is decorated(carved,painted and ornamented)on its exterior, with an outrigger made from a type of white wood with masculinity.The red wood is itselfcoveredand thus concealed associated with whitewash,a new external form. The whole is highly anthropomorphised in Gawan thought (1986: 145),and once fully decoratedmay be likened to a beautiful young man. these canoeMunn points out the closeconnectionGawansmakesbetween decorating activities and the father's actions in forming a foetus. Gawans insistthat the child's facial featuresshould look like the father's.or at least take after its paternal kin. This is a matrilineal systemin which nothing is regarded as inherited from the father or transmitted by him during conception; rather we have to grasp, as Munn suggests(1986: 143), a sophisticated theory of visual imagery or aesthetics by which an external social orientation is irnplied in the way personal capacitiesare rendered visible. That is, the very process visibleis a socialact that of making something orients the entity (person, vessei) outwards towards those in whose eyesit appears. The canoe'ssurfacespecificallyevokes the facial apparanceof the person which connectsthe person to his/her paternal clan. The father's featuresthat show in a child's face indicate its potential lor entering into external transactionswith thesekin. for whom the likenessacts as a kind of mnemonic. One Gawan woman said that the father's kin may go and visit his children after his death to look on the face that holds his memory (1986: 143).And what is remembered must be the acts of the father, his role so to speakin the canoebuilding. Hence a sea-going canoe is carved and decoratedwith the lntent that the canoewill travel away from the land on which the treesgrew in order to mobilise exchanges with others from other clans. . The relationshipbetweenthe plurality of bodies,who filI up a canoe,and the conversionof the canoe ihto a singlebody, when conceivedas an object Iiom the outside,is recursive in Munn's (1986:156)phrase.'One'child so to speakis also 'many' children,dependingon an internal or externalperspecttve. Many trees grow on the one dala land, as a single tree may ferry its rnultipleproduce abroad. It is therelbreno paradox to say that one person tncughto[as clan or canoe cont ains m an] per sons wit hin. And analogous to all the other membersof his or her kin group (clatalclan), the chiid is one o.nong a plurality of forms. We might pr-rtit that the child is not of itself stngular,for its maternal substanceis intrinsically plural, the generalised


English kinshipin the latetwentieth cenrury

Analogiesfor a plural culture

potential of many children. The child becomessingular by virtue of the individual body its father's acts create,even as the internal plurality of the matrilineal clan is transformed into unity from the outside perspective of differently relatedaffinal kin. As a consequence. the one entity 1clan. person) alsodisplaysitselfin diverserelationships, and thus manifests diversefbrms of itself. The canoe is at once mother, child and young man. when the externalform is a bociywith a cavity within. what it conrainsmay be kept invisible.That is, it constitutesa kind of negativespace, to borrow a phrasefrom Debbora Batraglia( 1990).Ler me briefly rouch on the deliberate conceptualisation of hidden forms. Through a secondset of images,Gawans draw analogiesbetweengarden growth and bodily reproduction(cf. Munn 1986:296,n.29). A gardenforms a masslike a woman's body, may be said to give birth, and the membersof a kin group may be referredto as its 'plantings'.Elsewhere in the Massim, explicit parallels are made between yams in the ground and the growing child in a woman's body; hereit is crucial that what is containedremain hidden till the moment of birth, for only thus will it grow. Land must be heavy,Gawans say (1986:86), in order to produce, and further aesthetic practicesconcern the respectiveheaviness of the land and lightnessof the people who feed from it. Indeed, the equation betweengrowth and what is hidden is so strong that Gawans prefer to contemplatefood over consumingit. Food growing in the land satiatesfeelingsof personal hunger; to consume food is to increasethe possibility of future hunger. The invisibleis not absentbut hidden, and not accidentally but deliberately, to the point that people derive internal satisfaction, bodily satiationeven,from imaginingplentilul food still growing underground. The full garden is an undepleted version of the full belly, thi more satisfying image. Gawans are careful, then, about what they make visible. There is nothing inadvertent about the invisibility of the foetus, as there may be about the concealedpaternity (even maternity) in English thinking. on the contrary, theseMelanesiansproceed by analogieswhich depict the productive effectsof not being seen.In its contained condition, the hidden foetus grows, and what is contained acquiresa surfaceonly from an external perspective.It is surface features which the father visibly adorns, and thus draws the child's (visual) attention to himself or his kin. Gawa also introduceswhat in Englishwould be a quantitativeparadox. If ' one' c ont ains ' m a n y ' th e n o n e i s a s rn u ch a renderi ng of many ui .nuny u." examplesof one. To think of group membersas a unity or collectivity is more than a matter of group inclusion. The condition of plurality, the multipli\ cation of units such as yams in the ground or children in the clan, works to revealthe one one garden,one clan contains them all, like the maternal body. The pluralism of a collectivity is contrasted not with singularity but with the pluralism of diversity. Diversity is the capacity people display to make their own particular

in such direction as they will, to extend themselves, as Munn connections clan the through transactions with external The others. beyond argues. (all generic children have paternal ideally featr.rres). The is outcomes, capacity however, are diverse and various relationships that can in no way be sunlnated. Acts which take people off in particular directions - their individual contacts- can neither be added together nor reduced to unity; cannot be quantified. diversitY that in their analogies for complexity,the Englishmake a simple I asserted - the more (individual) things there plurality and between diversity equarion (heterogeneity) there will be. The world. the more difference the in 1re counterviewI have imagined for Gawa is not simply a play on words. To underline the point I turn briefly to another English analogy for the If diversityis in turn stronglylinked to the English proliferationof difference. in the ideathat childrenare born'new'people. ideaof novelty,it is naturalised by Annette Weiner. furnish To the westof Gawa, the Trobriands,as analysed to this English supposition. a counter-instance Trobriand babiesare old people,not new ones.That is, they are ancestors as spirit-children. In fact Trobriandersgo to elaboratelengthsin re-appearing their mortuary ceremoniesto divest the potential ancestral spirit of the paternal and affinal connectionsit made while alive in order for it to be reincarnatedas matrilineal spirit (A. Weiner 1976: 120, 122-23). The reborn ancestor is a generic.One could say that children are born 'old' and have to (1983).Thus what their fathersdo for them first they make then.rselves'new' then do for themselves, creatingafreshthe diverseconnections that establish their own social presence.But the innovation has to be effected- newness doesnot inhere in the newborn. Thereare two points of contrastherewith the Englishthinking described in the previous chapter. First, the English see plurality and diversity as intert'ering with the dimensions of a collective or shared life; hence the suppositionthat the diversity of English life naturally hindersgeneralisation about Englishkinship. The diversepersonalpaths that Massim peoplemake for themselves,however, do not threaten their clan membership or in some sense confuseor confound it. On the contrary, the body of the group is made visiblein being adornedwith the exploitsof its members.Second, the English commonly regard tradition as threatened by innovation, for by definition tradition continues until it is stbpped;10 and what stopsit is innovation,since it ts innovation that makes new things appear. The Massim premise seems rather that things do not appear unlesspeople make them appear, and that must includeold forms such as conventionsand traditions. Indeed,that acts have occurred in the past is no guaranteethat they will happen in the future: they must be made to happen. Gawan women, like their Trobriand counterparts, observepregnancy taboos; magic and spells accompany canoe manufacture. and so on. Each actionis at the sametime a new action in that its outcomefor the actor is alwaysindeterminate. Peoplethus work to make their


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


conventions appear (as in reciting spellsthey have learnedfrom others) and to make old entities appear (such as the child that is an ancestral spirit). I have presentedtheseMelanesian ideas as an aestheticpractice concerned with the reproduction of relations. It has interestingimplications for concepts of plurality and diversity, and is a non-geneticview. In this view, a child is not regarded as an autonomous yet random constellation of traits inherited from its parents. Rather, parental contributions are evincedin a relationship, as betweeninternal cavity and external of the child lies in the fact that it appearsas its parents surface.The uniqueness in another form. Through its own and the acts of others it embodies a new version of old persons.Parents in turn appear in their children, as on Sabarl Island (Battaglia 1985) where fathers are evident in the bodies of their them, die. The'father' children, until the children, conceptually pre-deceasing death ofthe child, but does not (a cousindesignated dies at the as such) also of show a sequence not have to does die till that moment. Continuity, then, if give form. And a different may birth to likenesses: on the contrary, one form it similarity, likeness and replication of continuity cloesnot depend on the variant A index of change. is not itself an follows that diversity or variation form may be perceived as the analogue or version of another, as when the Gawan matriclan 'appears' in its canoes,in its mothers, in its foetuses,and in the ground in which the canoe/foetus/mother trees grow. But what about the English senseof time as itself increasing the diversity and plurality of all the things in the world? The question will also return us to the idea of naturalness implied in the English distinction between real and artificial parents. Let me briefly offer an example of kinship system not only patrilineal in characterbut also, if we are to believethe ethnographer,stridently masculinist in ethos (Godelier 1986).Baruya, from interior Papua New Guinea, are one among many Melanesianpeopleswho regard the foetus as a solid entity made from material provided by one parent alone. Baruya hold that the foetus,male or female,is internally composed of a male substance(semen)enclosedby an external female body. What a woman later transmits to her child, in the form of milk, is made in her by her husbandll and can thus be seen as male substancein female form. Transmission seemsan appropriate idiom here, though the mother's body acts as a crucial mediating vessel(transforming semeninto the foetus/milk) for the passing on of such male substance,both before and after birth. on the one might note PeterRividre's(1985)reflections This being the case, English in equation points that the conceptual out Warnock report. He betweensocial father and biological father is fundamental to the notion of the socialand biologicalparenting family. Sincethereis no cleardivision between it is no surprisethat the Committee he says, as is found in many other societies, hesitated in its recommendation that the DI child be only 'treated' as legitimate- it is not said to be legitimate (1985: 4). As we have seen,the

English division is between real and artificial parents. Insofar as the genetic father appearsas the real father, artificial insemination by donor (DI) meant that the Warnock Committee had to establish the 'permitted' (artificial) paternity of the mother's husband. Riviere regardsmaternity as posing a very different problem. He argues that surrogate motherhood is rare in the ethnographic record, and suggeststhat there is no language in the world equipped to deal with the radical innovation that technology has introduced conceptionfrom birth. Other culturesmight make a distinction in separating on the one hand and'social'mother (nurturer)on between'biological'mother the other. But now for the first time there is a new function: 'no human society has had to make allowance for this third function . . . of the carrying mother who is not also the geneticmother'(1985: 5, after Warnock 1985:37). For those with a theory of geneticreproduction, this must be true. But in Baruya, the carrying mother is not regarded as the parent whose substanceforms the foetus. When what is real is natural, then further splitting of natural function is,, radical and innovative. Western artifice interveneswhere it never did before. that a 'distinctionbetweengeneticmother and carrying Rividrethus observes mother cannot arise in nature' (1985: 5). Again, for those with a theory of nature, this must be true. Baruya, for their part having no theory of nature seemto have no trouble in imagining a mother giving birth to a form that was not conceived In Baruya thinking, however,sheis from her own bodily tissue. a surrogate not for another woman but for a man (her husband). But then women are imagined, one might say, as males in female form.12 Gender is relative; girls, like boys, are composed of semen, and semen is a version of mother's milk. The whole Warnock discussion is conducted in terms of the fit between geneticmakeup, the recognition of real parenthood and the fact of birth. It would have us concentrate on the transmission of substance.However, to understand the Melanesian cases. a further element must be taken into account. Each clan member on Gawa may be regarded as an icon of the clan; but eachindividual person is an icon of a relationship,and a microcosm of diverse relations.The person who appearscomposed of interior matrilineal fluid and paternalfeatureson the surfaceencapsulates within him or her the relationships betweenmother and fat'trer,between matrilineal clanship and paternal ties.In the sameway, the Baruya child, a'male'body born out of a'female' body, encapsulatesthe relationship between father and mother, between patrilineal clanship and maternal ties. Certainly the encasingbody of the Baruyamother is not simply an empty vessel, oncethe symbolicallydiscarded foetus has vacated it. Rather, I would suggest,the maternal body is everted (after Mosko 1985)at birth. The child born into its father's clan (a'male' agnate nourished by 'female' substance,milk, the female manifestation of male semen)appearsout of the maternal-foetalrelationship(a'female'form


Englishkinship in the late twentiethcentury

Analogies for a plural culture


containing 'male' substance,semen,the male manifestation of female milk)' In other wtrds, the relationship betweenmaternal body and foetus is retained in an evertedmode as one betweena clan and its members.Neither maternity nor paternity has a final effect here, and the child must be completed by the are influenceof the Sun and Moon (Godelier 1986:53). Theserelationships recapitulated over and again with great explicitness during ceremonies in which boys are made into fathers and girls into mothers' If anything is transmitted,then, it is the relationshipbetweenthe child's parents, and this has to be transformed if the child is to make relationships him or herself. The paradox for us here is that the child 'contains' its parents, and must be of girls' turned into a parent containing its children. This is the essence and boys' initiations. In the latter case,I suggestthat marriage ceremonies Baruya offer an image that doubles back on itself. If fathers give birth to sons, then sons must also be reborn as fathers. In the house that is their 'body' (1986: 34), the entire body of Baruya men assembleto induct younger of a male cult which constitute various initiatory membersinto sequences stages.Now adult men are spoken of as all sons of the Sun, children in the Sun's gaze.It is out of their collectiveactivity that fathers will come, the newly The sons of the adult men who will then be able to bear children themselves. born as 'fathers'. Sun thus give birth to 'new' sons,who are simultaneously of relationships. The collectivebody is sustainedthrough a displacement which make relations between Theseare analogiesfor temporal succession the generationsappear recursivein character.We might say that relationships reproduce relationships.I do not have to underline the contrast with the English formula that only fathers can beget sons, not the other way round, a view sustained by a concept of progressive time. It is not that the English cannot imagine time going back on itself but that they ca4n.o,timqglne For them the temporal sequencingof relationshipsgoing back on themselves. generations is irreversible. Indeed, the English are able to point to the 'biological' experiencing of temporality as vindicatinga linear interpretation of it. The clinching argument is always the experienceof body growth and decay.A life has a demonstrablebeginning and end in this view, and biological time is irrefutable evidenceof hnearity. might comment that the linear nature of time is proven Now a Melanesian one another in irreversible only insofar as we imagine 'lives' as succeeding with neither perpetual return nor generationalreplication.What sequence, must be explainedfor the English,then, is not just the manner in which they link plurality, diversityand novelty,but their ideasofirreversiblegenerational and of a life having a specilicduration' succession The point is not trivial. The downward flow of time is also the downward flow of life. It is becauseof the downward flow of life, from ancestors to that so much weight is put on determiningwho the real parents descendants,

are in the English case.This in turn has determinedthe way British social anthropologistshave classifiedthis kinship systemby comparison with others. Given the further fact that life seemsto flow equally from both parents, English kinship reckoning has been invariably described in modernist oarlanceas cognatic or bilateral.This has been a principal comparativeaxis ior contrast with the lineal modes of peoples such as the matrilineal inhabitantsof the Massim or the patrilinealBaruya,who seemto privilegeone Darent over the other in the formation of kin groups. Kinship systems iescribed as cognatic instead 'recognise' the duality of ties traced through eachparent alike, sinceplacing equal weight on both mother and father seems to reflect the facts of life. In part, the contrast thus repeats that between descriptiveand classificatory terminologies. As it happens,cognatic reckoning has been claimed for some Melanesian societies.But cognatic systemsin Melanesiaare more Melanesianthan they are English and, in the end, the In putting the abovecontrastinto more than it clarifies. obscures classification perception of life, its beginning and to do with the the context of generalissues its end, I wish to show that whereverit lies the particularity of the English kinship does not lie in its so-calledcognatic mode.

p l',

Biological rhytltnts for a cognatic system? The Warnock Committee refusedto pass an opinion on when life might be deemedto have begun, or rather, 'when life or personhood begin to appear' (Warnock 1985:60). The conflationwith personhoodis significant, and as far as the ethicsof embryo experimentationare concerned, has seemed crucial. JanetGallagher(1987)points out that in fact the duty to protectdoesnot have to dependon whether or not the embryo is a person:the law protectsall sorts of things that are not persons.However, in popular English reactions,the anticipation of personhood is It is regarded as an issue that concerns the individual develooment of the embrvo/foetus: oersonhoodin this viewis a developmental individual. and e*erges as a function attribute of the of ti me. Yet there is a skewing here. The English allow that life may have begun belorethey start regardingthe embryo as a person (the embryo is 'alive' in a btologicalsense). but the cessation of the life of an adult does not obliterate personhoodat all. Once a living creature has become a person, it always remainsa person. Failing human memory may mean that he or she is only vaguelyrecalled, but the vagueness is regardedas a questionof memory and not of the status of the person.The suppositionis that if one could find out about one'sforebears thev would be discovered as comoleteindividuals.That theVcould be plotted on a genealogy by name, dates of birth and death, ls' exploits. occupation and all the rest of it. To talk vaguelyof thosewho have oteddoes not mean, as it might on the Trobriands,that the counterpartto the


English kinship in the late rwentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


onceliving personnow existsas amorphousspirit in the land of the dead. On the contrary. English who believe in a land of the dead believe that the counterpartsto once living personswill be resuscitated as persons,though it will be good deedsand sins rather than occupation and social classthat will signify on the day of judgement. Persons are thus seenas more than the life that animatesthem. Death does I not take away the identity or individuality of the person, who continuesin people's memories and in records; thus dead kin are included in lists of (Firth and Djamour 1956:38).what death terminatesare the active relatives relationships the deceased the sameway as it terminates his or her enjoyment of life. Thus a marriage ends with the deceaseof a spouse anticipated in the vows of the bride and groom who are united till parted by death (Wolfram 1987:213). By virtue of the natural event (death), the surviving spouse is free to remarry. The effects of the earlier marriage, however, in the connections and children it created, remain unaltered. From the point of view of the Trobriands and other societies in the Massim, this presents a curious reversal in the conceptualisation of personhood.There a person is defined and has identity through his or her social relationships, over the courseof a lifetime augmenting such relationshipsthrough individual action. Death does not destroy them: peopledo. When a life ceases when a person is no longer active in relation to others then those related to the deceased must terminate or otherwise alter these relationshipsthemselves. Unless that happens,the deceased continuesto influencethe living. It is thus no trccident that the Massim should be notorious for its treatment of widowhood. Until the relationshipbetweenspouses has been severed by human action, widows and widowers enter into a prolonged and onerous phaseof 'negativemarriage'in which their bodiesare assimilated to those of the corpse.They are unmarried when this condition is ritually lifted. But it is not just the conjugal relationship that is subsequently undone the future effects of the union may also have to be terminated, and thus all the relationships that werecontingentwith it. Death becomes the most significant moment for the redefinitionof relationships, and by far the most important public ceremonialsacross this part of the world are devoted to mortuary rituals.raLife has no simple downward flow, and relationships do not have enduring consequences for the future. Survivors impose on themselvesthe obligation of terminating the relationshipsthat made up the deceased's life. one effectof their so doing is to divest the deceased of his/her individuality; they also divest the deceased of a crucial dimension of personhood. This is no empty metaphor.To the eastof Gawa lies the island of Muyuw. Therea person's death is accompanied by cerernonies at which the marriageof their own pre-deceased parentsis undone (Damon 1989). They are unmarried in order that freshmarriages may take placein the generationfollowing; for a subsequentgeneration to become parents. a previous generation is unparented.The North Mekeo, on the Papua New Guinea coast, visualisea

(bloods) that a sirnilarmove. The compositeof socially diversesubstances grandparents decomposed in order for has to be personderivesfrom his or her irir ot her to marry, for marriage must bring about a composition of new (Mosko 1983, 1985). However, what happens at the time of substances is a fictionalor artificialanticipationof what will happenat death.'lt rnarriage is at the final mortuary feastthat eachpersonand his or her survivingrelatives are de-conceivedonce and for all' (1983: 30). This deconceptionis acimplicatedin the initial act through rearrangingthe relationships complished were returned to their own of conception.It is as though ancestralspouses undo the marital and affinal connectionsby sibling groups. For exchanges was brought into being, un-mixing as a4resultthe bloods which the deceased own procreation.Foreignblood can be'sent that weremixed in the deceased's back' (1985: 177) from where it came. with othersand are the personsembody their relationships More generally, outcome of the acts of others. At death, the person that embodied those can no longer serveas a living embodimentof them. They have relationships to be re-embodiedin others. and thus turn into, that is, reproduce,other relationships.Hence the Melanesian necessityto dissolve those specific relationships of parentage by which the person was procreated. by contrast,the idea that a person The Englishtreatmentof death reveals, the embodiesa subjectiveself or agent. In terminating them, death freg-ze! job the taken, was made, relationships he or she enjoyed.The marriagethat the style of life and above all parentage: subsequent generations might but there is no conceptthat reclassify theseaccordingto their own interests, remainforeversolidified They theonceliving relationships haveto be undone. go to records to get one can in the record which is why, of course, information about them. Sincethe English regard the person enduring as a unique individual, the relationships in which he or she was enmeshed contribute to his or her individual life history. Rut the person is also distinguishablefrom them. It is precisely becauseindividual agents are thus conceived that death can apart from their relationships to have an existence leavethem as they were.Beforereturning to the issueofparentage,let us take further the English connection between time and quantity here. Since In persons the resultis perpetualincrease. are neverde-individualised. the sameway as'tracingback'peopleyieldsrnoreand more ancestors. so with eachgeneration more and moFpersons are born into the world. For however many Ann EvansesI were to find in the genealogicalrecord, I would know that eachname - if memory could be revived- was once attachedto a separate person.That is equally true of all the Ann Evanses of the future. Names,like property.are passed on from one individual to another;they do not displace eachother. To invert L6vi-Strauss's (1966: 195)observationof the Penanof Borneo: procreation is conceivednot as the substitution of one being by anotherbut as the addition ofnew beinssto the entirestock ofthose who have ever existed.


English kinshipin the late twentieth century

Analogiesfor a plural culture


The Englishpassage of time thereforemultiplies the number of personsin the world (Gellner 1964:2). Indeed, each person embodies so to speak the plurality of time itself its potential for punctuation into individual units. An associated notion is that thereis alwaysmore time in the world, that is, aseach 'more' time has happened.This is registered day passes not only through a knowledgeof history,which punctuates this flow as a succession ofeventsand periods,but through what is perceived as biologicalduration. over a life span, a personis regarded as constantlyadding to his or her number of days,weeks. y ear sof life . a n a c c o m p l i s h me ne t n g ra vedon tombstones. concei ui ng the span of a person's life in the numerical passing of the years in turn encapsulates what the English imagine must also be true for the world: the world itself ages, getsolder with eachday. So it is not surprisingthat they are drawn into questionsof when the universebegan,and what its end might be like, for thereare questions that can be askedof individual lives.The notion of a world growing older, having more history to it, in turn verifiesthe idea that the life of a person is of a specificduration. Individuals can then be plotted agains t the d a ti n g o f th e w o rl d : J a n e A usten, l 77S l 8l 7; Lew i s H enry M or gan : l81 8 1 8 8 1 ,a n d s o fo rth . A point of debatethus becomes'when'death occurs.In much of Melanesia, the issueis decidedby those around the deceased: the moment a Dersonno longer embodiesthe relationshipshe or she has with others, or no longer embodiesthe spirit that animated him or her, marks the commencement of mourning. Signsof physicalchangeare actedupon, but the signalis given by thosein The anguishof the Englishmode is that the signalhasto be given by the dying person him or hersell': it is terrible either to anticioate death or to discoverit hours later. The English regard dying as an autonomous process,something which happensro a person,for it takes away their life, as it irreversiblytakes them away from others. But it does not take away their personhood as an individual. Mourning is a reaction to a death, not constitutiveof it. Indeed, expertsat readingthe signalsmay have to be consultedwhen the manner of dying makesthe timing of the end ambiguous.since the signalis given by and thus read from the individual body, the capacity to keep certain organs functioning after others have ceasedto do so generatescontroversy about which part of the person's dying constitutes 'real' death. Similarly, any suggestion that the person has not done his or her own dying raisesa moral issue. This is not a questionabout will: voluntary death is equallyproblematic. It is a question about the individual (biological)body. Life is regardedas a condition of the natural body, and it is the body that must thereforeregister death. The person as an active subjectis distinguishable from this embodiment, and to'take one'sown life'is asproblematicas taking the livesof others. Life, then, is seenas more than the person - as a force or principle that pervadesthe human world thought of as part of the natural world and against which it is possible to offend. Punctuations of time are also

oflife. The span ofyears indicatesthat one has had one'sshare nunctuations 'a life'. Through moral precepts, ethicalguidelines and legal enjoyed, lrf i,. protects this diffuseprinciple againstindividual agentswho society statutes, would abuseit' Each person not only marks off the accumulationof years (birthdaysand of greaterand lesser duration, as so but movesbetweenstages, anniversaries) Transitions conventionally troubling, spans. are and the mini-life many problems the in development of the body. Adolescence perceive English conventionallyepitomisesthe awkwardnessof transition; physical maturbut the match may not be a 'real'match, ation bringswith it socialprivileges, Defining when a person is old is equally maturity differ. of rates for problematic,compounded in the experienceof the elderly who have a lifetime through and which constitutetheir present.How old they havepassed of ages one feelsis flrequentlyreported by the elderly as a subjectivereflex of therr own (e.g.Jerrome 1989).Like adolescents, the becoming-old vigour and liveliness in the supposed matchingbetween chronologicalageand play off ambiguities in theircasenot to hastenadulthood but experience and capabilities, personal to delay inlantilisation.This is socialinfantilisation,the syndromeidentified in the caseof as the culture ofold agecare.It is heightened by gerontologists institutions,where loss of biological function old peopleliving in residential bringsloss of status as full persons(Hockey and Jamesn.d.).to From one perspective,a person is more than life; from another, life is more as'a person's than a person.Theseperspectives overlapin their manifestation possiblefor an individual to be more or lessof a person life'. and it becomes and to evincemore or lesslife. Suchperspectival overlapis analogousto that encountered in an individual's distinction from and involvement in relationships. of personhoodand Among everythingthat determines this Englishexercise life, two principal factors are seento be the capacitiesoIthe natural body, and the constraintsand possibilitiesoffered by the cultural and social world. These take effect in the living individual. It follows that a life cannot be affectedby eventsafter death and although someone'sacts may have consequences for the future, the future does not alter the acts themselves.Causesthus flow forward in time. Consequently a person may be regarded as influenced by many thingsthat happened beforehe or shewasborn, for he or sheis born into / a world already full of eventi and relationships. Parents affect children's identity much more than children affect parents'. This downward or forward flow in time recurs as a question of individual development.As Judith Ennew observes (n.d.). childhood is thought to be the key to the adult's identity. We return to parentage. The English question of 'when' life begins seems similar to that of 'who' one's parents are. This is a reasonI think for Maurice Bloch's(1986)complaint about the emphasis British socialanthropologyhas habitually placed on the determining role of birth as a criterion of status. Anthropologistsof this tradition would point to societies suchas Gawa or to


English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


Baruya for examplesof maternal or paternal parentagethat give a person rights in a group lineally constituted with reference to the appropriate ancestors. 'descent Hencesuchgroups havebeendesignated groups',and the fuss that Muyuw or Mekeo make in their mortuary rituals is interpretedas a recognitionof the disruption that death causes to the (downward)flow of life. Mortuary rites come to seem a variant of the practicesof inheritanceand successionfamiliar to the English transmission of identity (downward) between the generations.lT The transmission of material assetssuch as property and immaterialassets suchas culture itself seemingly compareswith the transmission of rights of membership groups.Sincein this view to descent membership of suchgroupsflows from seniorgenerationto junior, as holders bestow items of inheritance on their heirs, the releaseof property at death is bound to create the need for readjustment. Groups simply reconstitute themselvesafter death. Bloch puts forward a counterview.He doesso in relation to the Merina of Madagascar,Austronesian-speakers whose language belongs to the same family as that spokenby many peoplesof the Massim. Where he retainsthe term descent,it is with a significantqualification. Here, ties established at birth createwhat he terms 'biological kinship' of an interpersonalnature, but what is established at birth contrastswith the kinship of group membership(Bloch 1936:38). If we call the latter'descent', then it points lessto birth status than to the blessingsof the ancestorsand a person's attachment to a specifictomb of the dead. Identity is variously established according to where the person is finally buried; the communal tomb summatesan equation between'descent'and ancestrallocality, which containsall the tombs of all group members. The group so assembled in a final sensecan only be assembledof the already buried. As a consequence, neither birth nor death but rather burial determines such status.This is true not only as a final classification of the deceased corpses can be retrospectively regrouped (cf. 1986: 35) but because where a parent is placed has implications for the attachments of the living. Such a suprabiological representationof parenthood overcomes 'the discontinuities created by biology', Bloch's view ( I 987: 3271y Descentas an eternal and life-transcending condition, he argues,ignoresthe difference between men and women. Now BIoch's account holds some interestinsofar as the characterof the tomb group is apparentlycognatic.That is, it is composedof links through men and women alike, since one may be buried there because either one's father or one's nother was so buried. In effect, the sibling group is also reconstituted,although Merina may be buried with spouseson occasion. Merina practice bearsa similarity to English habits of kinship reckoning in tracing connectionsthrough either parent; sexualdifference in this regard is similarly ignored.However. the crucial issuein Merina is that the retrospective regrouping of corpses in the tomb asserts the continuity of these

over and againstthe sexualjoining of the conjugalpair and the relationships pointed out earlier (1971: 170), the of significance conception. As Bloch gradual of the dead. In effect, his , the depersonalisation involves oro."rr (individuating) act of j (group) is that burial displaces the urgurn"nt Drocleatlon' 'ln our own society',writes Fox (1967:5l) 'which lacks descentgroups of all cognates as "kin"."" On the basisof the fact that any kind, we recognize bilaterally, through both mother and father, the 'cognatic' tiesare reckoned has held the English been to be more like other cognatic kinship systemof groupshavea lineal (patrilineal are like those whose descent they systensthan unfortunate consequence character. Yet an of the terminology or nratrilineal) precisely lies in the kinship, so-called, implication that the most of cognatic must be difference in the English case the absence o[ groups.It is intelesting which in turn allegedly weakens the English claim of kinship to this absence "constituent" (Fox 'a perceived 1967: Such unit of society' 166). form go potential its encourages out their way dilution of writers to of or weakening general Western insignificance of kinship in societies as far for the to apologise is public or social life concerned. as that wherekin groups seemed to make up'segments' One has to appreciate groups,so-called, as in the caseof matrilinealor patrilinealdescent of society, the formation of and recruitment into such groups occupied much of the of attentionof mid-century British social anthropology.And it was because groups to form clearboundaries the particularpotential of linealdescent that they became the position Meyer Fortes (1969 287)summarised an archetype. neatly:whereas'unilineal groups' aredefinedgenealogically, cognatic descent groups'are open by genealogical reckoning and are closed by non-kinship boundaries'.They were imperfectly defined by kinship criteria alone, and their closurewas problematic.From this view, the anomaly of cognatic'groups'is apparentlyresolved in the Englishcasewhereno-onetries to form groupsout of the recognitionof cognaticparentage. I turn briefly to a Melanesian example of a society which by such anthropologicalcriteria evincescognatic kin reckoning. The ethnographer refersto'personal kindreds'and to the absence of'unilineal descentgroups'. One would expecta radical contrastwith ihe lineal Gawa or Baruya case,or with Muyuw and Mekeo for ltrrat matter. In the Massim,one of the Melanesian cornersoIthe Austronesian-speaking world, systemsidentified as cognatic have been rare. One such is the Molima of Fergusson Island. described by Ann Chowning (1989),virtually alone in a sea of matrilineal peoples.During a Molima person's lifetime, he or she nominallydistinguishes 'mother'sfamily' from 'father'sfamily', but the living persontreatskin on either side in much the sameway.20 At death, however, living kin differentiate themselves sociallythrough their actionsand thus with respectto diverse rights and duties towards the deceased. In fact, consanguinesbeyond an immediate circle effectivelydivide into two unlike



English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

Analogiesfor a plural culture


categories,analogous to maternal and paternal sides. This distinction is deliberatelycreated. These post-mortuary realignmentsmainly concern the conduct of the funeral and associatedrituals itself; kin categorisethemselvesaccording to through a male or female whether they would trace a link with the deceased are 'children of a deceased tie. The two maj or classes brother' (mourners) and 'children of a deceased sister' (workers). Not themselves kin terms, the categoriescreatecollectivedistinctions betweenkin. Mourners feast workers, who eat the mortuary food. It is the actsthat peoplemust do at death that thus make the difference.Difference is also made evident in terms of address,and Molima routinely refer to themselvesby relatives who have died. The relationshipis signalledin the term: thus one may addresssomeoneas 'man who has lost a brother'. or 'parent of a dead child'. But the point of the mortuary division is that once a parent has died, the child acquiresa different social relationship to the kin he traces through that parent from that which held when the parent was alive. The necessity to rearrangerelationshipsat death arises,as it does elsewhere in the Massim, because the once living person embodiednot only his or her relationshipwith certain other relativesbut their relationswith one another. The living person,through actsand dispensations of interest, containedin him or herselfa specificset of relations betweenpaternal and maternal kin. or more widely those connectedthrough males and through females.What was united in the reproduction (that is, procreation) of a living person ;u;aG undoneat dea th . I arguethat the anthropologist's questionof whether actionsat birth or at death are determining of identity, or whether or not one can discern lineal reckoning, pale beside the fact that kin arrangementssuch as these effect a displacement of relationships over time (cf. Gillison 1987; l99l). The anthropologist'squestion of whether or not kinship organises personsinto groups thus masks a prior issue'. v,hetheror not pareiltage is a fxed point of referencefor identitt'. The analytical concept of 'descent' assumes that parentage is indeed fixed. As far as the Massim is concerned,the differentiation of consanguines r dependson a division of personalidentity that may actuallyinvolve shedding Thus the way in which kin of the deceased in Molima divide /,parentage. accordingto whether they are related through a male or femaleconnection undoes the procreative sexual partnership that reproduced him or her. A conjugal relationshipis displacedby the new differentiationof brother and sister.Similarly, the foetal imagery of the people of Gawa or the Trobriand islandsshows the child composedof a relationshipbetweenits two parents and thus betweensetsof kin who are affinesto one another.Each trace their connectionto it asthe child of their'brother' or the child of their'sister'.Those affinal relationships are undone at death for the sake of a reproductive future on both sides.Consequentlythe deceased person must, in Mark Mosko's

more generally. The point may be summarised also be de-conceived. nhrase. gave him or her social has to be divested what the deceased of i, , p..ton. ' theserelationships in order that (other) social presence(s) may Dresence embodied in be others. to continue and Life and death make a differenceto the apprehensionof social presence pure clan person becomes that the Trobriand itself. It is at death of sociality spi ri r. the m om ent at which lhe per son cont ains t he clan ( in it s own substance) even as the clan contains the person.But as a living soiritualised of the clan, the living person is like the living clan, embodiment an<lvisible with relations others: a group plus its connections. They are in enmeshed its not extrinsic to it. The Gawan body is composedof of life, constitutive its white externaladornmentsand would not be blood and matrilineal internal is the canoethat is the dala is an image that The foetus without both. complete (matriclan) moulded by external relationships. The image as person of the versions; replicated in different a male embodiment of it is a be can such In female being thus diversified, one image is also of a embodiment. version is deliberately achievedeffect, not by another. The displacement a displaced perspectives. loss from changing that comes incidental the This is a reproductivemodel in which personsanticipatein the senseof And the lineal beingexpectantof their own decompositionor deconception. mode, we could say, simply anticipatesor realisesin advance what the cognatic Molima leave till after death. What differentiates the 'cognatic' Molima from the 'lineal' Gawa, Muyuw or Trobriands, then, seemsthe moment in life when paternal and maternal relatives are regrouped as the offspring of brothers and sisters,and thereby distinguished socially through their actions. For a crucial difference in sociality lies between those relationshipsor persons who 'produce', in Frederick Damon's terms, the visible body as it is extended in outward relationships, and those who to the contrary embody or contain and at death 'consume' it and thus endure beyond. Yet even that phrasing suggests that what is being imagined is an essential person to whom relationsare extrinsic.I would put the Melanesian caseas follows. It is not so much that the personmovesamong relationships but that relationships move the person. The living person cannot in fact be animated without the support of relationships,which is what giveshim or her body. Body made visible both Qy*his or her own acts and by the acts of others evincesthe capacity for relationship. In that sensea person is equal to all the relationships that composeit, and in that sense they in turn are integralto his or her composition as a living body. In their life-spanimagery, the English are, I think, proposing something radicallyother. Their reproductivemodel is of non-recursive generationand of proliferation. For in the manner in which the child has receivedsubstance from its parents, temporal direction is fixed. Now whether in Muyuw or Molima, those moments where maternal and paternal kin are equally visible are moments which celebrate both the


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


compositenature of the personal/groupbody and its decompositionin the recreation of luture parentage. From this perspective,the cognatic English can only be cognatic so-called.Division betweenmaternal and paternal kin is unimportant for the English simply because division lies elsewhereparentage is fixed and the burden of differentiation falls on the child. This (cf. fixing of parentagemakesit appear that one looks'upward'to ancestors Geertz and Geertz 1964),for the causesalways flow from them, 'downwards' and irreversibly. It is less the difference (division) between male and female ties, then, than that bet,,ueen child and parent which is established at conception, and sucha difference, coded in the make-up of the child'sbody, is never undone. The Melanesianmaterial servesas a commentaryon the manner in which the English construe relations. More emphatically than that, lt revealscultural bias,in the sense that Richard Werbner (1990)takesthe original formulation (Douglas 1978).It has been necessaryto contrast conceptualisations of the beginning and end of life if only to show how life and death make a difference to the kind of sociality evinced in persons and relationships. Let me summarisethe contrast offered by the Massim in particular. The Massim personembodiesa living composite of relationships, which at death are simultaneouslyseparatedand reabsorbed; the person, we might say, does not existwithout the attendantrelations that give him or her life. The English personis a part of life, while from another perspective life is also a part of him or her; what is true of life for the English is alsotrue of societyor relationships themselves, which are both more than and less than the whole person. Betweenthesetwo cases lie different possibilities in the verv wav analogiesare construed. Overlapping views M erograp hic conne('tions I haveimagineda rangeoIEnglish constructs as componentsof a procreadve model. We can think of it as a model for reproducingmodernist futures.It presupposed that relationships produced (individual) persons and that (individual) diversity led to productive relationships.such that individua created individuals. Difference was inherent in the nature of things, and entities either produced other than themselves or reproduced what was already different. We can now add a further dimension. The model becarne self-evidentthrough the manner in which people construed analogiesbetween different parts of social life or segments of the world. Connections could be made betweenparts in a way that sustained the individuality of each. Consider: domains such as 'culture' and 'nature' appear to be linked bY virtue of being at once similar and dissimilar. What makesthe similarities the effort to 'see' connections;what makes the dissimilarities is the ' nition' of difference.Difference thereby becomesapparent from a simple fact

of life: it is a connectionfrom anotherangle.Thal is, what looks as though it is to one fact can also be connectedto another. Culture and nature connected together ds domains that run in analogous fashion insofar connected be may in a similar way accordingto lawsof its own; at the sametime, operates aseach connected to a whole other range of phenomena which also is each them the activities of human beings,for instance,by contrast diflerentiate properties of the universe. This second physical connectionmakesthe the with presupposes the of analogy obvious. It that one thing differs nature oartial it part insofar as belongs to is or of something else.I call this another irom link or relationship nterographic. connection. of kind The term recallsbut is not identical with mereology,the study of part whole (cf. Thornton 1988).'?' I wish to refernot to part whole relations,but relations view anything may be a part of something else,minimally that English the to of it. In this view, nothing is in fact part of a descriptionin the act of describing ever simply part of a whole becauseanother view, another perspective or it as'part of somethingelse'." When that something domain,may redescribe elseis perceivedas a context or underlying assumption, the very grounds on upon them-To return to one whichthingsappearbecorreanotherperspective culture belongsto the domain of human activity, and in that of my examples: sense is universallypart of it: but as an idea it may also be claimed as the speciflc construct ofa specificera and thus (and to the contrary) also part ofa particularculture at one point in time. Perspectives themselves are createdin the redescriptions. The ability to constantly re-describe something from another viewpoint thus producesa displacementeffect of a particular kind. One entity is not substituted by another as a version of itself, as we might say Baruya fathers are verslons of Baruya sonsor the body of the Gawan matriclancan appearas the body of a canoe.Rather, the substitutionconnects the entity to a whole, other (distinct and unique)domain of phenomena. A differentorder of knowledgeis tntroduced. So, for example,the ultrasoundimageof the unborn body brings the foetusinto a socialclomainwhereindividual personshavelegalrights and the body of the mother is redescribed as a life-support system. Such a displacement is sin-rultaneously a loss of perspectiv"oi los of intormation: the new descriptionmakes maternity invisible. The very desireto put facts.into their context,is a merographicmove. The virtue of not being equivalent with the thing put into it, will trtullllrot'the thing from a particular angle (display one of its parts). This Slves.scholars someLf tn" measures of quantity riferred to in Chapter One: ttt' ldeo that individual personscan be 'more' or 'less' individualistic,for rnstance, is measured by a dimension other than themselves(such as the contexlof their opportunities).In the same way. the notion of plurality - of 'ttemultiplicity of things- is derivednot simply fiom the number of things in ttteworld, but from the fact that any singleentity can be dilferentiated from a slrnilar entity by some axis other than their similarity (tbr example,individual


English kinship in thc late twentiethcentury

Analogieslor a plural culture


When we can feel assuredthat all the individualsof the alliedspecies and all the closely of most gensamespecies, era, have within a not very remoteperiod descended from one parent, and have migrated from someone birthplace; and when we better know the many meansof migration, then, by the light which geology now throws, and will continueto throw, on formerchanges of climateand of the level of the land, we shallsurelybe enabled to tracein an admirable manner the former migrationsof the inhabitantsof the whofe worfd (Darwin, 1968,457)

writer and readerare heldin comradeship by In this passage 'we'; are, individuality and community equally, that initiating 'oneparent', ('individuals', 'closely promised alliedspecies', 'thelightwhichgeology 'onebirthplace'); continuity is assured to throw';affirmation andhope now throws,and will continue just both beyondand rhetorically short of cer- something 'we shallsurely tainty - are expressed: be enabled to lracein an admirable manner',and historyand fullestcommunity are in 'the formermigrations of the inhabitants conjoined of the wholeworld'. 'The inhabitants of thewholeworld' and their migrations man,without setting include himapartfromallthe plants,fishes, otherinhabitants of thewholeworld:animals, insects nature onemoving and - thewholeof animate - become proliferating family.
7 Darwin and the .lace of nature, 1959 Extract from Gillian Beer "The Face of Nature": Anthropomorphic Elements in the language of The Origin o.f Species'. Reproduced by kind permission of Free Association Books from languagesof Nature, edited by Ludmilla Jordanova.

are different not as units, for that makes them the same,but in the Dersons of a dramatic We have also encountered context their historiesover time).23 in the chaPter. instance Present streamof The contrastbetweenthe life that flows or unfolds in a ceaseless punctuated life the that is is like the and full ofdifferent events contrast events life of the the entire universe, and or animal kingdorn, of the between particular organism who exists looks as a it. It though segment of as indivrdual socialdiscontinuityis beingmapped on to biologicalcontinuity (Ingold 1986: 160).But Ingold maintains that the contrast betweenduration and punctuirrion. as it is often treated in the anthropologicalliterature. belongsmuch more to the way in which scholars conceptualise the relationship between each individual and societythan it does to theoriesof time. Thus, he argues, organism can be regardedeither as the embodiment of a life-processor as an configurationof elements.2a Now if anthropologists have entity with a specific than sophisticated in these matters,perhapsit is because of the power beenless of the indigenous model: the organism as a person, in the English view, conflates the two perspectives, and continuity and discontinuity can be imaginedin eitherdirection.Socialcontinuity is alsomappedon to biological discontinuity. As a natural individual, the persononly manifestsfor a while the largerlife of the universeof living beings.In the same way, as life is larger than the individualwho therebyembodies it for a while, and time is longerthan the life spanof any human being or historical period, societyand culture are regarded asmore extensive than the particular relationsa personhas or the valueshe or she pronrotes.Indeed, the English hold that society and culture only ever impose a limited range of possible relations and values upon any one individual who manifeststheir effect.Yet, as a person with a social identity, and as an agent who takes action, the individual enduresin the historical record beyond the span of his or her own life. At the same time, then, the personis alsomore than the life he or shehasenjoyed,and is more than simply the socialrelationsand cultural valueshe or shemanifests. Indeedit is possible for the individual's biographicalor psychological complexity to seemmore complex than any social system. These merographic connections between person-and-lifeor between individual-and-society thus resolve into a further analogybetweenthe life that ishqth more and lessthan the person and society that is both more and lessthan the individual. Such a formr.rla allows us to redescribe some of the earlier argumentsof this chapter.It will be recalledthat I have questionedthe conceptofdescent lor the kin groups of certain Melanesian societies and the concept of cognatic kinship for the English case.Now a counter-objection could well be that I naveoverlookeda crucialdistinctionbetween radicallydifferentkin categorisations.Anthropologistshavealwaysposedsocietyfocused constructs, suchas clan groups, againstego-focused kin constructs,such as personal kindreds, and the conventionhasdominatedkinship studiesfor years.Thus Robin Fox


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogiesfor a plural culture


adopts the contrast between ancestor-focusedand ego-focusedgroups as a mnemonic for an obvious difference between two apparently self-evident facts, 'true of all kinship systems'(1967 164):personsmay share an ancestor In this view, any group one individual neveroverlapswith another.2s whereas must be egocentric and individual cannot therefore be an focused on its utility, the distinction is not as radical But whatever analytical sociocentric. as it seems. I suggest,in turn, that the possibility of such a classificationis given in the indigenous(English) merographic connection betweenindividual and society. One may switch perspectivesfrom one entity to the other, so that the two perspectives seeminglyencompass betweenthem everything that might be said about social life. The single Gawan matriclan, composed of persons unified in action, diversified in their exchangeswith others, is replicated in their image of the singleindividual, who existsfor both him or herselfand his or her connections. It is not that the clan acts as a social 'group' and the individual acts in a personalor egocentric'network'.Rather,socialaction in both cases takesthe same aesthetic form (the social person is the individual and his or her relationships). In describing what is distinctiveabout Englishkinship,one will be describing insteadjust how anthropologists might have beenpersuadedto place so much weight on the difference between egocentric and sociocentric relations.For in respect of the Englishidea of the individual, relationships do appear extrinsic and society does appear to be a phenomenon of another order. An individual is a part of society,then, yet what makesan individual is not what makes society. The popular suppositionthat kinship is only a 'part' of societyrestson the fact that it is also a'part'ofbiological process. Suchparts are not equal to one another.The perspective that giveseachofthem its distinctivenature appears always as a different order of phenomena. Each order that encompasses the parts may be thought of as a whole, as the individual parts may also be thought of as wholes. But parts in this view do not make wholes. The Englishimaginean inclusiveseries. Societyis a part of life; kinship is a part of society;an individual person is a part of a kinship system.The series can be imagined in reverse.But it is also possible to conceive a reversethat doesnot retainthe sameserialinclusivity.A personis at oncepart of a kinship system, a part of societyand a part of life, participatingin all thesefields'in his or her own right'. In other words, these entities do not match completelyon to one another. Whatever whole the person is, he or she is equal neither to a kinship system,nor to society nor to life. In turn, thesedomains must be regarded as constituted by parts that only from the perspectiveof their own individual identity (organisationor order) have a holistic character.26 Thus the logic of the totality is not necessarily to be found in the logic of the parts, but in principles, forces, relations that exist beyond the parts. In English





.. ..1

TH IS IS TH E K E Y This is the Key of the Kingdom In that Kingdom is a city; In that city is a town; In that town thereis a street ; In that streettherewindsa lane, In that lanethereis a yard; In that yard thereis a house; In that housetherewaitsa room; In that room an emptybed; And on that beda basketA Basket ofSweetFlowers: Of Flowers,of Flowers; ofSweetFlowers. A Basket Flowersin a Basket i Basketon the bed; Bedin the chamber; Chamberin the house; Housein the weedyyard ; Yard in the winding lane; Lanein the broad street; Streetin the high town i Town in thecity ; City in the KingdomThis is the Key of the Kingdom;--* Of the Kingdom this is the Key.

8 ?"lls is the Ke1,, Traditional Reproduced by kind permission of Macdonald's Children's, from Delights und Warnings, an anthology by John and Gillian Beer.


English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

Analogies for a plural culture


kinship thinking, personsconnectedthrough kinship are regardedas of a diflerent order from the kinship that does the connecting. The sensein which the English view the person as a whole is not as a kinsmanbut (the link is merographic)as a unique follows,in this view, that individuals are not in themselves relationships. Kin relationships are about how individual personsare connectedto one another, yet not as whole individuals,only as kin, so that kin ties appear as but a part of that unitary entity, the individual person. Kinship connectsunique individuals with the constantproviso that kin rolesare only one among a constellation of roles. Each role comes from its own domain, in Schneider'sterminology (1968:58). Consequently, kin roles simply evoke a role-playingor relational 'part' of the individual person.If roles reproduceroles (playing daughter to mother) then to reproducea whole individual must take a whole in<Iividual. Persons make themselves! This suppositionis replicated in the very symbolisation of connection. The parts that the English hold to be the source of interpersonal connectionsseem substantialenough: persons are literally and genetically composed of kinship substancein his or her very body. yet geneticsbelongs (merographically)to the domain of biology, not social relations. Social relations are regarded as after the fact. whether to legitimate or deny them, they 'recognise' the pre-existenceof biological facts. consequently, genetic connectiondoesnot embody socialconnection, though may be a reasonfor it. The idea, for instance, that families have 'two sides' (cf. Fox l96i: 173), mother's and father's, contributes to the so-called bilaterality of English kinship.2? But while there is a conceptthat a person should have as part of their family experienceboth a mother and a father, there is in fact no concepr that it is necessary for them to have both a mother's side and a father's side. The relationshipsare incidental, not intrinsic, to the child. Let us look briefly, then. at merographicconnectionsin the representations o[ substance itself. If the English are like Schneider's Americans,to whom sexualintercourse symbolises the closeenduring solidarity that characterises relationsbetween kin, then it looks as though a child born into a living circle of relatives is also appropriately born of an act of love. Regardlessof the reputation of the ancientGreeks for having almost as many words for love as the Nuer have cattle names,the English tend to run thesetwo forms of love together, which in the family contextalso takeson a third connotation.that of self-love. Love between family members is a kind of internalised love, a property almost, appropriately expressed in terms of a couple's desireto have children 'of their own'. Here the reproductiverelationshipbetweenparents is assimilatedto unity. Sexual intercourseindicatestheir merging. As a symbol of unity,or oneness, loveis theunionof theflesh, male of opposites, and female, man and woman.The unity of opposites is not only affirmedin the embrace, butalso in theoutcome of thatunion, theunityof blood, thechild.For the childbringstogether andunifies in oneperson substances thedifferent biogenetic of

. . At the same time,that unity or identityof fleshand blood,that bothparents. for the unity of cognatic of material. stands love.(Schneider 1968: 39) oneness on a similarpoint. An Englishmarriage,shesays SybilWolfram is ernphatic 17), was never that is described traditionally an alliancein the sense 16 (987 systems in Marriage creates a the anthropological corpus. for alliance on who become to between kin both sides connected each other, relationship does not in It in consist that alliance. consists the union of the marriage but the she says, it long the in law that when two Thus, was for case English soouses. 'one person. flesh', the they became one Indeed, among married people nineteenth the of the century came abolition of the correlative reforms person(1987;18). that a wi[e was simply a 'part' of the husband's supposition put legal footing she observes that the to spouses equal attempt on However, physical doctrine :rs the of unity such; a marriage that was not attack did not could Moreover, that merging of the into be annulled. spouses consummated legally person was a self-sufficient act and marriage was not dissolvable one of childlessness. because This legal image of the husband-wife couple has sincebeendissolved,yet I The modern English surmisethat it was simply dissolvedinto its elements. individual continuesto be produced by individuals: the pair united as one person becomesregardedas a couple or pair of one persons(that is, two individualpersons). When the contractualdimensionof marriageis seenfrom the viewpointof the substantive tasksinvolved,it is as though the spouses are engaged in a 'divisionof labour' (cf. Young and Wilmott 1973). If the tasksare made visible as the outcome of an artificial arrangement, the claims must in turn be made explicit because the assunption is that (in nature so to speak) eithercould do the entirejob. Thus the English also conceiveof one-parent families.A parent is potentially made up of an amalgam of roles - played out betweena couple when either can do the work of the other. In some twoparentfamilies,spouses negotiatewith eachother as though they were a pair of singleparents. If an individual can play parts from a number of kin roles,it is alsotrue that . rI you look inside any one kinsperson,you find an individual. When a Melanesian looks inside a person (a relation),he or she finds other persons (relations). But such a relative is thereby composed of other relatives only insofar as the person takes onihe task of attending to them. A flow of substancemay be perceived as a reason for a counter-flow of gifts, thus producing a social relationshipthat contains the flow (Wagner 1977a).The Melanesian person therebysustainsthe image of flowing substance through the wealth that is returned in the opposite direction, even as his or her descendants may return the flow (the substance) to him or her. What happens, then,in a culture whereconnections ofsubstanceare taken as a fact ofnature and wheresocialrelationships cannot redirectthem?How are the connections visualised?


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

Analogies for a plural culture


Substancemay be metaphorised as blood, and the connectionscreated the transmission of substancemetaphorised as a flow. However, the blood that flows between English relatives is imagined as always flowing in direction (downwards in irreversible time), so that what comes to rest in anv single individual no longer moves. It will only be reactivated when he or comesto procreate,and at that point flow is reconceptualised as a bestowal parts or traits. The flow of blood is at once like a moving stream (and travel backwards) and like a substance that can be infinitely divided into part Hence the'dilution' of any one stream that comesfrom mixing, rendering any one individual an amalgam of blood. The procedures for working out thei proportion are simple:one dividesone'sblood in half by parents,into qua by grandparents,eightsby great grandparents(cf. Wolfram 1987:l3). Born a mother with two English parents and of a father with a Welsh and Engl parent makesme one quarter Welsh. But the actual'flows' have beenrendered invisible one seesinstead the traits each individual displays. Indeed, in popular belief,the parts that an individual person'gets'from eithermother or father may be thought of as parts of other ancestors that'show' in descendi generations. What is visualised, proportionateto t then, is a transmission of substance individual recipient. The individual contains within her or him so muc percentage of blood from this or that grandparent, an image I would ca literalist.That is, it opensup a generalmetaphor connections of substa are like the flow of blood - to a precision or specificationthat brings in furl domains or perspectives, here ones that turn on quantity and on what can seen.Popular understandings of biological sciencemake the point. The English always know there is more to seethan falls within one's field vision: one seesonly ever a 'part' of what one could see.Hence the questi that pursue the metaphor or flow concern proportion and quantity. One not act on the knowledge in such a way as to sustain or alter or redirect t flow, but rather acquiresit as knowledge about what and how much one within. Those internal elements in turn have an ultimate visibility, from another perspective.They can be seenas gene-carryingchromosomesvisible under the microscope. Indeedit is as though sucha vision werejust waiting f the geneticistto map the genome.Yet the fact that each individual contains two setsofgenes,inherited from the connectingofpersons, replicatedthrough the cells of the body, does not prompt an intrinsically relational metaphor. Connectionsof substance are imasined as intrinsicallvoartial. While bloods may be transmittedin proportion, what 'shows' is infinitely diverse. From a potential rangeonly this or that trait or collectionof traits gets passed on. For eachparent passes on what are thought ofas parts ofhis or her body (eye colour, tendency to obesity, personality, talent), and there are as many characteristics as may be seenin the making of an individual person. Thus parts are manifested in offspring less as a set of paired or opposed

particles, the random qualitiesthan as a .unique configuration of diverse genetic substances' of inreraction we derive So out of the couplingof parentsand the pairing of chromosomes, her himselfa who shows in or of an individual different order, a an imageof particles. We stress the randomness of heterogeneous uniqr. combination process. None of your phenomenalorchestration andchancyoutcomeof this paternal no division into the red and white substance, and of maternal nothing in the individual to indicate that the of the body, components parents form of anythingmore than a single its took the between relationship genetic clock. in that started offits own and irreversible time actat themoment

fbr a plural society Portial theories The connections imagined in English kinship can always turn into merographic ones. Individuals produce individuals but relations do not produce relations.For those relations that produce individual persons reproduce The simple English idea entitiesthat also belong to other domains of existence. person plays by reference to variousdomains various roles that the individual a part of his or her part, in turn as only and which exist of which the rolesare (partial) life in a self-consciously model for social whole identity, offers a plural and complex world. kinship in of middle-class The single featureof their studies most significant London upon which Firth, Hubert and Forge report is the factor of variability,the ground on which they chooseexamples to illustratevariation rather than typicality. 'Nearly every family had some circumstanceswhich'1 , -made it unique and introduced some complication into the pattern of ! 399).They are struck by the extentto which recognition l*relationships'(1969: ofkin, both within the kin universeand with respectto effectivecontact, can bemodified by the exercise of individual choice whether an outcome of class distinctions or of the quality of the personalrelationship.Variability exists as much within the relativelv homoseneous section of the middle class as it does between classes.Indeed, other classesmay be similar in this respect, and such variability was already a finding from an earlier study of a working-class neighbourhood(Firth and Djamour 1956:60). It existswithin as well as between families, phenomenon not confined to the English 4 counties. The questionof the heterogeneity found within of socialexperience any one family, in the extended senseof a circle of relatives,was a point on which Colin Rosserand Christopher Harris (1965)openedtheir account of kinship in the Welsh town of Swansea. There is an overlap of factors here. On the one hand people seethemselves asexercising a degree of choicein whom they'keepup with'; on the other hand they appear united and divided by social circumstances of class,demography and the like that lie beyond their control. The actors' perceptionof choice


kinshipin the latetwentieth century English

Analogies for a pluralculture


means that the manner in which relations are conducted can always be proxi mi ty c i rc u n tstance suchas geographi cal m odif iedb y s o mee x tra n e o u s perception of differing or how oue'getsolr'. The observer's or levelof earnings people exercisein the way they and the preferences social circumstances, organisefamily functions and the like, can lead (as it had led in the earlier study)to the conclusionthat'in the Englishkinship systemno singleemphasis to be outstandingenough to give its quality to the systemas a whole' ' seems r ( F ir t h 195 6 :l 8 ). Towards the end of their account, Firth, Hubert and Forge reopen the questionof whetherEnglishkinship forms a 'system'.They delimit a number of general features,and then introduce the topic of kin terminology. is the tendency all the way through to [W]hat standsout in this Englishsystern persons individually...In any formalcontext relatives specily mustbe properly pinpointed qualified as individuals, with category labelcarefully to bringout the personal aspect. In this sense the Englishkinshipsystem can be calleda speciJying system asagainst thecategorizing s)'stems of manyother,especially non-industrial, persons, (1969: isofindividual societies. But itsspecification not statuses androles. 451.originalemphasis) The analvsisholds more senerallv. Schneider's observation apropos American kinship is pertinent: 'The relative as a person is quite difl-erentfrom the distinctive featureswhich define _ person the as a relative'(1968:59).The individual personis'a compound of a i variety of different elementsfrom different symbolic subsystemsor domains' (1968: 59). The relative, on the other hand, is defined rather narrowly by referenceto ties by blood or marriage, such ties fomring a single symbolic domain. In fact, he later observesthat the self-reportedvariety that appearsto prevent any generalisations about American kinship at large (seeChapter belong latter domain but to the system of person-centred One) not to this definitions (1968: ll2). In his view there is no variance as far as the distinctive featuresof kinship ideas are concerned;variance,a plurality domains,is a characteristic of the person-centred system.In other words, suggests variability. a location for Diverse factors are seen to impinge on the relative as a person. Sc introducesthe conceptofnormativeness to accountfor the coherence ofthese plural donrains as they are experiencedby the individual person. The nonnative category 'father', for instance, contains components from the kinship domain, the agedomain, the sexdomain and other domains as well. person as For if what is appropriate or normative for a male upper-class person as a is different from is male middle-class father what appropriate for a father, in his view the resultant variation in family form and behaviour is a matter of class and sex-role attributes, not of kinship thinking as such; Difl-erences thus arise from variation in non-kinship components.Sc and Smith (1973:7)point to middle- and lower-class family forms in Ameri in t asindicatins'differences at the normativelevelderivine from differences

manner in which family structure articulateswith other role systems'. The norrnative system. what makes the relative a person, is a cultural conglomerate(1973: 69). schneiderand Smith take the individuarperson,or individualism,as a fact of American culture at large. I have suggested, however, that as far as the Englishis concerned, we might asusefullytake the individual as describing a modern fact of kinship. Ideas about genetic transmission,the act of procreationor the unity of the conjugal union can at any time combine to effect.English symbolsof kin connectionrender the individual merographic personat oncean entity composedofparts and a part ofother entitiesbeyond him or her. The person as a relative is also a conglomerate.2s constitutemixesof parts from differentdomains,suchthat con-elomerates one kind of relationshipcoexistsin conjunction with another of a diflerent kind. The connectionbetween'childand mother' likenedto .an individual on a life-supportsystem'capturesthe asymmetry.Indeed,the whole conceptof human beingsusing enabling technologycan be pressedinto the serviceof merographicthinking. Neither entity definesthe other: the person .uses'or 'exploits'technology, as the technology'detennines' or 'allows' the personto do thi s or that . Insofar as they are drawn from diverse domains, the components of conglomerates may be regardedas distinctivein nature and thus potentially unequal in their effect. Hence the symmetrical mode of reckoning kinship through both mother and father resolves into an asymmetry when either parent is thought of as themselves conglomerates of characteristics. Each cornbinesin him or herself the effects of different domains of relationship. Thus the real father is a man who is both the geneticprogenitor and the mother'shusband;the real mother is both the genetic mother/Lirthingmother and the nurturer after birth. what rtefinesone parent rs not what definesthe other (cf. wolfram 1987: 209). And neither arone nor united do they completely definethe child theyproduce.For all the identityparentsbestow,it remainspossiblefor individuals to reproduce.real' individuals. Englishkin relationsdo not make an individual person equal to his or her ^ field of relations, let alone a universe of social relations. There is, in fact, no universe of relationships, any more than personalnamesor kin terms form unlvrsesThus they cannot be.mappedon to eachother. Far from one system 'tttomenclature being isomorphicwith the other. as we saw in chapter one 'tine expectation that kin termswill shadeinto personalnames. In ;l:lttt kin rerms are qualified by personal names,and personalnamesby ;l: Y:.llnr, nttt ttlrlS,neither thereforeever occupies 'complete' a social space.Either terms.may classityor individuare,bur thaidoes not in Engrishmake irtl":"t suhstitures for each other. Insteadthey conrribureto I plurality v'lerspectives from which personscan be seen.2e ",l-^:Of is a.ninfinitely pluraf world reproduced- full of persons onry some of *J.!t ryIrom can be claimedas kin and with a rangeof kin onry some of whom one


English kinship in the late twentieth century

An a l o g i e sfo r a p l u r a l cu l tu r e


simply unfolds this diversity through gets to know as persons.A genealogy time, making more and more individuals appear.Each life punctuatestime and ends spans embodiedin personswho havebeginnings itselfinto discrete - parts never equal to other parts. There are always too many, and other, different individuals to think about. Consequently,one's kin are part of a wider population, but not a part that is in any way equal to it: there is no relationships. closure to conceivable What Fortes found disconcerting about cognatic groups, then, opened by is an apt description kinship reckoningand closedby non-kinshipboundaries, merographic. Groups of the perception of overlapping domains I have called are a theoretical red herring; the very conceptualisation of relationships already manifests this indeterminacy. For no specification of relationships qualification by criteria which seem to lie outside the relationships escapes themselves.Hence, as far as the English are concerned, attempts to specify in so-calledcognatic kin term usagefrequently fall foul of one completeness of its distinguishing features. Randomness within the individual is the outcome of specific (parental) relations, yet indicates only his or her conglomerate nature not a person whose multiple origins are potentially partible,but a location or place,so to speak,wheredifferentelements overlap. And like the random collectionof genes that any one personcontainswithin, of thereis a random elementin whom one claimsas kin. That outward gesture (whom one 'chooses'to claim) paradoxicallyhas as its aim the randomness creation of specificrelations. to be made of merographicconnections, We return to an initial observation that although they precipitate a plural world of analogous contexts and as exhaustive or total analogies. domains, thesedomains are never sustained That is precisely because the domains are regardedas overlappingin certain 'places',in certain areasor institutions or persons,where they must appear only as parts (of other domains). Thus, one may speak of an economic or religious dimension to Western family life or, as Schneiderdid, to the effectof 'The family'is equivalent neitherto'economiclife'nor to'the classor sex-role. religious system',but is one of the placeswhere the effectsof both can be seen. Nor is economic life equal to the religious system,though they may share certain featuresof ideology and organisation and in the impact they have on betweensuchdomains remain the family (cf. Schneider1969).The analogies partial, their fit incomplete, for none is conceptuallyreducibleto a versionof any of the others. The proliferatingcapabilitiesof a plural societyare revealed in its kinship practices,though that itself offers only one perspective among many. But thereis a special reasonwhl,kinship evokesthe conceptualisation of relations as merographic. I suggested that the merographic connections between persons-and-life, individual-and-society, resolveinto analogiesbetweenlife and society, or between the individual and person.They alsoevokethe further

SENSD AND SENSIBILITY The young ladies arrived. Thcir appcerances'as b1' no \ras vcr)'slllart' or unfasltionable ; tlteir clress meansungenteel their mannersverl' civil. T'hcy1'ere delig|ted rvitlt the hottsc, ; and thcy hapllcncd to bc and in raptures u'ith thc furttitut'c so doatingll' foncl of cliildrcD that Lady xliddlctori's good opinion \\'as engagedin their favour bcforc they had becn an hbur at the Park. She declarcd them to be r-er;'agreeable adrliraenthusiastic girls indeed,u'hich,for her Ladyship, '$-as $'itl'r judgment rose his orvn Iion. Sir John's cotrfidence in to cottage' for the this animated praise, ancl he sct off directly to and tell the N1issDashrvoodsof the l\{iss Steeles'arrival, u-orld. assure them of their being the sl'eetest girls in the thcres'asnot much as this, horvevei, From such cotnmendation to be leirned ; Elinor rvell knc*' that the s$'ectcstgirls in the u'orld u'ere to be met t'ith in every part of Englarrd, under every possible variation of fortn, face, tel'rl1lcr,aud understanding. Sir John \\'anted the u'hole famill' to rvalk to the Park directly, and look at his guests. Benevolent,philanthropic man ! It s'as painful to him even to keep a third cousinto himself. t Do cotne no's',tsaid he ; t pray collle-)'ou nlust come-l declare'you slrall colne. You catt't think horv you n'ill like and thent. Lucy is ntonstrous pretty, and so gooci-ltutnout'ed as agreeable ! The children are all hanging about hcr alreacll', if shc \\'as an old acquaintance. And they both long to see 1'ouof ail things ; for thel' have lteard at Ereter that 1'ou arc the tnost beautiful creaturcsin tlre s'orlcl,atrd I hal'e told thenr it is all very true, and a grcat dcal ltlore. You l'ill be delighted u'ith theur, I aur sure. They have brought the rvholecoach full of plal'things for the childrcn. Hou' can 1'ou lle so cross as not to conrqJ \\'h1', they are )'our cousins,you knon', after a fashion. |'ou are nry cousins,and thel' are nly wife's; so )'ou nrust be related.'
9 Sen,se and Sensibilitl,, 18I I


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Analogies for a plural culturc


analogy betweennature and culture. When the facts of kinship are simultaneouslyboth facts of nature and facts of culture, this analogy in turn is revealedas a merographicconnection.Kinship is, so to speak,the place of overlap.3o - how much one That such factsor dornainsoverlapinvitesqr.rantification or other has influence.Hence the possibilityof anthropologists thinking, for instance, that descriptive kin terms are closer to nature than classificatory ones, or that cognatic kinship reckoning looks as though it is a truer representation of biologicalrelationships than other systems. In this thinking, descriptive terminology appearsto respectnaturally occurring differences,as betweenlineal and collateralsiblings,in the sameway as cognaticreckoning appearsto giveequalweightto tracingconnections through the two biological parents. I have tried to show that the conventionsof English kinship also presuppose the natural existence ofparents as individuals,and take this as an indubitable fact of parentageitself. Riviere commenrson Warnock's credulity for imaginingthat registers of births are registers of genetic parenthood(1985: 4), but the compilers of genealogies no doubt work under exactly that presupposition. In the 1960s, a heateddebate sprang up betweenseveralanthropologists, British and American,about the relationshipbetween biologicalfactsand the socialor genealogical categorisations of kinship relations.ErnestGellner has recentlyreprintedthree of his broadsides, initially written at about the time that Firth and his colleagues were embarking on their London study. Gellner gives voice to the 'English' suppositionsI have been trying to convey. Society,he states(1987: 184) 'can be seenas sets of relationships betweenpeople'. People thus pre-existas entities betweenwhom sociality exists like so many strands. And they exist in nature as discretephysical persons: 'it is a given fact (given to social studies by biology) that every [individual] person has two physical [individual] parenrs,one of each sex'; kinship terms are necessarily 'classifications relative to an individual' (1987: 172, 175,his emphasis). Hence,in large,'kinship structuremeansthe manner in which a pattern of physicalrelationships is made useof for socialpurposes' (1987: 170, his emphasis).After all, he points out, of all possible social relations, anthropologists decidewhich are kinship relationsprecisely because of their 'overlap' with 'physical kinship'. He continues: means] the way in which a physical criterionis usedfor the [kinshipstructure selection of members for a groupand theascription of rights, duties, etc.Of course, theavailable physical factsareused (but systematically). selectively, distorted with sonte irregtlarity,etc.But: theelements patternareessentially of thephysical simple and universal, whilst the socialpatternsimposed on it are highlydiversified and (1987: complex. 170,originalemphasis) In order to analysedifferent systems, anthropologistsmust first be able to describethe physical reality which is their point of rel-erence. The challenge therefore lies in how to devise an adequatedescriptivelanguageto cover

of biologicalrelatedness. A prerequisite is that one must variouspossibilities 'unambiguousdevicesfor picking out singleindividuals' (1987: 174). creare physicalrelationsrelevantto the The ideal notation would therebyshow the which anthropologists could plot their social sludy against sociery of passing, notation of physical he says that this ideal In of course deploynrent. restrictions for it must be made nonsense, not just false, require will relations man for man mate with a or a to be his own offspring. to for a man This makes one realisethe extent to which the plural culture is, or was, committedto the idea that kinship is the socialconstructionof natural facts. and one is Tokenatureout of the equation,think of the Baruya of Melanesia, premised of a system on the idea that kinship is the social thinking instead It social relations.3r comprises a set of analogies between constructionof give That social relations in some sense. sons birth to a//oIwhich are relations give fathers way of thinking the fact that birth to about fathersis another possibility procreative is an imaginative that in having intercourse It sons.32 with a'man', at leastinsofar with a'woman', a man is also having intercourse perceive female form, and vice versa.The woman to be a male in a as Baruya persons apart from the imagine individual would be to there. nonsense, that them. constitute relations Modern English views about the plurality and diversity of life, the novelty of tin-re on the increase, and their connectionto ideasabout procreation- that babies are new rather than old persons individuals and that parentsreproduce rather than relations did indeed take the individual as a pre-existing unit. Theytherebyplacedit in nature.But these ideasalsoturned on their own axis. lf 'society'rather than the'individual' wereseenaspart of nature,the concept of the individual would no longer appear as natural ground but would be revealed as itself a social construction. The next chapterconsiders nature the power of the partial analogybetween and societyin English life. That axial turn is made possibleby rnerographic connection that a modernist could think equally of individualsas parts of nature,or as parts of society,as he or she could think of societyas part of nature or nature as part of society.The aestheticimpetus towards either holism or atomism forever mobilised a plurality of perspectives. The coordinating perspectiveto which the English held through all this was containedin a hope for perspective itself. lt carried with it the pluralistic rmpetus to quantification,the idea that by looking we would seemore things and that the more we saw the more true to the natureof what we werelooking at would be our knowledge. At some point we might even recogniseour distinctiveselves.

The progressof polite society


The progress of polite society

Some two hundred years ago, in r7g9, a young widow rnarried into t Sperling lamily. Her husband was the heir of ihe foimer High Sheriff of Essr and she brought up her family at Dynes Hall, an estateof 500 acresincludi finely wooded parkland. The Sperlings were fur merchants of Swedi ancestry, the first emigre having been naturalised a century earlier, wi dealings both in Northern Europe and across North America. By nc acknowledgedin county society, their rise into the ranks of the Essexge was signified by the purchase of the house which became their seat.r The house had already been improved upon sinceits Elizabethan besi nings;the Sperlings' own chiefimprovements wereoutside laying out drir building new stables and furnishing ornamentar water in the park. generationlater rhe middle girl of five children, Diana Sperling (her na shortened then as now to Di), begansketchinglife at Dynes Hall."Most of scenes come from around the hall itself, but also include the Buckinghamshi home of the von Hagens with whom they had connections thioueh t marriageof her elder sister.The compiler of her sketches notes ttrat, j their recent origins. the Sperlingsbelonged to the middling gentry. English squirearchy containedmany thousand familiesof this kind, untir but locally prominent, and colrectively possessed of a largeproportion of country's land'(Mingay l98l: xi). Their family milieu evoked rank, p prietorship and the making of connections between similar promin families. Diana Sperling's sketches appearaimed to entertain.There are foxhunti episodes, severalpictures of the famiry returning from dinner parties, a amusing inside scenes such as Mrs Sperling and her maid swaitine flies, reminderof the proximity of the home farm, like anothercomic sketfh of h brother chasinga chicken around the yard to cure it of sickness. But remarkablething about the sketches is that nrore than three-quarters are of doors: the family is setin scenes around the house in the park - arongt roads and in one or two cases near the ornamentalwater whoseoutlook h been improved by a porticoed edifice. But the improvement and orn

tation of country life is observedwith a wicked eye.In almost half of those someone's pretensions take a tumble, and quite literally.we outdoor scenes, people to falling from their mounts, being unableto coax reluctant aretreated do.keys.getting stuck in the mud on the way to dinner, having to be carried throughlong wet grass'and carrying out geraniumswhen it is pouring with ral n. This last rather charming picture of her mother shows lowering skies(see Mrs Sperling is holding an umbrella over hersJf and the Frontispiece). is who carrying the pots of flowerswith which to ornamentthe garden. servant going literally are out, one might say,after nature.The glimpsethrough They the open door shows that whateveraspectthey are bent on impioving, they alreadyhave a fine view of lawn and fields with woodland in the distance. Ironicallyintendedor not, the sketcher enlarges the hallway enough to show that the family aspirarions includeda billiard table. only the largei houses of the well-to-do boasted such bulky assets. As the compiler adds, having a billiard table might be fashionablebut it was not always convenient. It would be inept to say that pretensions to polite societyare beingmocked. The Sperlingsare obviousry very much part of society- always ippearing suitably attired, for instance, and with the distinctive dress of servants scrupulously observed.Status is probably not in question, nor indeed the desirability of having a seatin the countryside. But the circumstances in which peoplefind themselves give plenty of room for personal reversesof fortune, a_nd while the improvement of nature is undertakentbr its enhancing efrect, the youngsketcher observes that in the process one is likely to get mLrddyand wet. Cultivation Seleuing lctnguage nray ask what thesepeopleare doing in my accounr.Families rike lle;eao.9r trrcrperllngs no longer exist; we regard them as having been overtaken by including the massiveupheavarof industriarisation.It probably :u"nt:, would not evenhave crossedMrs Sperring's mind as she tried to protect her leasrthe geraniums.that the rain woutd be carrying particles of :::,.l_tl "t ?, the then expandingtowns. After all, one of tt r-n'osi persrsrenr ;::l:"T Fnglish culturd seems ro be that community life is vanishing, il-,t"t^":f:ent *r')1 rne. drsappearance of the squirearchybecomesan example of it. tn thi s vi ew , com m unit y is ol*uy, in t he past , and one of t he kinds of ^

'usseoover who marrieswhom - Firth, Hubert and Forge 1l-geg) -:-'' note tnat for Londoner sof t he t 960sr . onr . - plut ed m ar r iage is t he one point

vanished is thai of a supposedly closed, ordered society ;"rT::::y lll,,nnt knew.their place.Familiesdo not observethe proprieties of ,";."::.?"ne least notof thekindthatcharacrerised polite^sociery in i#:.:"ll lfii: "i,., century. TheEnglish of themid_twenrieth may, in fact, h*"i:ll^:]"eteenrh


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society


at whichthe respective social standing of the families becomes verymuch issue(and cf. Strathernl98l). But we do not think we are touna convention in quitethe sameway that our tbrebears were.
Indeed, it is common for the English to assumethat before the t century, everything was governed by convention, and everything since by release from convention,so that the epithet'victorian'may be ,r.Jto signifv

The Sperlingsketches, however,presentus with daily, domesticscenes ar unconventionalityof a diflerent kind. It is hard to seeconvention in M Sperlingbeingsketched while shewas swattingflies.It looks as though Diana is being rather lessthan a dutifur daughterin drawing her mother raiher than lending a hand. If twentieth-century English have a perceptionof vanishingsocial orde and vanishingconvention,all rolled up somehow in the idea that traditic belongs to the past,then it shouldbe of someinterestasto how the vanishing i done, as to what gets serected, as to what is chosenas the signarof a ner modernity - or of the old tradition for that matter. The horsesthat dominated Diana Sperling'ssketcheshave gone from the countryside:our stabresare garages.Yet we still need pots for geraniums,and still associate famihes wit houses, even to the detail of housesset about with gardens.Indeed, the lat twentieth century has improved on the familial idiom in that it conflates r two; one now buys and sefis'homes'.In terms of the personar capital it locks up, tradein homesis one of the largest contemporaryindustries/services in the country The buildings may evoke tradirion, as willmott and young (1960: l0) describe for a London suburbin the late 1950s (' [a]ntiquity is alwaysthere in the estateagent'sadvertisements, evenfor tnoi..n of houses'), yet commerce as suchis dissociated from the idea of tradition. No one regardsthe house trade as an old-fashioned business. we obviously hold on to tlie idea of conventionand tradition, especially as we think there was .more' ol-it in the past, but rather selectivelysee it in some things and not others. By chance,an apposite exampreof selectionhas beendescribed by Giflian tseer(1986).It concernsthat proponent of natural selection himself,charles Darwin, writing as he was a generation away from Diana Sperling. The interestof Darwin for our presentpurposesliesin the way he strove to mould the languagehe was using to express ideasabout the evolution of life for which there was no imagery ready-made. Among the imageson which he drew were those of kinship. In order to talk about relations between natural species, he looked to relations between kin, referring for instance to 'genealogy' and 'affinity'. He was apparently quite deliberateabout deploying such an analogy betweenthe a.rangement oisocial and of natural life.2Nature and societyin this sense took after eachother. At the same time, by extending the kinship idioms themselves, he was also extendingthe idea that human beingswere akin to animal and other natural

convention itself. Exceptions provetherule.Thusthecourrandcity tireorth, periodmay be likened regency to the naughty twenties of our own centurv

Hurnan societycould be graspedas a part of nature.In eithercase. species. the ol associationimplied an initial perception of explicitness difference ,the thesedomains. Beer notes the passage: between As it is dilicult to showthe bloodrelationship between the numerous kindred of evenby the aid of a genealogrcaL any ancientand noble tr.e . . . we can the extraordinary 'l..ity, difficulty which natuiallstsiaue experienced understand in withoutthe aid of a diagram,the variousaffinities describing, whichihey percelve the many living and extinct members between of the ,u-. g..ui nutural class. (Darwin. The Origin of Species. 1g59, cited in Beer 19g6:221l D says, she thus seems bent on a genearogical Darwin. enterprise of a partrcular kind. Darwin soughtto restore man to his kinship with all other forms of lif-e. . . an which seemed enterprise to accordwith the surface idealsor r,;ssocietyand its He soughtrhe restoration lirerature' of familiarries,the di;.;;;i of a rost inheritance, the restitution of pio's memory...The factorof irony ..'. is that alr themes, these so ramiriarin the novers and dramasof the time,ur"i... drsplaced frorn the classstructure of his society. (Beer 19g6:222) For thepoint is that he wasusingthoseimages in a highryselective way. where it had been taken for granted that genealogieswere of interest to the highly ranked- as Darwin indic_ates in the abovepirrug" he extendstheir meanrng to quite dilrerent effect.His aim is to show affiniiy between,p..i", iy o.g.r", that recordnatural ancestry. In naturarising the connections at issue, he is able to democratise them. Beerarguesthat Darwin thus laid the grounds for his great ,levelling,of man asakin to non-humancreatures. He did so by divestingir, tunguuge of its referenceto social ranking and class; the emphasis on kinshipchanged the statusof wordssuchas .inhabrtants, or 'beings' into a far more egaritaiian forrn: .when I view alr beingsnot as speciar creations, but asthe linear descendants of somefew beings whichlivedlongbefore the first bed of the Siluriansystem was oefositeo,they seemto me to become ennobled'' Lineage escapes from class andthenfrom kind: .we possess no pedrgrees bearings;,and we have ro discover andrracethemany,Oiverging .::^1-*:.ri"l linesof oescent in our naturargenearogies, by characters ofany kind whichhav"e long been rnheri te d. ' ( Beer l9g6:222 3\ t.^"r suggesrs, is the dererminingabsence in Darwin,s account of the Y,1l-'^ "';r5rr 0r specres. Consider his metaphor for organisation. ,The naturar is_ a genealogicalarrangement', writes this contemporary of Morgan :I:"i 1986: 2l r ) . conr ainedwir hin sucha supposir ion is a doubr em ove:in l ,tj :t^1]" -"uurrg rne connotatronsof rank and status attached to the very fact of one's pedigree,he puts in its ptace tn. usrumption thata genearogy is ^rlowing oJnaturar rerati'ons.Itdisprays kinship l,!,1'o'!:' in fhysicat rhe chain of oetng'If there were once. a sense_in which oniy the aspiring had .connectrons,, now we all have connecrions and, as h. pui i;, probably all rhe organic beings which have lived on this earth appeardescendea from one primordiar type.


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society


in which only the aspiring Was there a sense And what was being displaced? very far in either time travel not have had to Darwin would had connections? nobility, the gentry and the reference to or spaceto think so. Despite his in the neighbourand would suffice, of his parents'generation middle classes Kent, acrossthe writing. most of his hood of his housein Kent wherehe did though Jane Austens, county of the was also the original Thamesfrom Essex, Hampshire. county, Austen lived most of her life in another southern a I introducethe inevitableMiss Austen,a little youngerthan Mrs Sperling, background, landed little older than Diana. and frorn a bookish rather than with intent. The geographical connections are, of course, artificial; they nature of my own narrative.But there is a simply make evidentthe selective further purpose. For while Jane Austen took for granted the idea that having connectionswas an attribute of social status, her sketchesof family life so Sheprofessionalised, incorporateda critical scrutinyof other assumptions. To have drawings. a to speak, the amateur humour of Diana Sperling's one's have managed is to pedigreeis fo be rtell bred; yet to have connections Peoplehaveto both one'scompanionsjudiciously. selected life circumsirectlV, Polite societythus nature. their own behaveaccordingto and improve upon the possibility of nature. Yet of regardeditself as the proper enhancement criteria by which question of the the raised improper or, worse,vulgar claims natural and social rank might coincide. Her introduction needsa word of explanation.The facts and changesto which I have been alluding are not being presentedas history. Indeed the cavalier selections offered here hardly add up to information, and my conventional. even old-fashioned,senseof period ignores contempora work on the riseof the individual or on the conceptof nature. However I in Europeanthought with'when'individualism first appeared not concerned thought' abo century'really people nineteenth in the nor indeedwith what for t of the contexts recover some is to My concern the natural world. Thus (cultural)mode or conventionsthrough which ideaswerepresented. might regard the visual perspectivein Diana Sperling'ssketchesas a medi demonstrablyavailableat certainperiods and not others,as of expression were availablefor Darwin to wri Genealogies also true of ultrasonography. wit h. insofar as its own narrativemode offe Yet the accountmay be misleading people's beliefsand feelings.To wri were though they conceptsand ideas as 'attitudes 'seen' towards' rank changedlike t this way or that societyis of individual subjects,as perceptions with the suggests we are dealing parallel vein I referredto Melanesianperceptionsin Chapter Two' Such presentation is of course a conventional twentieth-centuryliteralism ti conveying cultural idrom. This is consonant with the fact that although deploy nineteenth-centurymaterials in making the past present, lt contemporary preoccupationsthat will be exemplified.On the one ha to a lost pastl on the other hand late twentieth-cent tradition is relegated

English also promote their continuity with a past that seems rniddle-class recoverable. Thirty years ago. Willmott and Young sweepingly enrinently that'[i]n England the new is only acceptable itit embodiesthe old' asserted I I Nostalgia has since becomean enterprise (1960: ). of industrialproportions. It would certainlybe culturally inept to offer an accountof Englishkinship that did not bring the past into the present.However,it will be seenthat most herecomesthrough the languageof twentieth-century of what is re-presented Except in one or two instances,I have not gone back to the commentators. materials. Rather, the latter-day perspectiveof this account is original preserved.I draw on what mid and late twentieth-century writers have from the works oftheir predecessors, as though they were ethnograselected as though their interpretations and provided ethnographicdata on the phers present. The selections are also significant to the (retrospective) sense of periodisationitself. The last chapter was concernedwith the nature of English kinship at a time whenkinship sludiesloomed largein British socialanthropology,although I gave a description from a late twentieth-century perspectivethat could not havebeencomposedat that time. This chapterextends the accountas though earlier erashad thus suggests the kind ofantecedents in Englishkinship that one might havediscovered when kinship was still, as it wasin the mid-century,the social or cultural constructionof nature. At the sametime, I must make the account leapfrog over itself in order to render equally evidentthe antecedents of late twentieth-century thinking. As a result, the selectionsare also teleologically oriented towards what English kinship was to become.They incline therefore both towards a delineation of the reproductive model of modern times and towards its subsequent dissolution. Insteadof moving back and forth betweenEnglish and Melanesia,one will be moving between differentperiodsand discourses of 'English'. This apparent periodisation also acts to closeoff a flow of ideas:a happeningis named as 'then'. Hence the always-present senseof contemporu.y iif. being somehow after the event. Eliciting nqture The following sketch is drawn directly from Richard Handler's and Danier s recent book (1990). It\ interest lies in their claim that Jane Austen texts in such a way as to allow internal dialoguesto crearea l:1n1ce:her The debate is over the naturalnessof social (in)equality, and thus over :;^o",: utc_relatio_nship between'nature' and 'society'.Assumftioni about rank or ofsocial organisation - that peopledo divide into the ::et:t and the characrer unequal is nor challenged; civil sociery is built upon nature and is ll::1."0 natural for human beings. Bur people are intenselypreoccupied ;i:f:: *iut ""q cletennines any particularindividual'splace.In Handler and Segal's ur".,1 ''"w' Austen's concern with matchmaking goes to the heart of the matter.


English kinship in the late twentieth centurv

The progressof polite society


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allianceis a point of practical action, a moment at which the Matrimonial of statusis embodiedin personalconduct.In the idiom of the day, assessntent is the kind of connectionsone could summon. ths quesrion conventional the expression of behaviour,and howevereloquent However attributes offine houses and convivialparties,peoplewereknown theerternal The capacityto sustainconnections ofparticular kinds, by how they behaved. to converse capacltles well or be good company, could only show in like the the individual person.And while the individual might activelycultivate the habits of polite society, the debatable question was the extent to which Thus natural beauty is improved cultivationcould displacenatural breeding. by humaningenuityonly so long as'awkward taste'doesnot obtrude as false adornmentThe characters and events as they appear in the novels offer conflictine about what can be attributed to nature. assessments characters speakof natureas a modelor guidefor ar-t, [Sometimes] artifice.and judgement. . . to be 'guidedby nature' in one'sjudgementis to assess realitv (Handler correctly. and Segal 1990: l9) At the same time (1990:22-3, footnote omitted): - itself human reason a partof nature- mustfollowthedictates of nature in orderto rmprove natureandthereby to create civil society. . . In civil society, then,human beings havetranscended nature, but withoutviolating natural principles or Iaws. And civil society is, in both a pragmatic and a moril sense, tireproperstateof human life. . . People who atlempt to denythat there is a properly iiviiizednature for human beingscan only act unnaturally...Similaily,the renunciation of selection, thechoice to remain in a presocialized natural .toi". . . is really a selection ol the natural, and thusunnatural and immoral. Elsewhere they observe how Austen queries the 'conceit of the belief in socrety's foundation in nature' (1985: 703). She questions the ostensible naturalness of social inequalities- the privilege accordedby birth order and so forth not by appealingto any anterior condition but by remarking on the negotiability of the relationshipbetweennaturar and socialinequality.Good breeding reveals inherentdifferences in the mannersof'thegenteel and the low, rproper and itself encompasses a degree of considerationshown towards membersof all social r anks'( 1985: 700) . They point out r hat Aust en's charactersdislgree as to whit the social order really is, rbr no final decision has to be made. Political writers of her day, by contrast,dogmatically and prescriptively laid such an order at the door of either societyor nature. JaneAustenis an unusualobserver. then.we might observeinturn that her reflections also revealprevailingassumptions. First, it is the individuarperson the si t e or place of t his r elat ionshipbet weennar ur e and societ y. Lno.i , whetherone takesthe externalcriterion of rising and falling fortunesor of the individual'sinternalcapacityto act in a manneriyway. second,the imn-rediate socialmilieu in which the individual acts is familial a one (the authors evoke


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English kinship in the late twentiethcentury

The progressof polite society


Burke on the naturalnessof property to be found in inheritance. woll craft on the unnaturalness of propertydividing families). Finally, natureexisti as a realm that receives the improving imprint of human actionsand deci In their dialogueswith one another,her characters make it clear that birth i not the soledeterminantof a cultivatedmanner.what is civil or socialis t proper development of nature, including the capacityto discernit in ot For'[w]hat is given to human beingsin or by nature must be added to improved by human means in particular the exercise of human rea through proper choice' (1990:20). Now, by the end of the eighteenthcentury, the rhetoric of genealogies wr already well establishedas a device by which those aspiring to (new) soci heightscould lay claim to (traditional)status.3 But appealto genealogies ha to go hand in hand wirh proving currentconnections. And that meantscrutin of the behaviourof could be mistakenabout the appearar of apparent worth. one could also be mistaken about another', urr"rr-.nt one's own, and make erroneousinferences of intentions.whether or not personwere a suitablemarriagepartner was the dramatic settingfor much Austen's analysis.For 'marriages... should be made in harmony with the natures of the two parties, both their personal natures,and their families' natural socialstatus. . . [Since]marriagerepresents a claim to reproducet natural order sociallyand the socialorder naturally' ( 1990:39). Drama lay i how discernibleeither orders were. In his or her essential person,the individual was held to evincethe particular nat ureto b e e m b e l l i s h e d o r i m p ro ve dby the exerci se of tal enr.Leai ni nehow to danceor converse in Frenchenhanced the person,but only insofaras standingwas evincedin appropriatepersonalconduct, and thus injudicious (or injudicious) pragmatic action: the proper exerciseof choice respected nature while going beyond it. Landscape was improved so long as the landscapegardening was in keeping with its natural character. As we have seen, such a character was also revealed in people's actions, includine the connectionsthey cultivated. one certainly did not assume comparability o[ social status among everyone counted as a relative - distant relatives could be a problem. This vignette from sense qnd sensibiliry (published in lgll) is irresistible. In a morning's excursion to Exeter they [SirJohn Middleton and Mrs Jennings, Lady Middleton's rnother]hadmetwith two youngladies whomMrs Jennings h-ad thesatisfaction ofdiscovering to beherrelations, andthiswasenoush for sirJohn to invitethemdirecrly to the park. . . Lady Middleton wasthrowi into no little alarm, on thereturnofsir John,by hearing thatshewasverysoonto receive a visit from two girlswhom shehad never seen in her life,and of whose elegance whose tolerable gentility even shecouldhaveno proof,for theassurances oJherhusband and motheron that subject went for nothingat all. Their beingher relations, too, made it so much the worse;and Mrs Jennings's attemptsai consolation were, therefore, untortunately founded whensheadvised her<Iiughter not to careabout theirbeingso fashionable, because theywereall cousins, andmustput up with one

now, to preventtheir coming,Lady however, ,nother.As it was impossible, of a well-bred with all thephilosophy idea of it to the herself resigned ir-iddl.rnn reprimand on a gentle givingher husband with merely herself contenting *ln.'.n. (Austen 1917: 103) every day. or times six five ihe subject r ".lv Mrddleton's resignation is underlined in the reaction of Elinor SirJohn Middleton irif,,tuooa. a neighbourwho wasalso a whom the girls. To be better acquainted,Austen has Iurther wishesto introduce lot ' E l i nor th i nk- was t heir inevit able to such perceivedinevitability was the degreeto which one The converse one's relatives.This was not simply a matter of could chooseto recognise or inheritance:branchesof kin might ,h.aaing junior lines from succession the circles in which also becomequite dissociatedfrom one another through particular sets of kin, they moved. Whatever demographic fortunes befell deliberate of the outcome was regarded as and disassociation association companions choice of If it werethe capacityto make an appropriate selection. the quality of one's own (individual)nature, the great blessing that evinced .or curse of this kinship conventionwas that in the end no singleindividual was irrevocably tied to the choices his or her relatives made. Differentiation within the family was anticipated.It was built into the in their own houseapart themselves that a couplewould establish expectation from their parents. We might put it that a relationship internal to a 'the developmental cycleof the household unit wasexternalised: coresidential (1990: 34). Indeed, Handler and makesconnectionsout of family relations' Segal emphasise the way in which relationswith a newly settleddaughter(or son) and son- (or daughter-)in-law became a 'connection': thus married siblings cultivated connections between one another's families. Brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents, as well as inlaws.immediateneighboursand those whom one visited,could all become part of one's circle of connections.a It was. of course,necessary for the settling couple to have the means for an independent in the novelsabout the and much of the discussion establishment, suitabilityof a match is concerned with the pragmaticsof money. In addition lay the considerationto which Jack Goody (1976)has drawn attention: the matchingof like-status Husband and wife both familiesby similar resources. cameto the marriagervith their share,and one might say that the connections wereconnectionsof properiy. Yet preciselybecause a match restedon the supposition from the point of unite,s should persons status equivalent that of viewof the diversekin who could claim relationship it was the circlesin which theymoved,their choiceof connection. that madepeopleunequal'And it was tndividual personswho made connections. If at all possible,kin were also thosewhom one wished to know. or elseto a household, . The term 'family' referredeither to a line of descent tncludingservants, were and so on. Insofar as connections guests, apprentices seen to be made between families.the familv had the characterof a given unit'


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Thc progress of polite society


It was, above all, a unit in its pretensionsto status. and in a way t potentially divided kin from kin. The authors note that for all the vari connot;rtions of the term, it did not include reference to all one.srelatives i the twentieth-century sense. By no meansall relatives were family. Althouq from one perspectivea family was given, whereasconnectlons were from anotherperspective one'sfamily to someextentdeterminedthe reach one'sconnections and one'sconnections the standingof one'sfamily. Nei afforded a complete model of social position. Like the overlap bet natural and social sensibility,the overlap'and .ctnnecti produced an individual person fully defined by neither alone. The descentof a family name with an estatedependedon the capacity selectrelatives,that is, on r.aking affinal connections.At the same ti landed familiesshedyounger sonswho had to nroveinto other occupatio The outcome was that (social) rank differentiated kin from one another. r possibilityof such differentiationbeingpresenteven whereproperty in ancewas not such an issue,as the new middle clases were to make appa Kinship convention meant that social inequality was perceivedas even inevitable, between those otherwise related. perhaps this was connotation that Darwin wishedto divestfrom his democratisins mer of de s c e n t a n d a ffi n i ty .

concept'culture'itself. while termsfor the gentryand for the lower ordershad long been in use. now the middle became visible - literally the categor/ contained within or betweentheseother terms. It provided u n.* p..rp.Jti on society. The middle classes differentiated themselvesaccording to the assetst. commanded:the building up and transmission of family fortunesis one of themes of Davidoffand Hall's account.But therewerealsomany familieswith incomeratherthan fortunes,and whosechildren.far from inheritinsdutieson an estate,could be expectedto find such fi-ily *rrt the Taylors, who lived somemiles away from the sperling housein the Essex market town of Colchester. Isaacand Ann Taylor married in 178I . Isaac'sfamily had beensoldsmiths,

1790s(1961: l5). 'Industry', 'denrocracy' and .art' also acquiredthei contemporary meanings in this period,according to his account, asdid th

Turning inside out The very concept of rank underwent a kind of democratisation- it came to t 'class' that divided people, and the ord classes to be divided by a new one. refer to the middle class who were establishing themselves in Austen's ti (Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall's study of the English middle cl beginsin 1780).In his classicess ay on Culture ancl society,R-aymondwilli tells us that the phrase 'middle' or 'middling' classfirst becamecurrent in

engraving(Davidoffand Hall r,isfarherlearningthe new craft of copperplate a literate milieu: his eldestbrother edited lived in and religious He n. Of inSZ, of Bible the lirst secretary the and became of the London ,,.,opulardictionary youngest publisher. his was successf'ul Ann a came from a while iifrrrry. gent r y and cler gy.and lsaacwould have becom ea m inist er oi mi nor Irmi l v not int er vened. so t hat he car r iedon his f at her 's engr aving ni mselha f d i l l ness patrimony in building own father, having lost Ann's his default; by business worked as an estateagent.The Taylors moved severaltimes speculution. to a small village in Suffolk, and then to Colchesterin 1796, London, fiom They were non-conformists, and Isaacbecamea ministerto a Ongar. to later income was supplemented by the congregation. His Independent small himself, his not only but wife and several of his children.In fact of writings them Taylor parentsand childrenwrote and illustratedover seventybetween books.Many of thesewereaimedat young people,althoughIsaac'ssons three to theologthemselves (onea draughtsman,one a publisher)also addressed The parentshad not really wished and philosophicalsubjects. ical,scientific literary work wasprecarious to becomeauthors professional theirdaughters and inappropriate- and their early works were anonymous. Here,then, we have a family whose(literary)tradition is also beingcarried as a secondbestoption. on by default,as Isaaccontinuedhis father'sbusiness Its interest lies in Davidoff and Hall's claim that Isaac and Ann 'were representative of the new culture which enlivened the Essex and Suffolk (1987:6l). Culture is intendedin a strong sense. countryside' 'The Taylors of Essex livedby producingcultural items:lectures, sermons, engravings, writing and publishing ideas about correct middle-classmorality and behaviour' (1987:51) . Nonconformistmoralising of this period developedinitially as something of an 'oppositionalculture' ( I 987:2 I ), its facesetagainstthe perceived laxness of the gentry. Davidoffand Hall's analysisconcernsthe growing awareness of domesticity,its ideology of moderation and joy in small comforts and its promotion of the home hearth.William Cowper'sexplicitdepictionof hearth and home had added a oeaceful rural dimension. Jane Austen comments on his poetic enthusiasm ior such scenesby making him a favourite of her enthusiastic Marianne (1917:8l), for his overt message stressed not public enthusiasm but inner commitment. His popularity was immense. Cowper's best-known poetryreflected life in the on thecalmminutiaeof everyday nome, the garden,the fields and woods.. . Cowper'scentral themeswere the humility, comfort and peaceto be found in the whitewashed cottage. For generations of serious the Christians born in the | 780s and I 790s, Cowperbecame emblemof all their hopesand fears... [F]amiliesol bankers, shopkeepers, manufacturers, farmers, tanners, brewers. millersandclergymen . . . foundsuccour and inspiration in Cowper,whethertheir politicswereradicalor conservative. .. He wasreputed to beJaneAusten's 157, favouriieauthor.(DavidoffandHall 1987: references omitted)


English kinship in thc late twentiethcentury

The progress of polite society


But Cowper (who died in 1800)had alreadywritten, and we are talking of that took him up. and of a possibletransformthe generation(1820s 1830s) Cowper's depictionsof the cosy domesticinterior had ation of perspective. been matched by the equal charms of the exterior: the garden round the cottagewas 'Nature in her cultivated trim' which would be dressedto taste werelaid out to gardening, when estates (1987:166).From an era of landscape landowner, here was an image of taste that had been evincethe tasteof the proportions miniaturisedto the of a country cottage.The reducedproportions are intriguing. They invite one to look within the house to the small family circle drawn round the fire. McNeil (1986: 197-8)commentsthat the generalisedrelationship between humanity and nature found in earlier poets centurywas,in Cowper, 'transformedinto the very personal of the eighteenth interactionsbetweenindividuals and nature'. Here also perhaps lay the means by which a culture set against the itself (Boon 1982). ostentation of courtly excess could come to exaggerate not Middle-class culturecould be promoted through the rhetoricof birth, nor it through the artificialities despised; it could not elevatefamily fortunes to estates. It addressed itself and to t noble insteadto small-scale connections, of the domestic social self-sufliciency unit. A conceit, of course,to animate a category ('culture') as though it had intentions, but perhaps we see here the development of a parti perspective on socialindependence. Handler and Segal( I 990:52, n. 6) s 'was not a of independence that the association with choice.for instance. element introduced by an emergent middle class. but was an element aristocraticlife adopted [rnade explicit], and therebychanged,by the wi socialorder'. In Austen'scircle,to be dependent upon anothermeant one - the power to an inferior, so that 'the value attachedto independence and select- is thought to characterizethe highest,most civilized, form Independence human existence'(1990:45). was to be obtained with mea and with freedom from debt and from superiors who must be pleased. such independencecould be reerppropriated(adopted) as self-sufficiency.
Tensionsover loyalties betweenthe natal and marital family frequently surface in srnallmatterssuch as where the adult chitdrenwould spendChristmasor lami celebrations. It has been seen how each spouse's fanrily and their own could strugglefor the servicesof a woman or the material support of a man. times these intra-familial conflicts were exacerbatedby differencesin status When one branch of a family had made its way up the social ladder, resources. or vulgar relations could be a handicap. Yet there are numerous examplesof prosperousor educated relatives giving kin a helping hand . . . Most men women of the provincial middle class would have agreedthat, indeed, 'Our F is a Little World'. (Davidoff and Hall 1987:356)

they did the idea of good works towards those of lower ranks. In his classificationof codes of manners, Nicolson called the period between one of 'distilledcivility' (1955:204).However,it overlappedwith 1770-1830 to was becomea passionfor 'respectability', reachingits zenith in the what 1850s. and As he depressingly comments:'by l8 50 the whole of England 1840s had becomemiddle class'(1955:227), a revolution he puts down to the rapid in the numbers of families who regardedthemselves increase as genteel.piety fashionable. Nicolson makes his own class prejudice evident: it is became clear that he favours distilled civility as the 'English gentleman' era, and is an annoyance.He cannot concealhis irritation at her Austen'spresence for spending passion on the meaninglesssubtletiesof social status charircters the subject (actually of his book), and can only accommodatethem as of the new order of respectability. harbingers Indeed, the process by which the new middle class culture of the midnineteenth century became visible has been the subject of endlessEnglish disquisitionever since,and one in which classprejudicehas had a significant role to play. Thus scorn has beenpoured on the very notion of the category 'middle class' (Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969: 23), and my own vaniry is transparent in the intellectual distance I contrive.yet the middle classwas not so much inventedas reinvented. This returns us to the questionof selection. when facedwith changing attitudes or valuesor terminologies,we have to ask whatit is of themselves - what of the 'alreadythought' so to speak* peopleare choosing to think about, and therebymaking explicit.Hence the questionof how a 'new'culture becomes visibleand, in this nineteenth-century example. especially when it is a culture of moderation. Suppose. like the emergence of the middle class itself,the centreof what was alreadythere or within could be externalised as an object of thought.6And suppose the social field were already realisedon a reduced would not then look to the outsideworld nor to polite society. outward disposition would become reflected less in a spread of connections than in behaviour evincing one'sown worth. worth would havepublic currencynot as tastebut as a self-sufficiencv of sorts. thejob *u, to improve one'spersonar tarents introduceda perspectlve ^"Tnut oI transformative force. In Cowper's case,thesewere tarentsgiven by God, in that sense all were equal before God. But the middle classes lnd with its empharicdomesticity,was to evincethe peacefulness, skill ;:tr,,y,:. that lay within everyone.They did this through miniarurising rhe act #:::1, "'{ultlvation, shrinking the social landscape to the interio. p..roni It was a supposed internalsrateof affairsthat wasexplicitlyixternalised in ;"^:l:tt works and deeds.No longer a quesrionof finJing a match between ;',":l:: nat ur eand t he ext er nal expr ession of t ast ein one'sconnect ions or in ri - .-rrclS l i ' of -"u within which one moved or the societyone cultivated, persons made

visibte tn" i|ly,uentlv n;ade

ofirror.talents; it was they whose

It is hardly new to say that the middle classesalso appropriated good breeding' genteelness of demeanour that characterised upper-class


Enslish kinship in the late twentieth centurv

of politesocicty The progress


S cru b y s d re a m.wa s a high class r esidential ar ea with no tonelowering terrace houses or bungalows. He wanted to stressthe rural aspect of a suburb which was, nevertheless, only 13 miles and 22 minutes (on the fastest train) from London. The Reed and Hoad b r o ch u re rcfe rre d to ' o r der ly r oads. tr ee planted, wide gr r ss v er ges , I o w sto n e q 'a l l s. Ha n d - m ade tr les. giving ever v r oof a m el l o* 'ed appearrnce. most satistying to those of artistic taste. Houses that, d e sp i te th e i r wi d e l y d iffer ing stvles, mer ge natur ally into the gr een vislas of woodland that fom their background. A sylvan town with birds. trees, flowers - a real country home that, thanks to the boundary of Petts Wood. will always remain country'.

the logic of patrimonial inheritanceor the childrenappearedto be following from one generationto the next but l,...ruution ofjoint conjugal estates was also a perpetuationof the capacity for indepenif.,ri r.rt perpetuation and Personalchoice' ,rence "'tlo* replicationtook place on a significantlyreducedscale.Enhancement designedas Cottageswerearchitecturally wasturned insideout as simplicity. forms of domesticbuilding.?If those replicasof the country cottage -^r,ular a world that had moved away from the ifri?"a was to create between internal and external worth' ,." f"r some kind of isomorphism family and connections, in which the improvements one did to l.i*."n Inuru..' exemplified the capacity for self-improvement, in short that had in which nature was elicited from within. Now one copied ,''ou.a from a sense internal one imagined as th..^t..nal form, the cottage,in order to depict an gaugeinner grace, and Jo,nrrtic harmony. Frorn outward form one could words' what was individualexemplarswere models to be imitated. In other attention within could actuallybe createdor brought to conscious contained within was what of the content Moreover, behaviour. outward correct by becamefocused: not the minute gradations of politenesswhich varied with everyone but the personalvirtues redolent of good domesticorganisation' The internal (what is within persons)has been literalised as an interior (residential) space. (cf. La Fontaine 1988) I havelabouredthe analogyof domesticarchitecture because it seemsas if the image of the secludedhouse/cottageaccomplishes two things at once. It both miniaturises the 'size' of the family group within, and evokesa sense of intimate organisation (the simple cottager has few if any servants). What has become visibly internal to the family is its own division betweenpublic and arrangement or regulation.The long-established private is now attached to an image of the domestic family with respectto the world 'outside', and a reduced 'family' becomesa vehicle for conceptualising privacy.sIf what was made visible to family members was its principles of regulation, the family could thus appear defined as much by the internal exercise of authority as by external comparisons with others. Davidoff and Hall observe that residential segregation,and the expressed independence of the middle classfrom the values and aestheticprototypes of the gentry. was realisedin the sqp,aration of dwellings as units on their own. An explicit desire for privacy mirked property boundaries with hedges and walls. HumphreyReptonstrikinglydemonstrated the effectin his papermodel of the space public roadandpassing in frontofhisEssex'cottage' where theviewofshops, wascut off by fencing,shrubbery and trees;a strongcontrastto the communal squares The novel deviceof the semi-detached and terraces of Georgianstyles. house, house with theappearance of a smaller combining theprivacyandeconomy of onetwicethe size, antiThe inherent development. to suburban waspeculiar urbanism imageof early in the quintessential culturewasreflected of middle-class

1l Amenities without und x'ithin Le.ft: Pells Wood, Kent. Built in the early 1930son an estate first opened up in 1928. Reproduced by kind permission of Peter Waymark lrom A Histort of Petts Wood. Rrglll: Manchester. An advertisement from 1988. Reproduced by kind permission of J. Freenran lbr Molloy Homes. Levenshulme, Manchester.

what lay within an explicit object of improvement. Civility acquired a new public face,'morality': the behaviourof otherswas to be copied,or avoided, but in any casetreated as examplesfor one's own. Many of the ideas and forms that apparently distinguishedthe midnineteenthcentury were already in place in the early decades,there when Diana Sperling was sketching and Jane Austen writing, and a possible conceptualfacility for the transformation of this polite societyhas alread/ wasmodelled beennoted.We sawhow in Austen'snovelseverynew household to (internally) who belonged daughter The son or on an eversion of relations. which with new establishment a marrying founded on one establishment, other family members now had (external) connections.This processwas oid or refurbished exaggerated in the caseofthe gentry,who built new houses ones to show it. The aestheticoutcome may well have been a reassuring perpetuationof status,a visual replication of well-maintainedresidences

English kinship in the late twentieth century nineteenth-centurydesirable housing, the white cotmge with thatched roof and porch embowered with honeysuckle and roses. (1987: 361, referencesomitted, original emphasis)

The progress of polite society


it is not surprising perhaps that Davidofland Hall link the following olaces, it ittt.
Cowper ... envisaged... an organic sociely. based on the land, in which there would be no substantial separation between production, reproduction and The household wasto unite within it the separate but complementary consumption. of the two sexes.By the 1830sand 1840ssuch a vision was no longer actii,ities appropriate or possible.Middle-classfamilies were increasingly living . . . in homes which were separatedfrom work . . . A second major shili had occurred by the 1830s and 1840s. The original inspiration for new patterns of behaviour in the home and lamily lay with the century. . . Isaac and Ann Taylor and their religiousrevival of the late eighteenth generationwere converted in their adult lives and had all the enthusiasmofthe new of truth. However. for many of the writers o[ the later period, religion discoverers wasa given part oftheir intellectualframework but no longer occupiedcentrestage. (1987:181, reference omitted) If religion did not have to be explicitly elicited neither did nature. And if one of the lbrms that nature took was the cultivated garden that clung visibly to the walls of the individual dwelling, then interior space could also be conceptualised as a garden - both the persons (especially children) that the house contained and the interior of those persons. children as gardenswas a favourite metaphor for writers on domesticity. Morality had to be sown, cultivated and deeply rooted against the winds ofadversity and the weedsof vice eradicated. as a clergyman wrote in the juvenile magazine edited by JaneTaylor. The flower garden, in particular, was encouragedfor girls. (Davidoff and Hall 1987: 373, reference omitted, original emphasis) what was cultivated was held in that interior space, the individual mind and spirit: the plants growing in the garden, the children in the house, talents within the person. Nature thus provided the ground to the cultivation of the person. Like religion, it becomes a background to the exerciseof talent. What was educated. drawn out, was the capacity for moral conduct evinced outwardly in respectable behaviour. External respectability displayed internal morality. Which of course is what all those literary productions of the Taylors were about. They were, apparently, books of contemplation and reflection rather than.dialogue.Their aim was toedify and instruct. perhaps the most interesting clevelopment for our purposes, on Ann Taylor's part they included texts on motherhood.

century.houses of the nineteenth During the boom of the first two decades gardens parcelling large within old town up roads or by along were built Residences were pattern for the mid-century. that set the scene a centres, worth was conveyed workplace; social both civic space the from and separated had beenset Whereasthe Sperlings'house as immediateoutward appearance. in a landscapethat invited the ornamentation of its gardens,the garden round 'the cottage' was virtually attached to the dwelling itself. Roses and other plants came to ornament the dwelling, trailing round its door or closely clusteredon its walls, an image whose details were revived in the Edwardian cottage garden. The cottage-and-gardenappeared a free-standingentity, individual dwelling.If personswere likewiseimaginedas individual d

12 Twlor cottuge, l8l6 buiit by the Duchess of Bedfor<|, The watercolour is by Diana Sperling, captioned 'A cottage -built in 1810-l I by Humphrey and in the style of Henry 7th's teign, September 1816.' It was J Adey Repton. Architects provided owners with pattern books for such styles. Reproduced by kind permission of Victor Gollancz Ltd, from Mrs Hurst Dancing by Diana Sperling, illustrations by Neville Ollerenshaw.

Both parents are seen as having awesomeresponsibilities, but the duties of the mother are given particular attention. . . Ann Taylor was suggesting in the early ntneteenth century the notion of professionalmotherhood which becamemore clearlyarticulatedby the 1830s and 1840s... This meant that wives and mothers shouldthemselves be educated. How could they fulfil such important work without proper preparation, without attention to system, without organization and r e g u l a r i t y? (1987:175)

I0 6

English kinship in thc late twentieth ccnturv

The progress of polite society


end which ;;il;;J;;;0.,. F'?no :i::j:::;:T":i::ji::.: Tl: ourselves in every intellecrual '. (T;;;"i;;io. study is'rornli,np;;;r;;";,
wouldcalrthe,""ognitionof kinship roles asroles. tnJ tooneipa*r,r, ," God.with retigion the r ,i:j:"".:::l,11,::".:ell for-gran red idiomof middle_class ,i:jx::j:.^t::,r-,r::\.rhis life. conremporary educational movemenrs ;il;;,;'il# latergeneration inciuded thedomestic moratity of innerf

Here are matched two forms of domesticity.It was possibleto achi resonance between an orderly, well-run and decenthousehold and on r Uf( u, decent_thinkingmind. The interior person appeared u, u ,.griu,.d -rayl or'sdau ghrer Jane was, amons orher thi rrtu :r",l.j::..,j:1,,i1j.: ^yli editor of a rerigious youth magazine.when consulted about a young lad

I)llsl(;N ^NL) -n , r"" PonP I ca" .." thcrc u"^,-u, no -'",r-* ;t li r.t"-l,tt ,i" ,".n ln racc ol ltll) r^ nn more the "' morc the tault tlic loftier and lier Jouth of gold-but lovelier

127 FOl

l2li palaces. but fom have have the*

M{)I)ERN}'ANUTACTURE I trust she will koep her gren homes of middle will trutMul, ought with Wc of to be, and I trust weot 6elds, life; b,

throne ofmarblc for

her cottages, and her enriched of the a ueful,


substutial ferutg we for ug of

the pou cr and cham of art uithin pmr; and .t thc humble and tlre past ages failcd by preand

of art. no

now no morc no

gods, nor ueed

mmyrdms pensuality,

of 6aints; place kt


ttt" t"gni6""n"t.of ". nanowness and lts prde, ours may its by its universality rril ond .ontin'",

superstition, learned

or for qostly insolere. and faithful historictl painting;


,,iTx improve in the senseof educare, and educate in the s"n* ::"-t^t]:I_:" SENSE lmpresslngupon personstheir familial duties. Moreover, _ott,.., *"r' lust taking 'the moral s p i ri tu a lt ra i ni ng,of thei r chi l dren ur,l arr.rn, s ec r c rr r{ ,,t.,, /1 o o 1 .340,); 1 ,;n d sacred duty' ( 1987: ttii:,::l^'-t1g:ll evangelisms. frl' Education appears not asenhancemenr, r., "r;;;;;;r,;il";:;:i;r, pr::"d ,;;;;; " spate..rt *u, on"orir,.n",,
theyw_ere u.ritirtg ibnrt dornrrtic duties - unO lrl

JL ;;;, ;;

;, ffi :":iffi

irs lorrliness' bct$'een the pjcture of too oa. And thus, as u'hich u'e imagincd lab-orious England, picture of tm luxurious ltaly, futurc, and the in the past, there may which u'e temember will exist, if we do our dutyexist-tlere condition, neither oppressed an intemediate conin vanitt-ihc by labour nor *'asted dition of a peaceful and thoughtful temPrece in aims, and acts, and arts. 95. We are about to enter of our s'orld's aidcd by the bistory arts of in which peace, rill

and thoughtful -touching hu|lru nature, in dram3tic and fmiliar of landscape; renderings


P@lical of natural objecte aod reali' deeply'flt are the 6ubjectg

and rational, zations of tbe events .thich

And lel these thing6 we of our religious faith. abroad want, aq far ae possible, be sattered and made uessible to all men. 96. 5o alrc, in manufacture: we requirc work substantial rathr than rich in make; and refned, rather than splendid but sene they the in design. catch be and should ned, Your the such refine stuffs need not be such as would eye of a luchegs; at on as may

companies a commercirl Anra,*;c6r-:--, commercial en rerprises ^c^rr of ar r kind s nowc.eateJ'rh;;;;;",.".' olilrr,*o fortunes turnedinto publicbuildings; towerir :,'#":: i,?i::,,::-:.,,:re offi ces, li ke somanyIatter_d ay chu rch er, ;";; ;; 5;;;""i;'Jllit;"r:.:::: o"lllant i3aee.ol1lba;spu"e. Ha,ringbackto mediev :j.::j:,i.i^ln: rmagery wasno accidenr:

Consonant with thegrowing aparfof publicandprivate , spaces. busrnes also came to have a .public, urp..,.'auni ts' Insurance

capturethe viitues of earrierages, to imitate exterior granduer of medieval cathedrals.

li:ll:;:: Y':1:::::ll ll.. of inner,,"i'ir;n1;;;:Yr.,ol"J;t"::ff;i a building: ir wasanexecution Hence il,. po*". of imitati on. Mid_centu -cenl #,l,l"t^?:j;-:: ::_: l"rents. public buildingsattempted to

artenrion torhe proportions


a period

domestic lifc, slowly, but

at las! entirely, supcrsede public ats of $'ar. For our own

life and thc she u'ill with with

the taste, of e cdtager, in English orders, ia a teodency



ing error the lower

dress, especially


to oimsinees

no!, I furnae

believe, be I nor will

blasted she be

throughort encumbered

l 3 R r,sA l l '.r Tu'o P uths . 1859 Extract from John Ruskin's The Tto Paths; Being LL'ttures on Art and it.t Appli(ulion to Decorutionand Manultlcture Delivered in 1858 9.In 1906 in its Thirt!'-sixth Thousand. Reproducedby kind permission of Unwin Hyman Ltd.

effect ofperceiving o .o,nron kinship among alrliving species' Arnold drewon orderaristoc.utiJuuiu", in orderto find an ennobling aim for the commoncurtureof the EngliJ. Ina..a, it r, .o,n-onplaceto observe that Arnold' a schoolrntp."rir, aid so in reactionto rhe narrowmindedness of thenonconformist schoors he had to inspect. To him, the middle classes appeared under-educat"a andhedid norconcear fr,irirtin.s, his distaste for their religious platitudes.

the veryimages for improve..n, ,,u, a scale ,, o.ra"lll;l?ff required' whereDarwinnaruralised onre-.unk.d g.n"urogi.riii.n-, in ora' to talkof theennobling

Society a, ,u.h could not be the oirecl object of democratisation, a point to whichI shallreturn, for social difference provided

a common curture r,,grgr""i'rr"rrr" ffiTl#: was j:,: a., p"rwin o..ui,r,ns nature, Marthew Arnold _*: :1T',,1T: L1 curture. wastrying to democratise

::j::::T:*."rt:ll necessiry for estabrishing

if the (middre-crass) Englishtrvio a.urltradition became explicitin the iso0s,themomenr at whichrh(

But it was not the aristocraticclasses that would provide sucha themselves focus.As they currently existed'classes were the embodiment of our ordinary selves; to embody our best self we must create the state' (cited by Williams l96l: 130).Arnold made literal the parallelsbetweenregulation,culture and public life. In 1864 he wrote that 'to trust to the principle of supply and demandto do for us all we wanlin providing education is to lean upon a broken reed'. He believed that if schools were to be efficient they had to be subjectto public regulation;only then could solid guarantees of quality be gtven (Scott 1988:28). Of interestis what has happenedto the individual person in this view. Williarns (1961: 127. original emphasis)quotes from Arnold's Culture and Anarchl, (1869). Culture. . . places . . . [Yet] [p]erfection, in an internalcondition humanperfection asculture The isolated. whilethe individual remains conceives it. is not oossible individualis required. in lris own underpain of beingstuntedand enleebled develooment to carrvothers alonqwith hinl in hismarchtowards if he disobevs.


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society


perfection, to be continually doing all he can to enlargeand increasethe volume the human stream sweeping thitherward.

This is anorhershift of perspective. For the Taylors, morality seems to ha Iain in externalising inner worth; following externalprescriptions of duty a matter of cultivation from within, and of copying good examplesf without. Here,by contrast,is a perceptionthat only as one in a collectivity an individual progressin him or herself. Through the instrumentof a cul in common, each will acquire that culture as itself an internal condi Regulation, formerly an attribute of an interior condition, is presented impinging from the outside. The social field is enlarged again, but c ommon a l i tyra th e r th a n c o n n e c ti o n .
In the end he saw no choice.'For public establishments modern societies have betake themselves to the State; that is to themselves in their collectionand character.'Arnold had no sympathy for the argument,as popular in 1860as 1980,that dependence on the state . .. destroyedthe self-reliance of those benefited.Instead he believed that the failure to take collectiveaction w individual action was impossible,inappropriateor self-defeating produced very ills . . . [For] he believedthe statethrough education could combat the ani the collapseof culture, which otherwisemight be produced by the inevitable of the old aristocraticorder... So the middle classes were the key, not only to tl preservation ofculture but also to the peacefultransitionto a democraticsociei

aspart of a wider socialreality:for the individual is rnanifest as cruci:rlly -,,ite (1870: laws civil take account' 168). which )li" unit of in the idea of a and order are, so to speak,here externalised Regulation person. individual The social order which encompassing the of laws cvsterfl person the individual is a collectivity presented to asthe the ,iur.*i16 beyond he/she duties by which is defined. lt now seems self-evident and ield oi rights it at human nature should be affected by the way such regulations are features.e and that socialorganisationwill haveits own specifiable organised. for such specification modes lay in the a of description still procedures Bu1 'social twentieth-century of itself. the concept organisation' future, as did Socialisation society: managementand the sociul orcler Personifying At the time when Mrs Taylor's works were probably still being read Maternal Solicitndefor a Daughter's Best lileresls (1814);Practical Hints to YoungFentaleson the Duties o/'a lVi/b, a Mother and a Mistress o/'a Family Duties of Parentsand Children(1818)(Davidoffand Hall (1815); Reciprocal 494, n. ll4) a Dr Chavasseof Birmingham published his 340; 1987: popular Advice to Mothers on the Managemento/'their Of/spring. staggeringly First appearingin 1840, it sold 460,000copies.It was shortly followed by .4dvice to Wives on the Management of Themselvesduring the Periods oJ' Pregnanc-v, Labour and Suckling (1843),as it was originally called, which sold 390,000. Not only was there a readingpublic avid for such advice,but their popularityendured. By the end of the century, the former had run into l5 editions, the latter to 14.Indeed,it was a copy of the l4th edition no doubt much revised(Barnes 1898)- that my mother passedon to me sayingit was stillthe most helpful thing sheknew lbr its detail, lack of censoriousness and plain speakingon behalflof plain living. Abstracted from the field of family morality, Chavasse's injunctions address the internal necessityof realising one is the keeper of one's own person.But a personal regime will succeed only if it follows the laws of the naturalregime.Here natureis lessthe soil out of whish individual soulswill be cultivatedthan a regulativefield that the individual organism ignoresto its peril. The motivating concept,one-the later twentieth century has revived with suchvigour. is management. In following such regimes,personsappear as managersof themselves.And although the word Chavassemost frequently uses is still duty, wherethe twentiethcentury might prefer role, the mother is ulearlyregarded as the incumbent of an officewhich requiresher to observe certainprocedures of con<luct. This is the professionalisation of ttealisingone's duty ro the requirementsof the office itself will make the differencebetween teing a goocl and a bad mother, and the sanctions are

(Scott1988: 28. originalemphasis)

It is not fair, the writer continues,to reduce this arsument to a si .For minded desire to make gentlemenof the Victorian middle classes. looked beyondthe rule of the bourgeoisie to a massage,a period when soci would be ruled by its most numerous classes. Middle-classeducation neveran end in itselffor Arnold; ratherit was a meansto the enlishtenment .soci ety' t he w hole p e o p l e '(1 9 8 8 :2 8 ). B u t h o w to conceptual i se in was going to re q u i rei ma g e ryo f i ts o w n. Arnold wrote, we are told, wrth the outcome of the French Revolution mind; Trautmann (1987: 182) makes the same point for Arnold's (a ,Rousseau's Morgan's)contemporary,Henry Maine. Maine objected to beli that a perfect social order could be evolved from the unassisted considerati of the natural state' (1870:89). In fact his Ancient law, published in 186 criticised two strands of political theory for their axiomatic assumpti about human nature. not only Rousseau'snotion of a natural state mankind but equally the competitive individualism of utilitarian thinki The latter is far from a generalcondition of social life sinceit appearsonly i 'progressive societies'in their later stages; while the former is merespeculati that is used to evaluate proximity to or lall fronr an original perfecti (Trautmann 1987: l8l-2). Instead, different societiesshow a progressi development; for example, family obligation is dissolved and indivi obligation takesits place.But in Maine's view, the individual person


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society

t lt

natural ones.Thosewho deform their bodiesthroush unsuitable dressor live immoderatelywill suffer in their health, and the consequences may particularly painful when the mother tries to breast feedher baby. Moreover, the mother runs the risk of meddlesome interference from the ignora ' Nature ... i s g e n e ra l l y b e s t l e ft a l o n e' (1898:261). In the sectionfrom which thisjudicious observation But what is this nature? or Barnes,a consultingphysician to the British Lying-i comes,Chavasse, Hospital who was responsiblefor the revisions to the l4th edition. i complaining about the quacking, interfering and fussingway in which nu meddle in what should be left alone. The topic is breast problems and advice is that in fact the baby is 'the best and only doctor the bosoms require' ( 189 8:2 6 0 ).Pro b l e m so n th e c h i l d ' s si de do not come i nto i t: the chi l d i presented instead as a kind ofnatural expert.The other expertis, ofcourse,t doctor, and there is a clear hierarchy ofexpertise here. Chavasse/Barnes says that it is the doctor's and not the nurse'sprovince to direct treatment, while i is the nurse'sduty to fully carry out such instructions.The source of t doctor's expertisein turn, it is implied, is his correct interpretation of nature, for nature like the doctor resentsinterference.Provided she is properly interpreted, she is the ultimate expert. 'Nature beneficentNature if we will listen to her voice, will usually tellus n^hat to do and what nor ro tto' (i898:2A; author's emphasis). As he repeatselsewhere: Nature is the best doctor. Along with this assumption about expertisegoes an assumption everything can be learned. There is nothing in the conduct of oneself, the running of one's household, the maintenanceof health, that cannot learned.Here writes a writer of books!
If wives do not cook the dinner themselves, they should surely know how din ought to be cooked . . . Half the household miseries and three-fourths of dyspepsiain England would, ifcookery were better understood,be done away wit There are heapsof good cookery books in the market to teach a wile how a di should be cooked. Shehas only to studythe subjectthoroughly and thedeed is to the great happiness and wellbeing of himsell and of her husband. (Cha (Barnes) 1898: 77, original emphasis)

Education becomesa necessity.For since nature has to be interpreted, a there is plenty of room for the ignorant to otherwise pass on false learnr then the experts must be recognised. The use ol the expert in women's matters has been a source of feminist commentary,ll and there is no need to labour the point. We mi note, however,the further assumptionthat what is learnt is all of a piece.This vividly imaginedas showingin the healthof the mother (and her child): all t rules shefollows the correct diet. ventilation of her house.exercise and so - can be aggregatedin the example of the healthy and happy matron. will be the summationof all theseobservances. is intri Derson Orderliness to health, and managementis the contribution individuals make to order Personalmanagementthus follows nature as the grand manager.

is running a polemic of sorts. Blue-stockingwomen he Chavasse/Barnes wives. better to cultivate her householdduties than cultivate bad savsmake renderingof an argumentthat neitherbeganin the the crude Greek, Lrtin or 77).What goesunremarkedis nor was to end with it ( 1898: century nineteenth to appear like the process is beginning cultivation. Cultivation for the need here it is the completefollowing of people call socialisation; twentieth-century would evidentin the (healthy) integration be whose natural rulesof conduct required for their enactment, material resources of the standard body. Despite Yet the rules are not conceptualisedas to they applied anyone. theoretically has taught about nature. what'experience' making explicit rules,but as social hinder nature's own is held actually to much social artifice In his view, too produce idea that socialisation the further was to nath.The twentiethcentury of the very was the source valnes of cultural tnougnt of as the inculcation What he did not self-evident. took as of health that Chavasse/Barnes canons question of This was not a rule itself. inculcation of was the takeasself-evident personal polite or the good society manners that constituted eitherthe eliciting The regulativeand systemic morality that ensuredoutward respectability. had to be made explicit. following the rules as such effectof for the good of must be collectivised view, right behaviour In Arnold's lifle itself. of social management was issue was the for what at everyman, Where ChavassehypostatisedNature, Arnold hypostatisedCulture. Culture is right knowing and right doing, a processrather than a state, Williams (1961: 134),but one with visible goals. Again there is an analogy suggests between a regulativefield and personalhealth.'Culture, which is the study of perfection,leads us . . . to conceiveof true human perfection as a harntonious perfection,developing all sidesof our humanity, and as a generalperfection, developing Williams all parts of our society'(from Cultureand Anarchy,1869; 1961;124, original emphasis).Culture, a study and a development,is an inspirationalforce which draws thought to itself. Indeed, Williams observes that the constantintonation of Culture in which Arnold indulged may have been responsible for the common English hostility to the word which developedafter 1860, and which found the word itself artificial. Nature had lone beenreeardedas such a centrinetalforce.12 The idea that eitherNature or iulture silould draw people'sthoughts in an inspirational way towards themselveswas,an effect of personification.The twentieth cntury would no doubt add Society to the list. But society was not yet, oespiteArnold's references to it, such an object of thought. In the mid nineteenth abstractconceDt in the sense ofa selfofsocietvexisted el i dentcon di t i onof associat ive in lif e per sons. r nnotexistout side of socier y thissense, as Karl Marx declaredat several ooints.r3 But what I have in mind are the devolved ways of thinking that twentieth-centurypeople take for grantedin their talk of principlesof socialorganisation, as they do of ecology or of cultural values.Theseare all orofessionalconstructs. I do nor m ean pr of essional st at usin sim ply in t er m s of t heir disciplinar y


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progressof polite society


academia.What is significantin the twentieth-centuryformulations is way the constructsdepict domains each perceivedas an autonomous to be identified by its own internal regulation. If we wish we could thus that the concepts involved have been 'naturalised'. They create their contexts.whether theseare thought of as domains akin to those under 1 operation of natural laws or akin to the variable outcomes of adaptati and selection. That very phraseology of mine reveals the mannerin which imagesof and natural life illuminate one another.Thus one may say that it was th naturalising connections between species that Darwin was ableto democra the conceptof descent. For other thinkers of his time,'democracy'itself problematic. But we should note his own initial reluctanceto make di referenceto human society. Perhaps one problem was that, quite apart fi perfection, the very images of regulation and order involved in the study non-social phenomena drew on metaphors for human government: class classification and classas socialposition.order itselfwasa metaphorthat evokedsocialorders,even as Mrs Beeton'smuch quoted Book o/'H Management, published between 1859 61, opened with the resoundi evocation of commandersof armies and leadersof enterprise(the mistress housemust remembershe is responsible for the governmentof an establi ment 'and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regu (Chapter l)). In referenceto human affairs, then, the notion of social order perpet recreated the connotationsof rank and classthat were its own metaphori foundation.Arnold saw the possibilityof transcendence in the state.'But to organize this authority, or to what hands to entrust the wieldine of i (quoted in Williams 1961: 129). The organisation of existing society si provided a model of entrenchedand divisive interests,and this was problem that lay in the path of conceptualising a socialorder that would common inspiration to all. Imagining a contractualbasisin the natural rightsof men was not suffici it was the governingor regulative principlesof sociallife and the accoun for socialvariability that requireddescription.What was to happen,in was a naturalisationof the concept of societvitself. But that could only effectedthrough the further idea of society as some kind of self-regu artefact, one that had been produced by human design but could not reducedto it. It is most interesting,therefore,to seein the later ni century valiant attemptsto make human designthe direct inspirationalfi of such an artefact Arnold was also running his own polemic as in his diatribesagainst vulgarity of wealth, and the petty adherence to differentiations of and doctrinethat blockeda sense of common purpose. But while that ality could be imagined,any particular embodiment seemedto fall short perfection.Thus nineteenth-century critics of wealth and greedcould

it in an ethnographic ,r.poererdl idea of social order, but could not desc'ribe tij:; it would take. It is not the form i masssocietycould be imagined.but t"t'"-,,...iraperhapsthat the social experiments under way at the end of the t:-:"; tailed to realisethe order of which thesemen dreamed.They could discoveriesof the l"ji""lrrgin. society in the generic. And one of the in gener ic exist ed socic( y ever Lni oor.phyt o- bewas t hat neit hercult ur en9r " distilled from the experts, form could only be discernedby the ;:;; s,c-neric models purpose-built in and represented study of many societies, .,"orpu,ltiu. rcf.Lang ham I 9El ) ' 'promulgated'? One response Ho* thenwas the ideaof a genericsocialorder jurisdiction the of taken out of labour must be wasclear.Value, wealth and person's of fulfilment each the thelawsof supply and demand, and related to part in the grand design of life' in termsof the general wasregulated if society a fulfilmentwasonly possible Such . . . But a a societymust regulateitself by attentionto 'intrinsic values' design: made and demand of the laws supply geared to only production of system labour and thus made men to available for it reduced impossible, regulation There ashuman beings. function of theirultimate fulfilment' any'whole impossible joyful 'the right and men to led that which economy: one right be only could life'. (Williamsl96l: 148)14 of perfect exertion with which critic of the eagerness John Ruskin, that persistent So concludes the degradationof labour: wealthis pursued.He observes of invention civilized Wehave of late,thegreat muchstudied andmuchperfected, thedivision natne. It is not, truly speaking, it a false of labour; only we havegiven of men thelabourthat is divided;but the men:-Dividedinto meresegments tI 1853]. brokeninto small fragments and crumbsof life from Slore.rof Venice (W i l l i anr1961: s 148) Here It is not that men should not be organised but that they are ill organised. I run togetherRuskin's terminology ('design','arrangement') and that oI his twentieth-century commentator (Williams speaks of 'organisation').'The argumentis a practical example of [Ruskin's] refusal to treat aesthetic questions in isolation: good designin industry, he argued,dependedon the right organization of industry, and this in turn, through labour and consumption, on the right organizationof society'(Williamsl96l: 150).Both wereto be measured for its to natural fomr. Art practised by theii taithfulness own sake is in the end corrupt; 'whereas art, devoted humbly and selftorgetfully to the clear staten'rent and record of the facts of the universe, is alwayshelpful and beneficent (1906 (1859); l6). mankind' to At an inaugural lecture delivered at the opening meeting of the Architectural Museum in South Kensingtonin 1858,Ruskin declaredthat no great schoolof art existed which had not had as its aim the representationof some naturalfact the human fiqure, the effectof colour and shade- as truly as possible. is the working man and In relation to induitrial design,the measure


English kinship in the late twcntieth ccnlury

The progressof polite society

lt 5

his capacity for edification.One did not want thirteenth-century art or li back again, but one did wish for a consciousness {'design that would m odern English life. As he fu rther declaredthe followin_e year ( I 8 59).design not the ofi-springof idle fancy: it is the studied result of accumu observationand delightful habit. Great art goeswith a noble (elsewhere sayskingly) Iife. 'For in life as in art, there is first truth, the perceptionof world as it is. and then the plan or design founded upon ir' (1906: 47). As well as town halls. museumsand public libraries (Corrigan and Sa 1985:I l9 20), we have seenthat thoseimposingcommerciar buildingsgoi up in the civic centresof England rverereminiscent of medievalchurches. factoriesand warehouses were reminiscent of grand stables or baronial williams reproduces excerptsfrom a speech (publishedin lg66) that Ruski gaveat the Bradford rown Hall. He had beeninvited to adviseon the bestst of building for a new exchange, yet this expert in style refuses to be dra
I do not careabout this Exchange, because you don't . . . you think you may as. ha'e the right thing for your money . . . and you sendfor me, that I mav teliyou leadingfashion:and what is. in your shops,for the moment.the newest and thing in pinnacles . . . I can only at presentsuggest decoratingits friezewith purses;and making its pillars broad at the base,for the stickineof bills. (willia l96l: 150, rel-erences omitted)

The reasonis seriousenough.It was because architecture was the e of a whole way of life that the only appropriatestylefor their Exchange wou be one built to the greatGoddessof 'Getting-on'.whether for tawdry or not ends,that functional relationshipwas inevitable.At the did revealthe true functionalismof Ruskin's ideal societylbr onlv that was tru orqanic.
The basic idea of 'organic form' produced, in Ruskin's thinkine about an i society,the familiar notion ol a paternal State. He wished to see a risid cl structure corresponding to his ideas of 'lunction'. It was the business government, he argued, to produce, accumulate.and distribute real wealth. and regulate and control its consumption. . . Denrocracy must be rejected;for i conceptionof the equalityof men was not only untrue;it wasalsoa disablinedeni of order and 'function'. The ruling classmust be the existingaristocracy, piope trained in its function. . . Below this ruling class, the basiclbrm of sociewwould the'guild' . . . [which] would regulateconditions ol work and quarity of prod Finally, at the base of this edifice would be a class whose businesswas 'necessarily inferior labour' . . . The Commonwealththus established would ensu 'felicitouslulfilment of lunction', and the'joyful and right exertionof perlectlife man'! [from Sesctme and Lilies. 1865].(Williams l96l: l5l 2)

organism, designand function: what makes theseideasfanciful was nor r imagineddivision of functionsas such,but their unhappy concretisation in class structure of aristocratsand craftsmen.It was a Door model for hi hum a nis i n gi n te n t. Latter-day commentatorswere also to find uncongenialthe conflation value with ornament, and in the largestsense art. Ruskin insistedthat it

.rir,c to irnaginethat one can borrow bits of decorations.They could only form if they bore somerelationto the purposes of the edifice. ,r]orfm outward art are like aristocraticor craft taste.intimately part of social and C)rnarlent it . ttl.l cannot be arbitrarily extractedfrom it with any meaning,because .o.i.ty itself is an internally functioning whole. Art, then. is not simply a aesthetic capability.The artist is one whoperceives the organic, oro,ir.t of an 'the artist's goodnessis also his "wholemechanical, whole: to opposed as of a societylies in its creation of the conditions for and the goodness ness", of being"'(cited in Williams 196l:144). When external form is "wholeness .mechanical', it is lessthan orgauicallyintegrated, evenas productsgearedto the laws of supply and demand make the fulfilment of human beings But theseimagesof function and fulfilment are ambiguous.In his impossible. of a universal,ideal truth (that is, natural lhcts). idiom,art embodiesaspects of function' in The organicsocietytherebylacilitatesthe 'felicitousfulfiln-rent living things.lsSociety,in short, has its own intrinsic order, which outward Yet this was also true whether it was a perfect form reflectsor expresses. greedand pettiness or not. Consequently, such forn'rs could express organism quite as much as perfection and beauty. Unlike Chavasse's genericNature, societydoes not always know best. Unlike Arnold's generic Culture, the of societydoes not of itself invite a perfectingimpulse. contemplation From hindsight, one could say that one of Ruskin's problems was the ambiguous relationshipbetween interior motivation and outward formation. Although Ruskin seesthat other countries have diverse arts, he cannot conceive alternativernodellings of social orders.He could say that the art of anycountry expoundsits socialand political virtues,but diflerences in virtue seem merely differences of wholeness and goodness. Anthropologistswere to accomplishexactly the task ol'how one might modeland describe differentsocialordersand the nature of their functioning wholes.Variability (social 'morphologies') became an expected result of differingadaptations.In fact, anthropologistswould evenruallyfind words tor perceiving a 'functioning whole' as equally characteristic of the kinds of Iragmentedlife which Ruskin found so wretched as in what was ostensibly organic and harmonious.r6 But for that, they needed an imageof organisation or structuredetachedfrom place or class.Societvhad to be detachedfrom culture. Suppose this came in part from un-doing the idea of culture as refinement adornment. Sorrreindication lies perhaps in the following. Before the 1nd democratisation of the notion of societvwas realised. and thus the idea of an organic whole independent of specific cultural lornrs.'form' and 'culture' were ooth popularised. I append two footnotes to this effect. com plaint t o Br adf or d was t hat t he building would f ail ^..:' ttt.R us ki n' s elther because the form of designwas a borrowed idiom and did not reflectthe socialrealities of the age or because it could reflect only corruption. l9l4: nuski n i s d ead. Her e is Clive Bell, whose solut ion does not r equir e t he

I 16

kinshipin the latetwenticth English ccntury

The progress of polite society


remoulding of social relations and who does not look to the conditions work and craft. All you need is the form itself.
You haveonly to look at almost any modern building to seemasses o[elabor and detail that form no part of any real design and serve no useful purpose everywhereyou will see huge blocks of ready-madedecoration, pilasters porticoes. lriezes and fagades, hoisted on cranes to hang from lerro walls. . . Only whereeconomyhas banishedthe architectdo we seemasonryol merit. The engineers,who have at least a scientific problem to solve, create. factories and railway-bridges, our most creditable monuments. They at leastare ashamed of their construction.. . We shall have no more architecture in Europe architects understand that all these tawdry excrescences have got to be si away,till they make up their minds to express themselves in the materialsof the steel,concrete,and glass- and to createin theseadmirable media vast, simple, significantforms. (1928 (1914):221 2)

Materials have their own significantshape.Remove the ornamentation revealtheir own functions,for this is what the lbrm of the construction express.A natural building one might say. What then remains of t relationshipbetween Art and Society? Bell devotesa chapterto this questi Do not educatechildren, do not take them to galleriesand museums, admonished;experience has nothing to teach,let them find out for themsel And find out what? The natural Derson.
Can we save the artist that is in almost every child? At least we can offer practicaladvice.Do not tamper with that direct ernotionalreactionto things is the geniusofchildren. . . Thereforedo not educatechildren to be anything or feel anything; put them in the way offinding out what they want and what they (1928: 28G 7\

The relationship betweenforrn and the expressionof emotion is made

There is nothing very wonderlul or very novel about rag-time or tango, but overlook any fonn ofexpression is a mistake,and to attack it is sheersilliness. .. those queer exasperatedrhythms I find greater promise of a popular art than revivals of folk-song and morris-dancing. At least they bear some relationship the emotions of those who sing and dance them. In sofar as !he1t sypsignificant are good .. . Not every man can keep a cutter, but every boy can buy a kite. In an that is seekingnew forms in which to expressthat emotion which can be satisfactorily in form alone,the wise will look hopefully at any kind of dancing singing that is at once unconventional and popular. So, let the people try to create form lor themselves. (1928: 290, transposed, emrrhasis)

round a gallery!In fact, an innatist imagerypervadeshis sense of -r,oradults the exceptionhe takes to the artifice of ruralism. in as li" urtist. "'-s..on.l.then, this was also a time when national Englishculture was being an explicitlyrural idiom, with the revivalof the folksong and Morris ^,inedin By 1914it was well in place.As we have seen,the Belldetested. thar ] green evoked a specifically village southernEnglish countryside the of Ji.inn hedgerows. and That the evocationof English rurality cottages tn its tttatcnea with a national cultural revival meant the discoveryof the hand in hand *ent 'the common people',not only surviving in the country.unlettered classes', preserving 'their own speech' and 'peasant music' (Howkins side but also Cecil Sharp who began collecting folksongs in 1903). quoting 19g7:72, was also English nature, at once countrysideand character. culture English yet if culture was to be found in the popular arts of the countrysideand its The countrysidemight be like it would disappearunlesspreserved. residents, an interior, but it wits one vulnerable to degradation from the outside. A imagecould be found in thoseparts that were enclosedin garden cities securer or leafysuburbs. We have come from the ornamentation of the landscape,an enhancement that elicited people's enhanced sensibilities,via the garden that is cultivated within, to the idea that the real countrysideitself is to be enclosedfor its preservation. Penetrated only by lovers ofcountry ways, nature as countryside is now otherwise contained and hidden. It could, however, be appreciated in the deliberateencouragement of the proper flow of emotions towardsit. This was a channellingof its inspirational force. For the middle classes, the countryside becamean object of sentimentthat was appropriately collective in character.Meanwhile. if the cottage,an abode of morality. has been re-cliscoveredas the typical 'English' dwelling, it has also been rediscovered as the suburban house. Throughchildren's booksfrom BeatrixPotteronwardsgenerations learnedthat nome wasa cottage and,if not a cottage, thenthe'Janet-and-John' mock-Tudorof the inter-warsuburb.This kind of housebecame infusedwith a domesticglow suggestive (Howkins1987: ofan earlier and better world ofdecencv and honestv. 73) Socialising persons; nicrocosnts of the clomesticatingprocess The personification of Nature had troubled Darwin. By contrast with LJlavasse's apostrophes,he had beenconcernedwith elucidating the concrete of natural relationsand their systentic connections.However she ]'laracter rntghtbe hypostatised. nature was not to be treatedin the genericor abstract out must be made to show her profuseand particularcharacters. The general principles that made the natural world an entire domain of study had to be Presented in their own terms. .Beer Q986: 229) offers Darwin's reflections on the phrase 'natural selectioni:

Emotions reveal the person in natural state; henceperhaps the unrem democratisation,the generic'people'. But Bell was to be upstaged,for finding out their emotions,people then beganto 'do' them, to elaborate ornament them and endow them with historiesand pathologies of therr Bell comescloseto prescriptive individualism.He could countenance flying their kites as them being themselves, but not when they were traili


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society


but is a misnomer; of the word, no doubt. natural selection In the literal sense various the of speakingof the electiveaffinities whoeverobjectedto chemists with whichit will - andyetan acidcannotstrictiybesaidto electthebase elements? asan active selection I speak olnatural that sai<t has been It in pr.f...n.. combine. as ofgravity oftheattraction to an authorspeaking but whoobjects fower or deity; personifying avoid to it is difficult again planets . . . So of the rulingthemovements of actionand.product tt" niorOnature;but I meanby nature,only the aggregate us. by as ascertained [Ifte of events many natural lawsand by lawsthe sequence 18591 SPecies' Origin o.l' noted the She comments that his grandfather Erasmus Darwin had already takesplace in English.with personification. easewith which personification i n te n ti o n . . ters as s he s aY Sen laws: Aggregate action and the sequenceof events that appear as natural came this is the language of social life. Society in turn. I have suggested. it a gi vi ng meant Thi s i d i om. n a tu ra l i s ti c i n a c o n c e i v e d ev ent uallyt o b e general. it as an attribute of peoplein popular dimension,that is, discovering apprehensionof the profuse and the in 1ay long for A major problem ofpersons ofdifferent rank and the affairs life as ofsocial particular character not entail a corresponding view of did naturalism new the ,tutur. However. exhibiting the fruits of polite also thus and cultivation to nature as subject we might say rather that the societyand its gradations' From our perspective, as a selfidea of nature had been naturalised, in being given its character r egulat ingS y stem .T h i s c o n tri b u te d to th e p ro cessofprofessi onal i sati on of nature' then' a to whicn I referred earlier. By such a (newly) emergentsense (newly) naturalised view of societyin the late nineteenthcentury would mean and as i.r..iUing social life both as the inevitable context for human life having (so to speak) a life of its own' in a Ear'iy twentieth-century anthropology was to reconceptualisesociety naturalistic the organicmetaphorin explicitly First it elaborated doublesense. not simply to the overall fulfilment of human related be could terms: functions life purpose and happinessin life, but to the working of the structure of social motivations The entire body appearedas a system.Second,people's itself.r? songsand could be directed onto ro.i"iy as an object ofcontemplation; dance. emotion of ceremonies could be understood as the collective expression represented towards the collective body. One could thus show how people This match solved Darwin's problem of misplaced society to themselves. in the workings of the social intention. On the one hand lay a natural necessity people oriented systemlon the other hand, in perceivingtheir own society. at least' such their emotions towards it and intended its perpetuation' Or appeared as could be demonstrated for small-scale 'folk' societies,which popular creations. as a solution to These developments were not, of course' presented to'lack' seemed Darwin's problem; only hindsightmakesus seewhat Darwin junior and Darwin's so as Fortes so observedof Tylor. twenty years or

concerned with culture as the vehicle for imagining stages of human development.'what Tylor lacked was the idea of a social system' (Fortes 1969; I3).r8 More interestingperhaps from the presentpoint of view, these developmentsinvolved not only changing views of nature but changing view of kinship. I refer here to the twentieth-centuryconcern with socialisation,the idea that what parents produce is to be reproduced by society.It was an idea endorsedliterally in the developmentof stateeducation; metaphorically in the manner in which training from infancy onwards came to be regarded as the inculcation of specifically social values. The origin of these lay beyond the individual - not in his or her connections or in the example of others, but ,in society'itself. However personalor ostensiblyuntrammelledby convention ('do not take children round art galleries'),the valuescould be conceptualised as typical of a particular milieu, historical period or social stratum. Society perceivedin terms of its consequences for the development of the individual: we have here the delineation of a familiar reproductive model. Perhaps it was first conceived around 1860 or so, when the cultivation of nature was replaced by its own grounding naturalism, that is, by the apprehension of nature as a natural system. Given a concern with the reproduction ('inheritance') of organisms, one might suggest that evolutionary thinking also facilitated the equation of procreation and biology. The'natural facts'of life werenatural in the sense of belongingto the biology of the species. The early years of the twentieth century then moved into place thoseideasof systemand structure that allowed kinship to be imagined as the socialconstruction ofsuch natural facts.It seemed evident that kinship had its origin in the (biological) reproduction of persons. No longeran obviousmetaphorfor the circlesin which one moved,kinship cameto be about reproductionrather than connection.In being moulded by convention thus, individuals were socially constructed, we might say, rather than well connected.The further idea that individualism itself was a social construction, a cultural invention, emerged from the way culture was reattachedto society.Societies were seenas having their own distinct cultures, and cherished values (such as individualism in western society) to be distinctive of these cultures. Hence, in latter day usage,one couli talk as equally of 'cultural construction'. Significant for the subsequentgre rception of systemand structure was that turn of the century discoveryof form. Those pubric buildings,ecclesiastical copiesof earlier virtues, came to seem ugly. The decorationsand intricate ornamentationthat tell us which age is being imitated appearedas meddling artifice:but what is a building stripped of irs artificialityi nunction came to have its own form (structure). As we have seen,the children of the nineteenth centuryappeared in retrospect as overtrained. Bell,writing in 1914, begged for a. return to the simplicity of uneducated perception, as aesthetic practice struggledwith the lineamentsof colours and blocks for their own sake:form is the thing. Form in this senseappeared self-regulated.


Englishkinshipin the late twentiethcentury

The progress of polite society


Ifa pcrceivedstrippingof imitation werenecessary of the to the appreciation structut's and function of social life, a separateplace had to be found for culture. The Englishfound it in their Englishness. The turn of the centuryhad witnessed idea of culturepluralisation of the anticipating Boas'sAmerican a presentrrtion study as the ofcultures. Indeed, a gulfseparated ofanthropology Boas'sl)erceptionof multiple cultural traditions from Tylor's earlier idea of culture us a stageof development. Tylor too wasdead,as wasArnold's view of culture as 'the pursuit of our total perf'ection'by getting to know 'the best which h3s been thought and said in the world' (quoted by Williams 196l: 124), thereby extendingelite valuesto the common man. A generationlater culture had acquired an ethnic dimension,to use an epithet from the late twentieth century. what it is that already holds men in common. At home, 'Englishness' was specifically promoted. A new collective promulgation of culture as national culture (Doyle 1986: 9l) thereby reattacllsd culture to the notion of society.The English Associationfounded in 1907 'applied itself to the advancement of the new English language and literaturs] within the national culture' ( 1986:102).Indeed,this was an era of associalionsand organisations, in a plurality of of public interestexpressed collectir's, corporate forms. Eric Wolf's (1988; 754) aphorism is apt: when Society becorresthe Nation, it is seenas incarnatedin a project.The national or ethni q view of culture in turn realiseda vision of the world as plural in its many c\rltures, full of different traditions. All traditions are seen as culture transmills6 and thus reproduced, and 'education' becomesa metaphor for what is .rcquired generallyby people. What they all acquire is in turn revealed to be w\a1 they havein common, a proposition which seems to haveenjoyeda long lifs in anthropological thinking. When what is already common and rnnate ('Englishness')is made visible,it must becomean object (as national culture was) of deliberate cultivation. So the culture that belonged to many also in that sense lay outsidethe individual person.Insofar as culture was a collectir s and thus extendedobject of thought, it had to be at onceimpressed and impsssd on the minds of individuals. As B6i1i5[ social anthropologiststell themselves, their tradition in fact divergecl from American insofar as it did not pursue Boas'sethnic vision of pluralitl' and of the patterningof cultural personalities. the What preoccupied British was the transmission that of societyitself - the rulesand relationships made up; social life. This meant being able to specifysocial organisationor socialorder as an entity with distinctiveattributes.Specific (not generic) social orders eould then be compared, yielding generalisations through the comparison of different structural forms. The fact of organisationor regulation was taksn for granted:the question was analysingthe distinctivefeaturesit took in different societies. Here British anthropology had borrowed from the French. The discovery of socia-1morphology went hand in hand with the revelation of society as simultarrseusly an externalobject of people'sthought arndas a phenomenon

that existedoutsideof and imposedupon the individual. This solvedanother problem: the sourceof morality. Thus it was possibleto refer,in Durkheim's words, to'different forms of externalconstraint [and] the different forms of moral authority corresponding to them'.le More than that, Durkheim's inspirationalformula that societywas constitutedin collectivesentimentled to the idea of personsindividually attaching emotions to the collectivity of which they were a part. They apprehended themselves as membersof groups. Perhapswhat made structural form or morphology a cornpellingimage was the way that British anthropologists renderedit visible.A structurecould be approached as a mechanism for elicitingemotionsfrom persons. But it did not simply pattern the emotional interactionsbetweenpersons:it itself was an object of sentiment.Consequentlyone could describehow various observances and customs encouraged people to experience a flow of emotions towards their own social forms. Ceremonial expressionenabled sentiment to be transmitted from one generationto another. A. R. Radcliffe-Brown finished writing his account of The Antlaman Islundersin 1914.It openedwith 'The Social Organisation' as 'the customs and institutions'by which the peopleof theseislands'regulatethe conduct of personsone to another' (1964:22). His principal object was to demonstrate the lunction of suchpractices and customs. On the one hand, ' [t ]he knowledge of what to do and what to avoid is what constitutes the tradition of the society, to which every individual is required to conform' (1964:386); on the other hand, the individual is made aware of his own attachmentto this entity, for ritesand ceremonies serve'to keepalivein the mind of the individual a certain systemof sentiments necessary for the regulationof conduct in conformity to the needs ofthe society'(1964 275).Thus. he gaveas an example,through the activation of social sentimentsin connectionwith rules governing food the chifd is 'taught his relation to the societ!-'(1964 277, my emphasis). In the late 1930s and 1940s, British social anthropologists who kept company with Radcliffe-Brown,and who came to give the local disciplineits name,advancedthis idea with much refinement. It was not so much 'society' in the abstract which encourageda flow of emotions towards it, but specific structures such as descentgroups.20 Structural forms were made manifestin social institutions.Moreover, their rules and organisationalprocedures did not simply encourage a gener{glienseof collectivity: they promoted specific sentimentsin ttrrn, such as political solidarity, the religious veneration of ancestors, and fears and anxieties about witchcraft or insubordination. Indeed, social organisation, its structure, its groups, and its categorical boundaries, could be presented to the observer as a kind of external orchestration of the diverse sentin'lents that an individual person might experience. Indeed,it came to seemvery obvious in the 1950s and 1960s that social classificationitself presentedindividuals with emotional as well as cognitive problems/solutions. In describing social structure one was also describinghow people 'felt', their 'attitudes'and values.It was assumed that

t 22

English kinship in the late twcnticth century

Thc progrcssof politc societv


of social life but to desiring its they were oriented not only to the existence per pet uat i on against its constltuent iollective society thus conceivedstood over and m em ber s whoa rra n g e d th e ms e l v e s a c c o rdi ngtoi tsl aw sandru| es.The 'system" it displayed was more than the sum of its parts: as a from recalling "gg."g",. derived be to not were properries p?;p"?ri", of irs own. These and guilds;in of crafts promotion or the ihe value of a vanishedaristocracy evinced, or society needs The autonomy. own its this thinking, order acquired preservation or the to contributed individuals, the sentimentsevoked from and as the demands its In principles' f.rp"ruu,ion of specific structural and personified ioundation oforganisation.structurelike societywas at once naturalised.2l madeexplicithis vision Radcliffe-Brown persuasiveness. with considerable to deal with this indigenously seemed that olsocial structurein the institutions systems Kinship groups' kin of continuity and very issuelui:. the recruitment .made and re-made by man' (1952: 62) but what rendered them migtrt ue On as systems' sysie-ic in this view was a property of their own requirements made concrete was structure social of concept tire one hand, then. the hand' (personified)in the image of groups peopled by persons: on the other abstract to according operate to seen were persons iltution, between those one Duty became (naturalised)' necessity and systemic structuralprinciples22 that in quasi-legalterminology, such systemicnlcessity.Thus he asserted, ithere is a duty ihere is a rule that a person should behavein a certain where regardedas a way, (1950: l l), and the clairn of a <lutyfrom another could be ,rijnt;. Relationships conceived in terms of rights and duties appeared self' regulating('reciProcal'). thus tr The self-regulation of the system became imaginable and could

ar*.iU.J irii.-*ut

to oneanother' p.rrons werelinkedin their obligations part of that total network whichconstitutes

I ndeed, t h is p ro p o s i ti o n l a y a tth e h e a rto fh i sdescri pti onofaki nshi ps


became social relationswhich is the social structure'(1950: l3)' Culture ex pr es s iv emo d e .P o l i te b e h a v i o u ro re ti q uettecompri sedthoseconventtol .which express sorne important aspect of the relation between t rules too' per s ons '( 195 0 : l l ). N o t j u s t s o c i e tyo r g roups but rel ati onshi ps aspect' every trought io consciour.tas u, objects of sentiment' In

were to develop with such conviction in the first half of the anthropologists had antecedents century in aspectsof English kinship, it was in twentieth !lte.t'u'ere mutlecons('i()u.s as in reflecf pfrrctices ion and thought. N.,iy examples havebeenfrom Englishpeoplewriting (or drawing) largelya prerogative of first the gentry.then the uriddleclassand finally of the articulateproducts of universaleducation. Kinship practices were part of the way middle-class Englishcame to formulate those much broader connectionsknown in the twentiethcentury as the relationshipbetweenthe individual and society.23 If reallydid debatethe fit between characters Austen's natural and socialworth, and the kind of persons that their connectionsand relations revealed.a hundred years later it was 'the relationship' that an individual had .with society' that held centre stage. The problem was then where to locate consciousness.2a Education could be treated as a privileged source of knowledge about (amongother things) societyitself.Tallensiparentsin Ghana misht produce for the lineage;2s recruits Englishparentsproducedrecruitsfor scf,oois. Their regimes disciplinary institutedthe methodsand rulesby which domainsof life could be known, and imparted the practiceand requirements of social roles. The object of education in turn was the individual person. And what the individual personthus evincedwasthe effectiveness of the socialising process not simply in following rules but in articulating his or her own relationship with society. That effectiveness was in turn modulatedby the life choices that ahead Running i'perpetual antithesis to the concepiualisation of society lav tn twentieth-century anthropologywas a questionmark over the statusof the personas an individual agent. We could summariseit thus. that mid-centuryBritish socialanthropologists addressed to non---writings western systems took societyas an already naturalisedentity: it was visibre throughits intrinsiccharacteristics of sociaiorganisatio', rule and sentiment. slcjetr as a network of relationshipsbetweenpersousincorporated , serfevilen1notlel oJ its on.n regulution. had distinguishedthe person, as a complex of social relations -^,Radcliffe-Brown and thus given by a constellation of'plur.r' in the social structure, Irom the individua'i as biologicat o.go*r,r. 'persons' were technicallythe components of societv (rg52: rg4),6ut the very senseof uniqueness that off the individual came io be seenby anthropologists :::l:a in generalas a :-

into his/herrelationalfield. to be sociaiised t ;i;?;;"i;"^"" of "J the arts of life or modes meantmorethan learning Socialisation .rhe

anci Radctiffe-Brown.s disrintrion was norsusrained. iii:,XH::ii.l. Rarher. -"-'vruual

personwas held to be the entity that was socialised. and existed

of aware ."ffi,il' ft;;li.*jr'n"o to bemade

sawin the regulation

t on which society'


(so.ciety) depended.That one would wish to sustain it :t"T-:l.:t rt"ur tr1 p"."n,t,

rhat which li3ffi;r.tJr"lnl'i'nrrvirrues "i"itr. "r i".u*ut" habits'P*""$ ot'childhood


;:,i::ri1T,*,ffi$;;il;.",.:'*'lil:,1,i#', ,iit''Jf :ffi :5

thatsociety B',, I """ Lnought really acted likean agent with a wilrof its own. or a group of individuals i,"ri --"' il?"lation could projecr an awareness of be a corporation ,one person,. meant to act as Group .

of collective life ana its values, moulded by

"l:B:J T; can^be truthandhonour roundations' organic #jffi:i;;;;;;d Leryp (quoted bv asit grows' babyl intotheedifice [the ""q 9.t1tl^.1-9i1 li'" theoriesof kinship which British


English kinship in the late twentieth century

The progress of polite society


regarded as socialorganisation's quintessential'organisbecame organisation with suchconvictionin the theoreticalwritings of ation' an idea entertained that first Edmund Leach and then the schoolknown as someanthropologists saw themselves as iconoclasts in restoringthe individual the transactionalists debate:how could an individual to view. Here was the mid-twentieth-century both be a product ofsociety and culture and act quaindividual according to interests not completely defined by society and culture? For by the time the ofthe 1960s wishedto considerthis figure.we haveseenthat transactionalists they were faced with an entity conceived in the anthropological literature as itself a social and cultural construction. The individual had to be renaturalised, that is, 'given back'its innate consciousness as a unique subject. The naturalised individual was reconceived as a person in terms of 'personal'criteria,of which the ability to exercise choicebecamecrucial.The goal of subjectivejudgement that made Mrs Taylor's Christian readers perform moral acts as they went about their daily lives now had to be given back to the product o/ collective morality. Against the impression that individuals seemed produced only by the conditions of society, and as reproducing those conditions, was placed another self-evidentfact of nature: as persons,individuals were also consciousagents,and in a way a system could neverbe. In this 'naturalising'move it was personswho were,we might say, re-personified. Individual personscame to appear most evident in their autobiographies, in their private livesand idiosyncratichistories, and in their of self-interestas well as in their emotional states(cf. Lutz 1986: expressions

It is appositeto return briefly to the conclusionof Munn's account of the Melanesian Gawa. In discussing the way in which peopleanticipatethe future effects of their actions, she writes (1986: 2'13) that 'experience is being formulated in terms of a model of choice'; the dialectic of choosing regularly 'locates the capacityto producevaluedirectlywithin the actor'swill'. Familiar as this might sound, the depiction of choice in fact sits rather awkwardly athwart common English understandings.As she makes clear, Gawans imaginefor themselves not so much an ever-receding plurality of options, but the sharply divergenteffectsofpositive resultson the one hand and negative ones on the other. Value is produced, Munn argues,by renderingthe self in terms of the favourable or unfavourable attitudes of others. All acts have negativeas well as positive potential, for the potential inheresin the radical divergencebetween paths taken and not taken. While a native Englishspeaker might apprehend the necessity of warding off unfortunate consequences, sheor he would probably find it lesseasyto understand the human will in terms of the Gawan insistence that one should take stepsto block the effect on the future of choices not taken. Like the necessityto terminate at (blocking person was enmeshed death the relationships in which a deceased it is further necessary to deal with the fact that one's their future efl'ects), relationships may suffer the consequences of actions brought about by

own inaction (Munn 1990). someoneone has ignored or simply by one's negative futures by Gawans attempt to block the relational implications of ,finishing'the forward continuity of emotions such as anger or resentment. English kinship as a model Chapter Two depicted mid-twentieth-century a contrast with the suggested and individuals of reproduction the for individuals,persons relations. As of reproduction in the interest Melanesian and cannot be social entities whole not symbolise model do English in the individuals Rather' relationships. or a span of a collectivity with isomorphic part the kinship of a systems parts different numerous of as exist to held are in total replicate not part and do of society naming system, of a part system, as the I to conceptualisation referred configuration. systemic one any give merographically position, to this I think, in a are now We merographic. English person its aestheticor iconic dimension. conceptualised or If the modern person is a microcosmof anything, it is of the socialising on of culture person the effect registers process The itself. domesticating convention (partially) nature, societyon the individual, and is in this sense embodied but never of course convention (fully) realised. Rather, the individual person is constituted by the impact of different systems,including organism.ln short, and in its own selfas an autonomousbio-psycho-physical a person is a constellationof'roles' rather than relationships. this aesthetic, Sheor he plays different rolesoff againstone another, for in mid-twentiethcenturyparlance roles are worn rather like the hats of an earlier era. In this modern view, then, roles and conventions exist apart from the individual.They do not existalreadywithin the individualperson,to be drawn self, by the unique out, because that place is taken up by the (personalised) personality. its emotionsand motivations.Thus the capacityto be a parent is not uncovered far more important, what must be realised in the child because. i s thc chi l d ' s dif ler ent iat ing uniquencss. This in turn affects the way the child's role is conceived.Social sciencehas given back to popular parlance the idea of role as a part played 'in society'. Over the latter part of the twentieth century in England, 'socialisation'has preoccupation becomea householdword well beyondthe earliermiddle-class with potty training, the intervalsat which an infant should be fed, and all the rest o[ the professionalism of the new maternity. It points to more than the culture of expertise(Schneiderand Smith 1973:. 47). The 'duties' of motherhood have become tr-ansmutedinto searching for the culturally acceptable way of ensuring the natural developmentof the child. Parenthood is not simply to be elicited by the presence of the child: roles must be learnt, the natural bond betweenthem culturally nurtured.26 Natural developmentis to be deliberatelyencouraged, then, or the person will not appear as properly socialised. is evincednot only in the 'control' persons And that socialisation haveover their emotionsbut in a flow of emotionsthat must be protectedfrom abuse. Healthy emotionsare seento be at the baseolwell conductedfamilial relationships.

I'1i ,.

English kinship in the latc twcnticth century

Itni . t ( r oui l

The progressof polite society


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sfEr,FoRD & soNs (D&inyco.),


14 Advice to a wife, fourteenth edition From Chavasse'sAdvice to a Wif-e.

takeson a new dimension.It does not simply In this context,socialisation the social regimen of life into the person;it must alsomake surethat inculcate person properly is reproduced.Such a person fulfils him or the individual personal in terms by reference to inner emotional growth. Hence herself are subject to seenas their own individual development. persolls has a edge;it can mtrkethe personequallythe term development double The process or the subjectofit. The individual person,by object ofa active passive model, is like kinship that reproduceshim or her, the our reproductive process, of a as the outcome domesticating a natural entity socially perceived not time, itself is by any force At the same society constructed constructed. in the 1960s socialorder ofpersons; indeed, and 1970s, other than the actions product particular interests, artifact the of ideology. to be an of was assumed views, was between these and that held apart the a tension one There of each. perspective leaves us with a double image.On the one hand The mid-twentiethcentLlry (produced person by society); on the other hand is seenas a construction the (produced persons). is seen by The two sides of the as constructed society the double vision of civility that polemic,eachthe obverseof the other,echoes the questionin her debateabout. But whereas JaneAusten had her characters which natural was combined in was the extent to social and breeding day persons. in this mid-twentieth-century view the questionis the extentto which personseither act or are acted upon. morality, of public duty Englishperceptions of socialrank, of middle-class and of the welfare state have all produced persons as individuals. But the forms vary. However hard we look into the nineteenth century, we shall not find the single traditional English individual, the self-evidentand typical 'Victorian'. so prominent in latter-day twentieth-century rhetoric. What we find instead are the very different ideas about individuality from which ours have come. And, most recently, in the mid-twentieth century. a highly articulate double. When the individual appears as a product of society, moulded by external conventions, the collectivisedperson speaks;when the world seemsto be full of individuals, a plurality of persons and interest groups,eachspeaks from the centreof their own network of relationships, and of their own nrotivations.2? Indeed,this Jekyll and Hyde appearsin Leach's dictum, quoted by Forteswho letstheprescriptiongo unremarked(1969:288, my emphasis):'ln all viable systefrstheremust be an area where the individual is free to make choicesso as to manipulatethe svstemto his own advantage'. But thoseperspectives are to be flattened,the tensiondissipated. We shall find that the two facessubsequentlymerge with each other there will be no obverse. The individual personwho is the microcosmof conventionbecomes elided with the individual person who makes his or her own choices.In the process,this figure will present a different kind of image, a composite,a montage, of itself. That sleight of hand can only involve an extraordinary cancellationof many of the assumptions which polite society,among other enterprises,generated five or six generationsago.

Greenhouse effect


Greenhouse effect

one of the dottier enterprises projectedinto the 1990s is the attempt to build a tunnel underneaththe English channel to link Britain with the contrnent. A fantasy sinceat least 1856,the date of an early proposal, it seemsthat our enablingtechnologylis good enoughcauseto literally go aheadwith it. In the meanwhile, ferries ply the seas. Between northwest France and southwest England,a French company links Brittany to cornwall and Devon. Despite theseceltic affinities,the company's publicity leafletsare concerned to sell 'England' to the French. Making the passage on the Brittany ferry, Mary Bouquet, herself from Devon, was intrigued to find .Bed and Breakfast' featuringas an English attraction. Devon has long beenassociated with that kind of tourist accommodation in the form of the bed and breakfast farmhouse- and I dwell for a moment on her study of the domesticimaee it p resen l s. Bed and breakfast is not translatable into French; it appears as le B et B. Bouquet (1988;also see 1985)observes rhat rhe invitation is at first sight as pragmaticand literal-mindedas anyonemight imaginethe English to be. But there is more to it than this. It makes play, she suggests, with a contrast between 'modern conveniences'and 'home comfori', and opens out a domestic domain for public consumption. Accommodation will be found within the domesticspacethat a family might otherwiseoccupy - bedroom, bathroom and downstairs dining room and lounge o.. pui aside for the visitors.Although they can expecteveningmeal and colour television. mears are set rather than being offered a la carte, and the television will be in the lounge rather than in the rooms. It is understood that what enablesthe proprietor today to run her business are modern conveniences such as the deep freeze.lumble dryer, microwave oven. The proprietor is invariably female,the wife in a householdwho as rt were sells housework from her own doorstep. Tourists become visitors; they recognise the resident's hospitality,a reciprocitythat elicitsa certain style of politeness to deal with the fact that although they are not at home, they are in someone's home. The farmhouseproprietor in turn is expectedto be more 128

proprietor. In forthcoming,more intimate than a hotel or even guest-house short, it is the privacy of home life which is laid out for public consumption. perhapsthis is a versionof that other form of Englishself-advertisement: the are still openingup of statelyhomesas tourist attractionswhile the occupants Intenseinterestis provoked by the more private quarters- not in residence. just bedrooms,but the behind-the-scenes kitchensor servants'passages; one feelsslightly cheatedif one has only been shown the 'public rooms'. The domesticimageof bed and breakfastarrangements, Bouquet argues, is by the fact that while the private is made public there is always a sustained further private domain that is out of bounds.Privacyis also preserved. Hence of politeness. In statelyhomes,the private 'private quarters' the conventions are visibly cordoned off. In the caseof the farmhouseproprietor, I would add that what has also becomeprivate is the business that she is running. Her profit, her investments, the improvementsof her own house,are all her own affair. In short, her commercialinterest also true of the owner of a laree house faced with upkeep - is taken for granted. Literal metaphors Homes u,ithin homes Inversionsare always neat. If what is for saleis traditional domestic comfort, then the'real' private domain becomes constitutedby modern conveniences the enabling technology and the financial acumen which makes bed and breakfast into an enterprise. The inner sanctumof the farmhouseincludesthe taken-for-granted commercialintereststhat the housekeeper certainly does not share with her guests.They only eat her cooked breakfasts.Bouquet suggests that the imageswork because the person as such is definedin many respects like a home. Out of reach of the duties imposed by public life, and behind the role, existsa further, more private person,the real interior whose doorstepis not crossed. The Englishalwaysimagineanother recess, a privacy beyondpublic reach.But I wonder if that imageitself - the home within the home does not belong to an epoch that in other respects we have left behind. It is significant,I think, that while it looks as though behind the doors marked 'Private' the proprietor is leading her own life, in fact the visitor knows that sheand her familXdo not have a parallel 'home life': the hours of the day when they should be sitting down to their own breakfast,they are serving it to others.In other words, the real home is not within.2what is there is the domain of commerceand the exploitation of new technology. Bed and breakfast at a farmhouse is not the special case it might seem. Rather,it advertises an Englishway of imaginingthe personthat has in recent yearsbecometaken for granted in generalpublic discourse.personsmust once more be managers. In the late twentieth century this is above all a question of financial competence:the person is an individual with means. But although such


English kinship in the late trvcntiethcenlury

Greenhousc efl'ect

and indeed is an conlpetencemay be taken filr grante<l,it is no secret hirvebecome English the Thus ln nlanv ol clur dealings' axionatic presence by financial were dominated they habituated to treatlng others as though and schools as such institutions public as is happening to consideratic'rns, is assumption 1980s late the edifices hospitals.No need to buiid imposing to advertise need No sound' financially that a concernonly keepsgoing if it is any t hingels e.F i n a n c e i s th e e n a b l i n g te ch n ol ogyofthenew ' actl vcl tl zen' of responsibilitl through (a deliberate *t o ,nJ*, his or her individual sense is requiredwhetherthe revival of tradition) charity. Moreover, management c ont ex t is pu blic o rp ri v a te .T h e re i s n o d i f fe rencei nthebookkeepi ngski l l s. Indeed' balanc i n g th e h o u s e h o l d b c l o k s i sa hornel yi di onrsorneti tttesr.rsedto of public accountability' make explicit the requiremetrts Y et t hos edifle re n c e s w e re o n c e v e ry sa l i e nt,andi nrel ati ontothei r| ormer s alienc elm ak e th re e s u g g e s ti o n s .F i rs t,th e di tTerencebetw eenpubl i cand tt,e way objectsof knowledgewere created.The frivate had its analoguein .real' nature of somethinglay within. if only one Lnglish imagined that the found morality; one ,o,ild ,... Thus one lookeclinsidethe ge'teel personand the front room of into went form: One lookeclbeyonddecorationto structural however' Second' doors' closed behind rvas the real home a house.t-trinking to create seemed interior. .f the externllising that very acrivit_v;flooking. that was no form the respectability; became public fresh objects.Morality rnade visitor paying as a etrter you cottld that home longerintrinsic to ornament:the *o, - not t hes ame h o me | o rth e fa mi l y th a tl i ve dthere.A ndthi rd,once knowledge'it stayed somethingwas brought outsideand made an object of former taken-forits displacing presumably there, with other assumptions order of its own; an had form planned; be grantedstatus.Public works must in turn would assumptions These advantages' irinacy was forfeitedfor other which in the way in the to explicitness new become explicit, as there is a 'paying their way'; [undthe Englishinsist on public enterprises lgg0s/1990s and not merely management' good of objettives raisinghasbecomeone of the what are exaggerate both rve ourselves valuing in a meanstowards it. ln short. per c eiv c d tobe th e n a tu ra l a n d s o c i a l b a se sofl i t-e' andsearchformore in order to be really evide'ce that will shedlight on what we are really doing things to the surface effective.The result of suitr constant scrutinity is io bring and in the idiom that all the time, suchthat more and more thingsare kno*n c aught t he mid -l g 8 0 s ,s u c l l th a tth e re n o w seemonl ysurfaces' Thereareno


If nostalgic' rather allegorv rhehorne-within-a-home makes ri*"it-",

--^rinflS Thetransformatioos flatrened. sometimes inverred, is thatmeaning by insisting for themsetves meanings made .--hi.

of surfacehas becotrlepart of a current l'epresentatit)nal .(literacy' a Sense ,^ ^nA

;:ilii:;#. iliiffi::lish
are of interest.

and private ourside, and i",i"* i,,ide

will (merogr perspective alwayspartiaiand incomplete that any one

cally) overlap with others.Past tensehere indicateswhat we may imagineof the past: presentt ensea cont em por ar y int er pr et at ion and exper ience of t his 'past';the future that this waspart of a nrodelof expectations and outcomes. I continueto evokeperspectival overlapin the tenses that governthe immediate narrati ve. A family farm in Devon consisted of 'various,partially overlapping'groups (Bouquet 1986:23). crfinterests The elucidationof numerousdifferentsystems or domains,eachwith their own logicalprinciples,eachaffording a particular on something,only exemplifies perspective the impossibilityof imagining a rotality. There will, in this kind of thinking. always be more ro know. The perception of knowledgebeyond the knower can be reproducetlas though it werea changeof scale.It may be a question of magnification,as when one individualsin aggregate perceives or holds that a collectivityis largerthan the surn of the parts. It can also be effected by a switch in the meclium of perception, as in the displacement of a sound imageby a visual one, and thus by a changebetweendifferent orders of measurement.changes acrossscales in this latter senseoccur at what are perceivedto be the 'boundaries' of systems or domains:on the one hand you can look at a family as an intimate circle of relatives,on the other you can look at it in terms of industrial producti on and t he er ploit at ionof laboLr rM . agnif icat ion in t ur n has it s own boundary ellect; to see 'more' is to see'differently'. This indigenous facility for scale changewas sustained, among other things, by those homely imagesof public and privare space.exterior and interior. which made every threshold the boundary of a domain. Taking in visirors leadstc a 'partitioning of the wife's status and identity within the family' (Bouquetl986: 35) the externalconnectionrvill activate internal difl'erentiatton betweendiverse areas of domestic life. The same is true of kinship relations. Behind the relativeis a person;conversely, and I think here of the psychoanalyticassumption that individual disorders arise from fanrilial rel atl ons. beh i ndr heper sonis alsoa r elat ive. Despir e lheir par t r alconneclion. trrc pnenomenachange scalesneither 'relative' nor 'person' acts as the complete analogyof the other. A hidden domain has its own intrinsic narure or-character because of this boundary effect at the ftrerceived) threshold. could put it that interior and exteriorwerenot manipulated as totalising .--we analogies of eachother: what appeared on the outsideseemed a different order ur pnenomena from what is withi'. The sense of differingordersinvitesone to and more, further and further, whetherto the rnostintimatepersonal llltgt. exP eri ence or to t hc r nassivc im pact <lf globir lcur t ur e.r . r , het her t o t he r iniest particlesor-ro rhe hugestexf anseof rhe universe(Haraway lggg). il":::ll:, distinct from irs indivrdualmembers, in rhe sarne way ., iil loetus fl:.,.I:scopically -"!rc is nricroscopically distinct frorn its mother. In eithercase, what is isnct ar t uker t t t suilt lt t , r cist t t ," .1' ^n" tthefiel doI vision. but t hef ieldolvision ' ' ' ne can al w avsalt er scale and whet her on t he'inside'or . out side'always ^ rce rnore.


English kinship in the late twenticth century

Creenhouse effecl


It seemsthat the English saw no reasonto put an insideback once it had not beentaken out.3This is the obverseof their interestin making discoveries only explicit but communicable.Ever sincethe Enlightenment,the Western systems of knowledgein which the English have participatedhave restedon to dethe propositionthat one should aim for a stateof permanentrevelation. mystify and make thingsmore and more apparentin consciously conveyingit to others. This seemstrue whether one talks of human nature. cultural artefacts or inanimate things. But cumulative knowledge of such global proportions restsonly with an imaginedcollectivity,in librariesand archives, on someone's discsand tapes.For the individual person,to switch perspectives involveslosing vision as well as gaining it, as we shall seein a moment. Modern English pragmatism, so-called,thus consists in the fact that knowledgeis invariably and merographically definedas usefulfor or relevant to some otherpurposebeyond itself. That the reality of things lies within them is a counterpart to the idea that knowledgeis also conveyedby thus making explicit the external rationale or the principleson which it is based.I have may themselves alreadyindicated.however,that these counterparts be treated as whole other orders of knowledge. In renderingthe nature of things apparent or explicit, the English might attendto the contextor environmentofthe entity concerned or to background assumptions but in eithercasewould be attendingtherebyto the or prejudices. connectionsthat affectedits identity. Thus, the flow of emotions becomes perceivedas the content of a relationship. It matters when the human foetus can be regarded as a person, for time turns a cellular mass into a living human being. But of all the locational images on which we draw, that of bringing depths to the surfaceseems(or seemed) to have (had) a particular power.a Power may well have come from the very equation of interior spacewith privacy. When the English concealthemselves behind front doors, it seems one of their intrinsic characteristics[Chapter One], and thus there is a characteristically secludedor enclosednature to the ideal home. Privacy as family privacy is sustainedthrough the combined connotationsof exterior surfaceand interior depths; the changeof scaleis enactedon the doorstep daily. Private livesmay overlap with public ones.but the one cannot stand as an analoguefor the other. Farmhousevisitorsknow this. They are treatedto a does versionor representation of family hospitality,for its outer presentation persons. not equalits inner character. between The sameis true of interactions only that part Onepersoncannotsuffice as the measure of another,but reflects which is investedin the relationshipin question.Thus from others one ever In the sameway, one'sown external only getsa partial perspective on oneself. presentationremains out of proportion to one's internal disposition. We fclreverplay roles as 'parts'. In summary,sincewhat is within and what is without werenot isomorphic' to cross the boundary was to enter another world, another systern of

Telescopeor microscope,aggregateor particle: whatever is relationships. field of vision makes other things either part or context, either one's within elements within or ecosystemwithout. Public is different from inrrinsic role from the person, convention from choice, as tradition is the Drivate. from change and nature from culture.' These are not simple iiff"r.nt When domains are not isomorphic or fully analogous to one antitheses. significance will eclipsedand importance magnified in seemingly be another, To ways. focus on one is to lose another. disproportionate inevitably'part' of suchoverlappingfields. kinship system was The English with some other of thesedomains,it has alwaysappeared Yet in comparison in effects. reduced its Kinship was seenas simultaneously dealingin curiously (exterior) primordial insignificant relations and as in its social (interior) further From the latter comes the effect that in communicating dimension. other ideas one is not communicating ideas about kinship. If, for the person, kinship relations were visible as a function of twentieth-century on the one hand (maternal bonding, sibling rivalry) or social biology (the home, the nuclearfarnily)on the other. I cannotdescribe'the organisation system'without also describing suchconceptualisations of societyand kinship 'describing' nature. Yet it would appear that I arn not kinship. of in Now CharlesDarwin located imagesof connectionin kin genealogies order to apply them to the natural world. Kin relationscould be used as a model for natural ones. But perhaps one result of such usage was an unintendeddisplacementof the human relationships.Insofar as he was insisting on an explicitanalogybetween the two, he was also separating offthe organisation of the natural world from that of human kinship.The moral and socialnature that had been elicited front kin connectionsin the writings of Austensubsequently Nature of Chevasse became the generic and hypostatised whoselaws imposedthemselves on the person,and especially on the physical body. and did not require the mediation of particular relationships(the mother'sduty was to the child'sdevelopment). Relationships in turn cameto be externalised as society,an organisationalsystem,a set of principlesand forcesoutsideindividual persons. This (naturalised) of society understanding in turn renderedkinship only one of the many domains it encompassed. Kin connectionsdid not seem sufficientto carry the entire imagery of social relations.They becameinternalisecl as'family'. The insufficiencyof kinship as a conceptualapparatuswas to becomea crucial point of anthropologicalcontrast betweenWestern kinship systems and thoseof many other of the world's culturesas anthropologists were able to describe thern(La Fontaine 1985). Certainly,anthropological textbookson t<lnship tend to peter out when they come to the industrialised West (Bouquet and de Haan 1987:256). Kin relationsare understoodas domesticrelations, and domesticityas a rather minor part of sociallife. The family circleis. so to speak, the real'home'within the home, and while the complexities of familial psychology and interpersonal development can takeon cosmicdimensions for


English kinshipin the late twentieth century


t 35

the individual, they appear not to have an external, radiating impact on societyat large. Keeping up with relativescan be subsumedunder personal choice. For all that relativesappear given, empirically speaking'the principle of choice operatedwith kin as well as friends'(Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969: ll4, emphasisremoved).The English capacityto shed kin, the idea that the range of relativeswho are given also contains those whom, by introducing non-kinshipcriteria,one can chooseto ignore,and who in the courseof time and distancewill be forgotten, are domesticversionsof the reducingeffect. For what might once have been taken as a matter of cultivation (personal choice evincing those discriminatingcriteria which determinedone's social connections) has sincecome to be understoodas an inevitableshadingoff of relatives at distant boundaries. It becomes a triviality that ego is at the centre of decreasing concentriccircles. The idea that it is natural (inevitable) to forget kin at the edgesof the kin presupposes universe their prior existence; primordial relationsare conversely there simply becausethey are primordial, even if people do not 'know' about them. They exist at a simple or primitive level (whom you are relatedto). It follows that other principles will seem extraneous,and appear to belong to other and more complex levels or systems.As Firth, Hubert and Forge's (1969: 97) Londoners talk of themselves, neither 'family' nor 'relatives' representclear-cut kin units. Similarly, Davidoff and Hall's naturalistic observation that 'in any kinship system, some relationships even when acknowledged[will be] played down, others ... privileged' (1987: 320; my emphasis) universalises what seems to give the Englishuniverse its limits. An intriguing revelation in this English assumption, then, is the way that relationshipsare open to acknowledgement and privileging: the content of relationships can be measured as more or lessrelationaland more or lessopen to choice. It is the choice offered by those other levelsor systems which makes societyas a whole appear complex. Radcliffe-Brown (1952: 63) observed that there is no difference between maternaland paternalcollaterals in Engiishkin reckoning.Is it the absence of difference that elicits the senseof choice?There is no choice but to choose whether to treat them the sarne or treat them differently. Choice can then appear as a natural and inevitable outcome of an interplay betweendegreesof relatedness and the flow of emotions that particular interactionselicit. This accords with the modern English view that relatedness is about being close, and that the kinds of emotionsthat flow in kinship relationsmust evincethat proximity. One may feel 'warm' or 'cool' towards different degrees of relatives.In fact, Fortes' universal axiom of amity in the definition of kin relationssupposesjust sucha flow of natural emotion at the heart of sociallife. Kinship can be seenas the core of social institutions, but then Fortes was talking with non-Westernsystemsin mind. posedby For anthropologists in general,one of the problemstheoretically

Western kinship as an open system, with a network of conceptualising off into the distance. becomes how to give it proper shading relations cultures of other (non-Western) with thosesystems by comparison rnagnitude itselfis which society through idioms as relations appear kin categorical where the contrast and consistently, English, by For the regulated. and organised disappear. kinship seems to make oJ-society DcrspeL'tive ' Whilt we might attribute to the modern or pluralist epoch, then, is not in number and quantity, but the ideathat one can always simplyan investment of numbersand quantitiesby changingthe scale new universes whole Droduce one's perspectiveon it. Hence one could and thus at, looks one what of where perspectiveof non-Western systems from the kinship Western consider from recovered then What was frame. organisational significant a it seemed political and economic society the was 'interior' systems kinship those of the The'amount' of kinship and the'number'of kinship they organised. interests of the Western (and point up the cultural distinctiveness to served systems English)case.But it was society,not kinship, that was held to increasein complexityover time; complexityin kinship reckoninghad no suchpurchase of non-Westernpeoples. on the future, Ibr howevercomplicatedthe systems they appeared to be dealing with primordial relations that westerners understoodas inherentlyprimitive or aboriginal. As an organisingmetaphor for sociallife, 'society'was able to absorb,as it under were,any number of ordersor domains,for they could all be aggregated concept.On the one hand, then, societyacted as a partial this aggregating domain; on the other hand, it provided a relationalmetaphor for the idea of could be subsumedunder its totalising domain itself. Other perspectives perspective. Yet the pluralist epoch is in the past. [t has beenhelpful to my accountto imagery thus in conceptualise certain aspectsof the mid-twentieth-century order to overcome the problem that diversity (variation and change) that we had seeminglyposed for anthropological understanding.I suggested with them, in to takethese ideasas part of the data, rather than an interference that what we regardedas unique and novel was an outcome of the way we kinship as arranged The Englishview of extended conventionalrelationships. belonging to the realm of tradition, for example, was part of the sarne constellationof ideas which produced the sensethat with increasingtime society became increasingly complex,and that the world was constantlyfilling in up with more was the modern imageof the world increasing social (and cultural) complexity, apd in the range of'human choice.that in turn kept kinship as a rather hoiirely domain. To switch from looking at societyto looking at kinship always seemed to reduceone's scopefor soc:ial explanation.It is, therefore,of some interestthat in a postplural world the perception of different perspectivesneed no longer evoke scale change. The postplural 'individual' is no longer imagined merographically. Imagining the individual as a person who is supported by an enabling


kinshipin the latetwentieth English century



technology, and who thus sustainsan independentexistenceby virtue of financial means, is a concept of transformative dimensions.Technology enables; it is a resource. Although it may take the form of property, it elicits neither the old proprietorial senseof a given identity or possession nor the constraints of social class or position. Rather, anything - relationships, institutions,persons, minerals- may be assimilated to the idea of a resource. These days, resourceful individuals are those who can find resources irrespective of whether they come from within or outside themselves. I say transformative, becausewhen society itself is assimilatedto an enabling technology, regarded as a kind of resource,as it can be, it disappears. If perspective switchingalwaysinvolved a concomitant sense of loss,then the English have always made certain losses evident to themselves. A longstandingone is the notion of family itself,to which I shall return. But recently new absences seernto have been voiced. I wish to document the successive 'vanishing'of three concepts,Society.Individual, Nature. They were crucial to the construction of merographic connections, not just becausethey provided the substance of domains that clearlyoverlapped, but because they provided betweenthemselves a conceptualscheme for apprehending connection or relationshipas such. The first is publicli, announced. the secondis to be found in the writings of cultural critics,the third I infer, and it is the disappearance of the third that brings about the possibility of merographiccollapse.

The English and the class e/fbct collapseis obviouslya metaphor.More appropriatelyone might take another and talk of cancellation.Relationships may be cancelled. Diana Sperling's sketchof Mrs Sperling and wilkinson (Frontispiece) shows what would in the idiom of the day have counted as a familial relationship but not a kinship one. while the couple are members of the same household ('family'), their differentand respective standingis displayecl in their dress. on a threshold,poisedbetween interior and exterior,the one is bent on improving nature,the other (presumably) to do his mistress's bidding.They are not really in that sense a couple,for they havedifferentperspectives on their tasks.Each becomes, however,an extensionof'the other the patronesswho gives the servantreasonfor his actions,and the servantwho is in a manner of speaking the enablingtechnologyfor her intentions.In this sense, Mrs Sperlingis not uniike the bed and breakfast proprietor, though in the latter case the technology is no longer human, and rather than going after it she would probably like to ensurethat nature is somethingher guestswill taste in her cooking. Nor are machinesquite like servants. However much they observed the proprieties of place, human servantswere also notorious for 'talking back', for behaving unpredictablyand speakingwith a voice of their own. Machines are simply supposed to give back to the operator her own

That relationshipis a domesticone, in twentieth-century idiom, instructions. one of kinshiP either. but not In the persons of Mrs Sperling and wilkinson and of the farrnhouse proprietor with her machines,I have chosen two images without kinship 'in' them. Perhapsthey will evoke the conventionalportrait that I ostensibly present.The mid-twentieth-century made not reader would recognise have .kinship'straightaway had I reproducedthe affectinggroup scene painted by zoffirny in 1778that Macfarlane puts inside the covers of Marriage and Love or even the collection of plastic dolls (male. female, two juveniles in Engluncl on the cover of Barrett and Mclntosh's The Anri-social Fanill'. baby) a and during the yearsthat divided the late eighteenth For century from the late century, kinship became very much equated with the domestic twentieth family in Englishlife (La Fontaine 1985:R. Smith 1973). To haveportrayeda farnily group would have instantly conveyedthe idea. Indeed, it is a recent complaint (wilson and Pahl 1988)thar many wrirings on rhe family lrave narrowed the focus of kinship even further, literalising family relations as merelyconjugal ('marriage')and domestic('the household').one effectis to throw irrto relief the often asymmetricalparticipation spouses show in the family itself - one or other may be notionally 'absent', preoccupiedby concerns elsewhere. There is allegoricalintention to my choiceof portrait. The late twentiethcenturypersonas an individual with his or her enablingtechnologyis as much a product of the earlierreproductivemodel as was the private domesticcircle. In fact, the absentfamily htrs always been as strong a motif as the actively present one, as we shall see.At the sametime, the relationships composedby Sperling give one pausefor thought. The conventionaldemarcationof status difl'erence, the interdependenceof proprietor and human servant, the significance ofthe grandly conceived thresholditselfand,despitethe rain. the matchingof natural improvementwith selfimprovement- these haveall since beendisplaced.It is not, of course,this or that particular absence that is significantbut the relationshipbetweenabsences. Merographic connections make entities disappear all the time. They reappear by the samedevice,the sameconnecting perspectives. But cancelling the connections has to be final. That it is entire constellations of absences or displacements that are significant no doubt makeseveryepochthink it liveson the brink of momentouschangeor at the edgeof the universe, and so it does (tts own universe of connections). The English bring such change about doing what they havealwaysdone: renderingvaluesand assumptions Inrg.usn explicit to themselves. It has, however, mattered what is selected as those underlyingvaluesand who does the selectins . I havedescribedrhe titeralistpr;.-.;;;; ;;1"ni.n the Engtishmake trrings kno.wn.They search for specilications of rlality that will yield knowledge explicitand availablefor communication.Each dimension, however,leadsto further specification,to the further search fbr the really real. the literal


English kinship in thc lare twenticth ccntury

Greenhouse effect


In ils pt'ogress dotrtt tbe centuries .\rtli sbtt 11' Catltedro I seented a safe pointer to eterni\,frxla.f it s.'1'rnbolisas tbe utstl.y'strtrytr4le agrtinst the rcrutges of acid rain. Jobn Ezard repofts

I vember. you will find crowds of J men. women and children wilderI ing around, Just gazlng In mazeI ment I hey cotne frcm all over the ] world. Why? Because this is one of I the wondersof the world No generationbeforeours has I nad reasonto expectthat anythrng ] p\cept lnp tast lrumu could remove I I it Whal our gpner.trur has to face js the forecastthat unless we ] I cnange our way of hfe Salisbury and many other churches,treat I and <rnall.stll be nr ouldenng,de wlrhjn I la(ed and utrref,iqnisabl I rhe lifetimesofour children or grandchildren. fs'elve years aco. a blink of en I I eyelid in its ljfespan.the f'amjlv' of 800 staff and lolunteers whjch ] found ii and caies for it I cJusters I brgan b real'so rhat their deaf lriend was almost Iefmnallv ill_ l'or some lin)e the facesof lile I lalnous g0 \latufs i), saltis on ihe

west front had laked as ifthey were betng "tom bv some asent of eyil", as the clerk of works Rov SPnng puts rt. But the statuesare, ultimately, decorahon.The worst djscovery was that the same enemy agent ts attacking three sets of stone decorative bands on the outside of the splre They help hold up lhe 4 800{on combined setght of sDrreand lower. These batrds have be)l melted in parti from thelr orrBtnalejght inch tnlckilessto tqo in(hes.Ltke the faces of the statues, tbey look as if someonehad hurled !itriol at lhem; and that is what s haDpenjDg. The nrodern ildustrial world has been throwing diluie sulphunc acrd rn the form of a(id rain oD rop of the eiTectsof frost. wind and all the other traditional cor rooeB r)t stonework. Frost is slow. and lhis anefacl L'anstare ilown hurn.a))r-.sllut. thaDks lo acid cheering prcture of devotion and endealour. What this picture omits is that the acid rain blitz will continue between now and 1992and thereafter. We shall have to wait till 1991for the report ofa national monitoring by the Building Research Establishment on the impact ofacid rain otr ancient fabric. Meanwhile York Minster and Lincoln Calhedral are among the great British churches bothered about it. Further alield, Cologne Cathedral rs being ralaged. tsut for Sallsbury the background picture is the starkest yet describd in Britain. Roy Spring says: "The deay is accelerating so rapidly that some of the statues added by the Victorians are now in as bad a state as the medieval ones. When we have hnished the appsl we are nolv on in eiBht years time, we wiu have to hare another major appeal to deal with stonework which is

I done better than Winchester(illn) I or Hereford (!1m unlessthe Mappa Nlundj sale goes ahead). So far ii s I got l3m nationally and from lhe i diorese.Salisburydiocesewas i<jled to ratse a dauntlne Jlm and I di!\ipd up an errraordinilr j t2m mn\tlJ Iront roffce mnrnl0gs and I r lolvs mites Wilh Tale ntovins stafie. i ii ,the internationalappeaJ chojr I end lhe 28 strong cathed13l du. lo barnstornt l))e Lrn)lodSral4s ] rn.Apfjl, thc trus! rs qiltfll! on I roursp lo ha\r thF irj.,-)n) b\ nta\hp 1992. The orjgrnal Chilmark quarrt ] frs been reopenedThirt\'fi\'e fulJ i tirre rnasonshave rlfead! beguna teD-l.ear lask E!en wlth t;i.000 la\er nachines which aut sione i2 trmesas f-ast as a saw, they will still lakc {r,er n quarter as lo|g to i rfstore uruttlaird parts ol the ra lhLdu] as theI Dledie\alpredecps. ] \rlrs drd to bu!ld tt. I I'llis is ( ltai the tr Drl/l LDor s. a

T l' , *,, r o m r ,r r cr i,u n 9 a *, \ . ar rgug


I 5, t ost and ruin . l9E9 F r o n r t h e We e ke n d Gu u r d iu nd a te d Ne w Ye a r 1 9 89. Reproduced by kind permission of John Ezard and Thc Guardian ll'etkt,ncl sunnlemenr.

relationshipsor connections behind the connections.(To want to make metaphorsis regardedas the artificial inclination of poets and artists.)This activity is by no meansconfinedto the English,but it is one they accomplish in a certain style.The point is that one and the sameprocedure making the basisof one's current valuesexplicit both constitutesthe nature of present reality as it is perceived and leadsto its displacement. Like the sequencing of generations and the downward flow of time, the effectof literalisationseems irreversible.

This literalisation is embeddedin a literate culture. Mv reflectionsare derived from a limited range of cultural productions and, in the twentieth In the mid century,the latter lived in celltury.from the educatedrniddleclass. milieu, I and draw London ethnographers. again on the As Firth, a bookish (1969: 'characteristic and Forge 460) remarked. a of our middle class HLrberl patterns allecting their of kinship behaviour was the literate families qu; r iit y of t heir cult ur - e. . . [ and] a som ewhat self - conscious i nrel l ectual at t i t ude t owar ds t heir social r elat ionships i i cal wit h t heir kin'. The anal f investigation part kinship was of reflection on the of this anthropological given ofrelationships, and the I have account ofit here has kept largely nature material available and to sources meant readily for dissemination. The to has been an enquiry into English kinship from middle-class a outcome Throughout the twentieth century, this has been the class perspective. with creating perspectives. and communicating them as concerned knowleclge. My unrepresentative'we'is intendedto indicatethe fact of classperspective. and from it I have focusedon a prevalentview of English kinship as it infbrmed modern anthropology. Its recognisable componentsincluded the idea that kinship was the cultural constructionof biological (natural) facts, that one studiedsocietyas a setof conventions externalto and interrralised by the individual. that Western kinship systenlswere cognatic or bilateral in nature. and that what was peculiar to the English was their individualism. Thesecomponentsencompassed the very relationshipbetweennature and culture that Schneider, for its American counterpart,related to the middleclass underpinnings of anthropologyas a project.I have addedthe invention of English as a national culture. Purportedly a cultural designation that matches a specific population, the idea of Englishnesshas had its or.r'n molrlentum,and I have tried to give somesense of the nature of that idea as it formed at the turn of the present century. It both contributed to the merographicsense of amalgamin the English character,and presented itself as the whole to which past diverseancestries contributed. Certain featuresmay be held to havedistinguished 'English' thinking from Its American and Continentalcounterparts. Over the past two centuries, one mav point to the particular way in which socialclasslrasenteredthe English construrction of knowledge. The changes described in ChapterThree had parallels elsewhere in Western Europeand North America.What is distinctivelyEnglishliesin the mannerin which socialclassis used as a sourcaof dialogueand reflective commentarv. Thus it is with a sense of triumph tdat Conseivativeintellectuals today insist that w e now w i t ness a r et ur n t o a t r adit ional,pr e- Socialist individualism I .n evoki ng ' fa m i l i es' and in evoking 't r aclit ion', t hese polit icians ar e also recallingvaluesthat evoke specificsocial strata the caring stewardshipof the upper classes or the respectability of the micldleclassas twentieth-century people imagine the nineteenth-century people to have been.


English kinship in the late twcntieth ccntury

Greenhouse effcct


returnedto a Over the last two hundred years,the Englishhave repeatedly picture of society divided either'naturally'and inevitablyor else'socially'and open to reform, and divided eitherby pre-existing inequalities or by individual merit and attainment.They recreatesocial heterogeneity thereby.6Handler and Segal( 1990)suggestthat such capacity for commentary developedfrom, promotion of parties in the political sense, inter alia, the eighteenth-century for that brought in its train the idea of a permanentrepresentation of different perspectives as so many differentviewpoints.The nineteenth-century concept of social class,we might say, also came to embody the permanentrepresent at ion of diffe re n tv i e w p o i n ts . Whatever generalisationa nineteenth-centuryperson and his or her might wish to make about human nature, social twentieth-century successor class could enter as a qualifying difference. Over this period, society was characterised by the fact that one could not generalise acrossclassboundaries. Political and academic analyses of classthat soughtto definea singlebasisfor classformation had to contend with an amalgamof indigenousperceptions. For the classes, composed of diverse criteria, were not equivalent to one another. That is, they were not formed by the samerubrics: what made one upper class(inheritance, estate)was not the same set of circumstances that made one working class(sellinglabour). Socialclasses worked like scales; to 'move' between classeswas to switch scalesof measurement. While upholding class loyalties and status conventionsmay have made people think they were clinging to old ways, the perceiveddifferences between social classesthroughout the modern epoch speeded up, one might say, reflectionon the interactionbetween the givensof people'scircumstances and what they made of life. The picture of the English villagewith its residential core and mobile periphery encapsulatedthis relationship. Mobility and immobility, choice and non-choicein relations:the dimensionsof English socialclassmeantthat one might at oncebelongand not-belong, claim origins and move, be embedded in a family network and be freeof it (Strathern198l). The possibilityof moving'up' or moving'down' was,in effect, affordedby the possibilityof moving betweendifferentdomains- there was no simple set of criteriaby which the classes wereranked.Individual personsas a consequence were not to be ranked by any singlemeasure.t As Austen's charactersknew, different criteria could always be played off againstone another,wealth againstbirth, good management againstpride of position, and so on. Class in turn was not the only source of internal commentary and reflection; others lay in the difference between town and country and between the generations. But social class provided an effective medium for the disseminationof ideas,for talking about habits at a remove from one's own milieu. Notions of morality, decency,thrift key valuesby which people lived - shifted in meaning between class, and gave everyone a vantagepoint from which to comment on their neighbours,whether or not they wished to imitate their style.

(or, in its colloquial form, prejudice) The possibilityof transclass'dialogue' general effect up a sense ofchange in Englishlife. had the ofspeeding also has persons were things at a differentrate or in a of seen to be doing classes Other (more quantity neglect, more secondcars). And divorce, more child different people's styles could also be affront to one's own. One might refer to an other 'the family' as a contestedconcept, and mean that it was a political or ideologicalconcept, historically created.sBut what also made it contested that could be brought to bear upon it, and the were the different perspectives of these were class based.The middle-classfamily appeareda significant most quite different phenomenon from the working-class one. One perspectivethereby detracted from another. This was exaggeratedin the English tendencyto pull down what was already in place when what was in place was regarded as elitist or privileged or as incorporating a hegemonic vision imposed on others. But whether to pull down or elevate,the English havehad to work through their socialclassidioms. Thus the mid-nineteenthclaimsto morality centuryidea of a common culture negotiatedmiddle-class and respectabilitythrough aristocratic claims to a privileged appreciation of polite society.A common culture was then in the late nineteenthcentury rediscoveredin the rural working class, whose urban counterparts became politicallyvisiblein the twentiethcentury.It is partly because of such a class dimension,one suspects, that the massinstitutionsof the twentiethcentury most notably the totalisingideaof the welfarestateitself- could subsequently be attacked not only as unwarranted intervention in people's lives but as somehowprotecting an undeserving minority of people who 'live off them. Thesedays the poor find themselvesbeing cast off as a kind of elite. Middle-classpeople used to observe that England has no constltutlon becauseit has never needed one, whereas Americans had to build up their society.e An outcome was that the English felt free to un-do what they had. Democratisation did not entail elevatingslavesto the statusof freemenbut entailed extending the privileges of the ranked or propertied to commoners. This particularpossibilityof socialun-doing,has had a profound effecton the development of ideas.It promotesthe radicalismof the philistine(to use one of Arnold's epithets),with her generaldistastefor elitism and for the planned intentionsof others. In the late twentieth century, however, there has been a further and currous flatteningeffect.Classno longerdividesdifferentprivileges. For anythingthat looks like privilegeis nowadaysworthy of attack, includingthe 'privileges' of thoseon statebenefit, and includingJhe prerogativesofthe stateitself. Present high Conservatism ridesexactlybecause it un-doesor pulls down. The policies of this party are highly selective,but not along class lines: it is state lnterventionin private livesthat must be pulled down. By contrast,the power of the transnationalsor of establisheddomestic lobbies for commercial interests survivesuntrammelled.for thesebodiesare not seenas classbased. Super-private,super-individualistic, they seem only larger versions of the


English kinship in thc late twentieth century



private individual. There is, we might say, no perceivedchangeof scale(of different orders or domains) between the individual person and private company,only a magnificationor diminution along the samescaleof virtues. I have been surprised at the extent to which this account has had to take notice of the presentpolitical dispensation. But that is partly because of the extraordinary force that the policies of the current Government in Britain appearto command.They are putting into effecta cultural revolutionof sorts, and one which has had a flattening effect far beyond the dreams of the selfproclaimed levellers.It has not flattened privilege or property differences. On the contrary, material inequalities are as entrenched as everin the new divide between persons and non-persons: to be an effective person one must have means.('Al1 lifestyles now require money'is an American comment (Barnett and Magdoff 1986:416).) What is flattenedin the political promotion of this perspective view is a senseof itself. To put it in extremeterms, there is no permanent representationof different viewpointsany longer,because suchviewpointsare no longerlockedinto class dialogue.Classdialoguehas collapsed. This is hardly a return to the England of the eighteenth centuryany more than it is a return to the nineteenth; nor is it a 'new middle class'which is emerging.Rather, a quite novel constellation of interests has been created by policies such as the encouragement of home ownership among council tenants or turning over state industry to private shareholders. The financial dimension is significant.The new person is the financialmanager;and if universalupward mobility makesa nonsense of the old three-step strata, then perhaps we should also find a designation other than middle class.Plasti-class will do for the moment, after its preferred mode of credit display. The plasti-class seem everywhere, representing diverse and multiple interests, and concealing social division between those with such flexibility and those without. For the nature of the enabling technology financial flexibility suggests that perspectives are constitutedmerely by the choices that resources afford. Those without the means to exercise choice are somehow without a perspective, without a communicableview on events.10 Loss should be understoodin a strictly relativesense. All the English have lost is what they oncehad, which was the facility for drawing partial analogies between different domains of social life. Referring to one class from the perspectiveof another went along with the ability to compare different domains of activity -- to talk of individual responsibility towards the general public, or to assumethat the welfare of the family meant the welfare of the community. But now, so long as one manages one's affairs, there is no difference betweenwhether one chooses to act in a role or act as this or that personalisedindividual. So long as it gratifies the consumer, there is no differencebetweenFrench bread and Viennesepastries.So long as the exercise of choice is possible,the plasti-class expands, If there is a feelingof helplessness attendant on all this, it is that the most

pl as* ti c ( ' pl ast lk) n. l. any one of a lar ge num ber of synt het ic -usual l y o r ganic m at er ials t hat have a polym er ic st r uct ur e and can be moulded when soft and then set, esp. such a material in a fi ni sh ed st at e cont aining plast icizer , st abilizer , f iller , pi gments, et c. Plast ics ar e classif ied as t her m oset t ing ( such as B akel i te) or t her m oplast ic ( such as PVC) and ar e used in t he

manufac t ur e of m any ar t icles and in coat ings, ar t if icial f ibr es, m ade of plast ic. 3. etc. C om par e r esin ( sense 2) . - adj. 2. easily influenced; impressionable: the plastic minds of children. 4. capable of being moulded or formed. 5. Fine arts. a. of or relating to moulding or modelling: the plastic arts. b. produce d or appar ent ly pr oduced by m oulding: t he plast ic draperies of Giotto's figures. 6. having the power to form or influence: the plastic forces of the imagination. 7. Biology. of or rel ati n g t o any f or m at ive pr ocess; able t o change, develop, or grow: plastic fissues. E. of or relating to plastic surgery. 9. Slang.superficially attractive yet unoriginal or artifici al:-plastic food. fClT: from Latin plasticus relating to moulding, from adv. Greek plastikos, from plassein to forml -'

I6 Pla.stic A y l es bury , E ntry from C ol li ns D i c ti onary (l s t E di ti on 1979).C omputer data fi l e des i gned: Computer typeset: Oxford. Manufactured: the Unitcd Statcs ol America. Reproduced by kind permission of Collins Publishers lrom Collins Dictionary of'the Engli.:h Laryuuge. 2nd edition, 1986

radical,most conservative governmentof this century has also collapsedthe difference political Right and Left. ('I don't know whetherwhat I've between seenis pure Thatcherism or pure socialism',are the reported words of a memberof a Downing StreetPolicy UniI uproposa cooperative management venturein Scotland(The Guardian,6 September1989).) The collapseis not something,of course,for which it can claim completecredit. For instance, feminists have found that with respectto the new reproductive technologies their interestin defendingwomen's rights is echoedin the anti-abortionists' interestsin defending the rights of the unborn. Rather, by hasteningthe collapsebetween Right and Left, the Government merely but powerfully embodiesit. And we had always imagined that 'totalitarianism'would have beenthe crushing implementationof one or the other! The speedwith which such chang'es seem to be occurring is like watching somethingon fast forward wind. Meanwhile,the Governmentitself seems to imagine it is midwife to a natural processof social evolution that will also restore traditional values. It can do this becauseit simply appears to be making the'nature' of individual motivation explicit,and therebyconceals its own process As Handler and Segal(1985:697)remark, however: of selection.


English kinship in the late twentieth cenrury

Grecnhouse eli'ect


'Existing socialrelationsare alwayspresupposed in the interpretiveconstruc_ tion of subsequent relations.but they have no inherent ineitia, that is, they have no inherent tendencyto continue or to determinethe future . . . social relationsare not fixed without the possibilityof alternatives.' But if dialogueis flattened,if there appear no alternatives, then what happensto the idea of relationships? where is the negotiation? There seems no negotiationover how we should definepersons.of all the interpretationsof the-person that could have beenselected, we are presented with an individuarsubjector agent who knows how to deploy resources or the meansat his or her disposaland whose personhoodlies in the capacityfor choice.we seemto have no choicein the matter. I refer to flattening by way of alluding to so-calledpostmodern discourse. __ Yet the allusionmust seemout of place.of what relevance is it that artistsmay interprettheir images in termsof pastiche and collage, or criticsseein films the imitation of dead styles? what doesit mean to say,as they do, the .deathof the subject',when choice is all around us and we have more means tnan ever beforeat our disposal? The Englishare still herein their suburbsor therrtown houses, and who careswhat postmodernism means? It is quite true that there have beenmomentouschanges in peopre's attitudestowards the constitution of the family, and towards such issuesas premarital sexual relations (e.g. Jenkins I990), but the famiry is appreciated as a lifestyleto a greaterextent than ever. In any case,individual persons appear to walk around solidly enough. Above all, the nation has Government reassurance on the matter. The then British Prime Minister publicly pronounced: Ther-e is no suchthingassociety. Thereareindividual menandwomen andthereare (Margaret families. Thatcher, l9g7)11 But while one might be reassured about the individuals and the families,it seemsthat they can only be made to appear if .society, disappears. This was no haphazardremark. The pronouncementhas beenquoted and requoted,was made the subject of terevision debate,and has been set as a universityexaminationquestionfor anthropologyundergraduates. Therehas also beensomeanxiousbackpedailing, whith led-the fol[wing year ( r ggg)to the energetic promurgation of the concept 'active citizeni[ip'. But the statementis irreversible. Mrs Thatcher could in fact have used any one of those three terms individual, family' society in any one of the threeplaces shedeproyedthem, and the meaningwould have beenthe same.No ru.h thi.rg as the individuat, only families and society; or no such thing as families, only society and individuals. ' . what is breath-rakingis that the leaderof an elected political party should have chosenthe collectivistidiom to discard. what vanishes is the idea of societyas either a natural or an artificial consociation. what also vanishes,then, are the grounclsof the class diarogue (the naturalness or artificialityof socialdivisions)that hasdominatedpoiiticaldebateand reform f or t he l as t rw o c e n l u ri e s .

herjudgementwas unerring.To cancelsocietyis to cancelall Yet in a sense Not being able to 'see'societyis rather like the old literalist rhreeconcepts. that Western anthropologistsprojected on to others, of not oroblem, one paternity. see We have literalisedour perceptionsof human ireing able to point we to that make social relationshipsas such very hard to nature the fact English cannot seethe individual exceptby insistingon In the visualise.lz and then all they seeis the display. display its own individuality: its rights to making farnilies visible by their lifestyle. and then all they seeis on They insist facility. then, is a certain relational What is cancelled, the lifestyle. 'chosen' those terms to have any of Prime Minister could, I believe, The 'choose' public figureor may to be a way as nowadays in the same one discard, 'choose' have person, so The meaning would one's lifestyle, and forth. private power facility to see that the of analogy: the beenthe same.We have cancelled analogous both to defined by or that families are society, individuals are other. We on the seem the hand to social communities one and individualson to have lost motivation in drawing suchparallels.The statemust not appear rights must not be trammelledwith duties,citizensdo not have paternalistic, The most powerful imageone can devisefor members of a community.13 to be is that of householdmanager, the proprietor of Government such a Head fanily-style accommodation. selling p earing fami ly, di sap p earing .tociet!D i sap Family living can be seen as a lifestyle of sorts. Bed and breakfast offers lamily-styleaccommodation the flavour of domesticity.A recent English textbookon the sociologyof the family (Goldthorpe 1987)argues that while it flies in the face of variability and change to reify 'the family' as a thing, everyone has had experienceof 'family life': accordingly we should be studyingsuchlife as eventsand processes. Interestingly, the author throws in 'society'as a similar entity. To presentsocietyas though it were composedof categories and groupsis to falsify the reality of human sociallife (1987:2): we should study human actions as processesin time. (Everyone has had experience that a of 'sociallife'l) A featureof this argumentis the assumption proper subjectfor study is what individualsexperience. All the variability of family forms are thus flattened out in the assertion that everyone has some sort of family life. On the surface,such viewsseemto give the family a new lease. It no longer appearsproblematic. For like the anthropologist'sperspective on Western kinship that makesit alwayssubsu.rnable under other, more significantsocial factors,the perennialproblem of the modern study of the Englishfamily has oeenthat it was always on the vergeof disappearing. The very variability of tndividual forms as well as the careersand different life patterns of individuals haveseemingly interferedwith a clear view of typical familiesor of a sense of continuity. Valuing family life, however,bringsits own twist. When its future turns on individual experience and, as we shall see,on choice,the family is


English kinshipin the laterrventieth ccntury

effect Grccnhousc


simply made to disappearin a new way. A certain matrix of connectionsor associations no longer holds it in its former place. The family in declinewas a parricularlysalienttherne in the postwarperiod, and was among the assumptions that prompted counter-studies to show the historical antecedents of small domestic groups (most notably Laslett and wall 1972).Jonas Frykman and orvar Lcifgren (19g7: l50tr) observe of middle-class Swedenin the mid-twentiethcentury that the idea of the sorry state of the modern family has in fact been coterminouswith the spreadof farniliallifestyles and of the nuclearfamily as the basisfor the household. yet a small family can seemsomehow'less'of a family. The ideais that in the past people had more relatives. lamilies were larger, there was more of a community. in the same way that people imagine that village life was once communal.Dramatic changes in people'sattitudestowardsdivorceand single parent familiesare held to prove the point. As a consequence, the fanrily seems to have become'fragmented'though, as Jon Bernardes ( l ggg) also notes.the idea of farrrilylife enjoysas strong a hold as ever. Martine Segalen (l9ti6:2) nicely capturesthe emphasisin her observationthat to think of the family in crisis glosses over the real problem: it is societythat is in crisis. Throughout the modern seems that the Englishlarnily has always beenvanishing. The sameis true of'the Englishvillage.terminallyon the point of disappearing (c1-.Strathern 1984), and equally true of the organic community of rurai England (williams 19g,5). The reasonsseernto lie in people'ssocialactivities, in their mobility, their capacityto move in, to move out, and thus down or up in socialstatus;consequently it is the naturalness of the pre-existing villageor community which is felt to be perpetuallyweakened. when a suburb of a large Northern city was called a 'village', it was community survival that was at stake.The survival of the village .had to be fought for, protectedagainstincessant, hostileforces'(young tsso; tro). at the same time, nostalgia for commu'ity was not necessarily nostalgia for egalitarianism: the vanishingof 'the gentry' ('the old-fashioned Enelish tvoe of family', asone woodford residenr said(wilmott and young 1960; 7)) co;d be causefor regret.woodford an Essexvilrage/Londonsuburb was at the tirne of the remark coming to seem.lessrural'. Another contemporarystrand to arguments about the family is reprocluced in Englishtextbooks(e.g.Elliot 1986): the revivalof questions asto whetheror not it is a good thing whetherthereought to be families.The most sustained critique co*es from feminist enquiry, but is not restricted to it. The individual's natural freedoms,developmentand emotional life are held to sr-rffer at the expense of family organisation, which may therefore be regarded as an instrument of other (say, capitalist)purposes.At the same time, profamily movements turn support for the famiry into an issueof political choice (see Thorne and Yalorn 1982 for Arnerican observationson the point). Although support may be voiced on the grounds that the family is a natural institution, to have to put forward a political or legal argument for its

nreservationremoves any taken-for-grantedposition. Family has become 'for' or 'against' n,,turolonly for some.Hencethe very idea that one might be (1986 202f1) implies, by the Elliot fuelled. as Faith is today the family 'alternative' living. Alternativesto domestic forms of promotion of cgnscious living arrangements. to domestic alternatives appear as invariably rhe family living style. matter of as a definition thus acquires The family We have here a new virtue. Style in turn acquires definition as a of choice,and what is new in this late twentieth-century exercise quintessential question is precisely the place given to choice. An rendition of an old family to be born, but evidentlyhe or she into which individualcannot choose lif'estyle fbr family-style or not. The family as opt a whether to choose rray well promotion family-living as an of in the vanishes a natural consociation individuals have the opportunities held to aft-ect Experience is experience. availableto them. Considerthe following: t hat . . . m eans educat ion f or t he'r ightt o choose'in ar gum ent [T]heri gh t - wing thereis and shouldbe able to choosewhat sort of stateschoolsystem Darents is often to choose' . . . [T]his'right school to private theirchildrcn whcther to send parentalcontrol in fact it means pr-esented as oppositionto outsideinterference: ever . . . [ Thequest ionishowt oof f er cont r ol overchi l dr eninst eadof social ] yone opportunities. the bestpossible perhaps more and the role of the socialworkerraises The issue of child-neglect that youngchildrenarebeingbattered Evenwhenit is suspected thornyquestions. to remove arereluctant departments social services localauthority by theirparents, to bethat positionmight seem thechildfrom thehome.The logicol our collectivist Yet moreoftenbe takeninto the careof the localauthority. . . . children shor.rld workinglives andespecially intopeople's anintrusion represents social workalso of character of therebarbative theproblem class then,wemeet lives . . . Hereagain, thatwemust wewouldargue again Yet here theexisting lbrmsof collectivity. class of 'the farnily',but mustfight for betterkindsof not retreatinto the individualism a oltenwantto defcnd wc should that at prcsent collectivism. rccognize Soweshould parent'sright to keepher child. But at the sametine we shouldbe working to unhappy to openthemup sothatteenagers improve homes thequalityof children's 1578, 1982: (Barrett Mclntosh go and to them. at homemightactually Io choose original emphasis) The authorspoint to the elisionin many contemporaryargllmentson the issue between'choice'and 'rights'. The 'right to choose'is problematic;but at the sanre time theability to chooseappearsas the mode through which 'rights' are exercised. The subjectswho exercle those rights are individuals' Relationships,suchas the relationshipbetween parentsand children,cannot havesuch claims and the family disappearsfrom view as the natural loctls for a collectivist position. In its placeis the desirabilityof improving the quality of home life. We have here a completeabout-turn from Eleanor Rathbone's 1924plea of for the provisionof a Family Allowanceon the groundsthat 'the well-being


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the lamily concernsthe community as a whore'. She added that .thereseems somethingstrangein the assumptionso commonry made,that the luestron of the maintenance of farnilier.on..rn, only individual parents uno .Jn be safely left to thenr;or that, at most, societyneed only take cognizance of the matter by. as it were, mixing a rittrephiranthropy with its buiinessand influencing employersto pay wageswhich will enabletheir the praiseworthy leisure-time occupati.n of keepingfamilies'(1927:ix x). The about-turn lies in the sym-borisation of personal welrare. Rathbone was concernedwith the miserableriving conditions of the working lr.rrl"a llr. inadequacy of state provisions for the lower paid una un.*pTov.J. gut ,lr. was also concernedto give 'the famiry a furer recognition and a more assured and honourablestatus'(r 927 : 304)againstthoseof her day who put forward contrary argumentson the grounds of individuals'rightsio determinetheir private lives.Shetook the whole unit because the indi'iduafrairtinguirrr"a Uy such rights often exclu.ed the women ancr chirdrenor tne ra'riif.?e might argue that because of the provisions of the eventuarwerfare State in the interveningyears,that is no longer the issue it was: the famiry having been protected, 'individuarised'in Barretr and Mclntort', pt .u.rnf in" n.* collective can only be formed through undoing or decomposing its Suchcollectivist argumentsfrom the Left seemto havethis in . common with the individualisticargumerts of the New Right: to exercise a good thing in itself. Barrett and Mclntosh (r9g2: "troi."-i, 134)offer,.,"o g.n.rut aims for political srrategyon rhe family: (l) we shouldwork for immediate chan.ges that wirt increase the possibirities of choiceftheir emphasis] so that alternatiires to the existingfavoured patternsof liJb [my emphasis] becomerearisticariy 'fumilv avairabre ana aesirabri;(2) [w]e should work towards. coilectivism and awayhom individuarism in the areasat present alrocated to rhe sphere of privatefamilyrife,.rp".iurry in.omlmarntenance, thework of makingmeals, creaning andhousekeeping, un,rtt . *ort or-caring for people suchas chircrren [my emphalsl. irreora and the sick or disabled. children are hereindividuarsat a stage ofpersonaldevelopment, not oflspring or relatives. Distinguishingtheir argument from that of liberal individuarismdoes not .. disturb the assumption that choice as such is a good thing. It makes very evident the individual person as a subject and an og.n, oih.. ol'ni, o*n destiny.All that seemingly differsbetweenLeft and Right in this is the means by which such destiniesmay be realised: socialism is bound to give a positive valueto collective ratherthan individuar concerns in questions of reproduction. what sociarists mustd. is not deny the existence ofindividual rights. for these will surely exist andeven flourish in socialist society, but chalrenge the privatecontentattritutedto suchrightsin bourgeors t hou ght. (1 9 8 2 1 : 36e , mp h a s ire s moved)

Now in the mannerin which we make explicitjusthow the individual personis constitutedby the choiceshe or she makes, I think we might find ourselves facing a new absence. in the idea that the quality disappears The lamily asa setof kin relationships life has independent an measure. But what about the person as an of home whose opportunities, decisions opinions and are so significant? If individual of making assumptions visible indeed perception, process changes then the the are that 'the individual' will becomeeclipsed by the enhancement of chances 'choice'.Or perhapsindividuality will be juxtaposed as a choice. The result could be an apperceptionof person which has the individual The individual would not vanishin the old way seento be absorbed vanish. social constructionor by the metastructure its of society- but would vanish by The repository of choices: quite simply/rom the exerciseo.f its individualit.r,. what we shall seeif we look will be the choices,the experiencesthat evince 'individualism'.Individual-styleliving! Prescriptiveindividualism displaces the individuality of the person. We are already there of course,and have arrived at a view of postmodern imagery. For that is exactly how certain postmodern reflections in aesthetics,art and literature have redefined the individual subjectof the previous epoch. I take up the words of one American exponentof the condition conceived by some to apply generally to the Western world. His question is why moclernismis a thing of the past, and why postmodernism should have displaced it. The new conponent, he says (Jameson1985: 114),is generally called 'the death of the subject', or more conventionally 'the end of individualismas such'. What has disappearedis the modern premise of the individual with its vision and private identity the great modernisms. were he observes, predicated on the invention of a personalprivate style.He relates two just-so storres. upona theclassic olthe in theheyday age of competitive capitalism. [O]nce nuclear class, family and the emergence social of the bourgeoisie asthe hegemonic there wassuch in theage But today, a thingasindividualism, asindividual subjects. of corporatecapitalism, in of the so-called man, of bureaucracies organization business as well as in the state,of demographic explosion today,that older bourgeois individualsubjcctno longerexists. .. Thereis a second more radical position, whatonernight position. It adds: not onlyis the callthepoststructuralist bourgeois individualsubjecta thing of the past,it is also a myth; it neverreally existed in the firstplace; subjects ofthat type. therehavenever been autonomous Rather, which this construct is merely a philosophical and culturalmystification soughtto persuade this peoplethat ttey 'had' individualsubjects and possessed unique personal (Jameson identity. 115, originalemphasis) 1985: Yet sucha proclamation(the death of the subject)of itself,is no more nor lessinterestingthan other deaths - the father absent from the family, the family absentfrom the community, the community absentfrom the countryside, and so on. It is only interesting in corriuction with what is also


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cancelled.In Jameson'sspeculation,this includes linguistic norms which vanish in the value put on idiosyncrasy, on private codesand mannerisms,ts which in turn vanish in pastiche,in the imitation of unique style. Where collageinvalidates the very notion of stylein its mix of genres and materials, pasticheis the emulation of past stylesand other moods. Innovation is no longerpossible. We can speakof the'failure of the new' (1985:I l6). Diversity and heterogeneity, in this view, no longer reproducenew forms: all forms have already been invented, and there is no novelty to be generated from recombinations. Let me use my English argument, then, to comment on why the hyperindividualismof the late twentiethcentury is simultaneously the death of the individual. The simplereasonis that the Individual has lost its elicitorypower to make Society appear. For that depended on its further (merographic) connectionwith a third concept,Nature. The individual onceappeared like the kinship that produced it as a connecting hinge between these two domains,between societyon the one hand and nature on the other. But styles that are after other stylesdo not need to be after nature at a11.16 It is the potential cancellationof that connectionwith nature which has, I think, led us to seethe world as myriad surfaces,to lose a sense of perspectival depth, and which thus makesthe thresholdimageryof scale-change work with lessconviction,which has undone a pluralist and merographicperceptionof relationships.Perhapsin turn we think there is 'less nature' in the world becausewe have lost the relational facility for making a partial analogy between nature and society work as the context for the way we think about individuals.To cancelthe merographicpersonis in effectto cancelthe natural individual as a microcosm of the socialising process. Now the modern(ist) concept of nature encapsulatedwithin itself a significantrelation: betweenwhat is intrinsic to an entity (its individuality) and that entity's context or environment.The individual vanishesnot just from a surfeitof individuality. It vanishes when it no longerseems relevantto talk about its environmentand thus as Mrs Thatcherdiscovered - about'its relationship'to society.The point is worth pursuing. The processes by which the conceptsdiscussed in the previous chapter were professionalised or 'naturalised' had a dual outcome. On the one hand, I referred to the way in which such concepts created their own context: thus societywasto be understoodasa type of(social)organisation, orpersonswere to be understoodas agents (personal) exercising choice,individualsas unique entities,and so on. Insteadof imagining societyas a contract among persons or personsas God's creatures, each reference point becameself-defining. In thuscreatingits own context,a conceptsuchas society created its own domain of explanation,which then required'relating'to others.The domain society made proof, for instance,in Durkheim's realm of 'social fact' becanre typified by the kinds of factsappropriate(that is, natural) to it.17 On the other

to model suchfacticity. in which natureserved hand,therewas the literal sense facts, and facts appeared a as full of world was apprehended natural The were made proof, for counterparts the world. Their social feature of natural mid-nineteenth century. quantifications way in the under in the new instance, (1985: 124 5), central remark and Sayer 1830s onwards, as Corrigan From the proliferinstitutions, a fact-collecting emerged as sovernmentdepartments ation of Royal Commissionsmounted enquiriesinto this or that state of spread like a contagion, and above all statisticswere aflairs, inspectorates gathered.Facts relating to social conditions could be collected,as natural items might be assembled. century, of the nineteenth too much the new statistics I do not wish to stress grounds social for an analogy between but note that they may have laid the (causal) be revealed that could connections connections and the abstract Societyas a summation of relationscould be betweensocial phenomena.l8 personsbut as relationsbetween notjust as setsofrelations between grasped such as 'living conditions','family effectualentities abstractbut nonetheless 'level at a remove from the is, characteristics of education' that between size'. possibility pertained. of seeingsuch links as The populationsto which they 'relations' was exemplified in the mid-twentieth-centuryinterest in 'the relationship'betweenindividual and society. It is, if one thinks about it, and pac'eRadcliffe-Brown(Chapter Three), a most peculiar notion. The concreteperson who had (social) relations with other personscould, when thought of abstractlyas an individual, also be seen anotherabstractentity but of a to be in somekind of relationshipwith society, quite different order of reality. The model of kinship as the social construction of natural facts is the outcome, then, of various shifts not just in the meaningsof societyand of structurebut of the facticity of nature and the naturalness of facts. I have suggested 'nature' provided for the very domaining (or model itself a that professionalising) in the was naturalised lt in turn themselves. of concepts imageof the life of organismsand becameunderstoodas biology. Yet there was always more to the matching between kinship and nature than the perceptionof biologicalaffinity betweenmammalian forms of nurture or the mechanicsof sexual reproduction. Kinship in the modern, pluralist epoch preserved the idea ofvariable geneticheritageand the fruitful production of new, vigorous individuals. This dual connection betweenindividuality and diversityon the one hand and natural and socialforms on the other has since altered.If we are in the position of imagining for ourselves the multiplication of neither individuality nor divefsity, perhaps we should also be imagining fbrms of relationshipsthat are neither 'social' nor 'natural' in character. No such thing as society:does this mean that the context for action is tnternalised'? Is intrinsic worth the same as an external environment of constraintsand reference points?Can we imagine overlap without domains?


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Rel'erringto other orders or domains of life once conveyedconvention as a question of morality. The individual should listen to society. Has such regulation beconresuperfluous? The present dispensation convinces because it appears to be merely revealingthe characterof or making explicit a figure already in place: the person who in his or her dealings with others exercisesindividuality. Individuality signalschoice;it would also seemthat it is up to the individual whether or not to adhereto convention.Choice becomes conventional.and conventionsare for the choosing.It then becomesredundant to externalise other domains,or eventhink of socialrelationships as an objectof or context for people'scommunication with one another. This explainswhy the active citizen can be relied upon to behaveresponsiblyin her or himself; why the New Right can talk in the same breath of the duties of the citizen and the freedom of the individual without any interveningimage of a community. Peopleforget, and still refer to society,lebut societyis orderly (I quote from a televiseddiscussionamong self-definedRight Wing thinkers in 1988,Riglr Talk,ITY Channel 4) simply by virtue of individuals following their own habits not by following 'society' and certainly not by looking to the Government. Such talk is accompaniedby looked-for reassurance that the new individualism,far from contributing to a break down of law and order, it as personalmotivation. Those who wor.rld relocates backpedaland think it too dangerousto abandon societyjust yet (the same programme revealed) instead say that what is really targeted is the state and its associatedevil, the idea of a national culture. As a speakeron Right Talk said: nationalism is a modern heresy- there is no single(no such thing as?)'national community'. I have probably extracted too clear a devolution from confused and mixed metaphors. But I write from the hindsight of how, through exactly such imaginingsas these,that figure of the individual person vanishes. In the late twentiethcentury it is possibleto think that morality is a questionof choice. Prescriptive individualism: choice requires no external regulation. As a consequence, the individual isjudged by no measure outsideitself.It is not to be relatedto eithernatureor society(vicenationalculture).lt is not analogous to anything. Now if morality becomes perceived as a questionof individualisticchoice, then nature appearsas what a personconsumes. From the perspective of the symbols of the modern epoch, this double transformation far dwarfs the particular policiesthat speedit up truly making God's ants2o of us all. No 'nature', hardly any 'law': two pivots on which Schneider's accountof American kinship so persuasively rested Insofar asthe same cease to persuade. was true of English kinship at the time, it is slear that whatever cultural account I might have wtrntedto produce, it could no longer take the same form. It is not just dichotomiesthat will, in many cases thankfully, go. We havepotentially abolishedthe particular relationships on which our symbolic capacity for relational imagery was grounded.

Reproducing preference The morslit.t' of choice On the face of it, however, the Active Citizen of late twentieth-century to embodyrather than negate everythingone might wish to propagandaseems of responsibilitytowards others.It also appearsto be the say about a sense epitomeof individualism.Actually it was a slip of the pen to say'responsibility the important thing is that lowards others'. As Lord Young has declared,2l individuals in developingtheir own skills take responslbllity./brthemselves. herewith ways in which the typically Englishhave There are clear resonances beendepictedin the past. I refer to Dixon's musings on 'The English genius', which includes a Considerthe conceptof on the stock type, 'the Englishgentleman'. discourse duty, which a century before Mrs Taylor had locatedas a questionof moral decorum between persons, and between persons and their God. Duty in but Dixon's panegyricmay be attachedas a defining outward characteristic from relationships. The Englishgentleman hasbecome detached doeshisduty without knowing quite what it is. The important thing is that he does it. have distilled bodyof cthics . . . 'To [I]ntothisoneword,duty,thc English [a]whole do one's duty' suggests nothingexalted, magnificent, spectacular. . . [Thewords] adjustthemselves to the simplest intelligence and to the circumstances of every hour,it may be to no morethantheperformance of some dailydrudgery; and yet maylift theirstandard again on occasion to theheights olSpartan heroism. There is a notableplainness about the word 'duty'. It standsmerelyfor what is proper, appropriate, becoming, to be expected of one.. . I am lar from saying that the men who were guided by this conception understood eitherits origin,or the natureof the obligation they felt. Without inquirytheyresponded way incomprehensible to its call.In some to themit gave. whenobeyed, The a happysense frornfurtherresponsibility. of freedom, of release restwasnot theiratTair. Whatis English is thesense of conduct here asthetestof a judgeby thestate man.Not whathe thinksor feels . . . Let others of theiremotions or of theirminds,by theirpersonal or disinclinations. What do they inclinations judges matter? Brushing all these theEnglishman aside asirrelevant, sinply by the act,his own or another's. (1938: 78 80,passim) Duty is no longer a fashionable word. But this 1930s evocationof individual motivation anticipates a most interestingfeatureof the activecitizen:that he or sheis her own sollrceof right acting. lntportanceis placedon convention, yet it is not specific conventions thaf are the objectofthe exercise but a specific orieutationof the person.As Dixcfnmight have said,provided the personhas the right motive ('duty') it will follow that whatever the senseof duty is attached to will be the right thing; one may perform one's dr.rtywithout knowing what its endsare. The individual in (him)selfpersonifies convention ('the sense of conduct').To attend to the individual is thus a highly moralistic stance.


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For the late twentieth century, however, the promotion of such a figure seemsat the same time a complete turn around from the socialist--welfare public life when Dixon waswriting. That orientedpropagandathat influenced propagandahelped shapethe collectivistidioms in which 'society'was then conceived.and anthropology'sdiscoveryof societyas a sourceof morality endorsedthe significance being given to public institutionsand the idea of a common good. Contemporarypropagandaappearsto changetheseprecepts out of all recognition.Yet what somemight interpretas political reactionism, or as a swing of a pendulum, can also be regardedas a devolution of or a processof literalisationin the developmentof ideas.The concept of moral societyproduced,so to speak,the conceptof the moral individual. However, while this conceptualisation of societyhasreproduced itselfin the ideathat the individual containsconventionwithin, it has not reproduced itselfas'society'. I sketchone of the paths suchdevolutionmay havetaken.To regardsociety as having a life of its own and to regardhuman institutionsas having endsof their own, as I suggested was a personifying proclivity of early and midtwentieth-century anthropology,presented modelledon persons. abstractions Personsin turn were imaginedin culturally specificways. As a consequence, societywas 'personified'in the English sense, evoking personsas individuals and as subjects or agents,in short as autonomousorganisms.So, if the form that the persontook were that of the individual subject,the form that society took was that of a collective organisation of separate elements which communicatedwith one another to composean individual system. The same might be true for particularcomponents, the groupsor institutionsthat'made up' society.Yet I have also suggested that insofar as the analogy (between society and individual) was partial, each concept also participated in or extendedinto the other. A relationshipbetweeninstitutionsand personswas replicated within the person, who showed its effect (as a microcosm of the socialisingor domesticatingprocess),as indeed societyin turn was held to show the imprint of human ingenuity. Considerableeffort was put into making such connectionsexplicit. In particular, the relationship between individual and society was interpreted as bearing on motivation in human action. This in turn privilegedthe imageof the individual person as an agent with a purpose in life. Here is the figure who will turn into the late twentiethcentury person for whom convention is a choice. The substance of someof thesenotionswasdescribed towardsthe end of the last chapter. Here I presenta set of propositionsillustrative of the modern epoch, and then add late twentieth-century outcomesfor them. The outcomes have no logical status. That is, they are not inevitable precipitatesof the propositions; rather, they are excavated, with hindsight, from these propositionsin the light of certain contemporaryvalues.The illustrationscome from anthropologicaland other socialscience writing. All the propositionsare ones I have embraced myself at earlier times (l) Societywas an agent.The relationshipbetweenhuman institutions and personscould be imagined as one between subject: object.

Either societyor personmight renderthe other object to its subject.Social took for grantedthat its task was to uncoverdeterminismor direction science in this relationship,and thus the causesof behaviour or action. This was 'the colceived as an explicit aim of investigation.One recent overview of problem the points out that betweenthe individual and society', relationship as against on the political ability of personsto pursuetheir own interests tul.ns from come could (Sharrock 131). Interference 1987: from others interference relationship the about society itself: in interactionist terms, discussion of the relative betweensocietyand the individual appearedlike a discussion 1979). (cf. Silverman and Barnett of two persons on one another eft-ects is built up out of the reality. Society and an objective is botha subjective Society patternsof constructed . . Spontaneously actionsof its individualmembers. and so immutable, relatively and stabilized however, become relationships, creation,the product of the aims and which beganas a 'subjective' something arrangement into a fixed into something'objective', develops of individuals, actions environmentfor subsequent itself as a givcn and constraining which presents that we canact that we havethepowerof 'agency', . . . We mustrecognize action structures, and upon within that we act must also appreciate but things, andachieve thekindsof us [and]affect shape themselves andthat,in addition,thosestructures l5l 4, originalemphasis) 1987: thingsthat we want.(Sharrock Thus the answer to the question of whether or not societywas made up of (Sharrock I 987: individualsor of collectivephenomenaor evenof structures Yet because of a personification. of 146) was given in the aesthetics was the collectivity that imagined plurality. it was also of democratising sense its powerful of because more individual, of a different order from the voluntarist and determinist when person. ln short, magnitude,an impersonal positionswere set againsteach other, the debateappearedto be over which exercised the agency: whether individuals produced structures or were producedby them. What was made visible was agency,and the dichotomies boiled down to the question of where to situate the agent. In that it had a distinctivenatural form of its own (its structure and organisation),society appearedto have its own reasons for existing,which is what socialscientists as having thetr own investigated. Concomitantly,individualswereperceived who would prefer reasons as subjects for existing,and for existing'naturally' to be ableto act as subjects ratherthan as the objectsofanother's subjectivity. Any demonstration of an object-like status indicated a relationship of domi nati o n. The outcome: individuals in thelr natural state act as subjects. (2) Societyhad needs. A justificatidn for human institutionsactingaccording to their own goalswas the maintenance of their own life. Institutions needed personsin the same way as personsneededinstitutions; as well as having certain needs that must be met in order to sustain themselves,then, institutionswere also regardedas meeting human needs. repeatedly claimedto have outgrown functionalAlthough socialscientists ism, the notion persistedin their explanationsof institutions such as 'the


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family'. The family was based in a need to 'regulate' sexual and parental relationships(e.g. Elliot 1986: l). This echoesRonald Fletcher's(1962: 19) rendition. propensities round these The humanfamily is centred same biological and needs: ofchildren, therearing ofchildren . . . It cantherefore besaid mating, thebegetting in sofar asit is rooted in fundamental instincts, emotions, to bea'natural'grouping and needsserving important biological functions; and a 'socially necessary' grouping in the sense that it exists in all societies for regulating sexual andparental in orderto achieve thoserelationships ofcharacterwhich behaviour and qualities to be desirable. are considered justification in the idea that The regulationof relationships found an external however variable the social form, there was a natural necessityfor regulation itself. 'The natural propensitiesinvolved require regulation, both with regard to their relationshipswith each other, and with referenceto the wider stability and order of human relationships, and the allocationof claims and duties,in the community''(1962:20).Family organisationwas regardedas a correlative of collective organisation and social order. Similarly, Macfarlane argued that marriage(1987:139)was a solution to the needto regulatesexualintercourse, evenasconventionwas a generalsolutionto what to do with human emotions. 'Love' was not so much constitutedin kin relationships, but was something that flowed betweenpersonsprior to relationships being made. Especially in relationto its romantic form, he wasthus ableto postulatelove as an'ideology of individualism':emotions arosespontaneously within the individual, or, if triggered by other persons,nevertheless fulfilled the need for self-expression. So an emotional bond between persons could be seen as a result of their respective individualities. The outcome:the individual has pre-existing capacities for emotional selfexpressionwhich are simply channelled or regulated by convention. (3) Society was self-regulatory. Society was composed of conventions, and imposed them on individuals, but individuals also willingly entered into relationswith othersin the sameway as they subordinatedthemselves to the overriding necessityfor social order. Rules were made by persons,and personsmade by rules;conventionwas seenas intrinsic to an orderly and organisedlife, and to a human one. The issueas anthropologiststried to explicateit was the extent to which people appreciated or recognised the necessity for convention.Thus Fortes(1969:44) pointed to Radcliffe-Brown'sinterestin the mechanismsof social organis- in terms of how ation the 'principles'by which institutionsare preserved peoplemake them known to themselves through their models.Fortes' axiom the valueof mutual support in in accepting of amity depended on a 'consensus maintaining a "code of good conduct" for the realizationof each person's "legitimate interests" . . . in the last resort, even by acts of violenceregardedas legitimate' (1969: I l0). Non-amity implied non-relationship.ln many systems, this reach of amity was coterminouswith the recognitionof closekin 123) insofar as thesehad both an affectiveand a moral relations(cf. 1969l.

dimension. Personalinterestand social legitimation were thus fused.Convention could be taken as a good for its own sake; it was understood to be the cultural counterpart of natural law, embodying the order necessaryfor as'socialorder' or life. It was externalised a complex(and civilised) sustaining the 'norms' of good conduct to which people subscribed. the importanceof convention The outcome:the individual who perceived amity, doing one's duty) for its own sake. (respecting (4) Society became an object of collective sentiment. The point was rehearsed at the end of the last chapter. I note Michel on kinship groups.By linking the problem Verdon's( I 980: I 36) observations of a group's internal cohesion to boundary and regulatory mechanisms, theirnotionofgroup on a behavioural ofthejural modelrested the proponents will haveto it followsthat thefocus is problematic, If internalsolidarity foundation. andnormative of behaviour to considerations of structure from problems beshifted to (such thereseems norms,etc.).Indeed, beliefs, asvalues, mentalrepresentations namely, by describing ofinternalcohesion, beonly oneway ofsolvingthequestion effecton hasa psychological how a setofmental representations and explaining Despite therebydrawing individualstogether. or sentiments, individualfeelings the structuraltheir claim of divorcing social anthropologyfrom psychology, wereonly rooting it more deeplyin the studyof behaviour. functionalists Examplesare to be found in former writings of my own (e.g. Strathern 1972). The outcome: an individual with motivations that could be oriented in different directions. (5) Societywas a property holder. It treasuredand valued its conventionsand and values was likenedto transmission, soughtto passthem on; socialisation and conventions to the property of society, its estate. The period when society was discovered in the conventions that the individual person followed, the roles he or she played, was also the period of socialisation theories. In British social anthropology property seemed important, for there was an elision betweentwo conjoint ideas of inheritance: society was transmitted from one generation to the next much as real estate was. This was evinced in the early work of Jack Goody among others. Not only did he connect property and role in the idea of 'office' (1962:276), but he placedemphasison the socialisingagent. There has to be someonewho could passon information to the next generation. The induction of ideaswas done via a 'tutor' who was thus a mediatingperson,one who teaches and transmits (1962:274). on his skills,like This bookish Englishimageof the personpassing father to son, simultaneously rei{ed the values and items transmitted and personified to his heir).It society(society is like a/fatherwho handsover assets also assumed that what one person has that property is uniquely possessed, another cannot. Goody gave the example of a person who divides his plot among his children and thereby loses part of the land himself (1962 274), contrastingpossession with the non-exclusive transmissionof information. Yet such a distinction could only work in a culture where on the one hand transmission of information was not resardedas lossand where on the other

t 58

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This fitted the English possession of property wasalwaysat another'sexpense. of societyas made both of personsin communicationwith one understanding another and sharing their meanings,and of individualsdivided againstone another by their material interests.22 and thus an The outcome:the individual as the expectantheir (of society), entity with inherent rights againstothers. Socialroleswere,so to speak,part of (6) Societl'allotted rolesto its members. In playing the distillationof its traditionsand heritage. the property of society, thus brought conventionsto life: they their parts, individualsas role-bearers 'did' convention. The analogy between the person as a microcosm of convention and in conventionpersonifiedas having a life of its own was therebyexternalised the mediating irnageof personsas role-playingindividuals.This constituted direct contributions to popular ideas about kinship. one of social science's Anthropology becamethe study of how other people 'do' their conventions peopleswho do not do convention).A (and had endless trouble in describing persondid conventionby acting out being a good mother or a good nurse.In time, the choice was between good and bad role playing; the Chavasse's conventionswere not in question. But convention came to be perceivedas expressive and thus also a questionof cultural style.What one did informed others about one's class, gender, ethnic origins or whatever; behaviour reflected category. role. conventionat all becomes The outcome:whetheror not individualsobserve itself a style of life, as though roles were there for the choosing' as personalstyle. And the outcomeof that is that conventionis internalised Over and again we find in this constellationof ideasthe notion that it is the individual personor role-playeror memberof societywho takesit on him or herself to show convention at work. The indir"idual is thus revealedas a agent' as a socialising in its success socialised entity. Societyis thus revealed and its eflectsare literalisedin its impact on internal motivation. But the is that the individual person comes to contain within him or consequence his or her own source herselfthe knowledgefor right acting.and thus beconres from this drama, then,it will havedone so itselfvanishes of morality. If society quite simply ./iom the exerciseo.f its socialising/aculty. With such possibilitiesin place individuals personifying convention, giving it life and reasonby their acts one can begin to seehow Mrs Thatcher could make the remark siredid. are andthere rnen andwomen areindividual There isno such thingassociety. There f am il ies . attributes of Although her critics seizeon the atomistic and selt--interested individualism,the then Prime Minister herselfand the Conservatprescriptive who still debatethe matter no doubt take the pronouncement ive intellectuals The referenceto family evokes the as one of profound moral significance.

notion of a circleof persons enjoyinglife in their own homes,wheredecency is axiomatic,in the sameway I think that sheintendsus to take the individual. An activecitizenwill shoulderthe responsibilities that the lazyleaveto thestate; there will be a new era of respect and orderly behaviour basedon individual responsibility as there will be prosperity basedon individual enterprise. The one proposition is the enabling condition of the other. Our proprietor will combine her financial management of herself with public decency and charitabledealingstowards others.So where,then, does morality now come tiom? How can it be 'seen'? It appearsto come from within. But that interior hasitself no structure.No public/privatedifference is required.lndividual and the family are taken for granted in this pronouncement as natural and self-evidentunits, that is, evincinga unity manifestin themselves. There seems a potential analogyhere betweenthem. However, and emphatically,the family is not being modelled upon societyor vice versa,sincesocietyis eliminatedin this fbrrnulation,its organisationand systemic. relationalcharactercannot be invoked.23 Instead, that people will know what is right is taken for granted, rather like the stereotyped Englishgentleman who knows his duty evenif he cannot saywhat i t i s unti l t he m om ent is upon him . The pronouncement is an outcomeof the imageof the socialised individual, and indeeddoesnot make the moral sense that Mrs Thatcherwishes to convey without that prior image.But thereis a new qualification.for the individual is now abstracted from the socialisingagent. society. 'Socialisation' is apparentlydispensed with as a structuredprocess of relational interaction:it is sirnply there in the home. On the surface,this seemsto recapitulatethose early nineteenth-century assumptionsabout civil order and natural law that characterised polite societ)'.But there is a diflerence: the intervening epoch externalisedthe concepts oflaw and order, arriving at the idea ofsociety as a set ofcollective and objectivecontrols over the individual. I have suggested that it is against that specificcollectivistvision that the individual is now reinstated.In the moral decisions sheor he makes.what is revealed is not rank or good breeding, or respectability or socialworth, namely a placein societyas the outcome of connections with others or as the outcome of following the examplesothers gtve.What is revealed is the fact that the individual is arbiter. choice-maker. naturally knowing what to do.2aHe or shemerely needsto becomeconscious ol the fact. In a way, Mrs Thatcher has pushed the image of the socialised person, mlcrocosmof the domesticating into another fiame: individual the $rocess, (or the family) is all thereis of society.But seewhat has happened. It does not appear as a 'sociely' composedof relationships. as an organisation,but a compositeor collageof human nature and processed convention,a kind of a.uto-socillised body.:5Perhapsthat possibilitydraws on the easewith which the E ngl i shhavein t he pastper sonif ied convent ion: t he'f or ces'or 'pr inciples'


English kinship in the late twentieth century


Grcenhouse cffect


The qll for active citizenshiphas a pleasant ring to it. Nodrubt foi rme it iels wirh tf,e rhetoric on Victorian ialues. The clever adveniser could make rcmc headwav with the ioea. Howevcr. the debite raisel pmc ou - eries. Tbe notion of acrivc citizenship implies rhat there is somethinsqlleil paisive cituenship_. Active citilenship denotes a -doing" in the communily (neighbourhood -watch. lmking aftei your own old or handicapped family). withoul relying on the state. Passivc citizenship implies a kind of moral lassitude:if one pays swingcingtiles then the state should do the "active bits" for vou. This involveshieh tuation, delLgated oncem and de-nial of FErsonal rcs[pnsibility. The inesponsiblel960s (and de6rndencycul. ture) reaG iis ghastly myrhical head agaln. -Intentionally or not. this fomulation is a clever tumins of the tables. The onventional image-s of citizenship in politis are: (l) thatihc more activsl idea, dcmandinginvolvcmentand parlicipation, is to'be found in dctrines such u Jaobinism or kninism, aod, u any Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek or J. L. Talmon'witi tell vou. this qn lead to totalitarianism: {2) nesativeor passive citizenship, a mnientional liberal bourgcois ucw, impllcs, onve6ely, the right to protectionofone's pe mn, propny and liberty. Actlve citirenshiD. favoured bv Jacobins. demanded positive d\ty. 16 vrais action. mires de'h grande eiterprLse involved a positive oneotion of m objective c6mmon qood, '- o .volontl gcnergre- wnlch ts the ground to our positlve freedom. Pcsrve true citizenship ties in with a Dore negative undeFtoding of freedom. However, now the activl panicipating citizen ls sen to bc the n@sary concomitanl of a sueesful liberal earker seiety. In the pcsive rnse of otizenshii. the ilsument is usuallv based umn a distinciion between the oublii md privatc reaLns. Individulls chm* their privale snss of thc gmd life, as long as rhy do not irfringe a like frecdom for othcm. Value (specifielly moral valuc) is lilslv an individual matter- Msy liberais Iiave admittedly wanted smi kind of broad renlarrve mora.l @nsensus in society. Not, howevcl, peneratedbv sorehmenr. Valuc is a foaner of individuatchore. It is not iDposible for a onsensus on ertain values to evolve in a classiel liberal sciety, but it ould nor be a ommunally generatedmoral goal. If the govemmcnt were to dcfine the moral goalsor individuals.something munal moral goals;(6) human Darurc signifient would havc becn under-- is seento be scial. develoomental and mincd rn [beral thouqht, the Drivale/ growiog in ethiel awarcricss; (7) the public dichotomy. sta(eis Dan of u enterDn* to make Another clement of the varied clas- humans'morevirtuous.Ttis is nor an sical libcral vision is the free eonomv. exhaustivclist. however, it indires Indisiduals musr be ahle at Ubenv io the gencral ethos *irhin which one punue their own interestsand have imDonant sns of active qtizenshiD

AndrewVincent on wlrat it nreans tobeanactivecitizen

as existingof fur morality, good conduct and the rest can be apostrophised so that people can respondto theseforceswithout the interventhemselves. tion of (contrived,collectivist)human institutions.Morality is set free from suchinstitutions.lndeed,theyare in Right Wing thinking a block on its proper hence the minimalist role that is seen for exerciseby the individual People.we are told by the not needgovernment government. io tell thern what to do. Sinceideasand valuesare seento exert an influenceby they do not have to be mediatedby others,but can be taken for themselves, granted as embeddedin the minds of right thinking individuals. All that individualshave to do is managetheir livesproperly. Government intervenindividually tion is in this view properly reduced to making the resources earnedindividually available,principally by reducingtaxes. the idea of a correlationbetween of this move cancels The prescriptiveness incumbentto do everythingthat will innerand outer law: it insteadbecomes their individuality. clear the path for individuals to exercise then, is any ideathat peoplearepart of an in the new prescription, Bypassed and thus what peopledo when they or that peoplemake society, organisation, sociability.Indeed,the whole questionof ideologyand thus act is to enhance of the 'authorship' of society - in whose interest social conventions are is political thinking in the 1960s and 1970s manufactured that characterised laid to one side in a sweepinggesture of plasti-classanonymity.26What displacesthe plurality of other personswho might be held to 'make society' is the singleindividual with means.'Society' thereby becomesunimaginable. Writing in the 1830s,Arnold's father summoned the image of societyin order to offer a biting condemnation of laissez-faire. He wished to make evident the effectsof individual acts. Thus he could say that laissez-faireis one of the falsestmaximswhich everpandered under the to hunranselfishness namcof political racetakeits wisdom. . . We standby and let thismostunequal own course, forgettingthat the very name of societyimpliesthat it shall not be a mererace,but that its object for the commongoodof all. (Cited is to provide i n W i l l i am s l 96l: 123) His critique would cut no ice with 1980spropaganda. Society becomes unimaginableas an associational dimension of people'saffairs if they can entertainno analogiesfor relationshipsof commonality. And in any case. when one has no choice but to be defined as a customerin respectof social services, there is nothing laissez-faire about prescriptiveconsumerism. It becomes impossible to invqke selfishness with the same axiomatic condemnation.Attention to one's/own interestsis now a virtue. Moreover. stncemorality is within, then it must necessarily take the form that in turn typifies the individual: the capacity to exercisechoice. Here appears that flattening to which I alluded at the end of Chapter Three. The individual personwho is the microcosrnof (what was once external)conventionis also the individual person who makes his or her own (what was once internal)

t/L.A yA A /

Looking after number one

ism. The weaknessis that a ciuzeD might be penuaded a neighbourhood wa-rch rlicme would trirer defcnd pesonal prooenv. Ye( would citucns identify lienbnaf intcrest in uorking lonq houn on a sh@l qovemrng boa-rd.where thev had no-child ot relative. or lookinp after a snilc

11 What it nl('ans to be an u(tive citizen, 1988 Reproduced by kind permission of The Tine.s Higher Edutution Supplentent


English kinshipin thc latetwentieth cenlury



but The individLral doesnot j ust follow conventionor haveit irnposed choices. 'does' convention,that is, shows his or her capacity lbr morality. and thus makesexplicit the fact that moral behaviouris contingenton the capacityfor choice. But what the choice should be between.the norms and canons of behaviour,no longer needlie in institutionsoutsidethe individual.The person point. a position that requiresno negotiationor is his or her own reference bargainingwith others, least of all with a collectivewill. T he ques ti o nm i g h t th e n b e p o s e d :h o w do w e know that choi cei s bei ng exercised? How can we 'see' choice being rnade? One answer is simple. Exerciseof choice is shown in the style that the individual affects,not just in dress or food but in almost anything that a persondoes.We might epitomisethe contrastwith ideasin circulation at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies by saying that if 'then' individual behaviour revealed the natural basis of morality, 'now' moral behaviour is a question of individual style. This involves a further cancelin public. but for their own sake,without lation: style and tasteare exercised polite societyas an arbiter.Aesthetic show one canonsare on sale magazines how to choose kitchens and office furniture - but good taste does not reveal socialstandingor natural breedingand cannot revealone'sproper station in life. Indeed, 'style' is an appropriately more democratic version of 'taste', good or otherwise. And one that only revealsan exerciseof itself. Late twentieth-centurypeople talk consciouslyof lifestyles,and style is done because individualsdo (live) style. Despite the incipient analogy. there seemslittle differencehere between individualsand families.When in her study of the family Elliot (1986: 1) put alongside'traditional family ideologies',she called them 'alteralternatives The former assertthat the family is basicallythe native lifestyleideologies'. same everywhere;the latter assert the variability of sexual and parental we should talk about fami/iesrather than the relationships, and she suggests family. There has been an explosion of information about diverse lifestyles availableto the English over the last twenty years,not only through travel attentionto film and the like, bLrt through widespread ethnographic local and ethnic differencesat home. If they have a common significance,it is for home life. English televisionserialsdeal with the nicetiesof difference:they regionallyplacedand above are not only period piecesbut are subtly classed, all domesticallynuanced.No one would dream of showing a typical English is variety. What was family: we are shown the insidesof styleswhoseessence has been heightenedby what one once largely anarea ofstatus-consciousness of about the specificities would call a generalcultural or ethnicconsciousness life. It is through such lifestyle that choicesare evidently made. But that explicitnesshas had in turn its own effects. the stylecan then be attachedto Sinceindividuals(or families)'do'lifestyle, the individual rather than the kind of life that is imaeined.In an arenaof self-

conscious displacements one should not perhaps put too much ernphasis on this or that shift, but the following comment on perceived advertising and marketing futures seems apt. The reference is to a major furniture retail and design business that dominated middle-class taste in the 1960s and 1970s. Aimed at professionals who were flat-dwellers or recent house-buyers, its distinctiveness was that it did not just sell individual products but 'entire ensembles of things for the home', based on 'modernism married to natural, unadorned materials' such as timber. earthenware and rush matter. The eclipseof [ ], in common with the resoundingcrash of [former fashion chain], signalsa prolound shilt in retail and consumer culture, away liom the two-decadeold strategy of 'lifestyle' marketing. . . Tomorrow's more mature customer, educatedby two decadesof consumerism,will chooseproducts from many sources in a much more individual manner. The growth of 'car boot sales'and antique shops (the consumer equivalent of re-cycling) arejust manifestations of a desire to escapethe tyranny of manufactured lifestyle, to rediscover distinctive products outside the commercial arena. (Carl Gardner, Nev'Statesmanand Society,9 March

I e90) One way of literalising choice-rnakingis to define it as the capacity to purchasecommodities.But as Daniel Miller argues(1987,seeGullestad in press), commodities may in turn be re-appropriated in the service of distinctiveand individual family identity. Choices appear exercisedwhen they are exercisedin certain well-defined 'choice-making zones'.For many, family-styleliving may only be areal option when choosingwhere to have one's holiday. As we have seen,however,the ideaof a family lifestyleis invariably imaginedas domesticstyle the kind of householdone runs. The appurtenances living have beenselfof domestic-style consciouslythrust on individual decision makers as a question of market - to the point of their beingableto choosebetween choice different'designs'. I draw on Miller's 198G7 study2? of kitchen furnishingson a London Council estatewhere we witness,so to speak, the delayed plasti-classeffect of middleclass preferences. While in one respect people appear to monitor their lurnishing according to external evaluationsof social worth, it is revealing about other aspectsof the choice-market. I make two points. The first is the massive scale of the industry which has created choicernakingzonesas againstthe relativepaucity of 'styles'available.Middle-class owner-occupiersspend large sums on fitted kitchens, in an industry worth about 1.5billion pounds. Miller observes that most commercialkitchensare basedon essentiallyidentical melamine-facedchipboard carcasses; function differences are minor. Substantivedifferencerestsin the style and materials of the doors and in the name of the company.Here tradejournal advertisements rnakeit evidentthat a maior stvlisticdimensionlies in the evocationof time. tl e l i ststhre e pr incipalopt ions: (a) Solidwooddoorsevoking an olde-worlde nostalgia styleassociated with carved insets, glass, preserves, leaded itemsof copperand brass, driedplants,old rnasters

English kinship in the late twentieth century

Greenhouse effect


with geometric and pewter; (b) A laminate fronted modernist form associated designs,bright colours, spotlights, non kitchen equipment, stainlesssteel,liuit and cut flowers; (c) A mixture of laminate and wood associatedwith a mixing ol with practicalfunctionssuch and modern itemsand more olten associated nostalgic as cooking' On the one Underlyingthe temporalsymbolismweretwo modesof organisation. for from number of and with example china a heterogeneity bricolage was hand different sets, such that the objects were not united as visual style but implied own past. The opposite organisational memorabiliarelated to the householder's principle was one of homogeneity, in which all items related stylistically to all others, and it was the visual cohesion which determined the meaning and of particular forms. . . acceptability []n advertisementsthe young are shown with modernist forms and the elderly with the nostalgia style. Historically however the earliest fitted kitchens in the were universallymodernist,the mixed pine and laminate developedin the 1950's For the and the nostalgiastylebasedon oak did not take offuntil the 1970's. 1960's present generation, therefore, it is modernism that is historical, nostalgia that is relativelynew. (1988:358-9) The irnages portrayed in the commercial brochures associated fitted kitchens and their carved or beaded doors with 'middle-class' life-styles. The (white) residents on the estate were in fact highly conscious of their tenant status. The two households with such kitchens were amongst the few who provided unsolicited and quite vehement statements about being 'ordinary working-class folk'. However, although the idiom is that of class, the issue seemsthe nature of home ownership. There is nothing in Miller's account to indicate that were tenants to move into a different style of accommodation, other aspectsof their working-class status would inhibit them from obtaining such furnishings. Miller points to the gulf between what people 'felt they were supposed to like' and 'what they actually identified with', and to the gap between advertiser and consumer. It is almost as though to incorporate a commercial design into the home were itself an act of pastiche, an evocation of other contexts (minimally the'home magazine'itselfl). That also had its own value. Despite the possibilities for semantic conversion (Werbner 1990: 143) from purchased commodities to expressions of personal identity, it seems that some people at least wanted the commodity form to remain apparent. My second observation thus concerns the mode of action through which choice is conceptualised. [S]everal informants [on the estate] claimed that what they really wanted was a 'fitted kitchen'. This suggested that although they already had a fitted array offloor and wall units, as in advertisements for fitted kitchens, for them a 'real' fitted kitchen was one purchased, not allocated. Certain tenants when asked to select preferred styles lrom examples, noted that they would have chosen the nostalgia mode but for the fact that they were in a council estate that is, the idealsthey associated themselves with were renderedpretentious by their circumstances. ( 1988:
J O) I

l8 Tailor-madt ut read.v--nudeprice.s. F r o m S 4 ,r cr lr ir c Ja n u a r y I9 8 9 . Reproduced by kind permission ol Ncville Johnson Olficcs Ltd ancl R eed P ubl i shi ng S ervi ces L t d f o r S i g n a tu r en ta g a zin e .


English kinshipin the latetwentieth ccntury

effect Greenhouse


In other words, decisionsthought to be appropriateto one's lifestyleare set against an abstract senseof what one could chooseif choice were the onlv factor. Actual decisionscome to be perceived as the outcome of constraints (heretenantstatus), ofnot beingableto exercise choice,therebeingno tenantstyledecor among the choices. what the council provided they had to put up; the meagre alternativesoffered in the advertisementson the other hand weie interpreted as offering scope for preference.visible choice is thus exercised between certain well-defined styles that are purchasable as styles. Indeed. choice can appear most visible when it is inscribedin a purchase:'for the individual consumer,spendingis a duty - perhaps the most important of dut ie s ' (B a u m a n 1 9 8 8 :8 0 8 ). when choice is consumer choice, the motivation is neither private nor public. And insofar as the range of stylesappearsto be taken for granted, the 'culture'is not presented advertised as a setofcriteria open to critical scrutiny: these modes of design are simply present in the world, available from the manufacturers,and people'sconcernsare with the preferences they feel able to exercise.The difference between choice and no-choice concealsthe extent to which, insofar as the styles come from a limited range of acceptable commercial alternatives,one might also perceivechoice itself as, in fact, lack of choice. what is there, then, to preservedifferencebetweenthe styles,to sustain the facility to choose 'between' them? It can only be through the active participationof the consumerin the perpetuationof individualdesigns. Miller describeshow, in the two instancesof commercially purchased kitchens, people strove to preservedecor integrity (l9gg: 363). The [first] new fitted kitchenwaswhitewith 'classic' internalrectanqular beadins and a whiteworktop.This wassetagainst the blue-grey found in the"new floorin! and curtainsand pickedup by a varietyofobjectssuchasa setofthree cylindrical containers, a cassette radio and a greytray with an internalwhite rectangle and someblue and white china pieces. virtually nothing remained from the pievious kitchen,eventhe array of houseplants was replaced by one in a dominantgrey ceramic plantpot. . . Theoverall look,evoking thepictures in advertising brochures, wasalsofoundin the [second] ... althoughthis kitchenhad beenbuilt four yearspreviously. It rncorporated a splitlevelovenandextractor fan, neonstriplighting,a wallpaper of fake'terracotta'tiles and a floor of'fake'stone. Apart from a doublespice-rack, somematchingchina and a utensilrack therervasa markedlack of additional objects. whereas the majority of tenantspersonalised their kitchensin their own ways, the advertised kitchensthat thesetwo households were preservingremained visible as a multi-dimensionalunity. Whether as 'homogeneous' or 'heterogeneous',decor itself makes a unity out of the different flower pots, work surfaces, cupboardsand the activitiesthey indicate.Perhapsit is the further requirementfor the active participation of the consumerin sustainingthe

count erper cept ion: it is ol design t hat has led t o t he plast i- class uni quene ss through consumerism. (really)the individual who is stylisticallyreassembled What one might have perceived as diverse grounds for negotiated behaviourand moral judgementmay also be elidedin the compositebut not structuredimage of the person.Like homes,like persons:the new otherwise individual is also a multi-dimensionalunity. offersa In a polemic againstthe traditional notion of the family, Bernardes with social conditions 'family is he concerned life', though of theorisation new ratherthan designerobjects.He introducesthe conceptof multidimensional pathways basedon the unity of human social existence. developmental and upon a givenlile-course structure That is the way in which a givenlife-space outcome) of a upon a givenpathwayis the centre(not necessarily shared perhaps history,age, background, factors personal hugerangeol differentinteracting existence individualhumansocial and so on. This is to conceptualise class gender, and a male,and at a and a lecturer, unity.I am a sociologist, asa multidimensional 65,original emphasis) etc.(1988: class and ofa certain age,and a father, certain We must commit ourselves,he says, to the unity of everyday and actual of health, people'slivesshould not be seenas disparatesegments experience: educationand so forth.28It is a stirring call, except that the notion of a definitive unique and single life-courseas embodied in the individual has no dimension.Internal plurality apparently requiresno organisation.The do him justice, Bernardesdoes hypothesisean external organisation in the form of a the local 'democracy' that will dischargepublic functions. But in his accountthis is an internally undifferentiatedbody, and he givesno indication oi how one democracy might differ from another. Here is decomposed that merographicimage of the individual person as a parl of diversesystemsor clomainsbeyond him or her. The individual has become Insteadof composing'a an internal constellationof plural elements. life' merographically conceived as belonging to many different external systems(health, education and so forth), life is reconceivedas decor, as a whole with diversity and multiplicity containedwithin. Yet if in this plasticlass rendering diversity and multiplicity have no external analogue, what preserves We do the differencebetweenbeing a lecturer, a male, a sociologist? not really get an answer.There are only the multidimensionaldevelopmental pathways of collectivities of other individuals. 'Such collectivities may constitutea "unity of interactingpersonalities" or a "temporal form", which may regardthemselves Peoplemay sharepathways, as "a family" (1988:56).2e and even interrelate.The choice {o do so is presumablytheirs. the unity and Bernardesstateshis theoreticiilposition as encompassing indivisibility of what are often seen as dualities: Macro/Micro, Reality/Ideology,Agency/Structure. Thus the activitiesof individualswithin temporal forms, some of which are identity 'families', structure. In makingsense of our lives in negotiating are social (probablybut not and stabilityin the life-space structures of our daily existence


English kinshipin the latetwentieth ccntury



necessarily asa member of a temporal form)- in doingthiswearesociety. societyis not 'out there', but rather'inhere'in our mindsandgiven perceptible iorm in our mutualand shared (1988: activities. 63,original ernphasis) But in hereand out thereare alreadycollapsed in this formula. The one sideof his equationdoesnot encompass or determineor give riseto the other there is no switch in scaleto make one move from reality to ideology or from agency to structure.His'inside'might as well be'outside'anyway. Thesehypostatised elementsare seenas adjacent,coeval dimensions within the frame of a single form (the individualsubject).overrap without domains..Unity'works as no more nor less than an aesthetic device.Let me contrastthis with the positionof David Morgan. In his critique of analyses of the family, Morgan observes: of sociological [O]neof the key issues theoryis the establishment ol relatronships betweenvarious levels of analysis,specifically the relationships betweenthe personal and/orinterpersonal at one leveland the social/structural at the other. (1985: 275) He comments on the forms that 'the relationship' may take (the one determinesthe other; the one arisesout of the othei; or tirey are mutually reinforcing,or appearas two sidesof the samecoin). As far as the institution of the lamily is concerned,he emphasises the dift-erence that perspective makes.In observingthe way many writershaveplacedthe family ai somehow 'between the macro and the micro, the societal and the inclividual, the institutional and the personaland betweenthe public and the private' (19g5: 282), he statesthat for himself I prefer thealternative formulation of the'place' of the familyin social space, not simplyas lying between . . . but as beingboth . . . at the sametime. In short,the family is both societal and individual, both institutional and personal, both public . 9 8 52 : 83) andpr iv ate(1 The contrast'owith Bernardes is that Morgan locateshis differentelements as differenttheoretical, and indeedpolitical and ethical,externalperspectives on the family, corresponding to different enquiries we might wish tomake and thus to different referential domains. That (theoretical) externalisation constitutesthe distinction betweenmerographyand pasticheor collage. were it just the casethat society is vanishing, the thought might prompt the further thought that someone shor.rld conserve it. our govern.nint spokesman on the stateof the world insteadsuggests that it neverexisted. The death of the collective! In its place is pastiche: the authenticindividual from a traditional past. And collage:men. women and families,a mix of genresand materials. A governmentthat does not identify with 'society'not only out-radicalises the radicals,but consumes its mandateto govern.-to bypassthe ideaof social legitimation,to interpret the electoralmandateas no more than the outcome of individual acts of choice, like so many multidimensional pathways, contributesto a kind of greenhouse effect. All that requiresis maintainingour

is continuingto assimilate levels of consumption.And all that requires Dresent .r*n precepts- in this casefor public figuresto make explicit already held .'',ur of valuesconcerningthe propriety of individual choice.The self-gratification the individual as consumeris then bouncedback to the consumerin the form of publicly sanctioDedindividualism ('privatisation'). The exerciseof individual choice becomesthe only visible forr.n of public behaviour. Like photographing the foetus, the result is to extract the person from its embeddingin social relationships. Tlrc cottsutnptiott o.f fialure that the world might run itselfwithout human interventionhaveno Fantasies version lies in the idea that the long history. One twentieth-century a doubt Perhaps are of sustaining themselves. human beings create capable artefacts as having a life of vision society delayed to the of is kind of counterpart a this had it, recent dialogue n-ray one televised too technology or, as own so its C ul ture. This was a programme on life forms, including the 'artificial life' that can replicateitself within computer programs." The thought of life based on led to the observationthat, in other than DNA as a mode of self-replication sonrepossiblefuture, 'culture' may be able to reproduceitself without the imaginedas a presence of human beings. Culture was rather anachronistically robot-drivenuniverseof factoriessustainingcommunicationbetweenthemselves. Two observationsare of interest for us. First, this culture that was given a life of its own was imagined literally in terms of thus brrrrowed from a model of genetic mechanism: life is defined as the autonomous capacity to replicate forms. Second, it also borrowed from modes of human interaction: what is transmitted is information which providesmodels or templatesfor future forms. Although they do not yet, it was said. computer virusescould in principle replicatewith variation. But absent ttom either of the above analogieswas any idea that diversity and individuality were intrinsic to reproduction.Theseare qualitiesby which the English have in the past characterised the future of animal and especially human populations. Diversity entailed the fertile reproduction of vigorous hybrids, individuality the uniquenessof organisms. Such qualities were regarded as having adaptive potential, suited to the idea of populations sustaininglife within an environment that was the context for their life. To think of reproduction as replication seemsat first simply a matter of locatingthe reproductiveprocess fulther back in time, in the communication devicesby which the transmissionof the appropriate messages is effected. However, the image of self-replicators viruses is breathsuch as conlputer taking in its orvn way. No environment appearsnecessary when what is at issueis the replicationof communicationdevicesthemselves. It is as though genes did not need to be embodied: what is reproduced is simply the informational capacity itself. Models with a life of their own!


English kinship in the late twenticth century

Grcenhouse effcct

t 7l

18 CO M M EN T

The cost anc! the guallty of justiae

I GNORE the squeals from the The three green I legalprofession. E papers on legal services pub' yeslished by the tord Chancellor terday were not designedfor the profession, but for its clients. Their purpose is to increasecompetition, improve cholceand raisethe competence of lau'yers.Theseobjectives by removing can only be achieved and shamethe restrictivepractices lessprivilegesof the most cosseted professionln the land. Hence the wails from all sides. For nine years the lawyers have 'been protected by their Old BoYs from the chill principles applied elsewhere: competition, efficiency and economic cost. But not any more. Belatedly, concern for consumer inter'ests has been given priBeinterests. ority over professlonal latedly, the legal Big Bang has providedthe proposals in the begun, greenpapersare implemented. They representthe biggestrestructuring of legal servicesthis century.

The papersis to a test of the gTeen three consumertests.

Will thel lncrease acress? Will they reduce charges? Will they ImProae

The key proposals, although presented as the Covernmcnt's provisionalriervs,are believed to reflecta Irrm intcntion to end restrictivepractices in the pro f'esslons and encourage free market cornpetition.

to what has.gonebefore,this is Lord Mac truly radicalpackage. of Clashfernis a revelation' He serves wholeheartedsuPPort all those who seek to consume essentialcommodity called justica

l9 Natural iuslice. 1989 Extrircts from llrc Guardiun. January 26lh 1989. R e p r o d u ce db y kin d ir e r m issio n o l' T h e Gu a tdi an N cw s S ervi ceLtd

It would be somethingof a future anachronismto call such replications culture. Meanwhile, one human model for the concept of culture is. so to re adyt her e. To think of individualsas motivatedby choiceand choiceas evincedin style is already to render individuals redundant. The modernist senseof style as is displaced uniqueerpression in pastiche and collage. Stylesappearto imir4te other styles,replicatingthem by an inner momentum that is containedin the very notion that styleitselfis an imitative act.Not the imitation of natureor of nrorenoble it might havebeenseena century before,but imitation of versions of itself. Representation without reference is in fact 'a descriptionof the way film or tape functionsas a "language",receiving exactcopiesofsights and sounds. . . f lif t ed] f r om t heir cont ext s'( Ulm er 1985: 92) . 32 But if it wer e the contextthat onceelicitedthe adaptiveuniqueness of individual forms.and thus the individuality of moderniststyles,stylenow becomes self-consdming. The individual disappears from a surfeit of individuality, in the sameway as societyhas disappeared from its too effectivetechniques of socialisation. It wouid seemthat culture emerges as the new totalisingconceptthat can gather all human enterpriseto itself, including its own capacity for regeneration. Yet hopefulas the possibilities for its future reproductionmight seem, there is a small problem. This imaginary culture may be able to reproduceitself without either Individuals interf-ering with its plans for replicationor Society determiningits goals. But without Nature, it will indeed only have itself to consume.Without nature, there is no context for its existence. In mid-twentieth-century thinking, nature provided a model for a process of consumptionthat was also one of (re)production.The conversionof raw tnaterials into energy, inanimate into animate life. was imagined as an ecological relationship between individual organism and its context or environment.The threeconceptscould be played offagainst eachother. The 'individual' modelledways for thinking about diversityand the uniqueness of tbrms, 'society' ways of thinking about relations and connections,while 'nature' combined both of these as an at once single and manifold phenomenon.Nature x'cs reproduction. Like the composite image of the relationship between individual and society, natureaccounted simultaneously for the diversity of individual organismsand for the relational or systemic (' adapti ve'nat ) ur eof t heir int er act ions. But what doesonedo wit h t he ideaof cultural replication'? of self-consumption'? If the question seemsclaustrophobic,this is greenhouse heat. Nature doesnot represent or model this new reoroductive process: on the contraly. it is the substantive entity that is being eaten up without being regener-a/ed. In some present visions of nature, consumptionhas becomethe very antithesisof reprocluction. I earlier noted that there have always been English protests against the spoiling of nature. They were certainly voc.l in the Sperlings' timi. Nature 'was beingdestroyed by the new. and growing, industrialsociety'(Urry l9g7: 214).N ature w as beingdest r oyed, uu1 uy aiociet y r hat was t hr iving,in t he


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Greenhousc effect


same way as the assertion of individual choice was made against t backgroundof assumptions about the conventionsof socialrank. And when industrial societywas criticisedfor squalor and could be shown up as unnatural neitherattendingto the necessities for a natural life nor natural in its own terms,that is, recognising the human relationships on which it wng founded. Such analogieshave sincelost their plausibility. Nature is no singleconcept and I have tried not to treat it as one; it has always meant many things, and in changing constellation. In modern parlance,it coveredat least five different areas(after Urry 1987:214). They quality or characterof something; comprisethe essential the underlyingforce that directs and controls eventsin the world; the entirety of animate and inanimate objects in the universe;the physical as opposed to the human environment;and finally the countryside, rural asopposedto urban, the realm on which industrialisation was seen to encroach. These elements were connectedin the merographic mode. Each thus inhabited and createdspecific contexts, so that to invoke one was to recall or eclipse other contexts or domains. While each element thus appearedas a part of a wider range of meanings, the combinationmeant that it was alsolegitimatein Englishto talk about nature as thoughit wereone thing. This habit olthought gavea further sense that there was an identifiableentity under attack from diversesources. The English could bundle theseelementstogether in the same way as they bundled togetherdiverseperspectives on societyor the individual. Conceived as discreteentities,any of these (and other) salient entities could also be brought into partial analogy with one another. Analogy implies perceived difference as well as similarity (cf. Fernandez l97l). Among the analogies by which nature and societywerecomparedwas their respective internal organisationor structure.Insofar as the analogies were never complete,neither domain was wholly modelledon the other (cf. Jackson 1987)- and indeed either could be thought abour rhrough models drawn from parts of each. Thus idioms of reproduction and biological function could be used to describethe maintenanceof social institutions; idioms of engineering or architecturalform to describe nature'sdesign.Each could also be imagined as participating in the other, evincedin composite entitiessuch as 'the individual' who appearsas both a natural and a social product. The elements of such a merographicfigure werekept distinct by the domains from which they were derived, in the same way as the composite figure itself constituteda further distinct individual. That senseof distinctiveness rested on the evocation of environment. Environmentalforceshad an effecton the individual organism,to which the organism responded,and environmentswere perpetuallymodified by such responses. This modern model indicatedpossibilities for interactionand twoway feedback. It is a little different to imagine that we are consuming environmentitself.33 Just such an image, however, is contained in the idea of appropriating

it. What is taken to be part of natureto personalends, of literally ingesting of wild habitats.Moreover, with the coeval destruction becomes body ene's or in the way societyis seen way individual in the the no difference seems there is regardedas a dilemma The dilemma of consumption nature. to consume proclaim, lifestyles protest movements alternative and life. As all atlects that the kind of society Indeed, one fused. responsibility are and social oersonal the lifestyle kind of culture: aggregate issue than the much less an seems in iives of its individual members resolvesinto how much how many households consume.But there is a new quantity effect here that is very different from the old senseof culture as a community of shared meanings. (Lamenting the texts, of the place national newspapers passingof hegemonicmiddle-class a Guardian writer denominator of cultural experience, as common held a once (18 April 1990)comments:'Mrs Thatcher setout to abolish society.Shemay culture as well'.)The new culture.if one may call it that, is wellhaveabolished in a new common denominator, technology. instead contained English consumenature in two modes about The late twentieth-century which they talk. The first concernsthe using up of resources,and it is to feed technology, including the technology that sustains present home comforts, that resourcesare being used up. General awarenessof world depletion of yet if dated to the oil crisisof the early 1970s; is sometimes natural resources in this or peoplethink that new technologywill always overcomeshortages of up rather than slowsdown their sense that material,suchas oil, that speeds produca diminishingnatural world. Similarly the effiuentsof technological tion are seento speedup the disappearanceof natural habitats and wild life. While one might date growing public apprehensionto about the sametime, in England the greenhouse effectchangedfrom being an outlandish metaphor to a literal apprehension in 1989.3a The second comes from depicting continuity between human and other species in a mode which triesto sustaina natural continuum: food is marketed - in supermarketchains as well as Health Food stores- as 'natural'. Quite literally we are invited to free ourselves from artificial additives. The technologythat appearsas gratuitous additions can also supply the meansfor purification. As a result, even natural products (such as coffee)can be further purified, made allegedlymore healthy (decaffeinated). Various natural options considerable are availablein other spheres, of which childbirth has received critical attention. With the elision between nature and biology, bodily functionshave long been regardedas the specialprovince of nature; what is new is the scale oIliving is presented on which a naturql styleto certainaspects as consumer choice. Indeed, the duty of the consumer to purchase is reinforced in the idea marketed in 1989 90 that one is helping the environment by buying particular products. A preferencefor X against product Y is thus re-presented as a consumerpreferencefor sustainingnature. era in socialscience One of the greatdiscoveries of the socialconstructionist was that the manner in which the bodv is thoueht about has socialor cultural


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habits,the expression origins.whetherone refersto gesture, of emotionsor to new (cultural) attention is the body as a digestive sexuality.What receives tract and its physical requirements for resources,for protection frorl pollution. We do not just simply attempt to 'improve' the pleasures of the body (irr the phrasing of Dreyfus and Rabinow 1982: 257). The cultural construction of biology has been overtaken by the (cultural) necessityto sustainbiology itself. My remarksare not meant to detract from a presentsense of crisis,but to point to the conceptual collapseof the difl'erences betweennature and culture when Nature cannot survive without Cultural intervention. It is hard to imaginethat there will not be consequences for the way we imagineintimate human relationships.These include possibilitiesas well as actualities,the kinds of thingsit is conceivable to think about in the late twentiethcentury.It is not that human relationships or sociallife or the natural world or whatever have disappeared, but that we have potentially cancelledthe basison which certainrelationsof similarity and difference weretaken for granted.Consider once more the image of person as consumer. Attention to the body and to bodily functions is not simply a manufacturer's conspiracyto make customers consumemore products.It is a consummate literalisation of modern(ist) concepts of human nature.I referto thoseconceptsthat assumethat knowledgeabout human life is to be gained from inspection that if one looks (inside)one will find the real thing, that one can alwaysbring to the surface the reasons lor behaviour,that motivationsare explicable. lt is to suchliteralisationthat manufacturers contribute in putting themselves into the hands of 'the new intensiveforms of market research ... designed to offer a socialmap of desirewhich can be usedto determinewhere exactly which products should be "pitched" and "niched"' (Hebdige 1989: 53).Persistent literalisation practices of knowledge altersthe perceptionof the ' terrain. Self-consciousness is both means and ends. I have argued that the English have always made assumptions explicit to themselves; making apparenttheir conventionsis also to make apparentthe contextsfor their values.The danger is that somethingno longer taken for granted will disappear, as Zygmunt Bauman (1990: 435) observes of communities that 'fall apart the moment they know of themselvesas c om m uniti e s .T h e y v a n i s h ... o n c e w e say " how ni ce i t i s to be i n a community"'. But the nesting box ellect of insides within insides,homes within homes, formerly controlled this movement as one between different _ perspectives. I have also argued, then, that one powerful if homely set of imaginative deviceshas beenin the interplay betweenpublic and private domains. Thus what was within could become the object of overt attention, even as convention could turn into individual role-playing. As we have seen, movement between the perspectives of public and private domains, like potential movementbetweensocialclasses and thus betweendifferentorders

of phenomena, acted as a sourceof reflexive English debate on the nature of between the individual and his or her the difference sociallife.It alsosustained social/cultural/naturalenvironments.An abstract relationship between a value and its conventional context was made concrete in the image of an organismin its habitat or a person at home. When the person is defined by what she or he takes inside, the difference The generic imageis that of exteriorand interior is merged. consumer between are neither simply part of one's public preseningestion.And consumables tation to the outside world nor do they simply reflectone's inner moral or social worth. Outside does not mediate inside, or vice versa, becausethe individual'sgesturetowards the outsideworld - the choicesto be made - are simply choicesabout what she or he is going to take inside.Nor can these sustainthe merographicsense of reality,suchthat one finds'more movements real' dimensionsto an object the 'further' one looks. To look inside the consumeris to seethe items the consumer has ingestedfrom outside itself; to look outside is to seeproducersapparentlymoulding their products to the consumer'sdesires.Choice of style turns out to be choice of style, serial (Barnett and that createimagesof changeby altering surfaces substitutions It only 'reveal'other surfaces. Magdoff 1986,quoting Baudrillard).Surlaces then appearscontrived and melodramatic to point out that choiceshave political consequences, that it rnatterswhat style people adopt, or that the figure of the consumer conceals power relations. And that is becausethe consumer image doesnot contain onv depictionsof a relationshipv;ithin itsel/. It is as though we had all been photographed:as though the individual person were a walking foetus/floating spaceman.In Petchesky'swords, the human organismis imaginedas a self-contained unit. free floating apart from its life-line which is attached to something not in the picture and (bar discharging waste) taking-in not giving-out. The foetus the spaceman is also our individual as consumer. Given the enabling technology (a lifesupportsystem), imagines the personasa package, an enterprise the consumer with nothing to do but managehis or her own affairs.The ultrasound image of the foetus and its enabling technologyceases to be merographicwhen the domains of 'person' and 'technology'are no longer discretecontextsfor the multidimensionalwhole. The Warnock Report (1985)on human fertilisationand embryology gave vent to numerousconcernsabout the socialconsequences that might follow advancesin the new reproductive technologies.One question was how to protect transactions in human garpetesfrom market forces. As critics have commented,it is thought propel for the techniciansto be paid for their servicesbut not the donors of gametes,and especiallynot those who act as surrogate mothers. The Report was concerned to discourage commercial exploitation of surrogacy (1985: 46); it thus recommendedthat it should become a criminal offence to set up agenciesto lacilitate the recruitment c f women for surrogatepregnancies. At the sametime, it recognisedthat private



English kinship in the late twentieth century



agreementswill take place, and acknowledged the argument that individual j ust as. i t sw eepi ngl y wom en h a v e th e ' ri g h t' to e n te r s u ch an agreement claims,'they have the right to usetheir own bodiesin other ways'(1985:45). Together with that right to private agreementwent the assumptionthat the decision to choosesurrogacy will be made either in the context of a marriage by a couple who want children, so that it is their private affair, or elsethat the carrying mother will enter into a private contract affecting only the it looks as though there is no managementof her own body. Consequently commerce involved. Exploitation only begins when financial interests come in. That persons should be allowed to exercisechoice in the matter for their own end s g o e sw i th o u t q u e s ti o n . The recommendationdependedon a prior cultural premise:that people reproduce themselves.Reproduction can thus be construed as a private matter. And that people have a natural desireto do so is reason for the desire to be protected.A concomitantassumptionof the Report seemed to be that, of all that they transmit, people naturally desireto passon their genesand should ifthey can, especiallyas this has consequences for legal inheritanceand (Glover et al. 1198967] suggestthat a surrogatemother may find succession. her task easier when 'the egg is not hers, [since] it reduces the feeling of giving away her own child'). The kind of rights and obligationsthat attends the actual 'donation' o[ gametesis another matter. Donation is seenas a specification alienation, and the donating person cannot assume parental rights over the eggsor semenoncethey have beengiven (Warnock 1985:54). Yet because of the intimate nature of the transactioninvolved.the donor still remainsa'parent' of a kind; indeed,it is recognised that childrenmay want to know who the 'genetic' parent is. Egg donor is referred to as 'geneticmother' (1985:37): however, she is a mother without rights in and therefore presumablywithout obligationstoward the child. This is not just the English belatedlyrecognising a split betweenbiological and social mother, as anthropologists might have framed it, for the split is not simply about relationships. This is also expressive capacity for imagery, stretchedto some kind of limit. A similar flattening occurs between the terms nature and culture. When nature becomesa question of cultural styleand culture the exercise to be'inside'or ofnatural choice,the one ceases 'part of'- contextualised will not work. Let me by - the other. The language spell out what I mean by these phrases. Pfeffer related current concerns to a new, and what she regarded as insidious,assumption. Why is it, sheasked,that in the late twentiethcentury, personhood is equatedwith the capacity to reproduce?Shepointed to various or of discrediting images of infertile men and women. Accused of selfishness spiritualirresponsibility, they may alsobe regarded as'the sort of people'who would equatechildren with stair carpets,microwave ovens and other items available for purchase (1987: 97). At the same time what makes their explicableis the popular notion that to be behaviour in seekingassistance
i n f e r t ile is tn h e d e sn e r a fe a n d th a t one i s dri ven to desneral e means.

We can answerPfeffer'squery in one way.3sPersonhoodis equatedwith the capacity to reproduce insofar as languageand imagery presentsthe act as one of choice.Personswho otherwisedid not have the choice now do have the for they now possess accessto the enabling choice to reproduce themselves, technology.But the 'choice' to reproduceis like 'choice' for style: t_o nQ,tso

of a.person. Theassumption desirqj.s-.qo,prehofrG"ue'ieis is tttut.gii;il;'

chaiiie, one will take it, part of the widei riexusof prescriptions that presents failuib-to eiercise one's capacity for choice as failure of motivation. The fact that one should reproduce oneselfwith as close an approximation to natural processas possible is a point I return to in a moment. As we shall see,if one cannot reproduce one's genes,one can reproduce (be parent to) choice itself. Chapter Two referred to the observationsof Stanworth and others on the -_way medical doctors appeal to the natural desire,natural right even,of people having children 'of their own'. At the sametime, there is increasing.gtr't| the whole language of artificial reproduction ;itlief lie6alse-ilignores the contifiuity of"dafrifef"piocesses, of nurture and pirental boniiing Ueyoiia condf)fion and biith, or on the contrary becauseit ignores jlre fact that all pareflthood is socially constructed. Exactly. What is in crisis here is the symbolicorder, the ionceptualisationof the relationshipbetweennature and culture such that one can talk about the one through the other. Nature as a ground for the meaning of cultural practices can no longer be taken for granted if Nature itself is regarded as having to be protected and promoted. After nature: modification of the natural world has becomeconsumption of it, in exactly the same way as modification of the world's cultures(through colonialisation) has become consumptionof them by the internationaltourist. The old double model for the production of culture- societyimproves nature, society reflects nature no longer works. The individual consumescultural and natural products alike, but in consuming them him or herself reproduces only him or herself. So consuming the world is turning it to already anticipated ends:the pleasures of the closedcircuit (Haraway 1985: 88-9), the body as the place of private satisfaction that completesits own desires. Perhapsa new ground for individual action will be this very capacity to combinedesirewith the appropriateenablingtechnology.If this is a change, then the change has occurred as a result of people becoming self-conscious about valuesalready held. When the traditional yearning for parenthood can be satisfied by'artificial' arrangements, it is the yearningthat seems'natural'. Stanworthis right, I think, to comment that accelerating ratesof divorce and remarriage hardly signify the of family or marriage as the lreakdown institutions; on the contrary, pedple are perpetually re-composingfamily style lives. But how should we visualisekinship?For what is signified, she says,is rnarkedly greater uncertainty in the 1980sabout relationshipsthemselves, 'about the tiesthat bind individual parentsto individual children'(1937: I9). S Chapter One noted the shift over the last thirty yearsin English views about artificial insemination. Far from being regardedas an attack on the family and


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'illegitimatechild' of betweenthe hapless (Smart 1987:10G7). The difference child is likely to be DI is the that 1980s the of the 1950sand the DI child simply resorted to They have wi{'e. and openly wanted by both husband for instance, husband. the That wish. their aitificial means to implement legal recognising plea for is overriding an father wants the legal status of natural their complete if the couple paternity (1937: 108). Paradoxically, iesires by having children. these desiresseem to have been fuelled by the of socialrolesto biologicalones'As far as paternity is assimilation increasing .on"..r"d, the old assumption that within a marriage thb hudbefrilfrfiif,

'geneticfather' or 'geneticmother'. As far as possible,then, such desires should also be completed naturally, so that an approximation to genetic parenthoodwill be the natural choiceof all intendingparents.That needsno justification. Natural choice can even appear to inhere in the pre-natal material itself. Thus the anti-abortionistmovementanticipates the child's (natural)choiceto live.JanetGallagher(1987:148,my emphasis) quotesfrom the 1979Michigan Lan' Review: One'foetalrights'advocate writesthat legalprovisions for foetalprotection canbe justified. . . by theexpectation people that theywill provide with 'thegratification at the thoughtthat their v'ishes were.significant even before thel'n'ere born.Theycan thereby escape whatever insecurity maybearoused by thenotionthat at onetimein their prenatalexistences they weredeemed wholly undeserving ol legalrespect'. Yet when choicehas to be exercised on another'sbehalf,it comesup against the other's exerciseof choice. Thus the new reproductive technologiesalso 'interfere'with women's bodies.'Reclaimingour bodiesand bodily integrity meansrenting [tearing] the entire fabric of sexualsubordination',for under 'our bodies arep(trts o/ ourselves'(Raymoncl attack is bodily integrity because 1987:62, It is not societyor socialrelationships original emphasis). that are in jeopardy,or evenin this casethe mother-child bond or the right to be a parent to a child. But, then, as one contemporary writer on English kinship has observed, relationships may conflict with rights. 'Women must have the right not to care, and dependentpeople must have the right not to rely on their relatives'(Finch 1987,quoted by Hicks 1988:252).36 Women's reproductivelights are in turn defined as rights to disposeof bodies.3? As a result, paternal interestmay be read as an intervention. Some arewaryof thisincreased rolefor menin parenting. . . Oneanxiety is rhatif mendo get involvedthey will in fact take over,leavingwomenwith no sphere of 'He creeps influence: in like anothermother,between the mother and the child'. (Rowland1987:70, quotingElizabeth Badinter, originalemphasis) Choiceby oneselfonbehalfofothers is evidentin certainareassuchas genetic counselling,38 and over abortion decisions that havethe child'sfuture in mind, as it is also embeddedin the desirabilityfor protectivelegislation. Within the framework of 'assistingnature', however, whether choice is pro- or antitechnology,the capacity to chooseis above all validatedby reference to the individual and her or his fulfilment or development. The involvement of otherscan be r egar ded not as int elt sif ying r elat ionships but as int r usive. as in the caseof the male parent just cfuoted.3e It is the exercise of choice,then, that will enhance human capability;where earliervisionaries experimented with socialforms (Utopias, Erewhons,1984s and so on), we re-liveour recentmodernistpastin the hope of beingable to go on exploring further, seeing more, extendingour capacities, and above all in enrichingpersonalexperience. But in one area, such possibilities are almost

tfiEis widelyaccepiea-[[ilt talk'of the iioli; pieoiile peiemh6bdl'tirii questiox new The recognised. shouldbe socially marritige chililborn butside outsidemarrii[ij.'I'frLe i)ft'heparenrswho reproduce nar"-Ue"oniglhe'statiis the its 'genetiCfathr'; know to therightof thechild debates WainockReport
Glover Report similarly speaksof 'biologicalparents',of 'the right to know' and of the claim of 'the biological father'. This very desirefor a real match betweenbiological and social parenthood in the caseof fathersthe obvious outcome of kinship thinking, of the seems modelling of social on biological ties. But see what has changed: what is 'biological' is no longer subsumedunder the parent-child relationshipitself, the flow ofblood that was supposedto connect parent and child through the Blood could be imaged act of procreation.It is literally the donation of genes. procreation it worked as a of tike the act bond; a as somekind of metaphorfor communicative of a symbol a individuals, trope for a relationship between event. Genes are the bits of information themselves. is literalisedas geneticdonation, a technicalact open to Biologicalprocess on 'donation' fits older modelsof The resultantemphasis artificialassistance. (Stolcke 1986),but I remarn maternity of those paternity more closelythan with the generalcase. ll par enth o o d i s fra g me n te di n to p a rti cul ar the goi ng language has it, decomposed, deconstructed (Stanworth refers to the deconitruction of motherhood; Gtover et ql. to the fragmentation of both motherhood and fatherhood), then what makes a pelel1 (cf. Smart 1987: th6'rii'aGii;T-with which these 1l+15)? All the various contradict'i6;i"s"'irf parenthood placedon genetic being value Reportshad to deal,with increased the other' on aid supplementary possibilities of on the one hand and increased to who desires the one be must parent resolve into a single answer: the .b.33. Darent. ' 'A woman who gives birth from a donated egg can be seenas the mother of the child becauseshe wished to have the child; if a man consentsto his wife be having DI then the warnock Report recommended that the child parents wii!the view, In 4). this (1985: 23 regardld as his legitimateoffspring be those who planned and wished for a child to be born to them. It completes the Yet there is still an equivocationfor they do not supersede their desires.

tionoI EiFeeie,ffi aisump onthefrrrther ffilid il hi, *ire*nna;a'hA; bdsed


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Greenhouse effect


uniformly met with dismay, the area that concerns the reproduction of the consumer him or herself, the reproduction of the maker of choices. Recall that remarkable projection: that alongside the development of reproductive technologies have consistently gone popular fears for the consequences of genetic engineering, eugenicsand the rest of it. These are epitomised in science-fiction fantasies about creatures who are half human half machine, or human*animal transplants, 'parts' of different worlds that stick on to one another. These figures are often presented as terrifying and unnatural, or where the combination is poetic or the result aestheticallypleasing - as in Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sarg - with pathos for the incompletenessof the sentient being. Such negative reactions representchoice at a kind of limit. The individual consumer'scapacity to choosethis from nature, that from culture, has turned into the person itself. A composite of bits from different sources.literally a conglomerate, a collage of physical materials. Not metaphorical parts, but tissueand plastic.But for how long will amalgamsof human and non-human parts seemgrotesque? Dental amalgam is one thing, and chemical stop-gaps to decay acceptablemedicine. These new images introduce the further idea that a fusion of materialsis also a fusion of identities.Personswho pride themselves on individualism,as the Englishdo, are right to be suspicious: for the fantasy supposesa creature who is no longer an individual. It might be repaired but how should it reproduce? Yet as Cecil Helman points out, we are already familiar with transplants (organsbetween bqdigs)and implants (non-organicsubstances introducedas substituteorgans).'[Ie]peaks of the blurring of the boundariesbetweennature and art, and of a sotial consequence. The new industrial body symbolizes a newtypeofsociety, andnewtypes ofsocialrelationships. Thecreation of implants or prostheticorgans, for example,requiresan elaboratesocial organization of production.distribution,marketing, maintenance, and repairof the artefacts. The individual's body is now part-industrial. His implantslink him permanently to theworld of industryand science. He is alsotheultimateconsumer, incorporating the products of industry into his very body.and a living,walking advertisement for theireficacy.He is not only a unit of production in theworkforce ofthat society, but alsoa unit ofconsulnption in every sense. Thenewpartso[his bodyaremass-produced, impersonal, replaceable. . . Havingan implantalsolinks the individual to a huge team of experts:surgeons, radiologists, anaesthetists, nurses, physiotherapists, hospitaltechnicians, producers, as well as the designers, suppliers andrepairers of theprosthesis. Whiletheimplanted bodymay havemore 'social' to of these links to otherpeople, the links are reallythoseof consumer (1988: producer. 15,originalemphasis. noteomitted) The reappropriationof the consumer's identity by the makersof commodities! In passing, Helman comnlentson the practiceof allograft - the transplant of tissuefrom one body to another. 'The closerthe kin relationships between

leakedpolicypap;r Mr RobertJackfor hi ghereducason,j uni or mi hi ster t i on. rumi natedon "an al ternati ve providparadigm". of thestate Instead its role sh6uldbe ing higler education to confi nedto "enabl i ngi ndi vi dual s purchaseservicesfrom providers". at l east i n part, Wi th thei row n money, of course. not the taxpayers',

tf : privatizatlon orf;L'*.T;I,:X;'.ll

changes As to what sort of structural therewill be, I believethat we may be approaching choicebea fundamental tween rwo different patternsof evohigher lution. One route towardsmass education could be through an increasinglystate funded and therefore state-organized"system" of higher education.There is a real possibility followedon that this will be the course the Continent. If this is the path we follow, the difficulty which the institutions of higher educationwill face is that the expansion of provisionby the money- witt Ue State- witfi tilrDayers" place without subexpectedto take stantiallv increasine the burden of public eipend(ture-andtaxation, and in the absence of mechanisms for engagingprivate funding. The other route would see the movement towards mass higher education ac-

English kinship in the late twentieth century



bv sreaterinstitutionaldifcomDanied ferentiation ai'd diversificationin a market-led and multi-funded setting. But much dependsupon the willingof of the heads of the institutions, ness go out to teachers, the of department, anil market what they have to offer, to rather than to wait for applications roll in. of the structures In the first scenario, masshigher educationwill tend to be under pressincreasiiglyrationalized, ure to stretchpublicfundingasfar asit will go. The effect will be to offer a limited variety of institutional strucprovidinga range turesand missions, to all, of broadly similar experiences and prociucinga rdnge of similar outcomesfor all. In the secondscenario, the structures of mass higher will be much more diversieducation fied, as they are in the United States. of provisionwill The traditionalmodes but there be cultivated: still,of course, on a will be a much greateremphasis better able to variety of approaches meet the needsof different tyPes. Whv do I orefer that we in Britain shoulcitake ihe secondof thesetwo routes, that of exPansionthrough diversification and- differentiation?
continued:seeplate I

and donor . . . t he lesslikely t he gr af t is t o be "r eject ed"'( 1988:15) . reci pi ent How, then, are we invited to think kin relationships? is that relationalfacility,the what is beingconsumed in this process Perhaps way talk of the new body as idea of a symbol itself.We cannot in any simple 'symbolising' a new society if we cannot externaliseor differentiate the one Helman arguesthat there is a reciprocal relationship between from the other.oo personal and the political body (1988: l6): imagesof the people,parbody parts is, therefore,replaceable The parallel for replaceable ticularlyin the workforce.However,this new society like the new body is a someartificialand someliving and contemporary, collageof differentelements: industrial,and someancientand traditional. Yet society and body are equally collage. On what are 'reciprocal relationships' and 'parallels' between them modelled? Where is the analogy for analogy? The English have made explicit to themselvesthe partial nature of the various social systemsthat once met and Bernardeswould like us to think still meet - in the person of the multifaceted, many-role playing individual. But their insistentcultural searchfor literalising that multiplicity, for showing up how fragmented people's lives are, how partial their descriptions, how hesitant their grasp on the scope of life, along with their celebration of the plurality and diversity of form, and of individuality itself, have made the individual vanish. Instead of becoming more individuated, we become more parts of one another ethnically (French bread/English marmalade) and personally (evoking the idiosyncracies of other ages, other epochs and, following the Chicago Bears, other cultures). The English consume culture, as they do nature, in the information they are constantly consuming about Not parts of other of their experiences. ourselves. They wish to be conscious everyoneinto This makes domains but parts accretingwith other versionsof one another'sparticularism. In the modern epoch,the individual personwas equal to neithernature nor culture but could be imagined as participating in the realms of each.What the Englishusedto think of as their kinship systemwas the keeper9f that partial analogy. But personscan now be imagined as simply composedof elementsof other persons whether in terms of organ transplants,or the borrowing of cultural forms or the imitation of other individual lifestyles,or even the transmissionof geneticparticles.We move from the unique amalgam of elements drawn from different lomains to a literal assemblageof parts perceivedas substitutableor reflaceablefor one another. The relationship betweenthesecomponentscannot be conceptualised in other than terms of sel f-managem ent . or our f ar m house So let us r et ur n t o our f oet usspacem an. proprietor for that matter.a2 A photograph of a foetus with its umbilical cord cannot model a social relationship if socialrelationships are not the model for it. In terms of natural

20 Baker's two paths, 1989 From The Times Higher Etlucation supplement, [3 January 1989 and 30 December 1988. R e p r o d u ce db y kin d p e r m issio n .


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Greenhouse effect


substance,the baby is all human tissue. But the protest against medical 'intervention' is about intervention in the relationship between child and parent. Technological enablement becomes reproduced in cultural dreamwork (the phrase is from Zoe Sofia, quoted by Petchesky)as rendering the the baby is properly regardedas mother herself like a machine. In that sense, part machine. The organistn connected to a life-support system evokes the family photographs in the front room of the farmhouse, above a flickering fire where visitors sit, with the quiet hum of white goods singing away to themselvesbehind doors misleadingly marked private. relationshipbetweeninner and outer worlds, part of the way A perceived modern English have understood knowledge, worked as an analogy for the change of scale by which social sciencein the earlier part of this century construed society as containing a plurality of individual members, and construed the individual as having internalised social norms. Does a postplural world imply that we can no longer change scale?Changing scale - societyseenas more than of perspective was visualised as an exemplification the sum of individuals;an individual seenas more than the socialconventions it observed.Is abandoning that relational facility, then, abandoning the facility for calibrating difference and sirnilarity through partial analogy? And might literalisingas such loseits power?One of the popular academic that the referencingfacility of words can no debatesof the 1980sassumes longer be taken for granted words do not have 'meanings' either inside or outside themselves.They do not provide contexts for one another. Words simply summon other words.a3 It is very obvious,I suppose, away societyas a collective that if one imagines plurality, then one imagines away the individual elementsof which it is composed. Lessobviousperhapsare the potentialconsequences of the present ecologicdlnecessity namely that we make explicit the participation of nature last stand?Insofar as the individual and culture in eachother. Literalisation's has long been regardedas the site at which nature and culture fought it out, to remove the battle is also to remove the battle ground. I use the military metaphor as a reminderthat lossis not alwaysa matter of regret.It is certainly should be of interestto a matter of interest.At leastsuch a potential absence for that particular conceptionof the individual has not only anthropologists, in previous been at the centreof the English educationand welfare systems decades,but also at the centre of what. for a time, anthropologistscalled kinship.

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Recapitulation:nostalgiafrom a postplural world


Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world

Thirty-five yearsago, at the end of his study of types of civility, which takes him to many countries but ignores America, Nicolson predicts the future: I do not foresee that the socialhabitsof this islandwill everbeimitatedfrom those of the French, theGermans. theAustralians, the Dutch,theTrobrianders. or the Portuguese. I imaginethat it will be the Americanmodel which will in the end impose itselfon the English-speaking world.(1955: 284)' But he professes not really being able to understand their type of civilitl,. His clinching reason brings us back to enclosedgardens and fenced properties. Trying to look at the English through American eyes,he writes: Thereis againthe curiousindifference to, or disregard ofl,what to us [the English] is oneof the mostprecious of all humanpossessions, namely personal privacy.To them, with theirproud belief in equality. with theirrather ignorant affection for the pioneerspirit,privacydenotes something exclusive, patronising, 'un-folksey',and therefore meritingsuspicion. Thustheyleave theircurtainsundrawnat dusk. have no hedges separating theirfront gardens. and will converse amicably with strangers aboutprivatethings.How cana European dareto discuss the manners of a people who seem to ignore, or to beunconscious of, whatto him iscivilisation's most valued her it a ge? (1 9 5 5 l :8 ) The ignorance,so-called, informed an oppositionalculture. An American exhortation published in 1927deliberately promoted the idea of 'foundation planting'- plants pushedup againstthe houserather than, as was taken to be the styleof the old country, forming a hedgeon the streetline. 'The American way called for uniformity of landscape design: no f,ences or hedges, only foundation planting and'lawns. Anything elsewas vaguely unpatriotic and morally suspect'(Ottesen l98l: 2l). The reasonwas that the home was the greatest institutionin America,and should be open to the street.2 In the 1980s, it is the lawn that now seemsthe problematic import; it is taken to be an English influencethat interfereswith American nostalgiafor the land as it once was. Nowadays, 'sophisticated gardeners learn to appreciate what is unique in the American landscape', to restorebeauty in natural bogs and to s t y lis em eado w s(1 9 8 7 :2 7 ,2 9 ).

For England in the late 1980s, US-stylepopular design(starsand stripes, block letters, American football on televisionand icecreamin tne supermarkets) have made a new and explicit entry into the advertisedaesthetic repertoire.we are officially told - and I refer now to Higher Education - that our provision for state benefit should learn from the American model of financial competence.So it seemsthat I have been describing the outcome Nicolson predicted;what happened when the dichotomy betweenpublic and private disappears.Indeed, I have flowed between English and American examplesinsofar as I think we share certain cultural forms in common. But the situation is not quite as simple as the idea of adopting or resisting a model would suggest. As far as that public/privatedichotomy is concerned, it might appearflattenedbut it has not'broken down'any more than the family has. Nor have the English simply imitated the apparentAmerican disregard for it. Rather,we might say,it has worked itselfout in people'simaginationin a particular way. The epochof bourgeois revolurion,that one might date to l7g0- 1g20, led in williams's view to terms such as classand culture being usedin their modern sense, and in Roy Wagner's (1986)view made God a function of nature. lt anticipatedthe period in England when a division between public and private worlds wasrealised in the middle-class, kinship-based imageof the home away from the workplace.The home in this sense was not sometimeless attribute of the English,howeverprecious a human possession someEnglishhaveclaimed for it. Here was a particular devolution of ideas,an interpretationof human nature literalised in domesticarchitecture and the conduct of family life with as much particularity as the countryside was steadily enclosed through deliberate, individual actsof parliament(2,341private enclosure bills between I 780 18 l0). Thoseenclosed fieldsthat so srrikethe visitor weremade stepby step as a practical necessity which the new agricultural technology had presented as the only choice a landowner bent on improvementcould take. Like their formulation of social class. the reappropriated distinction between public and private became one of the modes through which the English reflected on the relationship between individual and society and between nature and culture. Certainly the distinction was the hinge of Nicolson's interpretation of types of civility: what floored him was that he could not use it as a framework for the American case.Yet to present it as 'traditional' is as profound a mis-reading of English tradition as is the embraceof American individualism in current political rhetoric. American postage stamps celebrateconstitulional figureheads;one recent frank came with the declaration, Freedom/under Law. Our English commoner, by contrast,can throw out the notion ofconstitutional societyas a sourceoflaw precisely becauseof the way the language she uses is able to recapitulate a changing relationshipbetweenpublic and private priorities. That language makes a vernacular appeal to individualism a self-sufficient.intenselv moralistic and nostalgicgesture.3


English kinsbip in the late twentieth century

Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world


But we also participatein the promotion of one another'scultural forms. The American essayon foetal photography was published in a volume put out by an Englishpress;this book originatedin my talking about Englishkinship in America.hoping that I would simultaneously conveya sense of distinctivenessand speakto common concerns.That capacity to participate is promoted by the way the Englishhave thought about kinship over the last 200 years.It led in the pluralism of the modern epoch to the indigenousperceptionsI have labelled as merographic, where meanings seem always to be partial, where there is always more beyond the field of vision than one sees,and where elements that are part of one systemare also in anotherdimensionconceived as parts of others. The mid-twentieth-century view of kinship as a set or network of relations betweenindividual personsis a beautiful example.A system itselfis thus regarded as an aggregation of elements-natural insofaras it displays their internal relations, artificial insofar as it never encompasses their entire definition. The vantagre point of the postplural world disaggregates. Its own characteristiclies in the notion that wholeshave dissolvedinto parts in such a way that they can only be reassembled as so many parts. Yet the very idea seems sinister(Spalloneand Steinberg1987: 10, original emphasis): The'new'reproductive technologies arethusnot really'new'. Theyarebased on the same old ideology of abusing, disrespectirig, and exploiting womenasobjects that canbemanipulated according to theneeds of thegroupin power.Whatrsnewis the emphasis todayonpartsof women's bodies beingused in both unprecedented ways and to an unprecedented degree. Will the body that is allowed(or forced)to reproduce in the future be White, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied? Nostalgia hereis for difference,for variation, for diversity, for the multiplicity of human cultures and bodily forms. When what is reproducedare not bodies but choices themselves,the spectreof choice is conventionaliseddesire. In 1984, weheardthesuggestion from an Australian IVF clinicdirectorthat people may want to usedonor eggsand donor spermwith IVF ratherthan their own because theydo not like their own or their partner's characteristicsfor example, personality, intelligence, (1987: or appearance. 5) Technologyenables peopleto substitutefor a random outcome their own all too predictablewishes. The nostalgiafor multiplicity is also the nostalgiafor whole forms, where elementsare intrinsic and parts non-detachable,for the integrated home and unique landscapes. At its extreme we might say that itis nostalgia.forthe idea oJ the individual. I include here persons as individuals. Vanishingforms was alwaysa perspectival analogueto recedinghorizons. Thus for as long as the individual person was an emergentform, it was 'community' * including communal family life - that was ever receding. British anthropologistsfor their part never had much doubt about the chimeric nature of such a construct. Their obiect was the studv of social

relationshipson the ground and the cultural values (including notions of community) that attendedto such relationships.It was the collective('social') dimension of life that they took as their subject matter. So if there is a particular loss that lies in wait for anthropology, it will not be for the idea of societies and cultures themselves,for their holism is apprehended as an artificial (constructed)tool of analysis.It will be nostalgia for a relational view of the world. of being after an Or rather, this is the point at which I locate my own sense (Chapter Two) was not meant to event.Drawing Melanesiainto this account yearn conventionally evoke the kind of community life for which Westerners understandings and never existed.The intention was to make explicit certain developed within the discipline of social anthropology that address the In the words of manner in which human beingscreate society for themselves. 'has its commitment to core a at one Melanesianist, (modern) anthropology (J. Weiner 1988; 5). To making the social component of human life visible' convey a Melanesian world through idioms of relationship, to describe of socialitythat makesthe personsas composedof relations,imparts a sense perceptions English-language-based systemic and individualist tenor of equally apparent. That tenor was contained by the generalWestern perception that relations were to be appreciatedafter the fact, for they comprised a distinctive order of being,sui generis one might say. Thus the relationship betweendifferent parts of social life was held to inhere in principles of structure or organisation that was not equivalent to social life but 'underlay' it or were 'superimposed'. Social life itself could be shown to have 'a relationship' (expressive' constitutive) to thoseprinciplesevenas an individual person,in that peculiar colloquial English on which I have dwelt, could be said to have'a relationship' with society. the connectionspeople made at A relational view of the world encompassed in isolation but in relation to all levels.That ideasshould not be considered one another was the startingpoint of this book. This tenet has beenmodern anthropology's professional contribution to social science.'Social anthropology is about relationships' (J. Weiner 1988:5). As in the manner in which societywas professionalised or naturalisedas an object of study that provided its own frame of reference, so too with culture and symbolic constructions.ln putting thingsinto context,anthropologists that therewould be sets assumed of relations internal to the domain in question whoseelucidation would reveal its own structural form. The pfesent cultural analysishas beenjust such a relational exercise.It also beals its own relationship to other works. Much of my account can be read as an English exemplification of Wagner's TheInvention of Culture. He not only demonstratesjust how modern Western but analyses cultureinvented'societyasman's relationto nature' (1975:132),a the symbolic mechanismsby which this most unstable of cultures has


English kinship in the late twentieth centurv Recapitulation:nostalgiafrom a postplural world

(f eE6:,

wasner'5 literally, tropicconstructions. e;r ; rs^are, .Theyareturning points . t tll d*torx1- it of whathecailsrhewesrern coresymbor, 1l f", *hi;;i:;;; iff. ttuttfo-gplu". ;.-atinchristendom in theeleventh century. Th..".;;;;'i lj. conslsEstn 1firr:hanging.relationships between divinity, humanrtyand ;,K sacran-ren'on1rr:one hand and between nature, society ,yrb;;;"i;; other' I hcse r'nal relations ,f "rd*iir, arethemselves irr in relationrrrip other, i \..en:ire g;r, re consisrs in a'rurn'of perspective. "u.h Thefiisr,.t orr.rurioir, :l:^tl hqi,115 whtch vedievarcycre. contains 1 , 1, wirhin itsconfigura,,;; ,n. second, Moder n c cle. 'rich may be readas an everted or aispiaceo v.Ji.uutrr. I hrsr's hirnt 1,, that the wholeis a figurative i'1, he sense construciion (trope) ii mav.(in a riterarising mode)bedrawnfrom ir. asthe ,r" llljiJ,r,rera-1r :t ll", 0n:i. turn consisted Fc c)iheperspectivar in .mantaking."rponriuirily :"'11'' c ,r enr:., ral [relational]rarherrhanrryingrocompetiirr::ryr,rry.., i I l?:i:. a-- --"'rv' Each':1.1. several epochs, s.:r':stitutes themserves turningpointsof prior
l l : l- t) .

European and Engrish [;:::1, i:i* g ].0:""",',?l::T: l;, vide asubsrantive schema"i;;; jt;;"1*,rr,ai #;"J#"#'J,"Ttn',':f, $ '

by [their] own effortsto masterand tv. understand ---he urrir it'(1g75: I -10). thecounrerpro""rs Dr.,, enraired of con."."d;";r;r-g inu"nt,ons, cons'i ry makingevidenr to themsetves the principres upon which :j^ln:"tr the! c:'1'r1r11s,gr, society and cultureitself.weste.n,,ougtt? o.i'," out tt . )rrs !g1r'n things. ro make the connecrions rhar un<Jerlay ,lheir :tlflt-r srandirrf bligus'stndeed. theymaderhese rhetirerrt.eier.n.. point, :::J' Iol' Ihr eir owfl .:ividual acts. I he precise-in my account, , res and the unfoldingof ideas asthoughthey in rime, has been a specificityo, e;1a,nother lite.utiration ::::.:-t.d as -r116 I ascriptions ,. to 'the English;.ff.rorgft-f,ll u]"t"t'pi.ut 'wKw .n.. i, 4 erican, Wagn".', ,"qu.t,'i"v^t ot, thar Stand./or Y:::: Themsetves

prpe-:rrraliy itserf'. while thereis no curture ci:lbilised that is not itself views r: ,,"j:: in people's of theworld,Westerrrers tookon as i,lJli:.,:,tr .=-\wn qvrr I projectthe ever-receding goal of inventing.onu"ntion ::rerr uoth 'after') a pruraritv in nature - afrerindividuarity ,l?.i::lo agarnhev.came'to gruen and embodv, and to livein a worlJ-ofnaturar ll.llll':,n ThL orversi'i




u , t of the world is alr thoseantecedent ideas- as I havedone l]l "l[-.-r,rSir t f j' )rintrrl o n e th e p re s e n tm o me nt but not beyond.For one w ho : : : : ^_ ' '-t ,to psrL'sr\ wo..' d relationally,it is arwaysthe eleventhLour, the improsion ol the e .iionrrn-ryclock, the moment o[ te'ninal rearisation.? Thus the

imagines asso nrany :i lll::,1.'t,,"', tt:t.,,tt,ci An epoch isexperienced ;,,riocrJ. asa 'now.rhargathers p;;;p;;;: f or the !li" 11e ,ielf.6 An epoch will thusalways be whatI rr""" $ eventuit' ::at jb cn the brink of coilapse, "or"a'prriis for what it gatherstogeitrer in its

i .l;:t#" be ofimminse ororno duration, buiwhat i, gr.-un, r! :o is the way ic.)un[ in whichWagner i1e (hem

to the chapters'ends,are given by entropyIn my account' the falling cadence this epochal gathering that also constitutesa 'then'. The End of Nature is in this caseof the constructional leallyAfter Nature: a point of apprehension, rolesthat particular concept has played in our perceptions. The Modern cycle made nature a ground for knowledge. I began rather arbitrarily at a mid point. and rather arbitrarily with a wriier whoiealt with theambiguity of improving on a nature that includesthe essential person.In place of the eighteenth-century understanding of society as an artificial construct, like reason. for Jane Austen's era rational society had been If reasonwerea human function, then civility lay wiitrin persons internalised. and was to be exhibitedby them. Nature was thus embellished by the exercise of talent, a point that in the decades that followed became the literal improvementof talent itself. That early period also introduced ideas about the plurality of human artifice,a numerical democracythat was to be made evident in succeeding decades.Here I have gathered together the hundred years or so between 1860 1960as a single'epoch'.we may think of it as modern(ist)or pluralist in character.It is divided in turn by two points that constitute enochs in themsel ve s. The 1860s presented a turning point in what wagner cails modern conceptualisations of societywith its tropes of quantity and spatiality.This was the time of Arnold and Ruskin, of the deliberateproduction of social institutions.of morality externarised, of education moulding good habits. This was also Morgan's era of 'nature as evolution' and .culture as man,s productionof himself'(wagner l9g6: ll9). The question was how far and to what degreeimprovement was possible.It led to enthusiasm for productive complex organisations of all kinds. to facrory reform, ihe auty of management, the institutionalisationof hospitals,schools,prisons and, for anthropology, to ideas about cultural evolution. we courd call it the production-centred or institutional epoch of pluralism. If anthroporoqvwas beinginstitutionalised as an academicsubject, civilisationor.utto,i *o;f.i;; institutionalisedat large. yet, in retrospect,from the perspecti"; ;;-;; succeedingepoch, it seemed it were the individuar that had been r'stitutionalised. It was personsthat turned out to be the result of education. The-unique personnow had to be freedfrom suchconstraints in the sameway as, from the anthropologists'point of view, each unique curture had to be apprehended from its own point of view. From early twentieth centlry, l9l0 or thereabouts, society was .the presented as a collective enterprise/and as a representation. Structures evoked sentimentand socialfbrms incorporated the value individuarsgave to thenr. Indeed,culture becamethe counierpart people's to self-consciJus apprehension of uniqueness and diversity.Sociarlit-e, like the natural world, appearea tntrinsicallyplural fult of indivicluals, species and diverseethnic groupsand


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world


thus, for anthropologist, of cultural relativity. This was the personcentred epoch of pluralism. It is the one to which my three facts of modern English kinship belong. In this latter phase of modernity, then, diversity becamea guaranteeof natural vigour but people'sconsciousness of collectivityand institutionalisation also produced the idea of the person as the subject of or microcosm of process. This was the socialised individual,the consumerof the domesticating fo" a collective valueswhoseindividuality was in danger of being suffocated good. ln thereby discovering the social construction (the representation)of the individual, mid-century anthropologists began undoing that collectivist idiom. The aggregateappeared instead as a heterogeneity.A fresh senseof pluralismcame both from the discoveryof internalcritiquesof socialsystems (the rediscoveryof political economy, for instance,as marxism and feminism) and from the revelationthat the individual as an objectofsocial construction pluralismas the final epoch also resisted complete construction.But if one sees within the larger Modern cycle, one would then imply that it was the transformation of the entire Modern cycle that is contained in the present epoch I have called postplural. This is to exceed the possibilities of relationalexposition. The restaurant at the end of the universe. Let me return to the moment before,to the I 980s, as though the postplural world were simply devolvedfrom a plural one. At that moment, '[s]ociety, the ideal and the goal of the Enlightenment, is internalizedand taken for granted' (1986: 121).The move appearsto repeat the internalisations of 200 yearsago. But in being freshlyinternalised, society now vanishes as an object of people'sdealingswith one another. For the late twentieth-century mandate is not longer of reasonbut of consciousness, and the society internalised is not rational society but the elicitor of emotion and preference.The choice is not how to behave but what to consume.8 Wagner writes 'This is the age of consumerism,the technological . . . production of the individual through the special properties of machines, drugs, and ultimately the computer. It is also the era of the synthesisof human needsand meanings through the media' ( l936: 120).It is the moment at which his expositionstops.Intriguing as it might be to speculate beyondthis point, a trope, he asserts,is elicited not determined and certainly not predictable. In certainparts of our imaginings,at least,the individual has alreadybecome something else; it hasceased, I havedwelt on the so to speak,to be reproduced. particular fantasies that not just the Englishbut of reproductiveengineering also others with access to Western technology have thought up tbr the future. They persistentlyinclude that of cloning, of being able to produce individuality without diversit.t,,endless replicas of unique forms. Yet it is merely to extrapolatefrom presentmedical practice to imagine the joining of human and animal parts, ofproducing beasts that are neitherone nor the other, that is,diversity without individuality. The old assumption,the more individuals are produced the more diversity, will not work. I have suggested that these

dreams/nightmaresare already visualised in an area currently given highest moral value: the capacity to exercise choice. As Jencksand Keswick (1987 54, my emphasis)unwittingly assert:'the options/brce us to reassert a freedom o[choice'. Without such prescriptive variation one could not create a market for customersto exercisetheir preferences. In the view of the chairman of a public funding body in Higher Education, the role for the (British) state is Just to make sure the system works, just like it regulates a free market'; funding should 'encourage diversity . . . If they [the servicesto be funded] all look the same; 'we'11 say we've got enough of those"' (The Times Higher Education Supplement, l4 October 1988;phrasing transposed). Individuality without diversity:the into the exercise customeris pressured of choice,an emphaticpromotion of preference, as a mandateimpressed on all consumers alike. Diversity without individuality:the riot of consumerpreference collapses all other possibilities, all choicebecomesconsumerchoice,not just rearrangingthe same variants but converting social relations into market forces. Individuality does not produce individuality. This, we might say, is the demiseof the reproductivemodel of the modern epoch which was, if the readerrecalls,a model not just of the procreationof personsbut for conceptualising the future. The individuality at issuewas the specialindividuality of parts elicitedby merographicconnection.Parts have ceasedto be merographically connected. The merographiccapacityto put the individual into differentdomarnsor contexts,as now a social construction and now a natural and biologically given entity, dependedon one consummateperspective: that thesewere all (plural)waysof knowing the world. For the world wascomposed of numerous relations betweenentities of which symbolic sequences (constructhemselves tions,representations) werea part. Relationswerein the nature of things,this beingat once a symbolicand a socialstatement. However,relationswerenot all relations of comparable (analogous) order and while concepts such as Individual, Society and Nature could always be connectedwith one another, each term carried its own substantiveor tropic effect. They were not simple substitutes.q and their interactionsled to varied outcomes. We haveseen participatedin one auother.Let me the way in which concepts separate out differences in their effect. l. When people personified ('individualised') societyor nature,they wereconscious of creatinga metaphoric construction. The point of resemblance was understood'symbolically'andas no more than resemblance. The reseprblance thus remained in the domain of symbols, as a cultural artifice or'figure of speech.2. The idea that the individual person was socialised, however,drew not on resemblance the individual was not really thought to be 'like' society- but on a perceptionof process. Societywasthe human constructionof the world, arndpersonswere mouldedby it. Nature might alsobe perceived as a human construction, either in the sense of humankind'simpact on the environmentor in the sense that the 'socialised' wav verv idea was a categoryof thoueht. But nature was


English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

Recapitulation: world nostalgia from a postplural


person was. When we talked of the social constructionof natural facts we meant a constructionthat remainedin the domain of social life and artifice. eventhough it attendedto or incorporatedaspects ofthe natural world suchas 3. Finally, then. nature itself composedan autonomous biologicalprocesses. domain, for that is how nature came to be defined. Its twentieth-century to the conceptof environmentwas no accident. lt createdits own assimilation it worked as a kind of grounding conceptualiscontext, and did so because ation for knowledge,for understandingthe intrinsic character('nature') of anything.To speakof the personas a natural individual was to point to what was taken [or grantedabout the autonomy oI organism,and here the person was seenas a 'part' of nature. Now becausehuman constructions already had their own autonomy, anthropologistsalso regarded the representationof social institutions as 'naturally' belongingto the domain of symbolicconstruction(thus one could compare, for example, different representationsof family forms as symbolic for them society was the entity that was constructs).But that was because naturalised in its own self-regulative and context-providing aspects. A context was generatedfrom properties seento be inherent in the object itself, as in the perception that social sciencewas the study oIsocial facts, and therefore to be named by itself (social,pertaining to society). The perspectives that thesethree conceptsgave upon one another were not reciprocal: none wasa completesubstitute for the others,and whereanalogies were perceived,they worked only to a partial extent. Hence the conceptshad different controlling effects. l. Persons evinced an essential consciousness which properly residedwithin them as individuals,and was only 'rnetaphorically' or'symbolically' extendedto non-human entities.2. Societywas the exemplification or sign of human enterprise,so that social life was coterminous with the activities of human beings. 3. Nature, at once intrinsic characteristicand externalenvironment, constituted both the given facts ofthe world and the world as the context for facts, thereby providing a ground to the life of personsand resultsof socialenterprise. Although it could be made into a metaphoror seen to be the objectof human activity,it alsohad the statusof a prior fact, a condition for existence. Nature was thus a condition for knowledge.It crucially controlled, we might say, a relational view between whateverwas taken as internal (nature) and as external (nature). Making theseconceptsexplicit extendedthe concept of consciousness, and thereby brought about a further range of effects.l. To be consciousof the agencyof personswas simply to recognisethe nature of personsfor what they were (individual agents).An already explicitly recognisedelement of human Iife was given its due. 2. To be conscious about the socialconstructionof the world, however,made an implicit realisation explicit.As soon as it was said it becameself-evident,by virtue of the fact that society was coterminous with human enterprise, and that includedthe way human beings'construct' their joined to symbolicpractice.Yet its new visibility also worlds. Societybecame

meant that what had been taken for granted no longer was. Both these in anthropologicaldebatein the 1960s positionswere,in fact, well rehearsed and 1970s,and devolved from what I have called the mid-twentieth-century the context or grounding for one's view. 3. But to bring to consciousness senseof the world could not be confined to recognisingwhat was already explicit,nor to making the implicit explicit,though we might havethought we weredoing both of thosethings.Its effecthas beento make contextor ground itself disappear. The Modern cycle, to recall Wagner's terminology and as we might remind was usheredin with a new conceptualisation of the ground for ourselves, the point at which human The discoveryof social enterprise, for the conventionalor for law, was also the point at kind took responsibility which nature had becomethat ground. Nature doesnot 'really'disappear. On the contrary.late twentiethOf course, so to centuryculturerendersit more and more evident.What hasdisappeared, to havenostalgia, arepersonsasindividualsand speak,and for which we seem societyas a relational view of persons.Easy to kill off the individual as the originator of private worlds and original symbols when one can substitute cosmopolitansas consumersof world society.Easy to dismisssocietyas a symbolic fabrication when it seemsto ignore the mainspringsof individual and Thatcherismalike motivation and enterprise. But postmodernaesthetics pull out from under our feet the grounding or reasonfor most interestingly theseconstructs,and thus an anterior assumptionabout the conditions on which we so freely play. They take from each its former context in the other. The sense is that context itself has gone. A perception of the uniquenessand intrinsic nature of forms created a context for the modern or pluralist conceptof the individual. A conceptof society created a context for perceiving that social relations formed an (external) environment to people's dealing with one another. Unique form and relational knowledge: Nature grounded both these contexts. It held the twentieth-century in relationto eachother as notionsof individual and society though one could apprehend inherent facts and self-regulating systems simultaneously. It was also the context for the ideaof symbol as humankind's consciousness of its own place (context) in the world and of symbolic constructions as the environment (context) for its own understanding. Ifnature has not disappeared,then, its groundingfunction has. It no longer provides a model or analogy fur the very idea of context. With the destabilisingof relation, contexf and grounding, it is no surprisethat the presentcrisis (epoch)appearsan ecologicalone. We are challengedto imagine neither intrinsic forms nor self-regulating systems. To recapitulate; the English of the educated middle class have merely practisedwhat they had alwayspractised. It seemed a matter of pragmatics. They valuedtheir values,and in doing so slid from making more explicitwhat


English kinship in the late twentieth century

Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world


wasalreadyexplicitto searching for the assumptions or principlesbehindtheir actionsand thus making the implicit explicit.The mother's role in caring for the development of the child was seen to includethe vital relationship between mother and child itself. That relationship then ceasedto be taken for granted the objectof attentionand elaboration.If one may chooseto see and became a relationship either as socially constructedor as a natural state of affairs (socially)assisted, one is in fact choosingwhat to considernatural. To introduce consciousness about one's own practice is, in the late idiom, to introducethe possibilityof choice.This is not the twentieth-century choice about which Jane Austen or Mrs Taylor wrote, nor quite Bell's exhortationthat we should chooseour forms of self-expression, though it has devolved from all of these. Chapter Four suggestedthat choice has since becomenaturalised by the aesthetics and constraintsof consumerculture.To have choice about the grounding of one's motivation in this way is to simultaneously render trivial any relationship between external context and internalcharacter. Plasti-class doesnot evensoundlike a class. Let me amplify through a further recapitulation. Clumsy as the expression might have been, I have needed to name the particular kinds of past connections I have called merographic. They producedoverlappingdomains that in the end made a relativematter out of the concept of context itself. They rendered Nature context-dependent. ln the marrner in which the Englishhavein the past valuedtheir values, they literaliseda particular kind of relationship,namely that betweenan entity (a person,valueor principle)and its necessity or rationale,that is, its context.In the exampleI havegiven,the child's healthydevelopment provided a context for the mother's interpretationof her role. We may think of it as a reference point for her motivation. though it was not the only one. What was literalised, then, was the relationship betweena value(role,duty) and its rationale (healthy development),so that the whole formed a referential or conventional domain. The relationship was not between persons but between entitiesof non-comparable order. Hencethe constanteffort to make evidentthe individual's'relationship' with society. Spellingout the connection made it evident that at the same time the individual is not completely comparable to society, and therefore this was not a wholly self-referential domain. was the constantperceptionof the fact that entitiescould always be re-describedliom further perspectivesthat revealedmerographic connectionsbetweendomains. One could displaceone context by another, and thus alter one'sperspective part in that part of one domain now seemingly of another. A principal example has been the very figure of the iridividual person,who could be assimilated now to a context thought of as nature,now to a context thought of as culture or as society or for that matter as psychological selfhood.From the perspective of the individual,we can seethat any of theseentities,nature among them, could be a ground to this figure.

the analogybetweenthese There was, in turn, a constant tendencyto render parts of each other and into contextspartial, to turn them merographically others' for context rnake one the momentarily encompassing the properties of for rationale Contexts seemed real (ihey provide the or incidental, artificial seemed things), where analogiesonce made conscious :m"tlupho.ical'. Indeed, contexts were real insofar as they provided a In short',contexts perspective,even though they could always be displaced' 't,ou. world. We were the of viewing b."n 'natural' toihe twentieth-century the contexts so create nature to but it was in human of the spectacle ,rrguniseru for itself its created humankind pJ.rp."tlurr) for understanding, and thus modernity'r' was g.ounaittg for (self; knowledge. This was still, in the mid-twentiethcentury'at a remove'It was But the spectacle about what anyonecould 'really' ofconsciousness crises who suffered persons ' kno* .N atrrem i ght appear int hisor t hat guise, or asanillusion'but t he and representation seemedcontained existential problem of consciousness w i thi nthehum anf r am eandit scapacit yf or sym bolism . Thenewcr isis all. (epoch)is not so contained.A crisis perceivedas ecologicalcontains suggested have I But mind. in we are still After Nature: still act with nature and consciousness that the concept that grounded our views of individual enterprise human of view relational symbolic activity on th; one hand and a it is ground that is and societyon the other has beentransformed. And because Insofar as the plastitriviality. of is effect transformld, an equally devastating cl assperso nof t helat et went iet hcent ur yalsoper ceiveshim or her self asa of consumer choice' consumer of it, nature seemsturned into a mere artefact products as a new to on slapped there, Its imagemay be borrowed here and reinvents human that contextualisation dimension, a kind of marketed - evenwherethe products between as a matter of discriminating responsibility greaterres ponsibilit ym ight benot t obuyat all. But nat ur easasuper added The idea of dimension to human products makes the point nicely'l2 autonomous form seemsold-fashioned' will (so to There is a final effect for this, that lies in knowing that knowledge longer be no will its contexts for to searchfor its own grounding, speak)cease the new'grounding'for a There will be no need to extrapolate significant.r3 future. like to go on As a consequence'it would seem that we are as free as we .nature' and the importance of 'natural' products and will no talking about idiom is doubt do so until, as the Englishsay,the cowscomehome.The bovine cattle British (1990) that year In the at onceunfortunateand wholly appgsite. (bovine spongiform virus revealthey have been infectei by 6 slow-growing with its disastrouseffectnot just on herds but on people's encephalopathy), fed fears for human health, it is also revealedthat theseherbivores have been as intended course, of animal offal. Such plant-eating animals were always, (the cousins their on cannibal animal meat for our own table: now they turn


English kinshipin the latetwentieth century

offending offal is thought to come from sheep).laDomestic cows no longer belongto the domain of herbivores: as we havealwaysknown, they are simply produced to be consumed. This 'as we havealwaysknown' is the fatal traditionalismof the English.It bears one more rehearsal. To exercise choiceover whethercattleshould be herbivores or (like human beings) omnivoresseems to be quite natural for human beings(who are always 'improving' on themselves, economising in Thatcheriteidiom),1seven if it is unnaturalfor nature.In any case, oppositionon the groundsofunnaturalness seems equally traditional we have always known that human artifice worked 'against' nature. After all, Ruskin, among other commentators on the industrial revolution a hundred and more years ago, thought it prevented human fulfilment, deformed the capacity to labour. and perverted peoples' consciousness away from the self-evident reality of the world. Along with this idea grew up the twentieth-century notion that differentsocialarrangements not only deformed the natural person but also deformed themselves: the idea of society as composedof internal contradictions and interestspitted against one another meant that the needfor socialcohesionthat was so important to early twentieth-centuryanthropology gave way to a later perception that some forms of social arrangements were lessadaptive than others. Society could thus be seenas deformativeof human relationships. But of coursethese very notions of imperfect lives or maladaptive functions rested on those imagesof individual form and relationalknowledgeintrinsic to the notion of nature itself. There seemsto be no real basis (no ground) on which to regard feeding sheepto cattle as shocking when multimedia is the name of the game and computer virusesmight be alive.r6 To date, however,BSE is found in neither European nor North American cattle. In this manifestationit is a strictly British disease. It is impossible not to make the modern Englishseemeither lessimportant or more important than they really were. However, some place should be given to their reproductive model. Kinship was regarded as an area of primordial identity and inevitablerelations. It was at oncepart of the natural world that regeneratedsocial life and provided a representationof this relationshipbetween them. turn, apprehended kinship as a symbolic construction that took after the natural facts on which society imagineditselfbased, a microcosnr of the relationshipbetween natuie,iociety and symbol.One cannot say what will become,though possiblythe elements of technology, motivation and designare beingrearranged in the idea of what it would take to decodethe human genome.'' Natural selection is reinvented as auto-enablingchoice.Perhapsreplicatorsthat need no basein biological substance merely imagine for us a cultural future that will need no basein ideasabout human reproduction.


Prologue : ntaking exP licit it bluntly: 'Kinship and marriageare about the basiclacts of l Fox (1967:24)states life. They are about "birth, and copulation, and death".' 2 An original impetus lay in the politics of feminist anthropology (cf. Strathern 1980).Sincethen I havebeenprovoked by Donna Haraway'squestionabout what constitutes Nature for late twentieth-century people 3 A l t e r T h o m p so n ( 1 9 7 8 [1 9 6 5 ]:3 ) . 4 'Coordinates'after Werbner (1989: l4). of complexity.It doesnot requirea theory is primarily in the perception 5 My interest of production, although Sahlins's(1976 215) comment on consumer markets nicely literalisesforms as objects made: 'every conceivabledistinction of society is put to the service of another declensionof objects'. 6 The contrast is a contrivance, a claim to a particular mode olinterpretation, and is obviously contestable.Jencks(Jencksand Keswick 1987)takes issue,for instance, (Owens, with the influential interpretations of Foster (e.g. 1985)and his colleagues with late 'postmodernism' confused is often Lyotard, Jameson) in arguing that modernism. Late modernism is the tradition of the new, whereasin his eyes postmodernism is a recaptureofthe vernacular that evokesthe tradition ofthe old' pluralism' choice'and'widespread on'superabundant But I find his own emphasis (1987: 54) anachronistic. Superabundant choice subverts widespread pluralism, subsumingpluralism under the single gestureof choice not 'everything goes' but 'everything participates'.Needless to say, theselegislationsover terms, periods and or as the postmodern tracesofa so forth can be seeneither as late modern exercises vernacular tradition that in the new context must appear faintly absurd. The makesevidentthe pluralismof sources of the confusionare simple:postmodernism the precedingepoch, and thus seemsto make 'more' of it. But it does not itself reproduce pluralism; for it makes pluralism appear as u single, all-embracing phenomenon. Both this point and the quaint personificationsof convention implied in these debates (epochs as agents) y'cur in the arguments that follow. I Individualit,t' and diversity I A term used of the policies of and promoted by the ConservativeParty in power throughout the 1980s(see Keat 1990; Heelas and Morris l99l). Their heavy locum for aclion the late twentieth-century's investmentin the needto advertise, research, has contributed to this self-revelation. Unfortunately, the enterprtse



Notes to pages 12-40

Notes to pages 4147


culture is not entirely their product; it is as much constitutive of a cultural revolution as of the political will of an electorate. On the assumedaffinity betweenpets and persons,also seeWolfram ( 1987: l6). She that the implied relationship between similarity and differenceis further suggests analogous to that between blood and affinal kin. I deliberately mix kin terms and names here becauseI am describing a 'mixed' system.Thus, Firth, Hubert and Forge (1969:451\:'In any formal context relatives must be properly pinpointed as individuals, with category label carefully qualified to bring out the personal aspect.'To anticipate the argument that follows, such mixing is an example of merographic overlap. He contrasts the use of first names by 'the gay Devonshire House circle, and the sentimentalintimacy of CharlesJamesFox and his friends, [from ] . . . the tightness in such matters observedand expectedbV the charactersin Jane Austen's novels! Even when happily married, the Woodhouse daughters continued to call their father "Sir". Emma denounced as "vulgar familiarity" Mrs. Elton's referenceto Mr. Knightley as "Knightley"; she herself,we may assume,continued to refer to him as "Mr. Knightley" even when they had been husband and wit-e for many years' (Nicolson 1955: 272). A more sober commentary on Austen's terminology is offered by Isaac Schapera (1977). Of course.the personalname may recall a specificrelative or be drawn from a stock ,,1i1l rules. When the personal i)l of 'family names', or even follow rotation or succession name is a family name, it becomesa kind of generic.But in so far as it is known by {1 i+-.+^^1.^f-^'.-.+L^rL-^."to,l-^.1"^i-,li"i^'rotacflrpfr-;1.'^ ^ - ^ ..--,.1 A"l;r';1i, the family concerned.As Levi- ii its stock of namesthat knowledge also individuates the one term can 'play the part either of a class,'f Strauss(1966: 188) observes, which Smith, and ;, indicator or of an individual determinant'.'John'distinguishes 'Smith' which John. I return to this in the next chapter. (1984:181).Trautmann (1987:180)takesit as axiomatic that every I Cf. Schneider 'anthropological investigation of kinship setsout from . . . the idea that kinship is than of complex ones,, somehow more important to the working of simple societies and that in the course of their development complex societieshave substitutedr something else lor kinship'. From status to contract; lrom relationship to individual! Eliciting people's relatives as 'persons' related to one was seen by Nisei (second generation Japanese-Americans)to be an 'American' procedure involving in' dividuals and choice, and not elicitory of their own practices or definitions (Yanagis ak o1978:20) . The referenceis to Schneider here. I should make it clear that my theoretical interest in the cultural practice of quantification is just that. My colleagueDavid Rheubottom (e.g. I 988) has convincedme that the patternsthrown up by historical : demography are as intriguing as one might uncover by other means. In a iepori submitted to the 1987 Macdonald Enquiry on racial violence itr Manchester schools,Elinor Kelly notes that'English' was by far the hardest tenn 'r, for the researchers to define consiructively. It appiared a residualcategory aftef all religious and (a set of language, community other groups had been eliminated designationssuch as Irish, Gujarati, Hindu, Chinese,etc.). I am grateful to Elinof rr

12 '[The committee] concluded that whilst it could not condone the practice of artificial insemination using donor semenbecause clearly it was immoral, it could not prevent it from taking place between consenting adults. Thus the wives of infertile men who were inseminatedwith donor semenbecamestigmatizedbecause - . . they wereindulgingin an unnatural act in order to conceivea bastard within the institution of marriage' (Pfeffer 1987: 95, my emphasis). 13 see the discussionin wolfram (1987: 2l0f). Pfeffer (1987: 97) adds rhat the 'mercenary image ol the infertile, their alleged commodification of parenting, is reinforced by the ways in which the cash nexus has infiltrated the alleviation of infertility. Not only are there now commercial agencies arranging surrogacy [but] .. . cuts in funding in the NHS have led many District Health Authorities to cut back on [free] services for the treatment ofinfertility which they seeas an expensrve luxury'. l4 Intheinterwaryears,thecounterpartfearofhomogenisationanticipatedanoverexerciseof bureaucratic or state control. Machinery, an image of control, was imagined as getting larger and larger, human beings becoming dwarfed as mere cogs in a wheel.A generationon we havedwarfed many of ourmachines but, by using individual choice to create the outer dimensions ol our world. have found a new source for anxiety about hornogenisation. l5 A number of the contributors to this last volume set out to allay fears about what might or might not be technologically/medicallypossible. Ferguson, for instance, points to the way in which the term cloning has beenmisusedin the popular press; while it is possibleto take embryonic cells and transplant them acrossspecies, and while transgenicanimals can now be patented as new life lorms, arguments(against experimentation) based on population control through cloning are'pure fiction' (1990:23).The reassurance both points to the widespreadnature ofthe fearsand is no reassurance about what the barriers of possibility will look like in the future. I should underline the fact that it is the form the fears take (the imagesthey engage) that is my interest. 16 This is a particular example of what Sahlins (1985: vii) would argue is a more general case. Not only is history culturally ordered but culture is historically ordered, 'since to a greater or lesserextent .. . meanings are revalued as they are practically enacted'. The more things are the same, the more they change. l7 CorriganandSayer(1985:l7)remark oJ'stateformsinEnglandthattheydisplaya singular capacity 'to accommodate substantial changes whilst appearing to preservean unbroken evolutionary line with the past'. 2 Analogies Jbr a plural culture I T h e f i r s t 's u r r o g a te 'b a b yi n En g l a n d w a sb o r n i n e a r l yl g 8 5 ,th r o u g h th e a ssi sta n ce of an American agency, and stimulated Powell's private bill [see Chapter One] (Woffram 1987:209,217,n. l3\. 2 I subsequently use the phrase'enabling technology' as a cultural gloss for the perception that technology ought byTdefinition be enabling of the wishes and intentions o l p e r so n s.In th i s vi e w .th d sew h o se ei t a s d i sa b l i n g 'fa i l 'to a p p r e ci a te its potential. Thus the view that reproductive technologiesare themselvesfailed technologies has to run counter to the general futuristic assumption that technologiesdo not 'fail' - they only pass through primitive experimental stages from which they improve. The Fourth Reporr of the Voluntar', LicensingAuthority for Human in vitro Fertilisation and Entbrl,ology (1989) records the following crude rates for all treatment centres per treatment cycle over the period 19g5 7:

Kelly for permissionto cite this work. compare Strathern 1982:85. l0 'New blood'is the antithesisof in-breeding: I I According to Rividre (1985: 2), artificial insemination by the husband was first I note that the former acronym for artificial insemination bY recorded in 1'l':-6. donor (AID) has been replaced by DI (donor insemination).


Notes to pages 47-56

Notes to pages 57-67


pregnancyrates, 12.5'/";live birth rates 8.6,8.6, 10.l'7". There was a considerabledifference in the rates of large and small centres. 'Enabling technology' is used by the European Community's academic programme (New Framework Programme for Scienceand Technology 199G4) to demarcate one of three areas of contemporary research interest (Enabling technologies/Managementof natural resources/Managementof intellectual resources). Under its rubric fall information and communication technologies, Here technologymay thus be'enabling' of industrial and materialstechnologies. technology. One might note the increase of 'enabling' legislation, once thought to be constitutionally improper, in the political programme of Thatcherism (McKibbin, London Review o/ Books,24 May 1990). The words here are adapted lrom the comments of one of the Press's readers. 'Children who are not bonded to their mothers (not so much is heard about the fate of nrothers not bonded to their children), grow up, a la John Bowlby, into affectionlessand socially disruptive adults' (Oakley 1987:53). Goldthorpe (1987: 49) reports a comment that when Bowlby's thesiswas promulgated, no-one needed convincingof the importanceof maternalcare,only of the bestmeansto implement it thow to put into practice what one values). I am grateful to Charles Lewis (pers. comm., Reading University) for this reminder. Fathers - and other attendants may in fact be in a much better position to seethe screenat the time than the mother who is on her back. It invites their participatory 'experience': on the deliberate and explicit promotion of father infant bonding,seeLewis (1986:59 and Ch. 7). My own observationrelers not to these practices as such but to some of the accompanying cultural interpretations of them. on the part ofother An inrageofan individual child evokesa relationalresponse individuals related to it (that is, the parents), but is not itself an image of that persons; a (The Englishrequirea relationshipto be visible'between' relationship. single person cannot represent a relationship. Later in this chapter I consider a just this.) Melanesianconstructionwhich supposes 'Maternal bonding' is reported to be an outcome of the mother's feelingsin the presenceof an image of the child; but it is a relationship without interaction, and contributes the mother appearssimply as passivespectator.This, I have suggested, to the dissonance Petchesky reports between the evidence of women's strong and the voyeuristic scenarioas it appearsto the outsider ofthe emotional responses woman'passivelystaring at her objectifiedfoetus'(1987: 7l). I refer to the identity olthe father rather than his fathering role. On the invisibility of that, see Lewis (1986: Ch. l). The relationshipof paternal invisibility to the is reiterated absenceof biological connection (through childbirth, breast-feeding) culll'tiedto any one child by G. Smith (l9gl: lS): 'Unlike a woman, I am notplr-r'si once conception occurs' (original emphasis). I have sincecome acrossSarah Franklin's observationson what she calls the new geneticessentialism. Shenotes that the fascinationof geneticdeterminism has roots in beliefs not only about procreation but about human origins. She adds that a 'common-sense ideology of geneticdeterminism has long been a guarantor of difference and of individuality in Western culture' (1988: 96). While I extend in anotherpublication(Strathern1991). I alsodraw on this analysis my interpretations in other directions than Munn's, they derive from her ofsocial elucidationofthe natureofbody, externalform and the effects theoretical inle rac tions .

l0 By cultural definition. that is. Contrast the critique in Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983); when it is given a contemporary place, tradition is of course either 'preserved' or 'revived',Iiving by beingconstrued (Bauman I 990:435).I as heritage hardly need add that it is not only the Melanesian case that underlines the specificityof the English view: Apff-el-Marglin(n.d.) reminds one of the Vedic assumption that continuation is not a given ofnature but is incessantlyconstructed by ritual activity. An example of the English assumption I have in mind is offered by the philosopherSimons (1987:353) who quores the following remark (from 'Enduring is in no needof explanation. Harr6) as .szf'evident: We are not required to explain the fact that something remains the same; onty if there is a change is explanation called for.' The first sentenceis in italics in the original. I I In inseminating his wife, the husband makes her breastmilk from his semen (Godelier 1986:52). l2 I extrapolate from Godelier's analysisof Baruya imagery. Indirect justification for this extrapolation is given in an interpretation of a related society, Sambia (see Strathern 1988:Ch. 8 and Ch. 9, afrer Herdt 1981, 1987). f 3 Hence the emphasis given to arguments about the potentiul of an embryo to becomean individual (person)(e.g. Harris 1990). l4 On Massim mortuary rituals,seeDarnon and Wagner(1989); on the importanceof having to eraseindividual memory. seeBattaglia (1990). l5 The Molima ol the Massim do not embark on full mourning until the signal is givenona conchshellbyone oftheattendants that thedeceased'ssoul hasdeparted to the land ol'thedead. This is some hours after'death', when preparationsfor the funeral begin, during which close kin must weep only softly and other mourners should desist(Chowning 1989:103).If mourners weep too soon, their tearsmay flood the road to the land ofthe dead, and they (so to speak)prevent him or her lully dying. l6 Hockey and James argue that since medical advanceshave made the survival ol children more certain than in the past, 'children can now more surely symbolisethe future than at any other time. For elderly people, however, medical advances. . . have simply meant that ntorepeoplelive to an old age... The age at which death occurshas not changedsignificantly'(n.d.,original emphasis). They suggest that the infantilisationof the elderlyis a response to this dilemma:rhe thought of death is avoided,especiallyby the carers,through drawing parallelswith children. On the adoption of motherhood as the role model for the (female)carer, seealso Ungerson

(r983, r987).

White what happens at the beginningof life is thus brought in as a meraphorlor the end, there are also obvious asymmetries.One is of particular interest for my present argument about the downward flow of English time, obligation and identity. At the beginning oflife, children do notjust needcarers,they also need (it is held) carers in the specifickin relationship of parent and above all a mother; as was noted earlierin the chapter,the mother providesemotionalas well as physical support. While the child is encourage/ to grow up in both senses, and finally away from its dependence on his parents,Jpecifickin thus provide a crucial environment at the start of life. At the end of life, however, rhe elderly and infirm are held to need carers to provide physical and emotional cornforts, but there is not the same felt needtbr the carersto be kin nor the assumption that damagewill bedone if they are not attendedby their children. This leadsone to reflectthat the earlier parenting of the child constitutes acts which do not just belong to the relationship between parent and child but belong also to the developmentof the (to-be-independent) individual.This lays the ground


Notes to pages 67-73

Notes to pages 73-83







care for its parents can be compromised by the independence of the child, and the often reciprocateddesirefor independence on the part ofthe elderly relative (Finch 1989:38*9). A critique J. Goody (1983)himself oflers in relation to terms such as'clan'and 'lineage', objecting to how they are sometimes used for European materials. Earlier, however, and as far as mortuary practices are concerned, Goody (1962) embedded his description of the Lodagaa from West Africa in a running comparison with early European practices; the Lodagaa disposition of property seemssimilar to Western modes of inheritance in that inheritance itself comes to have its own rationality (holders must ultimately divest themselvesof property to their heirs). But what appearsto be taken apart at death is a very different kind of social person from the English holder of property. Goody makes it clear that Lodagaa mortuary ceremoniesare ultimately concerned with the reallocation of the deceased's rights and duties among members of the community (1962: 274\.ln effect, they dispersethe social person - in the caseofa man his offices,roles, rights in others, activities represented in the handing over ofhis tools, and his potential for transactionsrepresented in other assets. It seemsto me that the English person is not seenas constituted by kin relationships in such a way that death means a reallocation of rights and duties. On the contrary, those rights and duties terminate. They werepart ofhis/her individual presence; ifconnections endure,it is in memory of the deceasedor becauseabsencecreates a need such as care of dependants or a debt to be settled. Above all, English rules of inheritance are axiomatic, and only by an extensionof his or her 'will' does the deceased affect the subsequent disposition ofproperty- and then as a matter ofwish or choice,not asa matter of having to de-assemble and reassemble his or her 'roles' (relationships). Consequently, 'descent abolishes the relevanceof the difference [discontinuity] betweenthe dead and the living. This is essential to the notion of a descentgroup, in that the existence of such an enduring entity dependson a succession of substitutive generations'(Bloch 1987:327, my emphasis).Carsten (n.d.) has demonstrated the retrospective creation of consanguinity between grandparents on the birth of grandchildren for the Malaysian Langkawi. A point he qualifiesby adding the'inheritance'of surnamesas'patrilineal'(sic). The terminology of cognation is disputed among anthropologists (e.g. Barnand and Good 1984:71). For a critique of Fox's usage,see Wolfram (1987: 189-90). Personsmay in their lifetime maintain gardenson both father's and mother's land, but rights to hamlet land passat death through women only. Those relatedto the deceasedthrough female ties become the'workers' at burial. Mereology is an establisheddepartment of philosophical enquiry; my thanks to Gillian Beer who first introduced me to the term. To set it apart, I anglicisemy neologism 'merographic' by analogy with the biological term meroblast. Meros, Greek, 'part' or 'share'. Graphic, since the issueis the way ideas write or describe one another; the very act ofdescription makes what is being describeda part of something else,e.g. the description. The neologismis intended as a substantivecultural (Western)exemplification of the interplay between literal and figurative constructions (secWagner 1977b; and below, Recapitulation, note 5). Anthropologists have conventionally treated such constructions through theories of metaphor and symbolic process. But the neologism does not necessarily imply invention. I have not, for instance,paid proper attention to the Derridean notion of 'supplementation', though no doubt it prefigures much ofwhat I have to say here.Culler (1979:168)

points out an originating referencein Rousseau'sobservation that education ] both something complete in iupplements nature: the 'concept ol nature [becomes itsiit to which education is an addition, and something incomplete,or insufficient, which must be supplementedby education for it to be truly itself . . . The logic of supplementaritythus makes nature the prior term, a plenitude which was there at theitart, but revealsan inherent lack ofabsence within it and makes education something external and extra but also an essential condition of that which it









supplements.' A mereologiial part, by contrast, is commonly taken as a part made up of what makes up the whole (e.g. branch of a tree). As for merography, it might seem that any range of phenomena can be diagrammed as so many intersectingcircles (by definition, of meaning etc), like the Venn diagrams Edmund Leach made familiar to anthropologists. So it might, as long as this does not obscure the cultural bias. This rests in the (Western) apperception that personswork to bring inLorelationshlpwith one another whole differcntorders of phenomena,as different ways of knowing the world and as different perspectiveson it. in Barnett and Silverman(1979:41,63, etc.) which follows a Seethe discussion similar reasoningaproposthe dual conceptualisationof an individual person being dominated by other individuals or else by external forces. 'Our propensityto "biologize" human life-historymay in part be due to a rather fundamental tendency in Western thought to locate the mainsprings of social behaviourin the inherent nature of autonomousindividuals'(Ingold 1986:160). My observation has to be offered naively, but such a naturalistic assumption seems to lie (for instance) behind Simon's distinction between proper overlapping and other forms of overlap between individual entities. Proper overlapping, where individuals overlap without being parts of each other is, he suggests,an uneasy concept perhaps becauseit is 'connected with its abnormality for human beings' (1987: l2). In his vierv. most human beingsare disjoint from one another; the mother-foetus casewhere, he avers,individuals overlap without one being part of the other, is a routine excePtion! Or elseare left as some indeterminate referential 'field'. Firth, Hubert and Forge strikingly refer to kinship as a field of relations, an area divided into 'lots' in the idiom of one informant. 'The ideologyof kinship in its moral aspectis not a series of one-to-one relationships, each with its separatemoral content, but a constellation in which the moral responsibility of eachparty is regardedas relative to that of others in the field'(1969: ll3, emphasisremoved).Cf. Cheal (1988: 168)'who insists that 'the social order of mass society consistsof a plurality of interrelated, and irreducible, systemsof social organisation' (original emphasis)' of Goody's (1983: AppendicesI. III) critique of the conventionalclassification have for terms point that kin the makes systems kinship Western European centuries stressedthe distinct (unitary) nature of the nuclear or conjugal family. The conjugal family is itself only 'bilateral' by virtue of an extension of reference beyond it ('the range of kin traced ttyough fathers and mothers', 1983:223)' are in fact usedin American Johnson( I 989:94) suggests that num6roustechniques kinship to define a person as a relative. The part that choice ('friendship') plays in the perception of relationshipsis significant- Johnson's point being that this cannot be relegated to the person-centred system. The issue would have to be argued, however, in terms not of normative 'flexibility' but of categorical incompleteness. And the shading off noted above thus has a specialcharactcr to it that one cannot

Notes to pages8-j 96 Notes to pagcs 97 I I I


assume is necessarily similar to the 'continuum of relatedness' (Carsten1990:272) from close to distant kin routinely reported ol bilateral systemselsewherein the world. 30 What Schneider calls the universe of relatives in American kinship 'is constructed of elementsfrom two major cultural orders, the order of nature and the order of la w'(1968: 27, em phas is om it t ed) . [ Fr o m a n o t h e r p e r s p e c t i v e ] 'i ti s t h e o r d e r o f law, that is, culture which resolvescontradictions betweenman and nature, which are contradictionswithin nature itself (1968; 109). Gellner ((1963) 1987: 182, emphasis omitted) writes: '[A]n area in which society and nature overlap conspicuously, or seemto, is kinship'. 3l This doesnot of coursedistinguish'kinship' from any other socialdomain. Taking Gellner's point that kinship as anthropologists understand it consists in the relationship between(socially possible)biological relations and the social systems built up after these, rne might look for a Melanesian analogue in terms of procreative practice. We would recognise'kinship' relations by their reference to a reproductivemodel of social life. 32 My thanks to Janet Carsten for drawing attention to the Geertzs' early discussion of teknonymyin Bali. Their interest is in the mannerin which teknonymyerases the memory of preceding genealogicalties. Consider also that in the parent being namedafter the child, the parentis thus'produced'by the child. Hencethe Geertzs' observationfor Bali that it is not who one's ancestoris that is strcssed but whom one is ancestorto (1964: 105).I add that Levi-Srrauss's (1966: 195)interprerarion of the phenomenonof the couvade is not that the father plays the part of the mother but that he plays the part of the child. 3 The progress ol polite soc'iet1, I These details come from the commentary by Mingay which accompanies the publication of Diana Sperling's drawings (198l). The book came into my possession as a gift, and I am grateful to Nigel Rapport for the pleasureit has given. 2 charles Darwin neededa trope for the organisation of natural relations ('kinship'); each term had to define the other. The analogy itself was already in place in the poetry and philosophising literature, ofthe eighteenth century.But the work it was then made to do differs. When two generationsearlier Erasmus Darwin refers to the natural world as 'the whole is one family of one parent', he is drawing attention to a Creator who has 'stamped a certain similitude on the features of nature' (quoted in McNeil 1986: l7l). Conversely, the Creator is understoodas Nature itself. Here is JosephPriestleywriting in 1777(A Courseof Lecturesin Oratory and Criticism) as cited by McNeil (1986: 198 19, emphasis removed; my emphasis substituted). His disquisitionis on the useof personification as a deviceto make the non-human world intelligibleto the human. As the sentiments and actionsof our fellow-creatures are more interesting to us than anything belonging to inanimate nature. . . a muchgreater variety ofsensations and ideas must havebeenexcitedby them and consequently adhere of to them by the principles association. Hence it is of prodigious advantage in treating of inanimate things. .. to introduce frequent allusions to humanactions and sentiments, where will anyresentblance make it natural.This converts everything wetreatof into thinkingandacting beings. We see life. sense, intelligence everywhere. 3 The definition of 'family' as a 'course of descent,a genealogy'did not appear in Johnson's dictionary till the I 758edition.An explicit recognition of the family as a

'rhetoric of genealogy 'commurrityof descent' is linked to the increasing and rank to label newly acquired social positions as traditional and natural' in the late eighteenthcentury (l{andler and Segal 1990:32). Schapera (1977: 17) observes the manner in which certain affines could be considered 'connections' even il they did not have to be treated as 'relatives'. and the contrasl is to some extent I{owever, thc latter term is here Schapera's, by his use of it as an analytical catcgory. -eiven From one's own perspective.however, it rvas also desirableto marry a superior respectingnature while improving on it. The authors observe that Austen's characters do not so much assign one another to discrete ranks as discourse endlesslyupon its eflects,thereby evaluating one another in terms of a dual distinction between the low, vulgar, servile and the civil, genteel,elegant. '[S]ocial mobility... must be understoodas an internal.dialecticalleature of the hierarchicalsystem'(Handlerand Segal 1990:52).They add (n. 6)'This suggests that the rise of the bourgeoisie [was not a new historical elementof social life, but] an immanent feature of the aristocratic order'. I am not talking of living conditions;to paraphraseRay Pahl's aphorism about villages. the phenomenon in question could be called 'cottages in the mind'. Along with its separation fiom work came a gendering of 'the home'. Talking of writers of the mid-nineteenthcentury, Davidoff and Hall (1987: 181) say: peopled by both menand women. Mrs. Ellis . .. doesnot . . . write abouta wholesociety is occupied by booksand novels assurne a world in whichthetlomestic sphere Her advice with men as the absentpresence, there to direct and women,childrenand serl'ants, occupied elsewhere for most of their time. Similarly,Harriet commandbut physically .. politicaleconomy anddomestic economy. Martineau assumes a world dividedbetween had that men would be preoccupied with business, and domesticity lt was recognized a wayof livingfor both men the'woman's sphere'rather than,asit is for Cowper, become and women. Speaking of change, Maine (1870: 168) says: 'Everywherea new morality has which were in displaced the canons of conduct and tbe reasonsof acquiescence unison with the ancient usages,becausein fact they were born of them.' Such a relativeview of societyis not, of course,locally English.Trautmann (1987: 187) also citesa paragraph from Fustel de Coulange's Le citi antique,publisbed in I 864. 'lf the laws of human association are no longer the same as in antiquity, it is because there has beena change in man. There is, in fact, a part ofour being which is modified from age to age;this is our intelligence.It is always in movement; almost always progressing;and on this account, our institutions and our laws are subject to change.' He adds that, like Maine, de Coulange writes to undo the French Revolution. IO And of childhood. See David Morgan's (1985: 1630 contextualisation of sociological interest in this field. l l For instance, olthe American counterpartto these Martin's (1987:Ch.2) analysis ideas. t2 The evocationof sensibilityin,r6is respecthas a long history. McNeil (1986:197) citesthe poet JamesThomson for whom it is the contemplation of nature which will evoke and thus constitute the capacity for contemplation itself' 'Thomson's Seasons(first completed version 1730) represented a new direction for nature poetry. Its main concern and presumption was that each individual's relationship with nature was vital. For Thomson, nature was the primary focus of human life and of poetry: 'I know no subject more elevating, more amusing, more ready to


Notes to pages I ll-122

Notesto pages122 123


evoke the poetical enthusiasm, the poetical reflection and the moral sentiment. than the works of Nature."' Mark Akenside contendedin 1744'that Newton's descriptionof the rainbow actuallyintensified the human experience ol this part of nature' (McNeil 1986: 168).Nature developedpeople'ssensibilities. l3 For instance, in Grundrisse,published in 1858. Society is conceptualisedas the capacity for and precipitateof social relations,a condition that some latter-day anthropologistsrecognisein the term 'sociality'. It indicates associationand interactionbetweenpersons,and a sourceofvalue lor their labours, without the twentieth-century connotationsof morphology or structure('organisation'). 14 williams also states(1961: 148, his emphasis):'This position was necessarily a fundamental challengeto the nineteenth-centurysystemofproduction, and to the "laws of political economy" which supported it . . . In asserting wholly different [a socialjudgementlRuskinwasalso,necessarily,assertingtheidea ofasocialorder. Attheroot of allhis t hink ingis his ide aof "f u n c t i o n " - t h e f u l f i l m e n t o f e a c h m a n 's part in the generaldesign.' l5 The phraserefershere in the first place to vital beauty (quoted in williams l96l:


| 6 And was partly achievedthrough a recovery of the laws of political economy that Ruskin had rejected,with a reinterpretation of productive life as social formation. l7 organicism was not simply a metaphor borrowed from physiology: it had long servedto describehuman institutions and the wholenessof human life. It *as now, so to speak, renaturalised in order to convey the inevitability of an internally regulatedsystem. l8 Fortes attributesto both Morgan and Maine what he finds lacking in Tylor (the ideaof a socialsystem). Yet I suspect that Morgan at leastuses.system'in the sense of tabulated or otherwise arranged taxa rather than in the structural-functional sense ofa set ofprinciples which interact upon one another, for this neededthe intervening image of 'structural form'. we may note that Morgan found systemrn nature. Morgan's'system of nature'is presented by Trautmann thus (19g7: 137, original emphasisremoved,my emphasissubstituted):'The links of kindred are never broken, but the streamsofdescent perpetually diverge from one another. . . "This self-existingslstem, which may be called the numerical, is theoretically the system of nature; and, as such, is taught to all the families of mankind by natural suggestion. It specializes each relationship, and indicates, with more or less distinctness, a generalization into classes ofall such personsas stand in the same degree of nearnessto the central Ego."' 19 From Elementary Forms o.f'ReligiousLi/e, lgl2. The remarks are quoted with approval by corrigan and Sayer(1985:9), who give the conceptofmoral authority new life in their account of English state formation as cultural revolution. Cf. Bell ( I 9 I 4: 288): '[b]ecauseno two agesexpresstheir sense ofform in preciselythe same way all attempts to recreate the forms of another age must sacrifice emotional expressionto imitative address'. 20 In laying out 'the structure of the Andamanesesociety' (1964:22), Radcliffe-Brown turned first to local and family groups. He later distinguished 'social structure' (manifest relations) from their supposedly abstract 'structural form', as he also distinguished individual from person. 2l And, personified, may'do'things (seeMetcalfe [1987:78] aproposthe personification of classificatory categories). 'lf any society establishes a system of corporations on the basisof kinship - clans,joint-families, incorporated lineagesit must necessarilyadopt a system of unilineal reckoning of succession'wrote Radcliffe-Brown in 1935(1952:46).Structurehas needs: 'the existence ofunilineal

. . . succession. . . can be tracedto. . . certainfundamentalsocialnecessities', suchas the need for a precise formulation of rights over persons or the need for the continuity of social structureitself (1952:47). 22 An exampleof a structuralprinciple is the manner in which personstrace their relationships to one another through an apical ancestor ('descent').He gave as a simple instance'the cognaticprinciple' (1950: l3). z.J This was another solution to Darwin's problem of personification, insofar as the awkward analogiesbetween nature and society were resolved in the idea that the individual was a hinge to both. The awkwardness had antecedentsin the explicit questions people asked about the analogy itself. I quote from Jordanova (19g6: 39, original emphasis):'eighteenth-and nineteenth-centurywriters also questioned the unity, coherenceand goodness of nature. Increasingly, nature appeared full of contradictions,tensionsand ambiguities... By the 1780s,the idea that the natural world contained unambiguous ethical prescriptions was coming to seem naive, at least in some circles. Nature was simultaneously taken as a theatre of human aflairs, in a dcliberate and celebratory anthropomorphism, and as containing dramas which repel or disgust the human spectator. The parallelism between human social life and the natural world could also take a more absrract form .. . Ideas like division of labour, progress and hierarchy appeared to have equal explanatory power in both realms. This raises the question of metaphor was it that society and nature were like each other, that is, linked through a metaphorical language, or was it rather that they wcre diflerent aspects of the .samething for which only one language was needed. social phenomena being merely more complex organic ones?' 24 From one point of view it looks as though this turn of the century moment simply repeatsanother. The following comesfrom a review of Maclntyre' s Which Justice ! (Duckworth): Whit'h Rat ionali/-r,2 It wasthe late lTth centuryaccording to Maclntyrethat sawa transformation ofthe view ofthe taskofmoral philosophy. Theideathat there couldandwouldbea diversity ofviews aboutthegoodtook hold andpoliticaltheorybegan to centre issue ofhow on thepractical peoplewith these diverse conceptions might live together. It is in this contextthat 'the individual'emerges as a fundamental socialcategory individuals asprior to and apart from their membership in any particularsocialand political order. The questionfor politicalphilosophy wassetthenand continues individual to be:why shouldthis isolated conformto anyparticular For this social order? Why shouldtheindividual obeythestate? question, neither role theancient social answer that theindividual hasanassigned already within thepolis nor themedieval answer that theorderof thingsis laid down by God wasavailable asa solution. movedonly by The question remains, then:'how cansomeone self-interest be motivated (BrendaAlmond, The Times to obeythe principles of justice?' Higher Educational Supplemenl, l4 October 88, original emphasis). Yet the question does not really remain in that form. While the 'new' twentiethcentury plurality of viewpoints (ethnicisation) seemsto have precipitated a similar relashioning of the individua!'(he assumptions are not the same.The centralissue is not that of'obedience' (to a state which could be personifiedin its king or legislativeassembly)but of 'the relationship' betweenthe individual person on the one hand and society on the other, when society is refashionedas an organisation and system whose authority extends to the very moulding of cultural values and personal attitudes themselves. 25 An example no doubt at the back of Fortes' mind when he generalises about the way the differentiation of personsin the domestic domain feedsinto the structure

2t 0

Not c s t o pag c s 1 2 3 1 3 2

Notesto pages132-144


of the unilineal descentgroup, this being nrore (he says) than just a matter of physicalrecruitnrent(1958:6). 26 From the moment of its birth, in this view. a baby embarkson a struggle: between beingmoulded by all the forcesof conventionthat will turn it into a schoolchild, adult, engineeror whatever, and realisingitself as an individual, with its own personality, tastesand skill and successes in life. The one is played off against the other, so that the bestinstitutionsare thosewhich'allow'the individual to'express' him or herself. Hencewe make very little olthe lact that the (biological) capacityto be a parent is already within the child: rather, we distinguishditlerent processes. The child must both naturally mature and culturally learn what parentingis - and thus do parentsevinceconvention [Chapter One]. 27 For a recentAnglo/American formulation, seePaul (1987:80): Oneof theenduring diflerences of opinionamonganthropologists . . . concerns thedegree to whichsociety is understood to be an entityin itself,with some powerto determine the behaviour ofits constituent members, asopposed to a positionaccording to whichsociety is nothingotherthant heproduct of the summed behaviour of a number of individ uals. . . ( 1983: 2): 'lf society . . . isan objective realityto whose demands [From] Holy andStuchlik people respond in specific ways, thenit is an autonomous agency andindividual people are its agents, andtheonly acceptable explanation is in termsof thefunctioning of thesystem. If, on theotherhand,society . . . emerges from, andis maintained or changed only by what people do, thenindividuals areautonomous agents and systems areconsequences of their actionsand, in the Iastinstances, explicable by them.' 4 Greenhouse eLl'ect I See note 2. Chapter 2. 2 | am aware that such phrasing lifted out ol context could seem offensrve to proprietors who, of course,run their own homesand enjoy family life. perhaps this is a point at which againto make explicitmy own concernwith imagery.The way in which the imageof the 'home' is presented to the paying visitor is not isomorphic with such 'home' as the residents may also construct lor themselves. The proprietor'shome is, of course,likely to bear more resemblance to the homestheir visitorshaveleft 'at home'. I should alsomake explicit that in a number of placesI write with affection, indeed have gone out of my way to selectfor consideration cultural imagery that comes from areas of life I value, as well as those I do not. 3 The remark should be juxtaposed to what I take to be very diflerent Melanesian assumptions. Two examples which show the facility to keep scale between analogies may help.( I ) If the treegrowing on clan land that will be cut into acanoe is for the peopleof Gawa simultaneously the mother and the chitd shecarries.that idea is suggested by colour marking and by verbal reference, as Munn (1986) describes,but the image itself is allowed to form in the mind. You do not go and carve the tree into a likeness of a mother: it remains with these images 'inside'. Consequentlythe tree is a tree while it is also a canoe,a mother, a descentgroup or whatever is being drawn from it. Any one of these possibilities may be hidden again. (2) The men of Mt Hagen show inner wealth by decorating their outer persons: that inner capacitybrought outside,made visible,is then hidden again in the recesses ofthe house,underneaththedirty appareloleveryday work: what is exposed returns to an original position within. Inside and outside can be seenas equivalent analogies or reciprocal inversions of each other. Much Melanesian ceremonial concernsthe momentary nature of revelation, for revelation can never be a permanent state of affairs.

4 The image of the penetrating eye has been much discussed; with respect to anthropologicalknowledge, see Fabian (1983), to its gender connotations,see imagery is Jordanova (1989).(Perhapsit is ofno surprisethat such perspectival nowadays displaced by other imaginings, lor example in 'visuals' which do not representwhat can be seen(such as fractal graphics) or through 'measurements' conceived as 1,000 times smaller than the micron (The Coming Era of Nanotechnology is the title of a work by K.E. Drexler, Fourth Estate, 1990).) 5 Thus an attempt by Fortes to describe the analogous fields of politico-jural and domestic domains in a non-Western context is understood merographically in one recent commentary: Goldthorpe (1987: 7) takes Fortes' 'domestic field, viewed interior of the family'. from within as an internal system'to be'the psycho-social 6 Rapport (n.d.2) develops an intriguing contrast between British 'social pluralism' and American'cultural pluralism'. 7 The English habitually contrasted themselveswith Americans here, of whom they supposed that money provided a single scale of measurement. 8 For example,Barrett and Mclntosh (1982:9l): 'An analysiscouchedin terms of contradictions is certainly more satisfactory than a complacent evocation of tidy functional relationships.We needto ask, however, whether such contradictions are generatedwithin the dynamic of capitalist production relations or whether they are a consequenceof perceiving the family as a unified category.' 9 Note that Darwin had to work from a situation in which civilisation rank and class - was already in place. His concern was to extend an ancestry that would reveal common origins lying beyond the inequalities of social worth. The contrast Their evolIngold (1986: 59f) draws between him and Morgan is suggestive. he says,took offfrom quite different vantagepoints. Darwin utionary perspectives, was concernedto'downgrade'man while Morgan wanted to'upgrade' animals. Ingold cites what Morgan was supposed to have learnt flrom Darwin (but misunderstood), a view of man as commencing at the bottom of the scale and working himself up to his present status, whereas Darwin's scale was in fact bottomless. extendingback into the lower animal kingdoms.Darwin talks about natural forces; Morgan talks about the purposeful 'working up' of man's present position as the result of'the struggles,the sufferings,the heroic exertions and the patient toil' of his ancestors(quoted 1986: 62). Of course, one cannot match this differencewith a simple contrast between England and America, even though one English view of Americans is that they are all'self-made'. After all, Morgan's view was also close to Tylor's, that the development of the arts takes place by skill and effort. In the English case, however, any claim to privilege must negotiate preexisting class identity - whether of the aristocracy or the masses' l0 Not having a communicableview on eventshas'always' been true of minority groups. The difference is that we have vastly multiplied the number of such minorities - ethnicising this or that characteristic into a special case. A phenomenon of the last decade has been the appearanceof public advertisementsby charitable organisations that bring particular physical and mental disabilities to people's attention, simultaneously cryratinga minority perception of the deaf or rheumatic and appealingto the public to treat them 'as persons'.But a furtber difference lies in the prevalent value given to communication. Jencks (1987: 44) refers to the new para-class as the cognitariat, those who live on passing on information. I I One of the forms in which the quotations appeared, purportedly in a BBC interview. A version quoted in a New Right debate on televisionin mid- 1988went:


Nores to pages 144-151

Notes to pages 15l-167






l6 l7


'Who is society?There is no such thing. There are individuals and families.'On this programme the opinion was also offered thal individualism was our tradition and there was no singlenational community. A further note is in order: with the change of regime in late 1990appearsto have come a reinstatementof society.But Major's 'society of opportunity' has nothing social about it. As I note, the backpedalling began almost as soon as Thatcher finished her utterance.That it should have been uttered at all is what interests me. I say 'we' because Thatcher was simply speedingup a common devolution of ideas. Anthropological conceptualisations of society are also implicated, as in the following statement, from an American but in the tradition of the Englishman Spencer.The subject is Kluckhohn's 1949distinction betweensociety and culture. 'Since culture is an abstraction, it is important not to confuseculture with society. A "society" refersto a group ofpeople who interact more with eachother than they do with other individuals who co-operate with each other for the attainment of certain ends. You can seeand indeed count the individuals who make up a society. A "culture" refersto the distinctive ways oflife ofsuch a group ofpeople' (quoted in Ingold 1986:236,my emphasis).Note that what emergesas visible and concreteis not society but the individuals who make it up. This has beena sore point with apologistsfor the New Right: what meaning can be given to the idea of active citizenship when there is no corresponding promulgation of an idea of community or body to which the citizen, so-called,belongs? The antimonarchicalconnotationsof 'citizen'have not been lost on the Opposition (e.g. David Marquand of the SLDP writing in The Guardian,2 January 1989'1. As their argument about the bourgeois 'right to choose' shows. what makes the exerciseof alternatives desirable in the above case is the fact that the family is already in place: 'the family' is an ideological construct and when we consider debates on "'its place in society", "its historical development" and "its relationship to capitalism" we have to look at the extent to which the analyses are themselvesconstituted in political and ideological terms' (Barrett and Mclntosh 1982: 85) . Suppos e, hes ay s ( 1985: ll4) , ' m oder na r t a n d m o d e r n i s m - f a r f r o m b e i n g a k i n d o f specialized aesthetic curiosity actually anticipated social developments along theselines; suppos[e] that in the decadessince the emergence of the great modern stylessocietyhas itself begun to fragment in this way, eachgroup coming to speaka curious private languageof its own, each profession developing its private code or idiolect, and finally each individual coming to be a kind of linguistic island'. '[A] signifier that has lost its signified has thereby beentransformed into an image' (Jameson1985: 120). And thus'logical'and'rational'(for that domain). The constructionsare in this sensefigurative (Ch. 2, note 2l). On the rhetoric of rationality in self-referential models, see Mirowski (1990). In animating the concepts referred to in this paragraph, I am of course pointing to their effects, that is, the conventional understanding of lother) phenomena entailed in their usage. The 1830s cholera epidemics that forced people to take account of the interrelationships between different aspects of life had a similar effect in France (Rabinow 1989: l5): 'medical commissionsproduced a detailed statistical analysis of the relationships of social class, housing, and disease'.The increased use of numbers in solving social problems, as he says, Ied eventually to the concept of statisticalnorms, that is, norms intrinsic or 'natural' to the societyin question. (Rabinow (1989: 66) describes in 1833 that the Quetelet'sprecociousinsistence


20 21








only way to study individuals was to take them as indications of generalpopulation characteristics;hence his formula of the 'average man'.) Thus Douglas Hurd, then Home Secretary,allegedly first used the phrase 'active citizen'in a speechin February 1988in the context ofurging people to take an interest in 'the community' and restore 'the amazing social cohesion' (!) of Victorian England. But whatever community or cohesion might exist, the Government does not symbolise it. 'The first instinct of the active citizen', said Hurd,'should notbeto apply for a Government grant' (The Guardian,g November 1988,original emphasis). A phrase used by the Nuer of the Sudan to underline their own insignificancein God's eye (Evans-Pritchard1940: l2). Lord Young of Graflham, then Secretaryof State for Trade and Industry and head of the Enterprise Policy Unit, was speakingin 1989at a conferenceon'The Values of the EnterpriseCulture'(see Heelas and Morris l99l). In his own view, the presentmandateis to restore'the Age of the Individual'that between1870-1970 has been overshadowed by the state. As he put it, private enterprise should subsume public responsibility. The elision between role and property both involving 'rights' that persons others - should be understood in the context ofa changing series exerciseyr's-d-yrs ofconceptualisations about property and propriety that extendsback beyond the compassI have chosenfor myself here.I note just one notable English contribution to the Enlightenment: Locke's idea that no man could be proprietor of another. Then the reason lay in neither Society nor Nature but God. Only God as the Supreme Proprietor ownd men, and he owned all men. Men only 'owned' one another's labour as a servicebought and sold: the products ofwork are separate from the will to work, and that will could only be exercisedby the individual before God. It is unlikely that Thatcher meant family in terms of a ramifying set of networks or anything like a 'family of man' betweenpeople acrossthe globe; the statementhas been taken as obviously referring to nuclear families of the English type. Hence perhaps the topsy-turvy status of public funding in Britain in the late 1980s. There is an unprecedentedcentral intervention in the conduct ('accountability') of those who receivepublic funds. The person visibly dependent on public funding (and I include employeesof state institutions as well as recipientsof public benefit) is compromised in a way that one dependenton private funding is not. Those who receivepublic funds in effect lose individuality. Cf. Haraway (1985:88). The new communicationseradicatepublic life: modern society produces 'private life'. But what is public and what is private has itself become problematic. That idea. that people make relations/people make society, is itself the precondition for this move. (lt is the sameidea as that peculiar notion that people have a relationship with society.) In Melanesia, people make people; people do not 'make relations'. Relations, already in place, are made to appear. He was interestedin how essentialiyidenticat facilitiesprovided by the local council had beendifferently utilised by the occupants (1988:356), and in how as consumers people appropriated commodities to createan inalienablesense of 'being at home'. He writes (198S: 64) that this has consequences for social policy: 'social policy should be related to the actual needsofpeople in their lives as lived and that their ofasunitiesnotdisparatesegmentsofeducation,health, livesshouldbeconceived income or social work needs' (original emphasis).


Notesto pages 167 183

Notesto pages 183 186


29 Qne such collectivity of purpose is acted out in Norwegian working-class families the home [house]'(Gullestad through constantattentionto 'doing up [decorating] 1984:Ch. 5). Home seemsto have a self-definingemphasisin Scandinavianculture that goesbeyondthe English:seefor instanceFrykman and Lofgren (1987:Ch. 3). 30 A similar contrastis made by Bauman who notesthe shift from the (modern)idea of state society as the environment for goal-achievement to the (postmodern) concept of community. The old setting 'derived its solidity from the presenceof mutually reinforcing, coordinated and overlapping agencies [domains] of integration' (such aseconomic system,body politic) while communities are'grounded in their activitiesonly' (1988:800). l l BBC 2, Horizon,'Signsof Life', l l June 1990(film by John Wyver). It noted that have turned traditional biology on its head. 'lnstead of artificial life researchers living things by taking them apart, they are usingcomputersto simulat analysing simple organisms' (from accompanying booklet). The new metaphor builders! 32 Ulmer is discussing Derrida's concept of mime ('mimicry imitating nothing'). 33 It is not that we did not 'consume'nature in the past, but that the image of the of the consumer has come to dominate late twentieth-centuryrepresentations relationshipbetweennature and its social or cultural despoliation. 34 For me the date is precise:betweenwriting the first and seconddrafts of this book. What was initially in circulation as a doomsday image, hardly to be taken seriously, turned into the language of public discussion over the course of l8 months. 35 Another, related. answer is given by Franklin (n.d.) who locatesthe desire of infertile couples to procreate in what she calls a modern and 'very British' narrative: the scientific discovery of the facts of nature. Couples are invited to understand their experienceas a contribution to scientific progress. 36 The context for this statement is admirable (a critique of the insufficienciesof provisionsfor the disabled): it is the utterabilityof the sentimentthat is intriguing. Hicks says that the choice should not be between dependency and being independent,but for interdependence. From where, then, do we find thc language for interdependence? 37 Gallagher, concernedto restore a balance to the debate about embryo rights and the new technologies,comments that as feminists we'have to learn better to avoid the media caricature of feminism that ignores our carefully wrought and balanced agendas.We need to project a vision that addresses the whole range of women's reproductiveexperiences, to publicly associate ourselveswith amrmative proposals and demandssupportiveof a woman's choice to becomea mother' (1987: 145).I simply draw attention to how the debate is constituted by the problematic statusof 'choice' as one of its key terms. No wonder the sperm bank establishedby Robert Graham in the Stateswas called 'Repository for Germinal Choice' (Spallone 1987: 3l ). by 38 Rapp (1988; 1989) reports on the new responsibilitytaken on themselves members of the medical profession to ensure that mothers do exercisechoice. She refers to the process as one of privatisation: such choice is supposed to be something one can exercisein isolation, with only counsellors to help. 39 Rowland continues (original emphasis, 1987:70): 'with the intensification of male power inside the home comes the greater demand for a father's rights blut not necessarily a parallel increase in his responsibilities'. 40 Helman points to the imagery of difference mediated through the englobing and rejectingprocesses ofa body in relation to the'foreign bodies' that invade it. The languageof xenophobia and transplant surgerymix. Emily Martin (n.d.) examines

a similar range of metaphors concerning the militaristic representation ol the immune system. 41 Thus when Rapport (n.d.l) defines the multiplicity of viewpoints which E. M. Forster sustainsin Howards End, he points out that 'Forster foresawconnectedness in the form of an intermediary (a participant-observer) making repeated excursionsbetweenseparaterealms,domains or entities,and drawing comparisons by coming to terms with the regularities o.f life practised by each as he interprets them'(my emphasis).This is the merographic amalgam of pluralism. A postplural world has 'lost' this mathematics insofar as it can no longer enumerate such different domains. What looks like a breach of outworn dichotomies ('the old oppositions - scienceversusart, fact versusfiction, Left versusRight, high culture versuslow culture, mass culture versus"progressive" modern art and so on no longer hold' (Hebdige I 989: 49)) in fact breachesthe facility to perceivesociallife as made up of countless (i.e. potentially countable) discrete logics and 'separate realms'. 42 Petchesky (1987: 63, referenceomitted) quotes an article by Sofia in Diacritics (1984): "'In science fiction culture particularly, technologies are perceived as modes of reproductionin themselves". .. The'Star Child' of 2001 is not a living organic being but "a biomechanism . . . a cyborg capable of living unaided in space". This "child" poses as the symbol of fertility and life but in fact is the creature of the same technologiesthat bring cosmic extermination, which it alone survives.' 43 One feminist anthropological critique (Kirby 1989: 13 14) refers to Derrida's economy of difibrance,the transferenceonto an other ofall that is residual to the One/Referent, as the solution to difference in a binary mode. 'It is this flickering "in-between" . . . of content and form, interiority and exteriority, surface and depth, an oscillation that urges a continual revaluation ofeach against the other until the disjunctions become blurred and ambiguous, that discovers a "third term" that escapesand somehow betrays the system.' But such a vision also contains its own nostalgia for plurality, for it encourages'the prolifleration of a multiplicity of readings/meaningssuch that the "truth" of any one perspective might be rendered ambiguous, parasitic, relational'. A postplural world does not deal in perspectives. It knowingly appropriates alterity: 'We do not sell; we make people want to buy' (John Hegarty, Advertiser, interview with Michael Ignatieff, BBC 2, 8 January 1988 (programme; Three Minute Culture)). Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world I His qualification should be entered. WhenI say'American'I do not mean... the typeof social who lives in New American York or Paris.I am not thinking eitherof the lonely,home-sick Americanwhom we encounter on his travels abroad,and who is apt from lack ofself-assurance to renderhis mannerstoo emphatic.I am not refe.rring to Americanbig business which is to me wearisome and incomprehensible. StiYless do I havein mind the politicalmanager who encourages the fiction that it is unprofitable to differ from the average; that it is unAmerican to manifest intellectual or aesthetic distinction or to beinterested in thoughts or feelings that arebeyond possesses the range of thecommonman.Thebestheads America havealwaysbeenher egg-heads. The type that I esteem is ... the calm scholarwho preserves all that is most venerable in the traditionofthe foundinglathers.(1955:285) 2 I owe theseremarks to another gift, Ottesen'sbook, and thank Mary McConnell.


Notesto pages 186 197

Notesto pages 197 198


The referencehere is to the Introduction that Frank Waugh from the Massachusetts Agricultural College wrote to a volume on FoundationPlanting (1927).One of his own works (1917) was called The Natural Style in LandscapeGardening. 3 It follows that whatever model of 'private industry'America might offer, it cannot provide a model for the present and radical English spate of 'privatisation', simply becauseAmerican private industry is already there. If we have produced a version of American individualism, we have produced it English-style. and emotions (1975:79). 4 And individuals as containing unique personalities 5 'When the actor's intention is focused upon "relating", he will perceivehis action as a transformation of discrete phenomenal entities into a consistent relational pattern' (Wagner 1977b:391).All human activity may be analysedinto both literal and figurative (non-referential)components,each ofwhich actsas a context for the other, Wagner argues,but different world views support different modalities of the conventional. For Westerners, convention is a relational exercise.In this view. '[t]he morality of convention lies in the fact that it is seen to accommodate and control [innate] difference' (J. Weiner 1988: 8). 6 One may think of an epoch as an event that is also a relation, for each event assimilates what has precededit into its own'now'(Wagner 1986:81). 7 Thus all obviational sequencesof a temporal kind will end just before a 'final' obviation (as Wagner's double sequenceends before its own closure). 8 Choice has also changed: no longer the exercise of discrimination and thus revelation of social or natural (good) breeding, but a preference on a par with opinion and decision-making,to be exercisedno matter how trivial or momentous the occasion, and to be seen to be exercised.I enter the qualification here noted earlier aproposhome furnishings (Chapter Four), and in Sandra Wallman's (pers. comm.) words, that in advertising parlance there is no mass market these days; every individual is perceived to be a market of one and 'customised' thereby. 9 Hence their differentiating function in keeping apart the 'domains' of social life. I 0 In his argument, a new concept of nature is the first revelation of the turn between Medieval to Modern times; it displaced human responsibility to God by human responsibility for God, and thus for an elucidation of the world that had to explain not only God but humankind's place in it. This displacement obviated earlier assumptions.In Medieval Europe, humankind had always beenplaced in an order beyond itself, but insofar as that order was personifiedin God, the question of the individual person's relationship to it was a question of personal responsibility to God. The world was full of divine presence,of which natural manifestations constituted signsfor the faithful. When the context or ground of being then became apprehendedas nature, God was internalised: people became responsiblefor the conventions by which they apprehended divinity. As a consequence, what appearedat issuefor individual personswas their relationship to the conventional order. The world was seento contain both creations and inventions, facts ofnature and people's interpretations of them. The connection between the apparatus for discovering the world (reason) and its internal autonomy (nature) became understood not as a matter of decoding signs but as a matter of unravelling relations. Hence, throughout the subsequent Modern cycle, what is being refashioned at each moment is the nature of relations, namely, humankind's relationship to a world conceived in the abstract as the work of a Creator, or the hand of Nature or eventually Society itself, but always posing the question of how one 'does' the relationship. 1I Thus Rabinow (e.g. 1989:18 l9), after Foucault's The Order of Things.Modernity







was not distinguished by the attempt to study humankind with objective methods but with the appearanceof what Foucault calls a doublet: 'Man appears as an object of knowledge and as a subject that knows.' Might Culture finally be seen as 'added' to Technology? 'Modernists and LateModernists tend to emphasise technical and economic solutions to problems, whereas Post-Modernists tend to emphasisecontextual and cultural additions to their inventions' (Jencksand Keswick 1987:22,my emphasis).But, then, this only refers to architecture! brings to my attention an observation by Brian Hale (from Werner Sperschneider Fokkema and Bertens, eds.,ApproachingPostmodernism,1986)that the dominant theme of modern writing is epistemological (how do we know knowledge) by contrast with what he identifies as the ontological stance of postmodern writing (what kinds of worlds are there?).Ontological here carries the connotation not of grounding but of being. The 'cannibalism' is literal for chickensthat eat recycledchicken/feed.Some of the in the popular pressmay stem from the'familial' associationof outrage expressed domestic farmyard animals. Wild carnivores quite properly eat other animal species,as may carnivorous house pets. was transmitted when, in the interestsof financial It is allegedthat the BSE disease economy, the Government allowed a drop in the minimum standard for the temperatures at which cattle feeds were sterilised. The Guardian,T June 1990,carried a double spreadon multimedia as 'new products which offer combinations of text, sound, animation and images' and on the computer virus as the possible 'harbinger of a new form of life, able to spread uncontrolled through the world's network'. 'The developmentof a geneticand physical map followed by acomplete sequencing of the estimated 3,500 million base pairs making up the human genome are now technicallyfeasible:all that is required is the will and the money (about 50 penceper base pair)'(Ferguson 1990:8). E.P. Thompson's novel The Sykaos Papers (Bloomsbury 1988) depicts a 'human' specieswithout kinship.




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nature, 48 51, 55, 17G8, 179,196 assi sti ng assumptions, making explicit of; .see explicitness A usten. J ane, 66, 85 pl ate 9,92,93 8,99, 10 0 1, 102, t27, 133, 140, 191 Baruya (interior Papua New Guinea), 6G-2, 63 ,68,69, 73,87 'bed and breakfast', 128 31 passim,145 B eeton,Mrs , l 12 B el l , C l i ve. l l 5 l 6 belonging, between parents and children,49, 52 bilateral kin reckoning, 78 .seeCognatic bi ol ogi cal proc es s ,41,76, l 19 and kinship, 53 and personhood, 67 and s oc i al parenthood,60 ?,8G7,178 as genetics, 178 as drive, 47ff i di om of, 52 3, l 5l ,1734 biological time, 62, 66, 81 birth and descent theory, 67-8 bl ood, mi x ed, 31. 34, 36, 80, 9l in Melanesian imagery, 56 63,65 transmitted, 78-80, 178 see hybrid w omen, I l l B l ue-stoc k i ng body, as canoe, 56 8 as composite of relations (Melanesia), 7l as digestive truct, 174, l7"l as individual entity, 50 1 as register of life, 66 constructed, 173 4 gender of, 48 in Melanesian imagery, 55 72 passim management of, 176 organs, transplant and implant of, 180, 183 4 parts of, 41, 66, 80, 179 rights in, 179 B radford Tow n H al l , l 14, l 15 British Social Anthropology \ see Anthropology burial significanceof in Merina, 68 cancel l ati on,136 of analogy between nature and society, r5 0, 152 of difference between convention and



abortion, 49-50 aestheticpractice canons of for sale, 162 E n g lish , 8 7 , 1 0 2 . I t9 , 1 2 5 M e l a n e sia n ,5 7 8 , 6 0 ,7 6 modernist, 163 R u s kin o n , I 1 3 1 5 -teevlslon adolescentdevelopment, 67 adoption, 4l a n d fo ste r in g ,2 8 9 a d u l t e r y ,4 0 1 advertisement,90. 94 plate 10. 126 plate 14, 1 2 7 - 8 , 1 3 0 , t6 2 5 ,1 6 4 p ta te 1 8 , 1 8 7 . 2 1 1 n l0 ' a f t e r ' f a cts a n d e ve n ts,7 9 ,7 8 ,1 8 9 , 1 9 0 i n d i v id u a ls,5 3 k i n s h ip . 1 5 . 3 2 n a t u r e , 8 9 , 1 1 0 , 1 5 0 , l' 7 7 ,1 9 0 l, l9 i style, 150 a g e . e x p e r ie n ce o f, 6 7 ,2 0 3 n 1 6 a l l i a n c e ,7 9 Americanisation, 16 o f E n g lish cu lr u r e ,4 ,6 , 1 7 , 3 6 , lg 6 g o l e d u ca tio n . l8 l 2 p la te 2 0 American enterprise, 36, 45, l4l, 186, 2l I n9 E n g lish vie w o f. 2 ll n 9 see Anthropology American kinship s t u d y o f, 4 , 4 3 ,8 2 , 1 3 9 , t4 7 , tS2 a n d cr itiq u e o f .2 3 4 ,2 8 - 9 ' a m o u n t ' o f ch a n g e ,2 , 1 0 , 1 3 ,2 7 o f c i v ilisa tio n , 3 , 2 7 of Englishness,3l of enterprise, 7

of facts, 7, 22, 86 of family, 146 of life and personhood, 67, 72 ofnature,37. 39 43, 150 of relationships, 134, 135 of tradition, 90 of uni queness, 13. 15, 17, 19, 27, 73 see quantification anal ogy, 13,14,52.55 cancelled, 145, 152, 172, 183 constitutive of reproductive model, 72 Mel anesi anconsti tuti on of, 210 n 3 'partial', 72-81 pussim,84. 130 2, 142, t72,1834 ancestors and sociocentric kin systems,76 E ngl i sh,62,65.72,80 Merina, 68 Trobriands, 59 A ndaman Isl anders,l 2l A nthropol ogy, B ri ti sh, 8, 45 6,63,67 9,69, 86, 120 1, t39, ts7 American, 86, 120 and experti se,l 13, l 15, 120ff at home, xvi i object of, 189 anticipation of decomposition, 72 of relationships, 49 see future A r nol d, Matthew , 106 8, 111 1-1,l 15, l 9l artificial parenthood human enterpri se as, 53, 169, 173ff insemination, debate, 40 1 relationships as, 53 ree new reproductive technologies

choice, 152; interior and exterior, 167 8, l'75: nature and culture, 174; between personal and social, 173; right and left. 143, 147-8 of environment, 169ff of idea of society, 144-5 of merographic connections, 136 ofrel ati onal fac i l i ry , 145, 150, 152, 182 c hange, l 0 l l , 44 5,51,137, l 4l , 17' 7-8, l 8l -2 pl ate 20 and c onti nui ry , I 3, 5,7, l l ,14.21 2 see social change character of English; see English C hav as s e, D r, 109 11, 126 pl ate 14, 133, 158 Chicago. 25 children and parents; ^re?parents as new persons, 53 5 as persons, 148 as pets . 12 neglected, 147 choice, 9, 90 and independence,100 and natural selection,90 2 and new reproductive technologies,40,42 and no c hoi c e,42,43,142,166, 193 and personhood. 124, 142 and reas on,96 and right to choose, 147-52 as definitive of personhood, 124, 1424, 148 52, t61, t77 concealed, 143 evinced in style,147, 162 7 Gawan ideas of.124-5 in kin recognition, 81,97-8, l3,f-5 i n matc hmak i ng.93-8 pas s i m i n rel ati ons hi ps ,12, 14, 20, 103, 140 morality of, 153-42, 192-3 .reeconvention; desire Christian name; .rename C hurc h bui l di ngs , 106, 114, 138 pl ate l 5 citizen. active, 130, 144,152, 151-62, 160 pl ate 17 second class, l4l citizenship, 45 class, l, 3. 23 30 passim, ll2, 187 and democratisation, 91, 106-9 and marriage choice, 89-90 'dialogue' and construction of knowledge, 13945 passim, 165 6 emergenceof, 98 mi ddl e and w ork i ng, 8l ; i n A meri c a' 25,82-3, l 4r



revolution, 142 cul ture.4. 187 common, l 0G8 diminution of, 43 lll, ll5 hypostas i s ed, institutionalised. l9l national. of English; see national culture opposi ti o nal ,99, 186 promoted, 99, 141 and regulati on. 107 9 technol og yas ,42,169ff too much of/too little of. 4O 5 culture-nature dichotomy, 5, 43, 72-3, 86 customer,ofserv i c es , 161, 170 pl ate 19, 181 plate 20, 180. 193 i ndi vi dual as ,2l 6 n 8


prejudice, l0l. l4l seemiddleclass; plasti-class; rank classificatcry kin terminologies. 16ff 6 3 ,8 6 cloning,fearsof, 3940, 41 2 Cognatickin reckoning
critique of concepr of, 68-72, 75, 84 in English kinship, 63, i2. 134 i n M e la n e sia( M o lim a ) , 6 9 7 0 in Merina, 68 9 c o l l a g e , 1 4 4 , 1 5 0 , 1 5 9 , 1 6 8 , l7 l p e r so n a s, 1 8 0 , l8 - l collapse; .reecancellation collective concept of culture and society, 120, 154, 1 5 9 .1 6 7 i m a g e o fth e , 1 0 7 , 1 0 9 , 1 ll, l9 l p o l i t ics, 1 4 7 8 s e n t i m e n t,l1 7 , l1 8 1 9 , 1 5 7 tyranny of the. 45, 144 commercial interest and architectural form, 106 of lifestyles. 163 8 passim laken for granted, 129-30. l4l 2 .lze market community v a n i s h in g ,4 3 ,8 9 .1 4 6 ,1 7 4 , 1 8 8 9 complexity and analysis, 29 and quantification, 59, 75, 134 5 perception of in social life, 7, 8, 2l-2, 36, 81, 200 n 6 connectlons between families, 97 choice of, 92,9G.8 i n e x p la n a tio n , l5 l in kin relations, 88, 91 2 miniaturisation ol 100 I see merographic connection conscrousness, 122 3, l'11, 192, 194 a n d i n te n tio n . ll8 of individual, 124-5, 159, l'74 c o n s e r v a t i o n ,ll7 , 1 3 8 p la te 1 5 . 1 7 7 versus Conservative Party, 142-3, 16g C o n s e r v a t iveP a r ty p o licie s. lJ9 4 5 p a ssim . l99nl construction of fatherhood, 52-3 see social constructionist theory consumer active, 165 6 as foetus, 175 choice, 4l, 142, 166, t75

i ndi vi dual i sed,163, 165*6 person as. 175, 180 reproduction of, 180 consumpti on as reproducti on, l 7l of exotic food, 10, 38 plate 5 of natural resources,37 of nature by culture, S, 37_g, l7lff prescri bed,l 6l -2,193 context. 7,-8, 12,22 3, 150, l B 4

of concepts' I 12' ""inll",lit*^'isation

consumed, l 7l el i ci ti ng i ndi vi dual i ty, t7l rn merographic connection, 73, l7l_2 maki ng expl i ci t. 132, 174, l g9 val ue and. 174..5,196 vani shi ngof. 195 continuity and change; see changel as self-evident, 144,203 n l0 in idea of individualism, ll l3 in Melanesian thought, 60 social and biological, 75 conventlon and choi ce, 14, 15tr, 43, I2i .133,152, 161 2 'doi ng', 158, 174,190,216 n l 0 making visible, in Melanesia, 59-60 moulding the individual, 119-26passim naturalised, 15G7 negati on ol 18 19, 20,90 personified in person, 153ff cot t age,103 in the mind, 207 n 7 the white(washed), 99 100, rc3-5, ll7 Tudor, 104 plate 12, Il7 see Endpiece countryside denuded, 37, 38 plate 5, 90 encl osed,187 percepti ons of, 10, 12-13,38, l 17 C ow per, Wi l l i am, 99-100, l 0l , 105 cultivation, I I I of domesti ci ty, l l l ofgardens, 105 6 of i ndi vi dual , 95 8, 101-3 of nature, 100, 105, 109 of talents, l0l sae improvement cul t ural , account, xvi i ,4, 189 critique, 5; and oppositional culture' 99' 186 epoch; see epoch

D arw i n, C harl e s , 16.90-2.98, 106, tl 2, l l 7 18, 133 D arw i n. E rasmus , I l 8 death and identity, in English rhought,64 5, 66,72 in Melanesia, Sabarl, 60; Trobriands, 59, 63-4, 66; Molima, 69 70 of the collective, 168 of the new, 150 of the subject, 144, 149 52 decomposition of Melanesian kin relations, 64_6,7l democrati sati o n, gl 2,98, 141 2 of concept of society, I t5-16 of culture. lOGg of fbrm, I t6 ofnature,1 06, l 12 ofrank,98, 106, 107 pl ate 13 of taste, 162 to be rejected, I 14 , oescent,in English kinship democratised,98, I l2 of affection, 15 of emotions, 49_51 of family name, 9g of i denti ty. 52,63,68 of life, 62. 3 of obl i gati o n, 15 n 16, 203 of rime, 2O_1,62,72. 138 . descent(group) in anthropological theory, 56. 63tr, 68 72,76ff .reeMatrilineal, patrilineal , oescriptivekin terminologies, 16ff. 63, g6

desire and technology, 177 as constitutive of parenthood, t78-9 as greed, l 12 15 for consciousness,183 for explicitness,5l for parenthood, 179 for society, 122 map of, 175, 177 to be inculcated, I l6 to hav e c hi l dren, 47, 52, 78, 176 7. 179 D I; s eedonor i ns emi nati on dialogue as prejudice, 141 between mistress and servant, l36-7 between social classes,139, 140-2, t65 6,174 5 political, in Jane Austen,93 8 possinr diversity, 6 plare 1, 7, 20, 30, 34, 59, i4 pl ate 7, l 8l 2 pl ate 20 and time, 2l-2 as second fact of modern kinship. 22, 72, 169 diminution of, 3G-9, 42, 150-l i n anal y s i s ,22 30,135 in family forms, 24 in genetic makeup, 53, 55; see hybrid in Melanesian thought, 57-9 ofc ul ture, 37 8 without individuality, 42, 192 3 divorce, 26, 129. 146, 177 and donor i ns emi nati on,40 1 D i x on, Mac nei l e, 13, 30 1, 34 domes ti c ,99-105, 106 and public; see public arc hi tec ture,103, 187 interior, 32, 33 plate 3, 99 106, 163ff style, 29, 145-6, 163, 165 7 see home donor i ns emi nati on(D I), 40 n Il , 60 1, 177-8, 179,200 donati on ofgametes . 175-8, 188 oforgans , 180, 182 3 downward flow; see descent duty , 105 6, 108, 109-10, 125,145 in relationships, 122 3 ofac ti v e c i ti z en, 130, 152,154tr ofc ons umer,166 of English gentleman, 153 ec togenes i s ,4l educ ati on,6 pl ate l , 24,26,28,98tr, 105-6. I 10. I 19, 147, l 8l -2 pl ate 20. l 9l , 193


In d e x l l l ,116 experi ence, experti se,125 ofnature, l l 0 see professionalisation explicitness and keeping hidden in Melanesian practice, 55-6, 58 in English cultural understanding, 1, 5, 7 8, 26, 35, 44, s1, 111, 130, 132_5, t37 9,149,169,174, 194 in devolution of middle class, l0G-9 passim, 106 in relationshiPs, 14 .reeliteralisation expression of emoti on, I16, 156 of society, l l5 exterior interior relations collapse of difference in, 161, 167-8, 174-5 in development of middle class,88-109 Pas.sim in English family cycle, 97 8 in improvement of person, 93-7 passim in making knowledge, 130-3, 158-9, 194 in Melanesian body imagerY, 60-2 f act, l l ; and facl i ci ty, 151 merographically connected, 73ff see natural fact, social fact of kinshio: reproductive model family, absent, 137 al ternati ve,162 and primordial ties, I I and rank, 89 and self-love, 78 as both natural and social, 156 as contested concept, 24' l4l, l4G7 as distinct from relatives, 9G8 as lifestYle, 144, 145tr, 162-3, 167-8 as unique, 8l di mi ni shi ng of ,22,27 farm, 128-31 in Europe, 23-4 internal differentiation of' 9'7, 102-t ki nshi P , 136,177 miniaturised, 103 nucl ear,24,27, 146 one-P arent,79 pri vacy,103-5 'si ze'of,27, 103, 146 under threat, 4{.r..l,146-7

147 8 i anri l yal l ow ance . 8l i "rherhood.4G 1 .49 52' 82' as i nterferen c e'179 biological versus social, 60-l' 177-8 invisibilitY of, 51 2' 149 on B aruY a,62; Gaw a' 57 9; S abarl ,60l Trobriands, 59 60 sae donor insemination practice' 48, 50' I l0' ferninist theory and 143, 146 foetus as detached' 49-50 as intruder, 48 developmental dimension ol 63ff, 132 i magerYof, E ngl i s h,43 50' 73' 175; Melanesian, 55 9 person as, 183 protection of' 179 see ultrasonograPhY formalitY;'ree informalitY fortune, fami l Y , 89,97' 98' 106 lorm as self-regulated,I l9 i n art. l 1l 15 organic, I l4 purity of, 39, 1 16 structural, 120-2 fostering:see adoption l l ncti onal rel ati ons hi p,I l + -15. I l 8- 19 future and causation, 67 cul ture,169 fears for, 3 9,41 2 ideas of, 20-2,39, 47 8, 124-5 past and, 22 potenti al ,8l gardens and cottage, 100, 104 5 children as, 105 in Melanesian inagery (Gawa), 58 landscape,38 9, 100, 104 l ove of, l , 2. 12 i 3.30 gardenci ti es, l , 10, l l 7 garden sulurb, 34, 186 Gawa (Massim, Papua New Guinea), 55 9, 60, 61, 67, 69, "/0,' l t,73.76, 124 5 gender as rel ati ve,6l , 87 tn Melanesian imagery, 55 63 in Merina, 68 in new reproductive technologies,48 of the home, 207 n 8


and Matthew Arnold, 106 9 Passinr a n d n a tio n a lism ,3 l' 1 2 0 - l as socialisation, 123 4 see literacy E l i z a b e t h I, 3 1 ,3 4 embryo, 4l embryologY, 40. 63 see Foetus emotlon as flow between kin, 15, 134 e l i c i t a tio n o f, 4 8 5 t, I 1 6 , I t7 ' t l8 - 1 9 121ff, 125, 192,202 nn 5, 6 regulated, 156 Jee sentlment E n g l i s h , t h e ,6 7 ,2 3 Association, 120 character, 6 plate I, 13, 30-4, 39 'culture', 23tr, ll7 dyspepsia, I t0 g e n i u s,3 0 1 , 1 9 3 society of pure, 39 ' E n g l i s h m a n ' ,th e , 1 3 , 2 3 , 3 G4 , 1 5 3 and diversity, 22-30 passim,39 a s g e n tle m a n ,1 0 1 . 1 5 3 , 1 5 9 Englishness d e f i n e d ,1 3 9 quantified, 29 6 p la te l, 7 , 1 0 , 1 4 , 2 2 ,3 6 , 4 3 , enterprise, 9 3 , 1 2 8 ,2 1 3 n 2 1 , 1 5 9 . l7 l, 1 9 5 as middle class value, 25 6, 106 as natural, 55 c u l t u re , 1 0 , 1 9 9 - 2 0 0n l, 2 1 3 n 2 1 see tmprovement envlronment as context for life, 169, 172-3, 194 helping the, 172 n a tu r e l p o llu tio n s e PC O n te xt: epoch, modern and medieval cycles of. l. 3 4 , 9 3 , 1 9 0 l, 2 1 6 n l0 a s c r isis, 3 7 ,4 4 ,1 3 7 .1 9 0 1 , 1 9 5 bourgeois, l8l m o d e r n , p lu r a list, 7, 1 l, 4 3 , 4 5 . 1 4 0 , 1 8 8 ,1 9 1 - 2 p o s t p lu r a l,8 . 1 8 4 E s s e x ,8 8 , 9 2 ,9 8 - 9 , 1 0 3 , 1 4 6 ethnicity and racism, 39, 200 n 9 and lifestyles. 162 and the English, 30 1, 34_45 Plate 4' 3 6 a s v i sio n o f cu ltu r e , 1 2 0 ,cf. 2 l I n l0 eugenics,fears of , 4O.42 exemplification, 22, 2+ 5

geneal ogy ,92,96, 106 as a record of facts, 63' 65' 86 as natural arrangement, l6' 90-2' 133 evidence of PluralitY, 84 generalisation as cultural attribute, 28, 140 i n anal y s i s ,22 30,59 generatlon and kin terms, 18 20 and time: see time in descentgrouP theorY, 68 in perception of, in Melanesia' 64-5 irreversible, 138 BaruYa. 87 recursive;.see gene theraPY,41 2,54 Plare 6 genetlc and non-genetic theories of procreatton' 60"2 determination, 40, 202 n 8 i mages ,34.36, 38, 169 maniPulation, 47 parents , l ' 16,118 randomness, 71484 Pussim ti es . 52 3. 78 82' 83 trans mi s s i on,176 7 .seehybrid getting-on, Goddess of, I l4 Ghanaian Parenthood' 28 Glover, Committee and Report' 176' 178 grandparents/children, I 8-20 greenhouseeffect, 168 9' 171, 173 as metaP hor, 173,214 n 34 grounds, cancelled' 144, 152, 177 8' 195'-6' 198 of knowledge, l9l-2. 194 see context home,90, 103 and domestic interiors, 32, 33 plate 3' 99 106, 163ff and P ri v ac Y ' 13, 32, 128 36. 187 as way of life, 28- 9, 145 7 cows coming, 197 for tourists, 128ff homes within, 129ff. 1'74 ownershiP, 142, 165-6 person as. 129ff,167 s tatel y , 129 household and l ami l Y ,97 8, 103 4' 137 managementof, 110' l 12 houses, J2 4. 99 105 Pa.r'tirt as bodies (BaruYa), 62


and conti nui ty, l l - l 3 Arnold's critique of, 107 8 as a critique ol 107 8 as a Victorian value,44-5, 127 as English character, 13, 30-'3, 180 competitive. 108 modernist PreciPitation of, 15,{ 8 prescriptive, 149, 152, 168 9 quantification effect oi 15ff rhetori cal ,187 individuality as first fact of English kinship, 14, 72, 83,169 independent of life, 64 in Melanesian imagerY, 57-9 of forms, 39. 48 51, 74 Pl^te 7 surfei t of, l 7l , 183 w i thout di versi ty,42,192 3 i nf erti l i ty, 176 7 s?., new reproductive technologies informality and use of personal names, l7-20 inheritance in descent group theorY, 68 i n geneti ci di om, 53, 55, 8G-1, 178 of social norms, 157 8 initiation, Baruya, 62 interior exterior; sce exterior; domestlc interior in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), 41,46 7' 54 plate 6, 188 and 'test tube babies', 40, 55 i sol ati oni sm,12'14. )1. 132 cri ti que of, 107 8 of foetus, 50 see independence;privacY IVF; see In-vitro ftrtilisation Japanese-American kinshiP, 23, 26 K ent,3l ,92, 102 pl ate l 1 K i ng, Truby, 122 ki nshi p as fami l y, 133, 137 as social construction of natural facts' 52,87,93. I 19, 139, l 5l -2 classificationsof-, 63ff 42' diminished significance of,22 n 6' merographic connections in, 75-6, 77, 86 7,125,206 n 30 quantified, 29 termi nol o gi es ,16 22, 18 P l al e 2,82 Lancaster,Osbert, 32, 33 Plate 3 law consumption of, 170 Plate l9 the order of. 4, 187 vani shi ngof, 152 life artificial, 169 conceptsof,62,63 72 personsa s part of,72,75-6 registeredin individual bodY, 66 registeredin relationshiPs, 71, 72



of gentry, 88 9 Tudorbethan style; .reeStockbrokers Tudor: 33 Plate 3 .reecottage H o w a r d , E b e n e e ze r ,3 4 hybrid ancestry, 34 a s a m a lg a m , 1 8 0 , 1 8 3 as conglomerate' 82 3 E n g lish . 3 0 4 , 3 6 , 3 9 , 1 6 9 human/non-human, 42, 180 of cultures, 37 8 rose, 34 t r a n sg e n ic,2 0 i n l5 illegitimacy, 40 1, 52, 178 lmprovement a s e c o n o m isin g ,1 9 8 , 2 1 7 n 1 5 m o r a l, 1 0 6 of nature, 89,92,93 8 Passim, 103. 1 3 G7 , l9 l o f t a le n ts, l0 l 2 , 1 0 3 see perfection independence develoPment of, 100-l 67, 103, 179 f r o m r e la tio n sh ip s, from superiors, 100, 103 within relationships, l2 14, 15ff, l9-20 individual and self-regulation, I 53ff a n d so cie ty,5 , 1 3 - 1 4 , 4 3 , 6 5 6 ,7 5 ,7 6 , 84, l2l 7, 150 Passim, 154, 182 a s c o n su m e r , 1 6 9 a s r e a l. 5 3 , 8 6 ' 7 ,2 1 2 n 1 2 as site of choice and convention, 93 8 passim, 104 as site of nature and culture, 95, 109ff, 1 2 5 7 . 1 5 0 , 1 7 2 ,1 8 4 as site of regulalion. ll0,122, 125 b o d ily d e ve lo p m e n to i 6 3 , 6 7 ,2 0 3 n 1 6 casesin analysis, 22 30 c o n str u ctio no f, 1 3 , ll9 , 1 2 7 d e a th o f, 1 4 4 ,1 4 9 5 2 delined by right to choose, 147 8 experience,145-7 like a private comPanY, 141 2 n a t u r a lise da s a g e n t, 1 2 4 5 p e r so n a s,4 9 5 0 , 7 8 , 8 3 , I5 4 p o stp lu r a l, 1 3 5 6 , 1 3 7 reproducing individuals, third fact of E n g lish kin sh iP, 5 3 , 7 2 , ' 7 8 ,7 9 i n d i v i d u a lism a n d ch a n g e ,2 , 1 0 1I

see Gawa; Molima: Muyuw; Sabarl Island; Trobriands maternal bondi ng, 48* 51, 125 matrilineal kin reckoning, 63, 68 sea Gawal Muyuw; Sabarl; Trobriands Mekeo, North (Papua New Guinea coast), 64-s ,68, 69 Melanesia, comparative material on, 55-72, 189 mereol ogy ,73,204 5 nn 21,22 Merina (Madagascar), 68 9 merographic connection, 72 81, 81, 125, 137, 150, 172,175,204 5 n2l c ol l aps eof, 136, 137 8, 150, 167-8, 193 ov erl ap i n,84, 130 1, 188. 196 merographic person, 150, 172 middle class A rnol d on, 108 c ul ture. 100 1, 106 devolution of. 98- 109 pa.ssrnr kinship, 24-30 passim in America, 25' 82 3 reflection and analysis by' 26' 44 5' 105-6' 139, 140 2 see class prejudice; morality mi ni aturi s ati on, 100, l 0l , 103 model ,2, 183' 187 i n anthropol ogy ' 4 of k now l edge,7,72-3. 169 s el f-reP l i c ati ng, [69 see reproductive model modernrsm as epoc h, 3, 7-8, 11,45, 53, 87. 146, 184, 197 as s ty l e, 165,212 n 15 displaced, 149 Mol i ma (Mas s i m),69-71 money , 96 and greed, t12 15 as enabl i ng tec hnol ogy ,130. 136, 142 3 .reecommercial interest montage. 127 morality as choice, l5l-2, 153-62 mi ddl e c l as s ,99 105, 108, 19l society as source of, l2l Morgan. Lew i s H enry . 3, l Gl 7, 20,27, 45, 52. 66,9t. 108, l 9l mother, 83 and baby ,48-51 as support system, 49, 73, 83 biological vs. social, 6l invisibility of , 49-52, 73

styl e, l 0l literacy, 92,98- 109passim, 105 6, 139' 157.

literalisation and literal mindedness,6 7, 42, 145 oi biology as genetics, 178 of choice. 163 ofi deas ofhuman nature, 174-5 practice of, 5, 80, 103, 137 9,154, 173, 1834, 190, 196 Li verpool , 13 London study, 12-13, 18, 20. 24, 81, 89, 90. 134. 13 9 l ove,78, 156 Maine, Henry, 16, 108 9 manasement and personhood, 129tr, 1424, 183 idiom of, 109 12 passim 159 see regulation Manchester,10, 12 13,35 pl ate 4,36,102 plate I I market menral i ty , l 2 13, l 8l 2 pl ate 20 and choi ce, 163, 165 6, 193 rndividualised, 163 in gametesand embryos, 41, 175-6 marriage and cl ass.89 90.93 I ptts s i m and famil y , 137 and property, gT 8 and terminating relationships, 64 as regulating needs, 156 as union, 79 B aruya,62 undone at death, 64, 65,70 1 Marx, K arl , l l l Massim, archipelago (Papua New Guinea), 68

6 9 , 1 3 26 . 1 8 2 , 2 0 0 75 sociocentric, versus egocentric ol 15-16,82,177fr'l system E"nglish 188

Melanesian images of. 56 63 professionalisationof, 105,6, 109 ll, In d e x

as point of reference,70 constituted by desire, 178 division between, T2 i n Mel anesi anthought, 60,62,7{ l -1 part and whole relations; sce whole part rel ati ons and persons as part of life, society, 72, 109, 121 , 125, l 2' 1 between spouses,79 mereological, 180 rol es as parts , 132, 158 4I parthenogenesis, past and future; see future epochal perceptions of, 190 I see tradition; nostalgia pasti che,144, 150, 165, 168. l 7l patrilineal kin reckoning, 63, 68 see Baruya; North Mekeo Penan (Borneo), 65 perfection in culture, 10G8, I I I in society, 108-9, I I I person and decomposition: .ice decomposition and deconception of, 62, 6+'6,70"1 and depersonalisation,Merina, 69 and imagery of 'home', 129ff and non-person, 142 as an i r:di vi dual . 19-20, 27,48 51,63, t23,125 7 as beginning, 63 as consumer, 174--5 as embodying relationships (Melanesia), 6t, 65,7 0,7l as'new ',53, 55, 59 60 distinguished from relative, 82 3; from rol e,133 pluralist, 150 postplural, 135'-6, 137 personal as si gn of i nformal i ty . 17 20 development, 127 personhood and l i fe,7 5, 84 vand reproduction, l'7G'7 de-concei v ed,701 enduri ng b ey ond death, 63, 75 terminating at death (Melanesia), 64 5 personification of conven ti on, 153, 158-9 ofnature, c ul ture, 1l l , l 17, l l 8ff, 193, 206n2.209n23


needs bi ol ogi cal , 156,203 n 16 t25 of society, 122"4 passim, 155..6 see surrogate mother; maternal bonding j1 new r eproducti vetechnol ogi es, 39 55 mournrng po.rrim. 54 plate 6. 143, 175ff. 188 l' | for relatives, 52, 66 s( e donor i nsemi nati on;i n-vi tro practices, Molima, 69-70 fertilisation; surrogate mother multidimensional unity New York, 36 in family, 167 8 nost al gi a,43,93 in kitchen decor, 166 7 American. 186 i n i n d i v id u a l, 1 6 7 as styl e, 163,164 Muyuw (Massim. Papua New Guinea). 64, f or communi ty. 146 6 8 , 6 9 .7 1 f or di versi ty, 39, 188 l or i ndi vi dual , 187, 188, 195 name for relationships, 189, 195 a n d k i n te r m , 1 7 2 1 , 1 8 p la r e 2 , 8 3 f or the home, 130, 188 C h r i s t i a n , l7 l8 n o vel t y, 10,93 perpetual increaseof, 65 and birth. 53, 55, 59 60 national culture and diversity, 69 o f E n g l ish , 3 l- 2 ,3 6 , I 1 7 , 1 2 0 , 1 3 9 and tradition; see tradition tyranny of, 152 cancelled, 150 n a t u r a l , f a c t s ,2 , 7 , 3 0 tr ,4 3 ,4 6 , 5 l 3 , 5 5 , 7 8 , pr oduced. 36, 53, 55 79, l19, 1934; of life. 7.-9, 63, 86, l 5 l : r e ve a le din a r t, ll3 . ll5 , ll6 obligation, between parents and children, l 5 bond; see maternal bonding obstetrics, 48 child. 52; see illegitimacy order d e v e l o p m e n t,1 2 5 of know l edge, l 3l diversity and individuality as, 35 personal, 109 l0 d r i v e : s e e b io lo g ica ld r ive soci al , 108-9. l l 2-13, l l .fl 5, 157 p e r s o n , I I6 , 1 2 4 taken for granted. 120 n a t u r a l i s a t i o n ,9 l- 2 , I 1 2 ree regulation as regulation, 156 organ, implants, transplants, 180, 183 4 of concept of society, lI2, ll8, 122, organic 1 5 0 . 1 5 5 , 1 9 4 ;in d ivid u a l, 1 2 4 , 1 5 0 , mathematics; .reequantification 1 5 5 ; ' n a tu r e ' , ll8 , l5 l soci ety,105, l l 4-15, l l 8 nature organisation absent from Melanesian models, 55-.6j absent.167 passtm and regul ati on, 105, 109 a n d d i v e r sity:se ed ive r sity as pernicious, 146 and reality, 52, 6l concept of, 109, l l l , i l 2 15, l 2l , a s g r o u n d , 1 0 5 , l' 1 7 ,1 9 4 - 5 ; se eco n te xt t234, t89 assisted;see assistingnature l nt ernal to person, 103;domai n. 172; changing attitudes towards, 2, I I househol d, 103-6 consumed. 152. l7l 84 pa.s.sim different meanings of, t72 Papua New Guinea, 10, 55 d i m i n u t i o n o f,3 9 4 6 , 1 7 2 3 see Melanesia diverse meanings of, 39 parenthood, genetic, 178-9 God a function of, 187 .reenew reproductive technologies h y p o s t a stise d I , I l, I 1 5 parents nature{ulture dichotomy; see and chi l dren, 12 14, 15ff,49 51,125, culture nature 178 and society, 87, 90tr, 93 8 passim, ll2, as a parr, 55, 79 t7t. t77 as i ndi vi dual s.86

of persons, 124,142 1224, 154,157 of society, perspective. 8, 14,15,22,43, 51,53,55,67, 'n ,9 2 ,9 8 , 1 0 0 ,1 0 1 ,1 0 8 ,1 9 0 139 and the middleclass, 140 5 of viewpoiDts. as representations passim aesthetics, 58 in Melanesian 73ff,76, 80, connection, in merographic 8 3 ,8 7 ,1 3 1 ,5 ,1 5 0 ,1 6 8 .1 8 4 ,1 9 3 lossof, 142 p e ts, 2 , 1 2 1 4 ,3 6 ,3 7 philistinism, l4l plasti-class, 1423,143plate 16,16l, 163, t67. 196,197 pluralist 3 4, 81, 135,191 epoch, p l u r a l i ty,3 0 ,6 5 as increase in time, 65 concept ol 8, 2l-2. 36, 59,73,81, 83. n26 8 7 . 1 8 4 ,2 0 5 in analysis, 23ff 57 9 in Melanesia, internal, 167 199n 6 not reproduced, 120 of cultures, pollution. 37, 138plate15.174 seerain 195,199 postmodernism,7 8, 144,149-51, n 6 .2 1 4 n 3 0 ,2 1 7 n 1 3 postplural n 43 epoch. 3 4, 184,188.192,215 individual,135-6 186ff nostalgia,39, pragmatism, 6 plate1, 7,95-6, 97, 128,132, 1 8 7 .1 9 5 prejudice; .rse class privacy and homelife,29, 103,129 33, 186 in choicemaking,176 professionalisation 110 medical, l l l 1 2 ,l l 8 , 1 5 0 ,1 8 9 o fco n str u cts, 105 6. 109-ll ofmotherhood, property, 78,97 I 41, 103 and patrimony, 204n 17 in WestAfrican succession, overbody parts,4l private, 10,186 68, 157 8 transmitted, seebelonging prostitution, 48 public l, 10,103,106,12933 and domestic,


In dex

)10 social system, concepl of, I 18 19, 122, 188 sae organisation; regulation socialisation, 109tr, I 19tr, 122 3, 125, 127, 157 8. 159, 193 Socialist politics, 147 8 societY,4 and consti tuent' groups ' ,69 and nature; s c e nature agefi, 1224 ^s as aggreg ate, 2G7,29 as col l ecti v i ty ,26-7,29, 120 as enabl i ng tec hnol ogy ,136 as nati on , 120 as total i s i ngpers pec ti v e, 135 detachedfrom c ul ture, l 15 16, 119-20 di mi nuti o n of, 43 divisions of, 140 5 passim, 158 i nternal i sed,168, 192 modernist ideas of, 154-8 persons as part of, 72 pol i te,89 versusi nd i v i dual t s c e i ndi v i dual Sperling, Diana, and family, Frontispiece. 88 90,9 8. 102, 136. 104 pl ate I2 spouse absent.13 7. 149 division of labour between, 79 see Dlarnage statc, the, 45,145,193, 201 n 14 vi ew of. A rnol d' s , 107 9, I l 2l R us k i n' s , I 14; Tha tc her' s , 144 5, 152, 181-2 plale 20 w el fare, 141,147 8.154 S tepl oe.P atri c k ,47 Slockbrokers Tudor, 32 3 plate 3, 102 plate ll, ll7 see cottage styl e. l 0l ,145 as manifestation of culture, 6, 25, l l 3_15 as manifestation of individuality, 20, 378 consumpti onof, l 7l dead, 144 , 149 50 evrncedi n c hoi c e, 147, l S 8, 162 7, l 7l family as life-. 145ff substance fl ow of (Mel anes i a),79; (E ngl i s h)80 .ree blood suburban archi tec ture,1.24,324 pl ate 3, 102 pl ate I l , 103 4, I 17 support system, 50 mother as, 49,73, 175, 183

a n d p r iva te , 1 5 9 , 1 6 0 p la te 1 7 , 1 6 6 , 1 7 4 - 5 , 1 8 7 ff,2 1 3 n 2 5 b u i l d in g s, 1 0 6 , l1 4 , I 1 6 , liO, 1 3 8 p la te l5 q u a n t i f i c a tio n ,2 , 1 4 .7 3 ,8 6 , l3 S a n d i n d ivid u a lism , l5 a n d s ta tistica ld a ta , l5 l as magnification and scale change. l3l, 1 4 0 , t4 t as number (enumerative), 26 7,29; see plurality a s v o lu m e ( o r g a n ic)o r d e g r e e ,2 6 7 ,2 9 30, 80; see amount in analytical practice, 26.30,97 in Melanesian thought, 56 9 ,reeminiaturisation r a i n . 1 0 , 3 7 , 1 3 8 p la te 1 5 r a n k . 2 0 l . 8 8 9 . I 1 2 1 5p a ssin t between proprietor and servant, 136 7 naturalisation of, 90 1, 93 g passim, 106 p u l l i n g - d o wn , 1 0 6 , 1 0 7 p la te 1 3 , l4 l 2 ,rcedemocratisation reality and fictional relatives, 53, 6l a s a m a tr e r o f visio n , 4 8 5 2 , 1 3 0 _ l merographic, 175 searching for, 137 8 see literalisalion r e a s o n ,9 5 , 1 9 l, 1 9 2 a n d c h o ice ,9 6 regulation,14, 103,105 6, 107 9, 109_16 passim, 152 and self-regulatingsystems, I l8 27 passtm challenged, 160 plate l7 of behaviour, 156 taken for granted, 120-l relationship a s a n a l ytica lco n n e ctio n , 1 2 , 1 4 ,7 2 , l5 l as artificial, 53 a s n a t u r a l, 5 1 , 1 2 2 as productive, l5 as support, in Melanesia, 7l-2 b e t w e e nin d ivid u a l a n d so cie ty,l2 l, 1 5 0 2 , 1 5 5 , 1 6 8 , 1 8 9 , 1 9 6 ,2 0 9 n 2 4 d e n i e d , ll, t2 1 4 . t8 - 2 2 displacement o f, in M e la n e sia ,6 2 ,7 0 1 incomplete as a field, 83 'made', 25, 48 51, 53, 55 n o s t a l g iafo r , 1 8 9 reproduction of, in Melanesia, 60,62

terminated by death, 64-5; by people, 64 versus individual rights, t79 .reeparents and children relative distinguished from l-amily, 9Gg distinguished from person, g2-3, l3l r el i gi on,99 l 0l , 105 representativeness, of accounts; .see general i sati on, 139 reproductive model, of English, 14_15,22, 36, 46. 53, 55.72tr. l 19, t25, l 7t, l 9l ,198 antecedentsol, 93 compared w i ttr Mel anesi an,62,71 demise of, 193 of the future, 39,46 i , 13l , 193 of reality, 53 reproductive technology .reenew reproductive technology Repton, Hurnphrey, 103, 104 plate l2 respectability middle class, I0l 6 passim, 130, 139 rose, 34, 39, 104 ruralism and houses,102 pl ate l l i n i magery, 3l -2,34, l l '7 in William Cowper, 99 urban dichotomy, 34, 140, 149 R uski n. John. 107 pl ate 13, l l 3-15, l 9l , l 9B Sabarl Island (Massim, papua New Guinea),

relationship as, Melanesia, 7l 2 scc technology as enabling s urrogatemother, 39, 46, 53, 61, 175-6 S w ans ea. 8I Tal l ens i ,Ghana, 123 tas te, 100 t, l l 5, 162 see Choice Taylor family, 98 109 passim, 105 6, 108, 109,124,153 technology and des i re,177 as culture, 169tr, 173 as enabl i ng,46 n 2, 83. 128, 130, 136,

r'ts, 177, t834, 20t 2

domes ti c ,137 fear of, 42, 180 fi nanc eas . 136,142 see New Reproductive Technologies tenants ,ofc ounc i l hous es ,142, 165,6 Thatc her, Mrs ,36, 145 6, 158 9, 168-9, 173,213 n 23 and Thatc heri s m,143, 150 2, 195, 198, 202n2 tlme and generati on.15, 55. 61, 62 as multiplier, 66 dow nw ard fl ow of, 2G-1.52,67, 80 1 evoked in advertising, 163 7 increasing diversity of. 60, 75 in Melanesia, 60 3 non-recursive,7 l,-2, 8l recursive,62 tradi ti on, l 2l ,198 and nov el ty , 10, 11, 14, 36-7,59 60 and s ty l e,28 9 ' B ri ti s h' ,29, 187 diminution of, 43 in political rheroric,44-5, 139ff produced, 36, 106 rev i v ed,6 pl ate l , 7 8, 94 pl ate 10, 130, 1434 .see nostalgia transmission as self-replication, 169 E ngl i s h. Tl of features (Gawa), 57 of geneti cmateri al ,78 8l of property; .reeinheritance ofs oc i ety , 120, 157 8 of substance(Baruya), 60 Trobriands (Massim, Papua New Guinea), 59, 63. 64.70_ 7l

scrence, 46, 49. 5l f i cti on,42,43-4, 180 sentiment evlnced towards nature culture, IIl, 207*8 n 12; soci ery.l 2l 2,157. l 9l sent i mental i ty,l 2 l 3 scrvanl. 20, 136-7 ; see Frontispiece sexual intercourse, 43, 78,9, 156 B aruya,87 Shakespeare, William, 30 Shelley, Mary, 44 siblings, 97 displace conjugal relations, 70 1, in Meri na,68; i n Mol i ma, 70 social change; .reechange s oci alcl ass:seecl ass,rank social construction, 2 3, 4 5, ]--8,45, 5i, 55, n9, 1734, 1934 of individuals, 124, 192 soci al facts, 2,46, 150