Kinship and Family as a Category of Analysis

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778). This special issue belongs to the section "Family History".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 23094

Special Issue Editor

Department of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
Interests: British history; British family history and genealogy; English paleography; women and gender history; siblings; childhood; poverty; families in early modern and modern Europe; women’s studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Previous issues of Genealogy have explored how genealogy, as a theoretical tool, has been used in philosophical and political discourse and how it can go further (“Beyond Foucault: Excursions in Political Genealogy,” Genealogy, October 2018). This Issue is less concerned with genealogy of thought or ideology and more interested in the direct application of genealogy to the theory and practice of historical kinship studies.

Over the past two decades, family and kinship have been popular topics for professional historians, but studying kinship as a categorical lens, and not just a topic, offers richer opportunities for consideration and analysis.

In a 2005 seminal essay, Lenore Davidoff argued for kinship as a category of analysis to join more widely recognized historical analytical categories such as race, gender, and class. Davidoff further explored these ideas in her 2012 book, Thicker than Water: Siblings and Their Relations, 1780-1920. Though speaking about nineteenth-century Britain, her call for scholars to better understand “the complicated interconnections between the economic, social, and political changes . . . on the one hand and the reach, shape, and meaning of familial/household belonging on the other,” is well taken (Thicker than Water, 27-8). Race, gender, and class as analytical categories have become regular parts of the historian’s toolkit. More recently, categories such as marital status and age have joined that list. However, these are insufficient to adequately capture how kinship and family ties shape decisions, within families, across social groups, and even at the highest political levels.[1]

Articles in this Issue will explore Davidoff’s concept further. How can genealogical tools and research shape our interpretations of kinship’s long-lasting influence on decisions and actions? What does using kinship as a lens do to our understanding of historical events, actors, or to our understanding of things like nationality, race, gender, and class?

We invite contributions that explore kinship as a category of analysis in a variety of ways. Possible areas include:

  • Applying the tools of genealogy to explore kinship as an analytical category—whether in case studies of how genealogical information combined with attention to kinship as a category can generate new insights and new questions, or how genealogical expertise can affect theoretical approaches to historical events.
  • How does focusing on kinship affect interpretations of actions in the past? For example, Davidoff used kinship as an analytical lens to trace how a sense of family, lineage, and heritage affected politicians’ careers. 

Authors submitting to this special issue will not be charged any Article Processing Charges (APCs).

[1] Davidoff, Leonore. 2005. Kinship as a Categorical Concept: A Case Study of Nineteenth-Century Siblings. Journal of Social History 39: 411–28.

Dr. Amy Harris
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • kinship
  • historical analysis
  • family
  • theory
  • history
  • categories of analysis genealogy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Identity Development and Its Relationship to Family History Knowledge among Late Adolescents
by Clive G. Haydon, Brian J. Hill, Peter J. Ward and Dennis L. Eggett
Genealogy 2023, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy7010013 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5360
Abstract
Identity development among late adolescent university students and its relationship to family history knowledge was examined in this study. Identity development was examined using Marcia’s individual developmental framework (1988) of exploration and commitment and Stutman and Lich’s family systems framework (1984) of autonomy [...] Read more.
Identity development among late adolescent university students and its relationship to family history knowledge was examined in this study. Identity development was examined using Marcia’s individual developmental framework (1988) of exploration and commitment and Stutman and Lich’s family systems framework (1984) of autonomy and relatedness. It was proposed that late adolescents’ personal exploration of and commitment to roles and values may be influenced by knowledge of parent and grandparent histories. It was also proposed that late adolescents’ achievement of personal autonomy and positive family relatedness may be influenced by knowledge of parent and grandparent histories. The sample consisted of 239 university students. The Parental Relationship Inventory (PRI) and the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ) were used to measure identity development. The Do You Know? (DYK) scale measured family history knowledge. Multiple regression analyses indicated a significant positive relationship between commitment and family history knowledge and relatedness and family history knowledge, a negative relationship between autonomy and family history knowledge, and a weak correlation between exploration and family history knowledge. Findings indicated that family history knowledge may influence components of identity development. This has implications for those working to enhance adolescent development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinship and Family as a Category of Analysis)
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20 pages, 1743 KiB  
Article
Clans, Families and Kinship Structures in Scotland—An Essay
by Bruce Durie
Genealogy 2022, 6(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6040088 - 9 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6628
Abstract
Anyone who has visited a Scottish Games or Gathering in North America will be struck by the number of Clan societies occupying tents around the Games ground and participating in a “Parade of Tartans”. Yet, a substantial number of these do not represent [...] Read more.
Anyone who has visited a Scottish Games or Gathering in North America will be struck by the number of Clan societies occupying tents around the Games ground and participating in a “Parade of Tartans”. Yet, a substantial number of these do not represent Highlands or Borders Clans, but are really descendants of Lowland Families. The “Clan” appellation has been applied wrongly to all of Scotland, as though this were the universal or at least the dominant form of social/kinship organization. The cultural appendages of that—kilts, tartans and Gaelic language—are considered uniformly Scottish. In reality, the clan system was a minority social structure in Scotland. The uncritical adoption of the term “Clan” ignores and minimizes the larger and more important Lowland Family structure. The nature of these two structures—Clan and Family—are compared and contrasted, and a case made for greater recognition of the Lowland Family as the pre-eminent form of social structure in Scotland. This has implications for, inter alia, genealogy, Scottish cultural and language studies, ethnicity and Y-DNA testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinship and Family as a Category of Analysis)
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30 pages, 15798 KiB  
Article
Kinship Riddles
by Lyndan Warner
Genealogy 2022, 6(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy6020043 - 12 May 2022
Viewed by 4065
Abstract
In the medieval to early modern eras, legal manuals used visual cues to help teach the church laws of consanguinity and affinity as well as concepts of inheritance. Visual aids such as the trees of consanguinity or affinity helped the viewer such as [...] Read more.
In the medieval to early modern eras, legal manuals used visual cues to help teach the church laws of consanguinity and affinity as well as concepts of inheritance. Visual aids such as the trees of consanguinity or affinity helped the viewer such as a notary, law student or member of the clergy to do the ‘computation,’ or reckon how closely kin were related to each other by blood or by marriage and by lines of descent or collateral relations. Printed riddles in these early legal manuals were exercises to test how well the reader could calculate whether a marriage should be deemed incest. The riddles moved from legal textbooks into visual culture in the form of paintings and cheap broadside prints. This article examines a riddle painting ‘devoted’ to William Cecil when he was Elizabeth I’s principal secretary, before he became Lord Burghley and explores the painting’s links to the Dutch and Flemish kinship riddles circulating in the Low Countries in manuscript, print and painting. Cecil had a keen interest in genealogies and pedigrees as well as puzzles and ciphers. As a remarried widower with an eldest son from a first marriage and children from his longer second marriage, Cecil lived in a stepfamily typical of the sixteenth century in England and Europe. The visual kinship riddles in England and the Low Countries had a common root but branched into separate traditions. A shared element was the young woman at the centre of the images. To solve the riddle the viewer needed to determine how all the men in the painting were related to her as if she were the ego, or self, at the centre of a consanguinity tree. This article seeks to compare the elements that connect and diverge in the visual kinship riddle traditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Low Countries and England. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinship and Family as a Category of Analysis)
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Review

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25 pages, 1655 KiB  
Review
Genealogy: The Tree Where History Meets Genetics
by Cláudia Gomes, Sara Palomo-Díez, Ana María López-Parra and Eduardo Arroyo-Pardo
Genealogy 2021, 5(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy5040098 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5588
Abstract
Although biological relationships are a universal reality for all human beings, the concepts of “family” and “family bond” depend on both the geographic region and the historical moment to which they refer. However, the concept of “family” can be determinant in a large [...] Read more.
Although biological relationships are a universal reality for all human beings, the concepts of “family” and “family bond” depend on both the geographic region and the historical moment to which they refer. However, the concept of “family” can be determinant in a large variety of societies, since it can influence the lines of succession, inheritances and social relationships, as well as where and with whom an individual is buried. The relation between a deceased person and other members of a community, other individuals of the same necropolis, or even with those who are buried in the same tomb can be analysed from the genetic point of view, considering different perspectives: archaeological, historical, and forensic. In the present work, the concepts of “family” and “kinship” are discussed, explaining the relevance of genetic analysis, such as nuclear and lineage markers, and their contribution to genealogical research, for example in the heritage of surnames and Y-chromosome, as well as those cases where some discrepancies with historical record are detected, such as cases of adoption. Finally, we explain how genetic genealogical analyses can help to solve some cold cases, through the analysis of biologically related relatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinship and Family as a Category of Analysis)
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