Strathern, Marilyn - After Nature.pdf

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download



    The Universitv of RochesterRochesler, New York

    Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture Series

    Fred Eggan: The American Indian: Perspectives for the Study ofSocial Change

    Ward, H. Goodenough: Description and Comparison in CultttralAnthropology

    Robert J. Smith: Japanese Societlt: Tradition, Self, and the Social OrderSally Falk Moore: Social Facts and Fabricqtions: "Custornary Lau," on

    Kilimanjaro, I 880- I 980Nancy Munn: The Fame qf Gawa: A Symbolic Stud.v of Value

    Transformation in a Mussim ( Papua New Guinea) SocietyLawrence Rosen: The Anthropology of Justice: Law as culture in

    Islamic So

  • Watercolour, 1817 or 1818The watercolour (painted by Diana Sperling in l8l7 or 1818) shows a conventionally attiredcouple (proprietor and servant) stepping through the half-open doors of the house (its choiceinterior visible) into the rain to improve the garden (with potted flowers). These relationshipsat once offer an allegory for the character of English kinship as one might think of it in1989 or 1990 and are cancelled by it.

    Reproduced by kind permission of Victor Gollancz Ltd, from Mrs Hurst Dancing byDiana Sperling, illustrations by Neville Ollerenshaw.

    Lfter nature: English kinshiP in thelate twentieth century

    MARILYN DJ,RATHERNDepartment of Social Anthropology

    Manchester Universitv



    The tigtu oI theUniverciry oI Conbidgc

    1o ptint and sellatt nannet of books

    was grcnted byHenty YllI in 1534.

    The Utiwrsit) has printeda n d publ i s he.l rc n I inuous I y

  • Published by the Press Syndicate of the University of CambridgeThe Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 IRP

    40 West 20th Street, New York. NY l00l l -421l . USAl0 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 datuStrathern, 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 studies4. Ethnology Philosophy. I. Title.

    II. Series.cN585.G8S77 1992

    306.83'094 dc20 91 3775CIP

    .4 catalogue record.for this book is available frorn lhe British Library

    ISBN 0 521 405254 hardbackISBN 0 521 42680 4 paperback

    2.a' , , ) .1.--*-Y)--4- |


    For M.A.L.

  • Contents

    List of illustrationsAcknowledgement of sourcesForeword by Alfred HarrisPreface

    making explicit

    I Individuality and diversityFacts of kinshipFacts of nature

    2 Analogies for a plural cultureDisplacing visionsOverlapping views

    The progress of polite societyCultivationSocialisation

    Greenhouse effectLiteral metaphorsReproducing preference

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world


    page xrrxiiiXV



    l0 'l l








  • Illustrations

    Watercolour, 1817 or 1818.

    I The Secretary for State for Education, 1989.

    2 Terms of address to consanguine kin, c.1960.

    3 Stockbrokers Tudor, early twentieth century.

    4 Ethnic monitoring, 1987.

    5 Oyster House, 1988.

    6 Glossary for the late twentieth century.

    7 Darwin and the face of nature, 1859.

    8 This is the Key, Traditional.

    9 Sense and Sensibil i ty, l8l l.

    l0 Dove Cottage Carob Petals, 1989.

    l1 Amenities without and within.

    12 Tudor cot tage, l8 l6

    13 Ruskin's Two Paths, 1859.

    14 Advice to a wife, fourteenth edition.

    l5 Progress, cost and rain, 1989.

    16 Plastic.

    l7 What it means to be an active cit izen, 1988.

    l8 Tailor-made at ready-made prices.

    l9 Natural justice, 1989.20 Baker's two paths, 1989.

    Greeting card: late twentieth century.

    frontispiecepage 6










    Acknowledgement of sources

    The author is grateful to the following for permission to use publishedmaterial from the following sources in the illustrations:

    Victor GollanczLtd, Mrs Hurst Dancing, by Diana Sperling, illustrations byNevil le Ollerenshaw, Copyright l98l (Frontispiece and Plate l2).The Times Higher Education Supplement (Plare l, Plate l7 and Plate 20).International rhomson Publishing Services Ltd for Routledge: Families andTheir Relatives, by Raymond Firth, Jane Hubert and Anthony Forqe.Copyright 1969 (Plate 2).John Murray (Publishers Ltd): A Cartoon History of Architecture, osbertLancaster. Copyright 1975 (plate 3).Manchester City Council (plate 4).Reed Publishing Services Ltd: Signature magazine (plate 5 and plate l8).Pergamon Press PLC: Macle to Ortler; The Myth of Reprocluctive and GeneticProgress, eds. Patricia Spallone and Deborah L St.inb".g. Copyright l9g7(Plate 6).Free Association Books: Languages of Nature, ed. Ludmilla Jordanova.Copyright l9g6 (plate 7).

    ^Si1o1 and Schuster for Macdonald Children,s : Detights ancl Warnings, Johnand Gitt ian Beer. Copyright 1979 (plate g).Dove Cottage Ltd, Westfield, New Jersey, USA (plate l0).f;1er WaVma rk: A History oJ petts Wood,pettsWood Residents,Association(PIate I I left l.ln' ' rreeman for Molloy Homes, Levenshulme, Manchester (plate l l r ight).Unwin Hyman Ltd: The Two paths,John Ruskin (plate l3).

  • Acknowledgement

    John Ezard: The Guardian Weekend Supplement (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 andChild'by Noel Smith (Endpiece).


    professor Marilyn Strathern delivered rhe Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures in1989, with the general title 'After Nature: English Kinship in the LateTwentieth century'. The four lectures were 'Diversity and Individuality';'Relatives: Analogies for a Plural culture'; 'persons: The progress of a politeSociety'; and 'Greenhouse Effect'. They were delivered on 14, 16,2l and 23February and are here made available in a suitably modified form.

    The volume continues work carried on by professor Strathern for overtwenty years, the development of which is to be found in several books andmany articles. The scope of her efforts is very broad, ranging ethnographicallyfrom England to Papua New Guinea, and engaging a numbeiof centraltheoretical issues. Anthropologists who may haveLeen tempted to concludethat British anthropology has littre new to say wiI surely, faced with her work,wish to think again. For while it is clear that she is firmly based in British socialanthropology, Professor Strathern breaks new ground, and nowhere soclearly as here.

    The present volume underscores the fascination - and the comprexrty - ofIll l-t"Ft:or Srrathern is doing. Different readers of the manuscript havecnaracterised it in various ways, though attempts to categorise it simpry mustff:::l:r.3il.

    This.iswork that doeJnot fit neatly into accepted categories.' i l i f ::, ro prgeonhole it serve only to obscure its implications.


    rrevertheless it is important to recognize some of the key elements in what isottered' Professor Strathern's main cJncern is rate twentieth-century Englishxlnship' and her account is couched in cultural terms. In order to elucidate hermaterial ' much ethnographic data from elsewhere, particurarry Melanesia, isliill"*g to

    (and interaction with) the English data. As a result, we are;d;;:";:;n;111ercise in comparison that is sophisticated, illuminating*u"_",*lill,; }no,lh..r. integral part of the analysis is a demonsrration of the^.,'"

    "' wiltcn bngrrsh ideas about kinship are related to Engrish ideas about

    ;-ff,Ti::,::l!-"-qlith sociery and how ii works. rhe presentarion of English^-

    --"' ', rrr comDlnatlon with two carefully deveroped kinds of comparison'toss-cultural and internar to England -io., more than iluminate EnElish

  • xvi Foreword

    kinship. It indicates a need to rethink our ideas about it and about more

    general matters as well '"-

    n, trr" f irst cultural account of English kinship by a Brit ish anthropologist'this volume will attract the attention of anthropologists generally. Scholars


    oifrer aisciplines who monitor developments in anthropology will also find it

    *"ii *".,fr consideration. Readers will find enlightenment and stimulation'Whether as ethnography or as a fascinating example of complex theory

    (ifthese can be disambiguated), Professor Strathern's present work is a maJorcontribution to our understanding of the world and of how to understand


    Alfred Harris, EditorThe Lewis HenrY Morgan Lectures


    This is an exercise in cultural imagination - with respect both to its principalsubject nlatter (English kinship) and to the discipline which is my enablingtechnology (social anthropology). True to the personifying idioms of each, Iwish to demonstrate how ideas b6F ve. - ---

    I rnust acknowledge inspiration from the few works of which it will be seen Imake extensive use, not just for their materials but for their interpretationsand analyses. They serve to demonstrate my interest in the procedures bywhich those with a concept of culture make'culture'explicit to themselves. Asa consequence, though, the reader should be warned about the status ofprimary information in this study. Observatio_n-s a-lout the English or aboutkinship are treate-d as ethnograp.hic_ally continuous with the secondary.observaiions derived from the

    -dniiyiicaf ind interpretive works. The

    'arguments I ci(e from other scholarc thu, carry their own, and il lustratrve.

    burden of cultural evidence. As a result, the account can not pretend to ahistory or a sociology, though it incorporates what otherwise would comprisehistorical and sociological data; nor can it pretend to a history of ideas, andthe apparent ascription of attitudes and beliefs to this or rhat set of personsshould not be mistaken for a study of what people think or feel..

    It h$l!s- oyn limitations. A problem tha! besgts 1----------------111!1o-p-otogists-at-home isInat_tlgi$qglne_Tqy_ry,1_9-yg_lqo-k likea eultgr4_! account,Sue has becomeut.a io-*ini-.thiiogiaplies;I;clal tlsfoiiei"ui-tt"lo.6logies of subcul-tures, whereas what I offer here is a methodological scandal by any of thosestandards. The diff iculty l ies, one might say, less in its distance from suchSenreithEn in its inevitable proximity to them. Or, to borrow from paulRabinow's introduction to Finch Moiern(1939), 'while the whole may seemtoo complex, the parts may seem too simple'.

    The original format of The Lewis Morgan Lectures is preserved in the fourprtncipal chapters. I owe the invitation to give the Lectures to ProfessorAlfred Harris and the Department of Social Anthropology at the Universityof Rochester. Those who have enjoyed the privilege in the past wil l know whatI also owe them for their hospitality: I can only thank Grace and Alfred Harris

  • XVII I Preflace

    for their especial kindness, and the Department for their stimulation. With anextension of time and critical attention that was a privilege in itself, membersof the Anthropology Department and of Women's Studies at the University ofVirginia also heard the full set of lectures.

    I should add that the book was finished in June 1990. Since then theWarnock Report, to which several references are made, has become the basisof legislation, although I make no mention of this. There has also been achange in the British premiership. While it would have been in keeping to haveretained the original text, this would have sounded odd, and I have madethe appropriate alterations.

    Several colleagues have read the manuscript, and they are thanked warmlyfor their comments and criticisms: Anthony Cohen, Frederick Damon,Jeanette Edwards, Sarah Franklin, Jane Haggis, Eric Hirsch, Frances Price,Nigel Rapport, Tim Swindlehurst and Nicholas Thomas, as are the Press'sreaders. Jean Ashton has also taken care of it in her own inimitable way. Ishould add that where 'n.d.' appears in the bibliography, I am grateful forpermission to cite as yet unpublished work.

    David Schneider is the anthropological father of this booK since it is bothwith and against his ideas on kinship that it is written; his reactions have beencharacteristically incisive and generous. Another colleague, Joyce Evans, isthe mother of this book, since it is from her Englishness that I write; her loveand knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature have kept meculturally on track. She is also my mother in the literal sense, and my thanksare also filial.

    Marilyn StrathernManchester

    January 1989/June 1990

    Prologue: making explicit

    Visitors to England, the English are fond of telling themselves, are oftenstruck by the space devoted to gardens and parks, so different from the civicplazas that grace continental Europe. Towns and cities are likely to becramped, higgledy piggledy. But go into the suburbs with their lawns andflower-beds and you will sense an avenue architecture of its own kind, at oncedomestic (the semi-detached houses) and public (a common front of shrubs,hedges, fences). What might be regarded as typically English, however, is theproduct not only of the demands of a particular social class but of a particularperiod from mid-victorian town houses built as country homes toEdwardian villas at the very edges of the countryside and garden citiesenclosing the idea of countryside within.-

    That is, of course, no revelation. On the contrary. the English also tellthemselves about the particular periods they are heir to and the extent towhich things have altered since. If it is no revelation, then one might wonderhow the twin ideas of continuity and change coexist. How come that the one(change) seems as much in place as the oiher (continuity)?- , lo. i, is equally conventional to deny that the typical ever exists. Whenvlsltors to England remark, as they do, on rubbish in the streets of the

    me.tropolis or when the English abroad are treated as responsible for forest-lltlltllt ac^id rain. the sense is of falling on changed times. In denying the:ll]:.,t? of particular characteristics, one may well deny that one can ever;T:l:t

    what is typical abour rhe English. A vision of consrant changeJ:iil":: that of perpetual conrinuity; all appears transient and nothing-'*qs Lo?tlBe and continuity are thus played offagainst one another. Indeed,;;; ' | ..,"un be visualised as a sequence of events that,happens'to something'"at otherwise retains its identity, such as the English ihemselves, or the;T: : lyt lgt 'cont inuiry makes change evidenr. r t is in just such a coexistence"'+lt^":-tf it culturalepochs are formed. I wish to

    "onu"y a sense of epoch.

    u*u'l l l lublt and the transient coexist in a manner that makes it possible toi l'.:lrn

    respect to almosr anything, how much change has raken place. This'" o verY general, ordinary and otherwise unremarkaltr t ind of question. It

  • 2 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    seems to lead naturally to further questions about what should be conservedand what should be reformed. It also exerts a presence in certain academicways of thinking, where the relationship between change and continuity isoften spelled out with considerable explicitness. Let me illustrate the generalidea through a particular example.

    Take attitudes towards the natural world. When what varies seem to be thedifferent meanings that different historical periods have put on it, or thedifferent effects of diverse social practices, then 'nature' itself appears anenduring, even timeless, phenomenon. In Keith Thomas's (1984) detailedaccount of the dramatic changes that occurred in the idea of nature in Englandbetween I 500 and 1 800, the reference point throughout remains the countrysideand its plants and wiid and domestic animals. This means, of course, that AlanMacfarlane (1987), with an equal order of detail, can trace a traditional love ofnature back to medieval England and argue the reverse thesis: far f;om therehaving been radical change, one finds consistent antecedents to contemporaryattitudes. His evidence includes the longstanding English obsession withgardening, and their habit of keeping animals as pets. The observations arenot trivial. Macfarlane points to an intimate connection between thesecharacteristics of the English and the individualism of their modern kinshipsystem, a connection that, he claims, has roots in English society for as long asrecords go back. The cultural preconditions for later changes were alwaysthere. It is the extent of the continuity that is impressive, in his view, ratherthan the extent ofchange.

    Whether or not there have been changes on the face of the countryside, or inideas about the environment. the concept of nature thus remains a constantfact in the debate. One can therefore dispute as to whether activities andattitudes in relation to it have altered or have stayed the same over the courseof time. The result is that change and continuity become measurable entitiesinsofar as each appears to have had more or less effect on the same object. Theone may be conceived as a quantifiable (how much, to what extent) constrainton the other.

    Now an academic debate such as this, about the relative amount of changeand continuity, is consonant with that mid-twentieth-century mode ofscholarly theorising known as 'social constructionism'. The theory is thatwhat is constructed is 'after' a fact. It is proved in the way people can be seen tofabricate their world and in the models they build of it, and offers a kind ofautoproof, since it knows itself as a model also. In this theory that is also amodel, values can be seen as constructions after social facts, or societies can be

    ! seen as constructions after natural facts. What becomes quantifiable is theamount of human activity ( 'construction') that has taken place. Implicit in thetheory/model is the assumption that change is a mark of activity or endeavourwhereas continuity somehow is not.

    But I propose we disarm the antithesis between change and continuity of its

    Prologue: making expl ici t

    --r;f irble power. Instead of thinking what they measure, we might think

    ll l jrr. i a.oends on the other to demonstrate its effect. Magnifying one is to_""".,fu borh. I write with the hindsight that, over the span of an epoch, the'j..'liirf,, ttuu" brought the most radical changes on their heads by striving mosti)T"nentlq ro preserve a sense of continuity with thepast. And have in thell"..r, revolutionised the very concept of nature to which they wouldi)"aualy Prefer to be faithful '' ' The r"holars' social-constructionist model of the world contains more than

    rhe idea that society is built up after, or out of, elements other than itselfinatural entit ies such as reproductive individuals and primordial sentimentsor units such as parental pairs and families). It also incorporates the idea that,in working upon and modifying the natural world, human artifice must at thesame time remain true to its laws and to that extent imitate it. I suspect thatthis concatenation of ideas is borrowed from, as much as it describes, modelsmore!.generally held. The academic debate to which I alluded, between theanthropologically minded historian (Thomas) and the historian-anthropologist (Macfarlane), leads us to an area where such models are tobe found: kinshiP.

    The anthropological study of kinship since mid-Victorian and Edwardiantimes, as well as the (indigenous) models held by others of the social class fromwhich by and large the authors of such studies came, has drawn heavilyon the idea that kinship systems are also after the facts, and specifically after-rcertain well-known lacts of nature. r The facts, it is held, are universal whereasideas about kinship obviously vary. In this view, for instance, cultural dogmasdiffer in the extent to which they recognise biological connection, social classesin the extent to which they emphasise maternal and paternal roles, andhistorical periods in the emphasis given to family life. In short. societies orsections of society differ in the way they handle the same facts. This is anaxiom or assumption thar is u, .uth pirt ol English kinship thinking as itts ol social constructionist theorising about it. I capitalise on the thoughtthat making this implicit assumption explicit has alieady deprived it of itsaxtomatic and paradigmatic status.

    The epoch in question covers a span of modern Western thought of particularhterest to anthropology, following the hundred years or so after Lewis Henryt r r - - -oJtrvlorgan's endeavours of the 1860s. Among other things, its practit ioners weret n te re s red i

    " q u u"ii n" ui ;; ;;; ; j; ;;;;;#;il ;;;;i,li.

    "j i ui,.,.',,',r r r vtrurrrwr 4Lrvrr quu Jt4LrJtr94r p4r lv l uruEl l t . in whether whole cul tures might have.more'or. less'cul ture ( theYardsticks of civilisation), or groups.Iun""'more'or'ress'cohesion (indices ofe^l : I '^ t1 ' -"vttuarlt]), or persons be symbolised as .more' or .less' close to nature/ . , , - . . | " - ' r - ' " " r rs v! oJrrruvrrowu or rr lv lw vl luJJ 9ru)9 Lv l ldLul9\women's distance from social centrality). One might think of the modernu urrr4l luc l IOm soclacPoch as pluralist. then, and iits successor as postplural in character.That thlre h"r b..;;r;;;;;i"';il;;iinir.p""r, is superseded is one or

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    my themes. At least, I hope to show one of the ways in which such successtons

    il;p;.; by contriving a postplural vantage point from which to look back to a

    rnod.rn one. The motive lies in a thwarted ambition'^^^ F;;"*. time, it had been my ambition to write a counterparl'to David

    Schneider,s American Kinship (tbot): a cultural account of English kinship.H;;";., coming to the task more than two decades later was to realise


    ii_., iruo crranged. The twin constructs on which Schneider was confident

    .rr"gt, to premise his analysis of American kinship were not to be identified

    with such transparency. These were the order of Nature and the order of Law'

    ,n" ,rJ", of Law referring to human organisation, vlz. Society or culture.

    iney naO appeared to Schieider to constitute major dimensions of American,hi;ilC about kinship in the 1960s, and indeed were indigenous exemplifi-

    cations of constructs on whose basis anthropology had- developed its


    disciplinary force over the previous century' The social or cultural construc-

    iion "f

    finsnlp had always been a special instance of the general manner in

    which human beings consiructed socLties and cultures 'out of ' nature. Indeed,

    the development oispecifically anthropological models of human life had thus

    ;;;; h"rd'in hand *itn tn. eiucidation of kinship systems. I believe this was

    Jqually true of British as it was of American anthropology'Nowlhaddel ,account infavourofa

    .cul tural 'one.Inthemid-twent iethcentury, thesetermscodedasigni f icantdifference between British and American anthropology' However' my cultural

    interest stemmed, I thought, not from a desire to Americanise my anthro-

    pology but from a desire io bring to light certain assumptions that seemed to

    inhere in British approaches to i

  • 6 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    manifest as style. And an excess of individualism? Does Society also vanish;will the Individual become visible only in the exercise of an agency where all ischoice? Excesses of style and choice may appear an obvious process ofAmericanisation from an 'English' point of view. Yet holding that view isequally a process of Anglicisation.

    While much of what I say applies to Anglo-Euro-American or Westernculture in general, such culture is only lived in specific forms. None of us livesgeneralised lives, generalise as we might about life as such, and I take Englishas one form. In any case, the English are adepts at literalisation a penchant

    I The Secretary of State.for Education, 1989Exlract from a speech by the Secretary of State for Education and Science, KennethBaker "Higher Education: the next 25 years". The Times Higher Education Supplement.I 3 January 1989.Reproduced by kind permissron.

    Why do I Drefer that we in Britainshould take theroute of expansion throuehdiversification and' differentiatioil?Most profoundly, because it seems tome to be the one which is natural to us.Historically, traditionally, Britain is abottom-uP, not a top-down societv.We should build oil our nation'alg_qnius,-on what comes naturally to us.We do best when we avoid the abstracti .rtellectual construct, the grand de-

    tign. We do much, much be"tter whenthe practical inteUieence of the manv isapplied at the levefwhere, in this cate,the students are tausht and the re-search is done. This if the wav I hopeBritish higher education will grow intne next quarter century.

    Prologue: making expl ici t

    , ^r^.rc withEuro-Americans becomes a posture in their commitment to thelliJ,]'"i.61oiricism and practical action. The stereotype of pragmatism3 hastl l i i i^"*of persuasion in it. They apparently love the l iteral-minded. Their:]'-;;:", are about'the real world' only clear away the assumptions and you;ii;;, ro rhe truth;

    only clear away the constructions and you wil l get to the


    r,r,kins the implicit explicit is a mode of constructing knowledge which hasi""" u,i.ngine for change for more than a hundred years. It has also producedin int.tnut sense of complexity and diversity. But to make explicit t/ris mode

    tur i6 own effect: the outl iteralisation of the l iteral-minded. I suspectsomething similar to this particular literalisating move has been behind theprevalent sense of a now that is after an event. This sense of being after an

    "vent. of being post-. defines the present epoch.

    The single most significant event in question is the earlier modern epoch.when constructions were instead after a fact - the facts of reality, nature orprocreation - and where human endeavour bore the imprint of a complexenterprise. This was the epoch that produced the scholars' social construction-ism. Anthropology was the discipline that uncovered the quantity ofenterprise in human endeavour everywhere. It is its own enterprise that is nowmade visible. and 'after' the facts has come to mean after the facts have ceasedto be quantifiable. We know today that there are as many of them as we care tomake. Hence this book is written from hindsisht. It deals with the modernepoch from the vantage poinr of its displacemenl. The result is no more than ateleology that extends back from the present and in asking about how thingsappear in the late twentieth century attends only to their possible antecedents.

    The following coordinates may be useful to the reader.a Modernistscharacterised English society as complex or plural, a product of long historyand much change. The typical was timeless, and tradition or continuityrmplied homogeneity; change implied innovation, the introduction of foreignelements, heterogeneity, in short. diversity. Hindsight tells us that it was, ofcourse, the sense of continuity which was subiect to chanse. and all that wasnecessary to transform a tradition was to brini it into the f,resent and give it acontemporary place. (The stylistic re-introduction of 'traditional' forms thatc^onstitutes postmodernism in art ancl architecture presents this as a reve-fl:".:) It was simply a matter of valuing one's already established values. Inract all that was necessary to transform ones' values was to value them in suchlj lV ut lo make explicit (ro oneself) rheir conrext or basis. In thereby makingtne trnplicit explicit, one took away that axiomatic status and created new'axen-for-granted assumptions for excavation. With hindsight we can furtherl]l^11*.-as a model of knowledge, such a practice offered a constantly::cqlng horizon of what there was to know: one could seek to know moreotQ

    *ot.thing by investigating its context or the assumptions on which its*"sumptions

    were grounded.

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    That modern dimension of grounding or context in turn yielded a sense olperspective, the 'point of view' from which an entity was seen. One couldalways gain a new perspective by providing a new context for what was beingoUs"iu"d. There were thus as many points of view as there were facets of socialand cultural, including scientific, life. This plurality was a given, and complexsociety awarded itself the abil iry to superimpose perspectives (self-conscious'constructions') upon a plurality inherent in the nature of things.

    British anthropology participated in that literalising endeavour. Its claimsto attention rested on the dual skills of putting things into (social and cultural)context, and in making implicit (cultural and social) assumptions explicit. Italso claimed kinship as a particular domain of expertise and activity. Againwith hindsight one can see that it nonetheless ran into problems when it cameto dealing with kinship in its culture of origin: there was too intimate aconnection between anthropological theories of kinship and indigenousconstructs. The connection can be turned to use. In thinking about whatEnglish kinship was to become, I propose to use British anthropologicalkinship theory and English kin constructs as mutual perspectives on eachother's modernisms. This necessarily deprives each of its perspectivalcompleteness.

    The processes by which the English produced a sense of complexity forthemselves were alarmingly simple. But, like simple computer viruses, theycould proliferate at speed through the social machinery. In showing the wayliteralisation constantly produced fresh perspectives. one has said all that needbe said about the mechanism by which we once imagined ourselves in acomplex world.

    The effects were everywhere. The mechanism might be simple, but theproducts or results were innumerable. Thus when members of a complexsociety compared it with that of others, they could think of themselves both asproducing 'more' individualistic individuals (more subjectivity), and asproviding 'more' cultural and social contexts in which to act (moreinstitutions).s In the account that follows, I give recent examples of simpleproliferations of form - the shapes that ideas and values and idioms take. Thematerial will appear inevitably disparate, out of scale even, an observationabout kitchens in London illustrated by office designs in Manchester; anintroduction to the field of English kinship [in Chapter One] offeringobservations drawn from quite disjunct levels. The immediate effect maysuggest plurality taken to excess; but the disparateness is not quite what itseems. It is with postplural vision that the pluralism of the preceding epochbecomes evident.6

    Il lustrations have been selected widely but not at random. I have hopedboth to make it evident that the observations that apply to kinship or toanthropological study are not applicable only to these domains and to drawin issues in the management of present-day political and social life from whichneither kinship nor anthropology is isolated. At the same time I have also

    Prologue: making explicit g

    hoped to suggest that such free-ranging access, such apparent freedom ofchoice, in the end turns the sense of plurality into an artefact of access orchoice itself. An approximation to the insight, then, of what it might be l ike tobelong to a culture whose next imaginative leap is to think of itself as havingnothing to construct. It would not, after all, be after anything.

  • rL

    1Individu ality and diversity

    To those who were bringing up families in the 1950s or 1960s, their childrenare already quite a long way down the road from dreams of garden cities, asthey 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 thecountryside with its own parks and gardens proverbially green promptsthoughts of a man-made pluvial. Despite such global manifestations of toomuch enterprise, however, the slogans of the self-named Enterprise Culturelassert that a natural and traditional individualism is being restor{ to theEnglish. If so, its environment has changed. Today's is the individualism ofzapping between television channels, of single-minded captivatioq by eastAsian computer screens, of a world where social conditions are taken forcultural style and First World shoppers can consume the food of almost anycountry on earth. In t964, I saw sugar cane and taro for the first time in thePapua New Guinea Highlands; twenty-five years on, I can choose Africanvarieties of them in a suburban Safeway in Manchester. Meanwhile, there istalk of schemes to privatise city streets with security guards and residents'patrols public areas are said to make the defence of domestic property toodifficult.

    It is tautologous to say that the change comes from microchips or consumerdemand or urban decay: this is the change. And so is the form that lateiwentieth-century individualism takes. Such individualism as the English wishto award themselves is after all a new individualism. In any case, individualenterprise is regarded as containing an inherent momentum towards novelty.

    In what sense, then, might we regard individualism as traditional if, as isalso the case, it is the enterprise of individuals that is held up as a source ofinnovation, development and the transformation of tradition? The oneabstraction (tradition) seems to work against and at once mask and expose theother (novelty). These are issues in the construction ofideas that are not to besettled by deciding'how much'tradition or novelty is found at this moment orthat. It is in order to approach the construction of ideas then, that I start with afield of phenomena in English culture that epitomises tradition under the


    pressure of change. .

    Kinship is my example. The period is roughly themodeinism of the 1860s to 1960s, but the view is from now (cf. Hastrup n.d.).If I sornetimes shift in tense, it is because the late twentieth century contains asrnuch as it supersedes this earlier modernism. I speak of kinship; the Fnglishlmore readily refer to family and relatives

    Family relationships are conventionAlly taken as embodying primordial i*.'r.. r ies rhat somehow exist outside or beyond the technological and polit ical f # *'

    rnachinations of the world, that suffer change rather than act as a force for I $ "/change. Indeed, the enduring ties of kinship may be regarded as archetypically I I

    Individuality and diversity l l

    traditional in antithesis to the conditions of modern life. The wider thenetwork and the more extensive the reach of kin relations or the moreemphatic the solidarity of the family, the more traditional they seem. It is,however, possible both to accept that conceptualisation of tradition and torealise its contemporary force. Precisely because kinship is supposed to beabout primordial relations, the fundamental facts it endorses have beenintrinsic to the cultural enterprise built up after it. Ideas about what is natural,primordial and embedded in the verities of family life are thereby maderelevant to the present, will be refashioned for the future. Where I rurn toearlier historical periods, it will be to amplify how such ideas revolve onthemselves and revolutionise us in the process.

    Facts of kinship

    Pets and childrenAn antithesis between an extensive reach of kin relations and the enterprise ofindividuals is one that Macfarlane (1978) would project far back into theEnglish past. There he finds quite habitual the denial of relationships and ofkin claims beyond the narrowest span. Individualism is traditionil for theEnglish. Go back to the thirteenth century, even, and you will discover theEnglish behaving in the same individualistic way we take as so typical of ourown tlmes. These connections led Macfarlane to conclude that the greathis.torical divide (the origins of capitalism) was not such a divide after all, and

    lndeed there was a reason why England was the first industrial nation of>k:npFtrr^^^ rr-

    -" - - - ' ' t

    - ' - \L:r^"f:ll::.,f1 'ue,e.'t' thai by"l50o, una.certainly 9L ]uio, lq;i:" i?'.0conditions for the modern view of nature were already.rtuuilrn.a egTg:gj). "( . -:'lu, *h.r"u, his account would stress the

    ""rti;;;;;it;;r"il;;;J:")a: ^"'alY"l '9..1', or of proclivities that are curiously .preserved', ir ii t is afso-an ' ' t"/ ' ' /iti),t;;;ki iJ*, o"iy.nau,o 1lhrno,- ^- , rinsofar as tney are'r;;;;;; in new forms: tradition is thereby reinvented ,--,th ^

    t rvrrrr l r r r lu

    :S!gy{ha!se. conversely we arrive at theffin -other view, that new ideas canonly emerge fiom theiir antecedents. It iis tradiit ion that chanses:: indeed, iti, uil ,t,ut iun.,',Lhl,-tt, of course, a view implicated in the very claim (which is my claim) to'rlndsight. There is a similar view implicated in the craim ro perceive

    a. -

  • 12 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    connections. It is an anthropological axiom that howeverdiscrete they appear

    to be, entities are the product of relations; nothing is not embedded in some

    contexr or worldview that gives it its special shape. I propose to take the axtom

    literally, as though what applies to discrete concepts also app.lies to individullp.rron, and that by relations we may also understand the 'relations lonc


    relatives) of English kinshiP'_

    The English iave. u ,p"iiul emotion for dwelling on tradition. or for


    i i dwell ins on-what is jusiout of reach of enterprise: sentimentality. Their*-.*/:^

    -;;il;?;i;ty for pets is a case in point. Macfarlane is taken with rhomas's.* V":- '' il;;';;'il; tint uetwe"n keepins pets and 'a modern, atomistic, kinship

    system' (19S7:-t5). The link is that of emotional satisfaction - pets act asj&: substitutes for children - and is one Macfarlane traces back into medieval'\ ir-"r.'fl" tri-self puts emotional attachment as a need that exists beyond


    outsidetherelat ionshipsand, indeed,suggestsi t isacause.rather lhan'af .oau", of relationships coming into being. such a need

    for surrogates is to be

    , interpreted *itt ,.rp."ito ail tle characteristics of English kinship that set it


    living units. Pets were regarded as luxuries, a1 altgllative children' which in

    turnmeantthattheEngl ishcametoregardchi ldren.asluxur iesalso,assuperior pets, and sentimlntally accorded them a kind of uniqueness therebS

    He cites (u86: 5afl sixteenth- and seventeenth-century depictions of childrenin

  • l4 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    an invitation to imagine the inclividual person being set against the givens oI

    his or her social situation, and against pre-existing relationships'It is somewhat paradoxical, therefore, to regard individualism as


    characteristi c oJ certain relationships themselves. The evidence, as we have

    seen, is the way that parents and children might in the past have arranged

    contractual ug...m.nt, with one another, or how like pets children may be the

    objects of their parents' special affection. To treat someone as 'special' isconceivablyasmucharelat ionaldeviceaStoenter intoanapparent lyimpersonal contract with them: both reconstructions make one kind


    ..i'utlonrrrip out of a relationship of another kind. What these particular

    possibilities have in common is the notion that the pre-existing character of'relationships need not after all be taken for granted. The implicit status of the

    parent-chiid tie can be circumvented, and the relationship explicitly re-

    constructed to the greater or lesser private satisfaction of the individual

    parties.' English ideas about the value of individualism and the individuality of"n, are not to be understood simply in terms of what they describe'

    namely by documenting people's solituae or resistance to taken-for-granted

    relationshtps - uny *o." than ideas or concepts exist on their own! They

    coexist witir others. The observer must consequently look at the management .-

    ofrelat ionshipsandattherelat ionsbetweenideas'Wemightconsider ' then'how the partiiular social relationship of parent and child generates the image

    of the child not just as son or daughier but as a unique individual. Indeed, weI might consider lfte indivielualitv is prrtont as the frst ./act oJ' English


    Letmespel lout theimpl icat ions.Likecont inui tyandchangeortradi t ionand novelty, society and individual may be construed in antithesis' Any one


    these concepts may be thought of as an element or force or principle that has a

    governing or reguiative effe:ct on people's lives insofar as it competes with its

    iair in {uantitative effect. Each pair of concepts thus seems to ofler a

    iotalisini perspective on life. At the same time there are many such

    p".rp."tiu.i, for many such antitheses run through English culture' 'Tradi-

    tion, is similar to but not quite the same as and hence overlaps with the idea of.cont inui ty, ; i t iscont inui tySeenfromthepointofv iewofwhat isregardedascharacteristic or typical about something. The'conventional' overlaps in turn

    with the idea of 'tradition'; it is tradition seen from the point of view of what is

    regarded as regulative in social life' Pairs of concepts may form a similar

    series. For instance, the idea of .enterprise'working against the inert influence

    of.cul ture ' ( t radi t ion/cont inui ty/convent ion)addsanotherperspect ivetowhat then appears as a string not of isolated concepts but of analogies' Finally

    a pair may ^well

    be comp-osed of elements (enterprise/inertia) internallyconnected as though each were, so to speak, the other in a prior (inertia) ortransformed (enterprise) state.

    Think of these partic;lar antitheses as though they modelled a reproductiveprocess. The chili that comes from its parents is not its parents. That the child

    Individuality and diversity t5

    is not its parents provides an image for thinking about the contrast betweentradition versus novelty, relationships versus individuals; that the child comesfrom its parents prompts a counterinterpretation. Tradition innovates;relationships produce individuals.

    Suppose these conceptualisations did indeed once constitute a reproduct-ive, or procreative (after Yeatman 1983), model. The model would be bothgrounds for and an outcome of kinship thinking. Its implicit developmental-ism rnakes generation appear irreversible: children seem further on in timefrom their parents; tradition comes 'before' change. we could thus say thatrelationships come'before'persons. Parents already united in a relationshipproduce individual children. we might further say that their unity as oneperson presupposes the individuality of the child. yet, in their children,parents (rersons in a relationship) also produce other than themselves(individual persons). Individuality would thus be borh a fact of and .after.k inship.

    Convention and choiceIndividualism has its own quantif ication effect - persons are thought toexercise more or less individuality, by analogy with the amount of freedomone has to act in this or that manner. It is even measurable between parentsand children, at least to the extent that the English regard children as moreindividualistic than parents. In the relationship between them, it seems thdf ,the parent can stand for the idea of relationship itself, cast in terms of giventies, obligation and responsibility, while the child demonstrates the capacity togrow away from relationships, as an independent person constructing hii qJ-her own reference points. Thus, as Janet Finch describes (19g9: 53). theparent's duty to care for the helpless child is more of a certainty than thechild's duty to care in later years for a helpless parent. However, it is quit6'possible to reverse the case, and stress the greater individuation ofthe parents(each representing a unigue-ti-dg-p-lrhe family; by conrrast with the child whooelongs to both. The Sarenr chil]\ relationship in fact offers a two-way 'appa-ratus for imagi ning-d egrees of i nd i vid uality.

    It is a characteristic of the organisation of ideas that I describe that almostany perspective can be countermanded by another. Hence the view ,from thecnlld'f inds, so to speak, another version in the view ,from the parent'. Thevtew from the child seems a specifically English echo of Macfarlane'sseventeenth- and eighteenth-cenlury obiervation'that obligations, l ikeernotion, flowed down [from pur"nt to child]' in that, after the juristDrackstone.

    'natural afrection descends more strongly than it ascends ' (19g6:"4,. lhe vrew from the parent has nineteenth-century antecedents in theuniqueness claimed for the parent-child relationship by virtue of its basis inthe individual identit ies of each parent. This uniqueness became, forli_ll$:,"ty, an index for those kinship systems to which English was'tttmatly perceived to belone.

  • 16 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    It was the American Morgan who, in classifying systems by theirdesignations of kin persons, showed that the conventions of descriptive kinterminology were not universal but constituted a distinct type. The type wascommon to ancestral Aryan, Semitic and Uralian language groups. as hecalled them, the last a category that included Europeans and Muslim peoplesof the biblical lands of the Near East, and thus in his view the ancestors ofwhat we would call Western civil isation (Trautmann 1987: 133). Anthropol-ogists who by and large reject the evolutionary model that lay behindMorgan's eventual sequencing of types nonetheless by and large accept thedistinctiveness of descriptive terminologies.

    A descriptive terminology acknowledges the uniqueness of a child'sparents, being based upon the 'correct appreciation' (so he said) of thedistinction between a l ineal and a collateral connection. A child's individualparents are differentiated from other senior kin, as in the English designationof these as aunts and uncles. Descriptive systems contrast with thoseclassificatory systems of kin terminologies from elsewhere in the world whichconfound these relations with others, and where parents and parents' siblingsmav be known bv a single term.

    Now originally, Morgan conceived the contrast as between those closer toand more distant from nature. The descriptive system was closer to the facts'---.Thus he characterised it as one that 'follows the actual streams of blood'(quoted by Trautmann 1987: 137). Indeed the draft opening chapter ofSl,stems of Consanguinity referred to family relationships existing in natureindependently of human creation. If genealogy was, in his view, a naturalarrangement, then the genius of the descriptive terminology was that itimplied true knowledge of the (universal) processes of parenthood andreproduction (cf. Schneider 1984: 98). The individuality of a child's particularmother and particular father was preserved in the distinctive kin terms.

    Morgan was writ ing in the 1860s, about the time of Taine's observations onthe English countryside. Adam Kuper (1988: 64-5) reminds us that Morganwas also a visitor to England, when he delivered copies of his S.ysle,fls in 1871.He called on Maine, Mclennan, Lubbock, Darwin and Huxley, and'took theLubbock Tylor model [of social evolution] back to America'. Brit ish socialanthropology was to become in turn heir to this American intervention (cf.Fortes 1969). However, parts of Morgan's theory were too much for some atthe time. John Mclennan's subsequent quarrel with Morgan included anattack on his explanation for classificatory terminologies, pointing to theabsurdity of imagining that anyone might not recognise 'his' own individualmother. Ever since, anthropological debate has largely concerned the validityof Morgan's classificatory models; but we might turn that around and reclaimMorgan from a Western perspective. In the course of making his classificatorydiscovery evident, he had also made the uniqueness of parental identity thefounding assumption of his analysis of that class of advanced, descriptivekinship terminologies which included those based on English language usage.

    Individuality and diversity 17

    Whatever one might say about the formal properties of the terminology,perh.rps the popularity of Morgan's scheme among anthropologists rests inihe d.monttrat ion that the indiv idual i ty of the parents v is ib ly contr ibutes tothe uniquenels. of the parent-child relationshifis a whole. The contrast iswith systems that do not afford such a sense of uniqueiress. For the twentieth-century English, that contrast reappears as an internal feature of therelationship itself, in the same way, as I have suggested, that one party to therelationship can Lpp-ggl:.Tglel ggique or individuated than the other.

    The general point is indicated in"ttre frequent interdigiration of kinshipterms and personal names. It is as though the very use of kin terms in Englishhas a classificatory cast to it, while personal names are held to be descriptive ofthe unique individual.3 A kin term denotes a relationship and thus aperspective on the person from another's viewpoint. of course, a contrast liesbetween kin terms themselves. Terms of reference for absent relatives appearmore formal than the often familiar diminution of terms of address. But whena name is regarded as more informal or personal than a kin term, then all kinterms come to have generic connotations. Between names, there is a furthercontrast in the differentiation of surname and Christian name. These days onetalks of first rather than christian name and, for most people, the conno-tations of the baptised name as admitting the person to a community of soulsis displaced by its personalising features (Firth, Hubert and Forge (1969: 304)equate the Christian name with'personal name'). In that aspect, the first nameis more personal, we might say, than the surname or family name.

    Here l ies a history within a history. Harold Nicolson, writ ing in 1955,comments thus on the twentieth-century revival of a fashion for first nameswhich had prevailed briefly in certain circles at the turn of the eiehteenth andnineteenth centuries:a

    In my own life-time ... the feeling about Christian names has [again] changedcompletely. My father would never have used the Christian name of any man orwoman who was not a relation or whom he had not known for at least thirty years.My aunt called her husband by his surname until the day of his death. It was in thereign of Edward VII that the use of christian names first became fashionable, andeven then it was surrounded by all manner ofprecautions and restrictions. Today toaddress a man by his surname might appear distant, snobbish, old-fashionable andrather rude. . . I am often amazed by the dexterity with which actors, band-leaders,merchants, clubrren and wireless-producers will remember to say 'Veronica' or'Shirley' to women to whom they iave not even been introducea. tnis engagrngnaott derives, I suppose, from the united states: from the beliefcherishea uy tnicrtlzens of that Republic that all men, as all women, are created equal and that thesegambits of intimacy form part of the pursuit of happiness. (Nic'holson 1955:273)

    N-ote the consensus about the signification of such shifts, that among anyctrcle of people the move from surnames to first names is a move fromtormality to informality; it parallels the decisions people make as to whetherrrrey use kin terms or names for their relatives. The latter is also interpreted as

  • l8 English kinship in the late twentieth century


    . / \-/ Exlrc.Fomtllol


    ./' --f- -:.z'cnrar.cnrNoeA

    i Great-cnndra \

    GMNDPA I G..ndr.GRANDAo I G.rnnyI Nanna (Nan)

    Aunt \

    UNCTEcouslN.. .


    FATHER MothcrDADDY (DAD) Mummy (Mum)PAPA (PA) Mamma (Mr)POP Mom

    Personal Namer

    AuntAuntieCourln. . .


    Terms of Address to Consanguine Kin

    Note. The figure is rranged in generation levels. For cousins and other kin ofown generation and below personal names are used.

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

    a gesture towards inforn-rality, as down-playing the given role element in arelationship and up-playing the uniqueness of the interpersonal dimension.

    What happens in everyday address is i l luminating in this regard. Plate 2 isreproduced from a study of families in London begun by Raymond Firth andhis colleagues some five years after Nicolson's observations (Firth, Hubertand Forge 1969:302). (An accompanying diagram not reproduced here showsthe rather different spread of terms used when people refer to kin in thepresence of third parties.) The authors of the study remark that English termsof address were regularly replaced or supplemented by personal namesprovided, that is, the addressees were ofa generation equal to orjunior to ego.Only a tiny percenta Ce (6%) of their respondents in the early 1960s recordedusing personal names to address parents (1969:. 304-6).

    Individual i ty and diversity

    4n interesting aspect of the interplay between personal names and kinterrns in intimate family life, then, lies in the asymmetry of reciprocal usage.Children are called by their personal names, parents and grand-parents by kinterrns, while aunts and uncles are often known by a combination of kin termand personal name. Members of a junior generation are also assumed to beyounger in age ('children' means both offspring and young persons). In somecircles, it is an affectation to address someone as son or daughter face to face,while sister and brother as terns of address often carries joking overtones. Inthe principal contrast between generic kin terms (for parents) and individualpersonal names (for children), individuality seemingly belongs 'more' to thechild than the Parent.

    It is parents who normally bestow these individual names. Althoughanyone can call themselves by what name they please, convention has it thatyour names are bestowed by the parents. So this individuation is established atbirth. Parents produce a unique offspring; it is the parents'duty to name theirchild, anticipating the child's individuality in exercising their own. While thereis no choice about giving the child a name, they can choose which name it is tobe, and may even think they have invented a name - my own Marilyn being acase in point. The child may, of course, determine usage; I do not use my initialname. Friends, like kin, also reserve to themselves the right to vary theperson's name as they please. Such practices can be taken as a particularexample of a more general distinction between convention and choice. Withinthe parent child relationship, I have asserted, that distinction is played out interms of expectations that parents will implement convention - 'socialising'their children - while children will implement choice - making 'their own'lives; or between the roles in which persons find themselves and their freedomto act as individuals, to which a generation difference adds weight (cf.Strathern 1982: 80, 84).

    $* le a t u ry o,[ c-o-nlemp o.uary. ]inship- pr"actice inrhe. I 980s" is-a.further s hift i nlnqlish t95m-i"qol9gi9+lp-et-t-ggg, rro-qlhe-b-i!-q+J.us9-9-lk-is*$-rl-edd-rps-sLuectose senior kin to a choice between that and the personal name. Again, wherefolmaritv as suctr is-regarffi'as"cdn$fairir-'tlii; i;-i;IG,il, u- liberatinglnlormality. Using the first name to personalise the person named seems of aptece with the idea that to treat people as persons one must treat them asunique individuals. For the current trend towards apparent terminologicalreciprocity is frequently held to be an act of mutual individuation: in havingthe liberty to treat the parent as an individual person, the child is 'more' of antndividual him/herself thereby. Yet calling a pirent by a first name is not quitethe same as calling the child by a first name. The child claims the greaterrloerty. Rather than establishing new conventions for relationships, then, themove is colloquially regarded as treating the parties to a relationship astndividual persons rather relatives. That ii, it is regarded as a negationof convention.

    Now there is no inherent reason why calling a person Ann is more or less


  • 20 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    individuating than calling that person Mother (cf' Firth, Hubert and Forge1969: 310).s-The number of Anns in the world no doubt run in hundreds ofthousands, while each person has only one mother. Indeed, Mary, a nriddle-class respondent in Firth's London study (Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969 311)explained her small daughter's use of a kin term towards her thus: 'To herthere 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 adistance, to make them feel less close. With respect to a circle of namedindividuals, then, the (generic) kin term can also work to a personalising effect.It singles out a specific tie. But much more than kin terms, names seem to addto the personalising move the significant factor of choice, itself an ingredientof informalitY.

    That a move away from kin terms in address, or away from titles andsurnames in other spheres, is imagined to be a move away from formality orconvention perhaps derives part of its power from former habits of address. Itwas once the case that a superior was at liberty to address an inferior by thefirst name but not the other way round. ln Morgan's time. servants as well aschildren will have been addressed personally, although the servant would havehad to take regard of the rank order among the children. Employers mightinvent names for their servants. What lent this liberty importance, however,has long ceased to signify. Rank has been reconceptualised in terms ofpersonal interaction, for the present choice appears simply between more orless formality. Formality still carries connotations of respect, but it hasbecome a matter of individual style whether or not one implements thatformality in intimate circles.

    A practice once definit ive of rank - call ing solrleone by their f irsl name - isno*i".n as a negation ofrank. That is, one convention is challenged not bywhat is perceived as another convention, but by what the English perceive tobe anti-convention. Underneath the convention, one discovers the 'real'person. Thus. to call a parent by a first name today is not necessarily a sign ofinsubordination or lack of respect. On the contrary, it may be encouraged bythe parent as a positive indication that within the family everyone has thechoice of being treated 'in their own right', as a person rather than simply assome role-player. They are all special, all as it were one another's pets. Toborrow the words of a Canadian sociologist, the solidarity of the modernfamily depends on'personal attachments' between individual members (Cheal1988: 144). Convention is concealed in the anti-conventional effect of'personal' expression. This bears on views of change and diversity.

    Like certain kin obligations, t ime is seen to flow downward. It therebycontributes to the asymmetry in relations between parents and children, andto the contexts in which parents are regarded as acting more from convention,children more from their capacity for individual choice. Out of the fact anddirection of generation, the antitheses between convention and choice orrelationships and individuality acquire a temporal dimension. Convention,

    Individual i ty and diversity

    l ike tradition, seems to be antecedent, to'come from' the past, while choice,l ike invention, seems to l ie in the future. In kinship idiom, children are futureto the parents' past. Increased variation and differentiation invariably lieahead. afragmented future as compared with the communal past. To be new isto be different. Time increases complexity; complexity in turn implies amyltiplicity or plurality of viewpoints.

    Ilmodern people in the 1950s and 1960s did indeed see the future as full ofmore and more highly individualised persons, more heterogeneity, manyanalogies for the process were available to them. Change could be identified:l. when convention was challenged, as in the shift from formality toinformality in kin address; 2. when persons were able to exercise greater choicethan before, as in what they wished to call another; 3. in increasing attention toindividuality, so that when personal relationships overrode kinship oblig-ations. individual agency was seen to override stultifying givens of existence,manifested in the equation of physical with relational separateness; 4. in theconsequent association between greater individuation and greater variationordifferentiation, as in the notion that, as individuals, persons were singular inthe sense of being unique and therefore innately variable; 5. in simplemagnitude, in that with more things in the world more individuals - increaseitself indicated change; and so forth. In sum, the future was knowable by theinfinite possibil i t ies it held. Although any of these conditions might beimagined in reverse - more red tape, more constraints - such a reverse flowalso appeared to go against what was apprehended as natural development.For the conditions could all be referred to the further supposition that overtime things naturally evolve from simple to complex states.6 Complexitydisplayed a variety and plurality of individual forms whose interconnectionschallenged any simple systematisation. Thus we arrive at the English view ofthe individualist who knew his/her own mind and made a life for him/herself,with the past thought of as relatively communal and homogeneous by contrastwith a varied. heterogeneous future.. .

    This proliferation of concepts, forming a string of associations betweenroeas that are not quite the same (continuity/tradition/convention:change/novelty/choice) supports the modern connection between the twinprocesses ofdifferentiation and complexification. There were'many' conceptsin the same way that the world was full of 'many' things - so that even whatappears the same (such as continuity/tradition) on closer inspection could bedifferentiated (continuity is a question of time, tradition one of form). Thisanticipated proliferation modelled the very comprehension of change. It alsosuggested that one's perspective was a matter of choice..

    Ideas about increasing social complexity were concordant with ideas abouttncreasing natural complexity (cf. Cohen 1985: 22). Time and variationoecame inextricably l inked in this scheme, and the mid-twentieth-centuryhabit of referring io contemporary society as 'complex' had just such aresonance. All I wish to bring into this well-known picture is the fact that the


  • 22 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    same sequence was reproduced in the context of family relationships,encapsulated in the widely held notion that as personal choice and autonomybecame more important, kin conventions became less so. The diminishingimportance of kinship over the generations appeared a reflex not just ofincreasing individuality but of increasing complexity in l i fe at large. That thedevelopment was anticipated meant that such diminution was also intrinsic tothe conceptualisation of kinship relations themselves.

    Modernist complexity was perceived not so much as the complexity ofinvolute and self-repeating patterns, oflayer upon layer oftextual exegesis orof the juxtaposing of mystical and mundane experience, as above all an effector outcome of quantity. The more people there were, the more points of view,the more potential differences of perspective. This intimate connectionbetween complexity and plurality rested on one presupposition. Proliferation.led to complexity provided what increased was not homogeneity butheterogeneity. Complexity was thus held in place through a commitment topreserving diversity, underpinned by the notion that if what were reproducedwere unique individuals. diversity would be the natural result. But insofar asdiversity appeared to be in the nature of things, its naturalness also made it aprecondition. This gave a fresh twist to the reproductive model.

    As part of the supposed modelling of the reproductive process to which Ireferred earlier, I take diversity as a second fact of modern kinship. Whrleindividuals strive to exercise their ingenuity and individuality rn the way theycreate their unique lives, they also remain faithful to a conceptualisation of anatural world as diverse and manifold. Individual partners come together tomake (unified) relationships; yet as parents they ought at the same time tostand in an initial condition ofnatural differentiation from each other. In therelationships they build and elaborate upon, it is important that the priordiversity and individuality of the partners remain. Such relationships are'after' individuality, even as human enterprise is modelled upon and in thatsense 'after'nature with its own impetus to variation. If in order to reproducepersons must preserve natural diversity, then diversity would be both a fact ofand have a priority 'before' kinship.

    Diversitt, and the individuql caseSuch a reproductive model would have no purchase if the facts of kinship didnot resonate with how people see and know the world. Let me exemplify theworkings of the model in connection with one way in which the modernEnglish reproduce and create knowledge afresh for themselves. Conceptualis-ing a world full of individuality and diversity gave rise to certain'questions'.My'answer' offers an explanation or context for one particular question, fromhindsight.

    The question sounds obvious: to whom are my present remarks meant toapply?

    Individuality and diversity

    r Ising myself as I have occasionally done offends the canons of generalis-

    ^rif,ns: qua individual, that is, by virtue of my uniqueness, I have no

    l,..esentative status. One would only draw so narrowly on one case by

    .i'"*ing some connection with individuals in the aggregate: generalisations

    "re fashioned from what a plurality of individuals share in common. Hence

    lne should really specify what replicable features form the reference point for

    ln.'r .*u.ple. After all, I purport to be making general observations abouttcinsirip. but where do I f it in - and to what area or region do the observationsrefer? If the vast diversity of Western culture cannot be collapsed into a

    homogeneity, the same is also true of Britain. There are class, geographical,occupational and these days ethnic differences between the British, none ofwhich can be aligned in any simple way with'the English'. In fact, the same isalso true of each individual, with his or her own life experiences. Whenever Ilook at a social unit, including the individual person, and even if i t is myself, itseems as though I can only make sense of the isolated case by putting that unitor person into their social or cultural context, and thus accounting for boththe specificity and replicabil ity of its or his/her position. Obviously, thisqualification puts innumerable problems in the way of characterising'English' kinship.

    The problems evidently faced Schneider apropos'America', and his exercisehas been criticised on this account. Sylvia Yanagisako (l 978: I 98 5) shows thata Japanese American understanding of the relationship between Japaneseand American culture distinctively qualifies the way in whichJapanese Americans interpret'relatives' and 'persons', the apparently basicelements of American kinship.T Anyone embarking on a study of Englishkinship practices would certainly feel bound to specify the class backgroundof their study, and would expect to be dealing with class distinctive features.Taine's Englishman is all very well in his country home, but we know that thenumber ofcountry homes per head ofpopulation has never been very great atany time in England's history. We cannot conceive of not qualifyinggeneralisation by attention to the specific social and cultural background ofthe individdals to whom it is meant to apply.

    To what context, then, do I address myself? Habits, practices, norms,nomenclature

    - anything the English might wish to say about 'Englishrtnship' (cf. Schneider's l ist, 1968: l4-18) seems subject to diversity. And towhat range of practices do I address myself? Individualism and diversity donot seem on the face of it to have any specific place in the domain of kinship atlll. Mo..ou.r, I have not only invoked a high level of generality but have gone.o.yond even 'the English' in implying that these or similar concepts alsobelong to a field of Western ideas, while social scientists know that when theytook al specific institutions they find there is never any single Western type.

    This has been Michael Anderson's (1980: l4) argument as far as the familyrs concerned. Michdle Barrett and Mary Mclntosh (1982) cite him to this effecttn their own characterisation of 'the anti-social family'.


  • Do we suggest that the family, recognizable in its different forms, is an essentiallyanti-social institution, or that this particular type of family is anti-social? In one

    sense there ls a'correct 'answer to this questioni v'e must refer to a part icular,

    historicalty and socially specifc,form offamily since no general or essential,categorycan be derived analytically from the many varied arrangements commonly lumpedtogrtnq as the famity. . . Michael Anderson, for instance, writes . . ' that 'the oneun'ambiguous fact wirich has emerged in the last twenty years is that there can be no,i*pte nlrto.y of the Western family since the sixteenth century because there is not,nor ever hai there been, a single family system. The West has always beencharacterized by diversity of family forms, by diversity of family functions and bydiversity in attitudes to family relationships not only over time but at any- one pointlin time. There is, except at the most trivial level, no Western family type' [Anderson1980: l4]. (Barrett and Mclntosh 1982:81; my emphasis, origina| emphasisremoved)

    A related position is encapsulated in the opposite argument which they also

    cite, not that there are potentially many forms but only one (and see DavidMorgan 1985: 16ff1.

    Anderson's position . . . is entirely denied by Peter Laslett. Far from endorsing theview that nosingle lamily form is characteristic of the West, Laslett maintains that,pending evidenCe to the contrary, we should assume that the nuclear form of theiamily prevails. He argues . . . that tlepartures from this J'amily form are merely the'fortuitous outcomes' of localtzed demographic, economic or personal factors' In hisinsistence that the extended family is no more than a sociological myth, Laslett putsforward the proposition that'the present state of evidence forces us to assume thatthe family's organization was always and invariably nuclear, unless the contrarycan be proved' [Laslett 1972 x,73]. (1982:83, my emphasis)

    English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Barrett and Mclntosh's own conclusion, and one to which I shall return, isthat the family is a contested concept. lt is the place of diversity that is ofimmediate interest.

    Diversity appears as an interference to generalisation; either there are.many' typ-es oielse only 'one'. Once diversity is admitted, we can conceive itas starting with individual experience and proliferating through heteroge-neous potulations and organiiations in a way that defies as much as it aidsreduction. Social scientists are generally happy to settle for a middle rangediversity, such as class and ethnic background. Firth's study was not justaddressed to families in London, but to middle-class families in two residentialareas. Indeed, to reveal that in talking mainly about middle-class kinshipvalues I am drawing on a privileged educational background, as well as a

    suburban upbringing in souihe.n England, will perhaps make the reader feelon securer ground and might even allow me to use myself as an informant of

    sorts. My representative status would be evident'But as far as the account as a whole is concerned I do not propose to defend

    my remarks on the grounds of their representativeness' They are intended to

    be exemplary. To repeat an earlier point: none of us leads generalised lives'only speiific ones. One therefore always works through concrete instances'

    Individuality and diversity

    ond encounters. general ideas' values' norms' habits of conduct in particular

    - rr ic in thls sense that I take 'English kinship' as a particular form of

    f@t--l 'u'""hio. But my concern is not with a subculture of Western culture, xrfi':"",.ffi ,, :Ji ;; ff [H:i;ilff ,]i""h*l *.-or i ncati on is at once

    t?l'""".in.tess appears necessary. to.specify what might be particular to the.^:: i" which I render English kinship itself. I should be true to a specific

    l"rr*;.As will become apparent (see Chapter Four), there are several reasons

    .'-.-,.--, f.,"u, on middle-class usage, largely to do with the way the middle class

    J",i".ir,, and communicate what they regard as general social values. Yet

    iuriiJuri,y does not stop there. There are many middle-class ways of doing

    itrrr, and southern suburbs are not the same as northern ones, and not all

    .,r#rrionulr are yuppies. The original question raises its head. What then is

    Iie middle class type? If English kinship is to be exemplified in its middle-classiorr, ttt"n it would seem that the middle class is to be exemplified in someparticular education, regional and cultural style, a choice that invites us toionsider further occupational and local variants; and so on'

    When David Schneider and Raymond Smith (19'73) attempted to grasp thediversity of American kinship, they did so by making middle-class kinshipexemplary in a strong sense. Schneider's (1968) earlier study in Chicago in the1960s had focused on a middle income population. Although this populationevinced the cultural apparatus of 'American kinship', there were also markeddivergences from what Schneider and Smith call 'lower-class' kinshippractices, and the comparison is the subject of the joint monograph. Theyconcluded that the middle-class values they had analysed - includingemphasis put on the growing autonomy of the child and intra-familialindividualism (cf. Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969 460) - in fact encompassedlower-class values. Lower-class kinship did not comprise a separate subcul-ture, but promoted values and attitud-es specifically in reference to middle-class ones, which thus held a hegemonic status. Moreover, middle-class valueswere symbolically deferred to as ideal and generalisable (conventional), whiletower-class values were taken to represent a particular and specific kind ofstruggle ('real life' choices) with the 'real world' of limited resources.

    One contrast between middle- and lower-class kinship practices lay in theextent to which middle-class families emphasised .o-p"i*". in the manage-ment ofsocial relations and applied rationality principles to decision-makingtDchneider and Smith lg73: 114). They endorsed innovation, and werell"t:-|* on enterprises, including the .making' of relationships, that is,:;:::tru.cting relationships through explicit affective and pracrical dimen-f'.* 'tas tn love-making, cf. varenne rgjj: lggff). Similar features have been;;"s1iy retelant to middle-class English kinship; more than that, the middleil"::.",* been a vehicle for widespread and radical social change. However, In*"1"_' luu. the material to hand to contrast middle- and (what the EnglishPrcfer to call) working-class kinship practices as far as the English are


  • 26 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    concerned. I cannot make the middle class exemplary in the hegemonic andencompassing sense that Schneider and Smith intended.

    If there is a class dimension to my account, it addresses the opportunities forcommunication the middle class have made for themselves in tenns ofeducation and the dissemination of ideas through writ ing and reflection. Thisis the class that does not just advertise but analyses its own conventions. Thisis the class that makes its implicit practices explicit to itself. Here is thecommon background to the intimate connection between indigenous modelsof kinship and the way in which scholars over the century between the1860s-1960s have described society and the nature of social relationships,especially the way in which anthropologists have approached and reflected onkinship systems themselves.

    one could think, for instance. of the connection that George Stocking(1987: 20u2) makes apropos certain changing circumstances of middle-classfamily l i fe in England from the I 8 50s onwards. The attention being paid to thepossibil i ty of divorce going through the courts rather than throueh parlia-ment can be related to the then current debate among anthrJpologicalscholars on matriarchal institutions. Thus he suggests that the argument ofMclennan's Primitive Marriage, published in 1g65, two years before the firstMatrimonial causes Act was passed, 'was conditioned by the contemporaryconcern with problems of human sexuality and by the processes of socialchange affecting the institution of human marriage' (Stocking 19g7:201).

    That particular legislative practices in England raised in people's mindsuniversal issues to do with human sexuality returns us to the relationshipbetween the particular and the general as a cultural fact. The question ofhowone moves from individual cases to generalisations about systems is, so tospeak, an indigenous one. Indeed the ielationship is a problematic that hasboth informed the aims of descriptive practice and has seemed to prevent theelucidation of the perfect system. If overcoming imperfect desciiption hasdriven scholarly practice for a century, it in turn has at once been iuelled byand sought resolution in a pluralist specification of quantity.

    The specification has had two dimensions. Generalisation implies thatcollectivities are made up of units which can be enumerated. Society can thusbe imagined as a plurality of particulars, as'a collection of individuals'(cf.Schneider and Smith 1973:21). However, there have always been competingmodels to this vision of society. Michael carrithers (19g5: 236) observes that'a view of how individual human beings should interact face to face is notnecessarily the same as a view of how they should interact in respect of asignificant collectivity'. The latter, alternative, rendering evokes anotherquantif ication: the extent or degree to which a collectivity transcends its parts.

    Under this second specification, individuals can only be defined inreflerences to the whole. The question then becomes 'how much' of thetranscendent whole is to be found in each. For if the former specification givesrise to enumeration and thus to quantity in the sense of trre plurality or

    Individuality and diversity

    ,nul t ip l ic i ty ol ls ingular) uni ts that can be counted. then the lat ter g ives r ise to",,unii,V

    by volume or weight. What can be traced back to Edward Tylor'slrltrt.-rtug.' or'degree of culture', as Tim Ingold notes (1986: 441, cf.stocking 1968), was already there in Morgan's notion of greater or lesserJ.*r.m of civil isation. It is also there in the historical dispute about whether

    ,oJr. or less change/continuity can be observed, as well as in what I havededuced to be kinship assumptions about some people being in positionswhere they show more uniqueness or more individuality than others and whoare in that sense 'more' of a person. Sociai scientists might no longer speak oferades of social development in an evolutionary idiom, but were sti l l in the1960r u"ry concerned with the amount of choice or volume of freedom thatindivid uals could exercise.

    Whether or not this investment in specifying quantity is part of the middle-class pursuit of rationality as a utilitarian, competence-enhancing endeavour,sthe specifications also make individuality and diversity into generalisablephenomena. They in turn resolve the phenomenon of individual differenceinto another phenomenon. the capacity to analyse. What becomes measurableisthe degree of applicability of either the individual case or diverse examples toa generalised account of them. I give a brief i l lustration.

    Stocking (1987: 200 1) suggests that it is from the 1860s that one finds thefirst hint of a number decline in the English middle-class family. The ideaprevalent in the 1960s that 'the [middle class] family is small in size' (Fletcher1962 125) seems eminently quantifiable. If the reference point were thenuclear family based on the household, then one could look at changinghousehold demography (by contrast with the past) or at comparative statistics(by contrast with the working class); either procedure assumes that what is tobe enumerated are the numbers of individuals. What relatives live together?On the other hand. one could look at the degree to which family memberscooperate or assist one another, a volume of behaviour measurable perhaps interms of frequency of visits and amount of help (e.g. Young and Willmott1957). How strong is the link between this or that kinsperson? Now both typesof magnitude have a significant non-quantif iable dimension. The very ideathat families evince one or other kind of 'size'is taken to be a general state ofaffairs. That is, the analyticalproposition can be applied to all families, so thatregardless of the particular measurements all are measurable.

    In short, quantity (volume and enumeration) solves the problem of how tothink of both individuality and diversity with respect to the general. One canmeasure the degree to which values are prevalent or how a society allows thisor that through the behaviour of individual persons as in showing thepercentage of personal name usage for parents. Description based on suchanalysis encompasses both the representative and the unrepresentative.Conversely, any analytical type can be shown to have its counterpart in aparticular (segment of) population. Only where the population cannot bespecified does generality or representativeness make no sense. Hence


  • 28 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Anderson's sarcasm: there is no western family type because, of course, thereis no general western population as such. There are only a mass ofdifferencesbetween people who imagine themselves as Westerners.

    This self-evident proposition becomes in turn my own starting point. weare dealing with people who themselves make generalisationr, *ho imaginethey are part of larger collectivities, who act with reference to what theyassume to be widespread norms and such like, and who are consequentlypreoccupied with what they take to be a relationship between the pariiculaiand the general. The English thus distinguish between phenomena whoseown character includes the fact of their generality and those that seemcharacteristically atypical or individual. A version of this familiar toanthropologists is the question of how far 'symbols' are shared. lt rs notconfined to the English. As Anthony cohen (19g6; l9g7) has shown in hisstudy of whalsay in the Shetland Islands, the truth of the matter is that whenpeople draw on certain symbolic usages they are drawing on constructs whoseproperty includes the assumption that they are shared - it is they whogeneralise, and also thus (in the whalsay case) evoke a community of scientists (including anthropologists) replicate people's accounts, andwhat we might call indigenous analysis, in attempting to measure the extent ofthe sharing: how many people hold this view; how strongly they hold it, and soon. Quantification presumes diversity as a given.

    Now' as Yanagisako shows in Japanese-American attitudes towardstradition, kinship offers a field for the display of diversity. when thought ofagainst other facets of life, kinship relationships are redoGnt of tradition andcommunity; yet by the same token tracing genealogical connections back intothe past, thinking about one's roots, can also diversify the past intoinnumerable'different' and specific traditions.

    Esther Goody and christine Groothues (r9g2: 2r7) cite the judgement ofthe President of the High court Family Division in 1972 ton"rrn,ng uGhanaian girl being fostered by a professional English couple. whereas herGhanaian parents had intended to have her grow up with an educationaladvantage before returning to Ghana, the Englisir couple pressed foradoption. one of the grounds was the length of time the giil hai been withthem. Thejudge felt obliged to offer some general remarks.-His analysis of thesituation was that a problem had been created by the west African practice ofcoming to Britain to study or work and then fostering out children, a probleminsofar 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 forgedbetween the children and foster parents, the natural parents take them away.,In other words, in providing a home, the foster parents had accustomecr thechild to a specific way of life.

    .lh1 sngclfic family arrangements of the English couple are being contrastedwith the failure of the Ghanaian parents (he iaid) to'provide u hI-"'for the

    \Individual i ty and diversity

    child. From this perspective, the specific belongs to a general ('British')iradition and is held to represent shared values. But if home is where ways ofl ife are transmitted. a further source of diversity becomes apparent. Thespecific can also become particular and non-representative.

    Kin lives are private lives, the home is an intimate place, and every familyhas its own conventions. Whether or not they are shared with others of l ikeclass or region, or can be claimed for the nation, lives are lived according tosoecific domestic styles. If tradition is past style, style is present tradition; andin ttrelr styles, famtlies are like so many individuals. Hence the judge'sreference to particular attachments. While each family has the opportunity toreareare a general style or generic tradition ('class') in the way children arebrought up, in becoming the focus of deliberate, decision-making transmis-sion, such style may equally well be claimed as unique and innovative. TheEnglish point to the changes they have seen since the early twentieth century inhousehold structure, rates of divorce, the meaning of adoption, patterns ofcare, state intervention, and so forth. In any case, couples do their particularthing. Certainly in relation to their own children, parents move on from whattheir parents did; each family quite appropriately creates its own modes, evenas each parental couple produce in each child a new individual. In short, every'home' (to use the judge's term) exemplifies the same, unique combination ofpossibil i t ies.

    The relationship between the particular and the general, the unique and therepresentative, belongs to an elementary mathematics that both differentiatesoneness and plurality and sees each as a product of operations done on theother. Thus, l ike'society' itself, kinship may carry the resonance of a traditionor a community made up of a collectivity of values or of individuals; theirattributes contribute to its aggregate character (enumeration). At the sametime, kinship may also appear as a transcendent order which allows fbrdegrees of relatedness or solidarity or liberty and for relative strength in the'expression' of values; it is l ike an organism which functions as a whole entityto determine the character of its parts (volume). This is true both of relatives(the number one knows, the extent of attachment) and of families (how largethey are and how cohesive). 'The English' similarly appear as now aggregate,now organism.


    Quantity is compelling. It offers a way of imagining the generalisationsthrough which the English have analysed their own culture. But unless wecompletely take the actors'view, such indigenous analysis must be a subject ofand not merely the means to study. It is particularly interesting for the naturallimits it sets to comprehension. Recall the framing of the questions that if Iwrsh to generalise about English culture then complexity the pluralism ofsocial forms inevitably appears to interfere with my task. Diversity seems aninevitable fact of nature, self-evident when one thinks of human beings asthemselves so many individuals. On its head, however, the problem is rather


  • 30 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    how the English make it self-evident that the world is plural, complex and fullof individuals. Of what, then, and how is this pressing sense of heterogeneitycomposed?

    Facts of nature

    Who are the English?Over the century between the 1860s and 1960s,'the English'acquired certaindefinitive features, although they are ones that have, since the counter-emergence of ethnic polit ics in the 1970s and 1980s, been thrown into disarray.In that period of innocent ethnicity, the English were regarded both as aproductive amalgam of diverse peoples and as a highly individualistic nationholding on to individualism as a transcendent characteristic of themselves.The aggregating concept stressed the 'melting pot' symbolism of hetero-geneity, the organic concept that of a redoubtable character that was only tobe exemplified idiosyncratically in each individual English(man). The Englishwere thus self-defined in an overlapping way as at once a people and a set ofcultural characteristics. I exploit the ambiguity in my own account. and referto the English as though they were identifiably both.

    The following rendition sets out some definitions of a sort. In 1929, theProfessor Dixon to whom I alluded gave a series of public lectures on theEnglishman at University College London. He took the occasion as aninvitation to expatiate on the distinctiveness of the English. We are treated toThe English Character, The English Genius, The English People, the EnglishSoul, The English Bible, and to cap it indubitably (cf. Brooker andWiddowson 1986: I l9), 'Shakespeare the Englishman'. It is in his lecture onthe English genius that Dixon claims the Englishman is typically anindividualist (1938: 65). As a population of individualists, the English are also'a many headed people' (1938: 71).

    What is an individualist? our sage asks. 'He is a man more guided by his ownopinions than by those he hears about him, not content to blindly follow thecrowd, who desires to see things for himself, one in short who 'shouldersresponsibility for his acts and judgements', with all the latter-day qualities ofreliance and init iative (1938: 68-9). Indeed, rather than following thesuggestions of others, he would by choice work 'in his own garden on hispr ivate plan'(1938:67). By the same token, he is ' to lerant 'of the habi ts ofothers. Dixon slides into a paean on diversity. Because of its respect forindividuality, he argues, England has nurtured a multiplicity of spirits andopinions, and '[W]here in any society wil l you meet such a curiously varied, soparti-coloured mental tapestry' (1938:72). This in turn leads to the celebrationof the English as a hybrid people in terms of their origins; 'an astonishinglymixed blend', this 'glorious amalgam' (1938: 90) is the natural generator ofmanifold talent.

    Individuality and diversity

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

    Kent. which stands with Norfolk and Suffolk highest on [the] roll of fame amongEnglish counties, although extremely prolific in the sixteenth and seventeenthcenturies, decayed in the eighteenth, and wholly lost her genius-producing power inthe nineteenth. . . Thus a country or a county may lose, though we know not why,its mysterious vitality.

    The predominantly Saxon districts. Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire andHampshire, stand low on the list of talent, comparing very unfavourably in thisrespect with Dorset and Somerset in the west. Buckinghamshire to the North, andKent, Norfolk and Suffolk to the East. we observe, then that in the regions wherethe component elements are most numerous, where there is most mixed blood, thegreatest ethnic complexity, genius or ability most frequently appears. The hybridshave it. Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent are the counties in which the mingling of races isgreatest, and precisely these counties, and not the purely Saxon or purely Norse, arerichest in talent. (1938: 108)

    His book is about the generic Englishman, and 'his' genius in that sense; whatthe analysis then uncovers are the hybrid individuals (literally, the geniuses)whose qualif ication for being considered truly English l ies in their talent andthus in their evident exercise of it. And if he can count up the number ofcounties who have produced geniuses by comparison with those that have not,he can also talk about Englishness itself as a matter of degree. In realising thatthe term is not susceptible to exact definition, he writes: 'Some of us in theseislands are more, some less English, some of us, of course, in no sense Enslishat al l ' (1938; 5).

    The lectures celebrate the achievement of a period - particularly between1880 and 1920 - when 'English' was being legitirnated is a national culture(colls and Dodd l987). Nations did not just have characteristics or traits, theyhad cultures. In the later years of the nineteenth century, the new system ofeducation was held in part responsible for the state of this freshly ac-knowledged nationhood (Dodd ilaZ' :;. The salient question became whatattributes were to be taken as representative enough to be taught in schools,how a sense of being English might be conveyed. Among th. trudition,promoted in art, letters, music and architecture with which pupils becametamiliar was the ruralism of southern England (cf. Howkin, DSZ, O:;.

    Institutions such as 'English' u, un .du.utionar curriculum or as anacademic discipline taught at universit ies had to be invented: rural cortagesand the countryside were there to be discovered. But they had to be discoveredoeyond the distress of the then agricultural depression, and were evokedabove all in a particular form of past rurality, namely the Tudorism ofrttzabeth's England (Howkins 1987:70). As a style, Tudorism was eminentlyrecoverable. Under the Henrys and Elizabeth, domestic dwellings had for therrrst t ime become significant both in number and in substance. Manor houses


  • JL English kinship in the late twentieth century

    acquired a novel spaciousness aDd were built in the newly durable combi-

    nations of brickwork and half-timbering that meant even modest cottages

    -ignt rtiff be occupied three hundred years later. Like the Bard claimed by

    Diion, and despite the Welsh origins of the name, Tudorism was at once

    visible in the landscape and indubitably English'In ,",.orp.ct, Engiishness thus takes an architectural form, humorously

    conveyed Uy OsUe.i Lancaster's drawings of domestic interiors which first

    uppear"d in tSfS. But under Lancaster's hand any one of a number of

    evocative forms serves: his sketchings evoke the diversity through whichEnglishness could c/so appear. Stockbrokers Tudor is flanked by AldwychFaicical. Modernistic, Cultured Cottage and Vogue Regency'

    All over Europe the lights are going out, oilJamps, gas-mantles, electroliers. oldeTudor lanthorns, staniards anJwall-brackets, and whether or not they go on againin our time, the present moment seems as good as any in which to contemplate therooms they havi illuminated in the past. For the history of the home provides themost intimate, and in some ways ihe most reliable, picture of the growth anddevelopment of European culture. . . [F]or self-revelation, whether it be a Tudorvilla on the by-pass oi a bomb-proof chalet at Berchtesgaden, there's no place likehome. (Lancaster 1953: Preface to lst edn, 1939)

    But although he Europeanises the context. it is clear that Lancasterpresenting an English version of European culture. on the word 'home'

    comments:it serves, among other duties, to distinguish a psychological type - 'homeloving'; ahigh of Jiscomfort -'home comforts'; a standard of moral values 'there's

    no ptaci like it'; a noticeable lack ol physical charm - 'homely'; and a radioprog.ut ,o.ofoutstandingboredomB'B'C'HomeserviceButdespi tethisi.e.i"ndou, adjectival expinsion it still retains. beneath layer after layer of thetreacliest sentiment, its original substantive meaning of the house in which one lives'

    on closer investigation-one is able to isolate the proper application of the word.home' still further, and properly confine it to the inside ol one's house. . . [T]heword implies a sphere over which the individual has complete control; hence tts

    .norrnou, pop ulirity in a land oJ' rugged individualists. And whereas the appearanceof the interioi of one's house is ihe outcome ol'one's own personal tastes, prejudicesand bank balance, the outside in ninety-nine cases out ofa hundred is the expressionof the views on architecture of a speculative builder, a luxury flat magnate' or evnoccasional ly an eighteenth-century country gentleman' (1953: 9' my emphasis'punctuation emended)

    of all the styles he brought to light, stockbrokers Tudor became widelyadopted as a self-description by those whose pretensions were thus so gently

    parodied.My own disaffection tiom/affection for Stockbrokers Tudor l ies in the

    southern English road in which I grew up. Its avenue of semi-detached houses,black and white fiontages hinting at Tudorbethan gables, was built in the late1920s; the houses *"."-by no .n"un, as grand as the Osbert Lancaster interiorsuggests. though such houses and no doubt such people were round the



    Individual i ty and diversity J-t


    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/).)\ f OT e ven rhe f i rst uor ld rvar and i ts afrcrmath could scnsibly diminishI \

    thc ant iquarian cnrhusiesm which hrd f i rst gr ipped the Errgl is l r^

    ! publ ic ear ly in Vicror ia 's reign ; and t l ,e .rcrmou. advance inmass-product ion mcthods that took place during the iDter_war period onlyserved to increase the enormous output of handicrafts. The experiencegained in aircraft and munition factorics tvas soon bcinq utilizeJ itr themanufa.ture ofold oak beams, bott le-glass rr ind6y-panq. Jnd wrouglr t_ironTudor ) ight ing l ixturcs.

    In intcr ior dccc'rat ion thc chcr ishcd idcal, relent lcssly and al l toosuccesfulJy pursud,.uas a glor i f icd vcrsion of i \nne Hatharvay,s cortagc,\ !1t I 5u( n modlh(al tuns as were r)e( es\ t rv lo cuDf i , rm to t r r l ) \ i l l r l r t icstandards ofplumbing. In construct ion the Tudor note was truly sounded :in thc furnishing considerablc deviat ions from s(r ict per iod accuracv w., .pcrmissible.


    Thus cightcenth-ccn(ury four-p,,srers, Rcgcncy sampleis, andVictor ian chintzcs al l soon came to be regardcd u, TrJo, by adopt ion_atleast in estate agcncy circ les.

    Soon certain classes of the community were in a position to pass thcirwhole l ivcs in

    -one long El izabethan day-drcam; spencl ing t l r ; i r nigirrs

    undcr high-pi tched roofs and ancient eaves, thcir days in l rekking fromTudor golf c lubs to half- t imbercd cocktai l, anj their evcnires rncontemplat ing I \ {r . Laughton,s robusr intcrprcrat ion of Henrv Vl l l ;midthe Jacobcen plesterwork of the Glor irnr prh, e.

    i.*il nl:{lr .t Tu do r, e a r l.t. r tr t n r ie I h ce n t u r 1.' rum the 1953 edition of Hontes Sv,eer Hones by Osbert Lancaster, originallyuuDtished in 19i9.irTt"^ltq by kind permission of osbert Lancaster, A Cortrxtn Hisrory of Architecture,- 'ru John Murray (publ ishers) Ltd.

  • J+ English kinship in the late twentieth century

    corner. The estate was thus under construction at the time when Dixon wasdelivering his lectures. Aspiring to a garden suburb, it had been carved out ofan ancient woodland that once supplied Elizabeth I 's successor with timberfor his fleet, and some of whose remaining oaks carry individual preservationorders. Like nrany stately homes in England, the trees are no longer privateproperty but part of everyone's past.

    The Garden Suburb had sprung up in the wake of the garden city movementof the 1900s. one visionary model of the garden city, in the words of EbenezerHoward, rested on making the distinction between town and country quiteexphcit. 'Town and country must be married and out of this joyous union wil lspring a new hope, a new life and a new civil ization'; it was to be a marriage'ofrustic health and sanity and activity [and] of urban knowledge and urbantechnical facility, urban political co-operation' (quoted by Thorns 1973: 17).The very phenomenon to be avoided was the formless homogeneity of the oldurban suburbs. The garden city promised a completely new urban form. But itwas the garden suburb that spread with such popularity in the interwar years;and, neither urban nor rural, it was to collapse rather than sustain thedistinction.

    Let me return to one aspect of Dixon's rendition. This is the notion thatdiversity is a natural outcome of the mingling of difl'erent peoples, an amalgamwhich preserves its original vigour. Inter-mingling contains a genetic image ofcross-fertilisation, though the difference between plant and animal imagerymight give one pause. I suspect the hybrid that Dixon celebrates is to bethought of as rose rather than mule. Unlike the steri le mule, the cultivated rosewith its Tudorbethan resonances grows healthily on a wild rootstock. Indeed,the vigorous programme of hybridisation developed by plant-breeders overthe hundred years since the 1860s literally turned a modest victorian shrubinto the most prolif ic and diverse flowering bush in the English garden. Aboveall, in the range of roses called Hybrid rea, according to my 1976 gardeners'manual, one finds both 'old favourites' and 'new exciting varieties'. Newvarieties appear each year. As Dixon intimated, infinite diversitv is oossiblefor the future.

    1989, sixty years on, l ies in Dixon's future. How fares the hybrid?In the late twentieth century, the English are more conscious than ever of

    ethnic diversity. Yet the result does not seem to be an ever more headyamalgam. or at least people do not readily assimilate latter day ethnicdifferentiation to that of the celts and the saxons and the Danes whosediversity, children were once taught at school, made up 'our isrand race'.value was put on the mixing of ancestry where we now only seem abre to seethe proliferation and diversification itself. In the late twentieth century it hasbecome doubtful who or what 'the English' aree - or indeed whether the termis usable at all. As a consequence. we might remark, former perceptions ofquantity do indeed seem to have lost some of their power. Has something'happened'then?

    Individuality and diversity 35

    NIIOR.INMonchester City Council believes inequol rights ond opportunities for olli ts cit izens. In its role os the lorgestlocol emPloYer ond on imPoriontprovider of services, the Council knowsit must work towords equolopportunities. Putting thot policy intooroctice tokes time ond we need tosee how much progress we oremoking.

    Why these Proposolsfor Ethnic Record keepingond Monitoring?Ethnic record keeping ondmonitoring moke it possible to tell i fMonchester's equol opportunitypolicy is working

    TI'rtCHESTER-CitY Council-Defending Jois - tmproring ServkesEDUCATION COMMITTEE

    Whot is Ethnic Recordkeeping?Ihe col lect ing of informotion obout o person'sethnic group.Whot is on Erhnic Group?An ethnic group is one in which the membershove o shored cullurol bockoround ondidentity. This does NOT meo"n country of birihor notionolity.How would Erhnic Recordkeeping be done?Foch person would be osked io sov whichgroup he or she feels they belong io by t icking

    l.?ll;-,,",arntcalt !

    rrnocanrraean !elxouorsxr !aucxanrrrsx !

    cxtrrs: f]EASTAFR!5^N n

    rNotet !

    eaxrsranr !trlroorrrlsr !vrrrult:sr f]

    OTHERBLACK T-.l?LEA5l3taCtfY U

    rnrsx !wxrreanrrrsx !OTHERWHITE fIftl^ltttacrfY U

    Would I hove to givemy Ethnic Origin?Not if you don't wont to. But the City Councilhopes you wil l co-operote so we con check thot

    *::r?.r":'.oo.rtunities policy is beins put inio

    Whor is the Purpose ofRecord Keeping?Io moke sure thot ol l oppl iconts for lobs ondeveryone who uses Council services oretreoted foirly ond equolly.

    4 EthniL nonitorins. 1987Mant'hester Ciry Council's categories for a proposed ethnic monitoring scheme (1987).Engl tsh' does not appear.

    , If I suggest something has happened, it is only to point to something that

    lut b..n 'happening' all the time, namely the way people put value on whatthey 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 thecultural certainty it was. A cultural certainty to which I refer here is theassociation between the twin concepts of individuality and diversity. It wasonce a fact of nature that these went tosether.

  • 36 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Some part of the story as it was told in the period between the establishmentofEnglish as a national culture at the turn ofthe century and (say) 1960 wentalong lines like this. The English made variation, evinced in complexity andmultiplicity, one of the vehicles for their sense of civil isation and enterprise.Variety was also reproductive variety. The greater the genetic diversity, themore rugged the offspring, and that was as true of culture as of peoples. IfEngland formed the basis of a hybrid nation, it was a vigorous hybrid, createdcenturies ago by waves of conquerors each of whom added their genes andskil ls to the stock. Over England's history, the displacement of royaldynasties, the rise and fall of classes of merchants and industrialists, theabsorption of small groups such as Flemings and Huguenots-'additions to analready infinite complexity' (Dixon 1938: 100) all sustained the imagery ofconstant infusions of 'new blood'.lo The country's institutions were in-vigorated by cross-ferti l isation. Each individual thereby contributed his/herunique portion without losing the transcendent characteristic of individuality;that was preserved in the singularity of 'the English' themselves.

    That is a story that now belongs to the past. Uniqueness and variety havebecome an aim of cultural practice. Ethnic groups must be recognisably'ethnic'. The constant production of new goods includes the reproduction ofold ones, as the media promote fresh juxtapositions of familiar and exoticways of l iving. Those late twentieth-century people who can afford it l ive in aninfinitude of other people's variations, with the rider that many can besampled, consumed, partaken of bread done in the style of Vienna, of Poland,ofTurkey. A consequence ofthis production ofdiversity is that'real' (natural)diversity becomes elusive. Distinctions seem to collapse. The cognoscenti nowknow that Chinese food served in Manchester take-aways is Chinese foodintended for English (?British) tastes; that novelty is specially created byspecialists in creations; that giving your pet cat rabbit from a pink tin insteadof lamb from a green one panders to a consumer demand for colour coding -variety is 'colourful'. Everywhere we see promotions and creations that seemto reference at whim this or that tradition. It is as though unique culturalforms must take after other unique cultural forms (Jameson 1985).

    In the words of one 1980s journalist, Britain has become a wholesaleimitation, of itself and of others imitating itself.

    There is apparently no Briton too incongruous or mis-shapen to sport a T-shirtproclaiming allegiance to Harvard, Yale or the Miami Dolphins. I even once saw adown-and-out under Charing Cross arches in baseball cap bearing the elegantlyintertwined initials of the New York Yacht Club. (Wholesale imitation of a culturelounded on wholesale imitation naturally produces some paradox. The'yuppie'style favoured by young bankers and brokers in Mrs. Thatcher,s economlcWonderland is believed the epitome of hard-nosed, thrusting, fingerpopping NewYork. It is actually New York's rather confused parody of English 'classicelegance'.) (Phil ip Norman, Weekend Guardian. l0 lI December 1988)

    Culture in turn somehow seems at once less than real and larger than life, inthe same way as the relationship between English and Brit ish has become

    Individuality and diversity 37

    thoroughly ambiguous. This would be the view from the late twentieth

    centurY-- A sense of epoch has to be retrospective. At the time, everything feels asthough it is in crisis. The present crisis is poignantly experienced in the..nrojion that there is much ' less' nature in the world today than there oncewas. Confidence about turning the world's natural resources to human benefithas given way to fear about their consumption. Teenagers talk about what it isright to eat. In the course of endless discussions about becoming vegetarian, Ihave heard reasons that appear on the surface similar to the sixteenth- andseventeenth-century hesitations over barbarous slaughter for the table thatThomas (1984: 2934) records, although they are hardly based on the sametheories of temperamental composition. It is not that animals should not eatother anirnals, I think, but that human beings are too easily systematic aboutit. The purposefulness of the domestic slaughter is 'unnatural'.

    Animals rather than plants comprise a kind of proximate nature which mayalso be endowed with interests of their own (cf. Haraway 1985: 68). Whetherthrough keeping pets in the house or f i lming wild creatures in their ownhabitats, the English can coopt them to preserve an essential sense of thediversity and plurality of natural l i fe. a late twentieth-century sensitivity thatbelongs to a moment conscious of the numerical reduction of the world'sspecies. Systen-ratic destruction of England's own wildlife seems to havereached its peak at the end of the eighteenth century. By I 800 many species ofbird that had been common centuries earlier were gone for ever and thecountryside was already denuded of the small mammal l ife that had beenhunted out or vermined out; fish that once swam in the Elizabethan Thameswere polluted long before the corning of pesticides and chemical ferti l isers(Thomas 1984:27 4-6). The present crisis, however. is focused on the denudingof the planet.

    I suspect there is too close a parallel between what is taken to affect naturallife and what is taken to affect human life. Among other things, culturaldiversity as such seems newly at risk. Societies are content to cocacolarisethemselves; anyone's logo wil l do when costumes and customs are glossilypreserved as the exotic face of adventurous multi-nationals.

    A paradox becomes a commonplace: change is bringing about homogenis-ation. When it was a case of exporting constitutional reform or developmentschemes for health, education and standard of l iving, homogenisation had itsjustif iers. Uniform laws and universal rights were to be made availableeverywhere. But culture itself as a common export? The anthropologist atleast has resisted the idea with his or her insistence on the individual integrityand plurality of cultures; the very idea of culture implied a distinctiveness oftradition and style. As long as the colonial encounter meant the clash ofcultures or culture contact, there was the possibil i ty that new forms wouldnaturally yield unique and vigorous hybrids. Today, and to those that reflecton it, what seems to be traded everywhere is the'same'heterogeneity: culturesborrow bits and pieces from one another, reassembling the old stock of styles.

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Publisher Marina Thaine Produclion Manager Caroline Emerton Adverlisement Direclor Barry HaddenlSrgnature is djstr ibuted exclusively to Members of Diners Club in the UK. l t is publ ished on behalt of Diners

    by Reed Publishing Services Ltd, 7-11 St John's Hil l , London SW'l1 1TE, Tel: (01) 228-3344 Telex: 923115 REtFax. (01) 350-1586 Part of Reed International PLC, Europe's largest publ ishers of travel, leisure and business

    IThe opinions expressed In Signature are not necessari ly those 0f the Drners Club. For Information and queries 0nmembership, please telephone: (0252) 516261 @ Reed Pubiishing Services Ltd 1988

    lPrinled: Severn Valley Press Originated: Phoenix Scanner Graphics

    Oystcr Houseis a pearl among restaurants.

    The popularity of this, the secondRestaurant to be opened in

    the last two years, has been quitephenomenal.

    with his undoubtedknowledge of the fish trade, is thethird generation of fishmongers andknows that top quality, fresh pro-duce is oi paramount importance.Oysters are flown into Heathrowtwice a week from lreland, crabs aredespatched from Cornwall, livelobsters from Scotland and the wildsalmon arrives direct from the Scot-tish rivers. There's quail, guineafowl, wild duck, saddle of hare, filletof venison, duckling from Norfolkand chicken from Surrey. Lookingafter the "drinks", hascompiled an imaginative and exten-sive wine list.

    Booking is advisable.

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


    SF]PTT,NTBF]R I9BB VOI,I INIT, 2 ISSUE 9Editor Marv Ratcliffe Arl Direclor Graeme Murdoch

    Individuality and diversity

    .rt ercis'nothing new'; or rather there is'too much'traffic. At least, such viewsj-,i,f.,. nostalgia they evince for other times were standard in the middle-class1""'", in 1989 and into 1990. They have a powerful counterpart in the futuref^r-l inrtrip' the possibil i ty that new forms of procreation wil l produce

    iiaiu;auott not to enhance but at the expense of diversity.

    Less nuture' more technologY

    This is the nostalgia I call postplural. I do so to suggest that, self-evident as theanxieties may seem, they also stem from a prior and very specific(modern/pluralist) modelling of the world. If English ideas about reproduct-ive process formed a model, it was not just for the making of persons but forthe making of the future. Kinship delineated a developmental process thatguaranteed diversity, the individuality ofpersons and the generation offuturepossibil i t ies.

    Hybrids were one element of the model. Out of a plurality of stocks was tocome the singular characteristics of the English(man) who preserved diversityin a tolerance for all forms of life. In the language of the time, one couldidentify an English character. In the language of the gardeners'manual, 'onehundred and fifty years ofhybridisation has given us the perfect [rose] plant'.If individuality were swamped, on the other hand, then hybrid could turn intomongrel, and The Society of Pure English, founded in l9l3 (Dodd 1987: 15),saw only contamination in the blundering corruptions that contact with'other-speaking races' produced. Here the purity of the individual form (inthis case the English language) was jeopardised. Individual forms must also bekept separate.

    The English sense of plurality was much indulged in the making ofdistinctions. Thus most thinkers on the subject have urged the readers ofbooks and articles to keep separate the diverse meanings of 'nature'. Withhindsight, however, it is intriguing to see how environment has been literallyimagined as countryside, the life cycle of organisms as the habits of plants andanimals, the taken-for-granted background to human enterprise as the so-called laws of the physical world, and so forth. In the same way, diversity hasoeen literally imagined as a matter of genetic variation. Since the late 1970s,this last connection has acquired a new and pressing salience, and one thatdirectly affects the cultural keepers of natural diversity, human beingsthemselves.

    7 For a decade now, considerable publicity has been given to artificial\ parenthood, and particularly to the figure of the surrogate mother. In the

    )t^mage of the surrogate mother appears the possibil i ty of splitt ing apart . I'

    tunctions that in nature are contained in the one body. ovulation and r.{-Sestation. The English reaction to the new reproductive technologies in /r "'iigeneral has predictably ranged from wonder to fear. For they appear to makewithin human reach other dreams/nightmares, such as cloning - the


  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    possibility of individuals reproducing themselves many times over andgenetic determination that parents may be able to screen out or preselectcertain attributes of the child for whom they wish.

    The divergence of views can be summarised in the two positions statedduring the Parliamentary debate on Enoch Powell's The Unborn Children(Protection) Bill in 1985. The debate raised general questions about medicalresearch into human fertilisation; I quote from Naomi Pfeffer's 1987 essay.

    One Member of Parliament stated the case as follows: 'The object of ourinterest in medical research into embryology and human fertilisation is to helphumanity. It is to help those who are infertile and to help control infertility. . .The researchers are not monsters, but scientists. They are medical scientistsworking in response to a great human need. We should be proud of them. Theinfertile parents who have been helped are grateful to them' (House ofCommons Debates, 198+5, 73, column 654). Opposing this view, Pfeffer adds(1987: 8l), 'are those who see these means of treating inferti l i ty as misguidedand unethical because they see them as meddling with the secrets of life itself.This technology, they argue, "promises benefits perhaps, but [ it]could end bydestroying the essential humanity 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 seems a relatively new target. Anxieties overartificial insemination, for instance, have taken interestingly different formsover the last fifty years. I continue Pfeffer's account.

    a Artificial insernination (using donor semen) has been clinical practice as anI inferti l i ty treatment in England since the late 1930s.11 However, not unti l case\, details were later published in the British Medical Journal was it widely

    1 ', kno*n. It then became a matter of public outcry. likened to 'human studn lfarming'. a reference to the introduction of agricultural centres for cattle

    linsemination in the early 1940s.L- An article published in the Sunday Desparcft in Novemb er lg45articulated many o[

    the contemporary concerns about artificial insemination using donor semen. It' i f warned that 'a super-race of test-tube babies will become the euardians of atom-

    ' ' 4

    \ i bomb secrets . . . Fathers wil l be chosen by eugenic experts of t ie United Nations'.(1987:93)

    Different concerns surfaced during the 1950s. A divorce court had been askedwhether artificial insemination by donor constituted adultery if a wife wentahead without her husband's consent. A committee of enquiry was set up in1959.

    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 revolves on whether the childshould be a bastard or not'. Bastardy was perceived as a growing threat; since theSecond World War the number of illegitimate births had been rising steadily. . . Tomany it appeared that the institution of the family, which they believedunderpinned Western civilisation, was under threat. Children conceived through



    Individuality and diversity

    donor semen represented a conscious effort to bring forth an illegitimate childLltnin marriage . . . artificial insemination would be used by the greedy and,,"..ruputors to defeat claims to titles and estates not rightly theirs. And not only.l-. oairimony threatened;paternity itself was in jeopardy . . . 'knowledge that there,.lrn..r,ointy about the fatherhood ofsome is a potential threat to the security ofut | . rz 11987: 94, references omit ted)In the 1980s, however, the debates are less about the animality of the

    nrocedures than about the intrusion oftechnology into biological process, lesslbort rh. lawfulness of a union than about the k ind of contract the part ies

    should make with each other, and less about the property claims to bastardsthan about rights to the products ofone's body. Finally, they are less about theownership and disposal of whole persons than about the ownership anddisposal of reProductive cells.

    Long established as procedures for artificial insemination might be, theyfind a new context in the 1982 committee chaired by Mary Warnock.

    f, Handling human gametes [eggs and sperm] and embryos outside of the body raisedI the problem of moral responsibil i ty and legal ownership. lt is not surprising' therefore to find that very many of the recommendations of the Warnock Report*3r-e ebout their ownership, supply and disposal. In many ways the Warnock Reportrecapitulates the anxieties abotit'iidoption of children current in the 1920s. Thenadoption was not regulated by the law; it could be and was exploited as a source ofcheap child labour. . . Instead of a traffic in children. we have [today] a trade inhuman gametes and embryos, and in place of white-slave traders, in the publicimagination are desperate infertile men and women and unscrupulous doctors andscientists. ln this context, the reasons for the inclusion of artificial inseminationusing donor semen and surrogacy for consideratiop"j,y_-llp-"Qgmmittee chaired byMary Warnock become clear; in both gametes areipgghasedleither by doctors orthrough commercial agencies. (Pfeffer 1987;'916, emphasis removed)

    The public mind, as reflected through the Warnock Committee, links artificial linsemination to commercialism, to market manipulation and consumerlchoice.r3 And where those earlier anxieties touched on the implications forpeople's legal and social standing, the present anxiety concerns interferencewith natural relations. Civilisation is not so much under threaJlNglugggllmuch is.

    Natural process is also about future potential. Hence clinically establishedprocedures such as artificial insemination, and newer ones such as in vitrofertilisation, come to be put aside 'technologies' such as ectogenesis andparthenogenesis which are little more than imaginative extrapolations into theIuture. The Warnock Report (1985: 4) claims they all have in common'the

    -auxrety they-lhey.e].e9n9i1teg iL 1_h-9 pgb-li-c--mind'; the question is the kind ofIuture one can expect. Hilaiy Rose expands the point.Certainly beyond IVF and the actual or potential gene therapies lies a scientific andtechnological horizon along which are ranged other possible reproductive interven-ttons: would it be possible to rear a foetus from fertilization to independent 'birth'entirely in vitro (ectogenesis)? To clone identikit copies of individuals from single

    4t {rt i tt l il i ttii\ i

    ' ; , . ., - a '

    -1 . i,. ,,. . . - . ' '


  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    cells or 'gene libraries'? To rear a human embryo in the uterus of a non-humancreature or even make human-non-human hybrids? Or to provide a technique thatwould enable women to give birth without the need for sperm to fertilize their eggs(parthenogenesis, a form ofcloning)? Could men have babies? These prospects andothers form the stuff of science-fantasy dreams. (Rose 1987: 158)

    Here the hybrid is no metaphor drawn from another domain (plant breeding),and does not describe cultivated characteristics. It refers to the literalpossibility of producing human beings by graft.

    Crossing human gametes with those of other species is at present technicallyimpossible (Ferguson 1990:24), and in any case unlikely to be developed fortherapeutic purposes when transpecies genetic implants hold instead arealistic promise of development. Much of this thinking must remain in itsscience-fiction form, but it still remains thinking about the future. And thefuture has always been imagined as a matter of infinite possibilities. ThusFerguson notes it is a possibility that the embryo may be manipulated 'so as toengineer into it additional genes which, for example, may not naturally occur

    )sin the human species'(1990: la). Perhaps some of the apparently irrationalfears such writers seek to allay are fears for the future of possibility itself.

    If technological mastery were indeed gained over genetic makeup, theexpressed fear is that the way would be open for eugenic programmes thatwould inevitably lead to preferences for particular types of persons. As the

    , English are used to telling themselves, it is less the technology that is in doubt

    $tran how it will be used. Perhaps the prominence of the clone image intv people's vision of the future encapsulates the anticipation that the exerciseof choice in this regard would take away choice. The very idea of selectingfor clones obviates the idea of selection itself. Choice would thus be shownup for something other than it seemed. More technology does not seem tocompenesate for 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'sf species, is symbolised in the fantasy that if those with the power in fact get

    \ / their hands on the appropriate technology, they would produce versions of, i i themselves over and again and/or counter versions such as drones and slaves.'{ A particular individual would be reproduced - but its multiplication would be

    the very opposite of individuation. Diversity without individuality; in-dividuality without diversity.

    I have referred to the modern English opinion that kinship diminishes inimportance over the generations. Perhaps this has fed the present-day feelingsof being at a point at which there is actually ' less' nature in the world thanthere used to be. And here we come to a conflusion. In one sense it would seem

    **-.---that 'more' technology means 'more' culture. But if more culture creates

    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


    , \ '1li ' :

    , , i .1\


    Indiv idual i ty and diversi ty

    nature in the world is thus n/so joined to the feeling that there is less culture,and less society for that matter less community, less tradition, lessconvention. Tradition was traditionally perceived as under assault from theindividual who exercised choice, from innovation, from change that made theworld a more varied place to be in. It is now individuality that is under assaultfrom the over-exercise of individual choice, from innovations that reduce

    human individuals, it suddenly seems at risk; variation may not ensue.In the modern epoch, kinship and family could play either nature to the I

    i ldividual's cultural creativity, or society to the individual's natural spirit of ienrerprise. But if that former symbolic order pitted natural givens against.fcultural choice, pggl ,ql"qltig!-q-gg,ilg!*qatiua!.

    -vsrip-!iglr.-t!9n 919- ]onger !persua

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    even to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, wil l say, as it is said of individualism,, ,, that these things have always been with us. Human beings have always

    ffifantasised about creating life; there have always been ways of dealing withu inferti l i ty; there have always been those who deplored the spoil ing of thecountryside, as the English Lakeland poets protested with horror at therailways that were to bring tourists to their beloved spots (cf. Lowenthal1990). It is, in fact, this very capacity to think one is perpetuating old 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 analysis of social change.

    Perhaps it is because social change sometimes comes about in a very simpleway. As far as aspects of English culture are concerned, all that is required iswhat (middle class) people do all the time, namely that they do what they thinkcan be done. Put into action, this becomes an effort to promote and implementcurrent values.16 Values are acted upon; implicit assumptions become explicit,and that includes rendering culturally visible what may be perceived as naturalprocess.

    This has been a conceptual enablement of change in the West since medievaltimes. Over the last century, it has also become a matter of rendering visiblethe cultural premises of the perceptions themselves. Thus what is made explicitis the basis not just of natural or moral but also social understandings of theworld. The sense of new values, new ideas, new epochs, comes from theconscious effort to make evident the values and ideas people already hold. Tofeel contemporary time as a time of crisis is part of this: there is no going back.

    i One cannot recapture the point before explicitness. Hence, as I remarked atthe beginning, new ideas always come from old but this is accomplished

    ' simply through putting current ideas into perspective, acting on and finding'

    contexts or reasons for them. The resultant and constant relativising of 'our'': understanding of 'ourselves' helps produce the sense that there appears to ber--"_lgss and less to be taken for granted and thus less nature in the world.

    The modern English middle class have put effort into valuing their values,having ideas about their ideas, trying to typify their type of epoch. We mightregard their curiosity as indeed a peculiarly'Western' approach to knowledge.Since people simply value their values, it looks as though they are upholdingtheir traditions. Yet it is that active promotion that takes them where theyhave never been before. Consider again the English concept of individualismand the individuality of persons.

    The 1980s witnessed an interesting phenomenon. To a remarkable extent,Brit ish public discourse has become dominated by the metaphors and symbolsof the government, by which I mean not a constitutional consciousness but thespecific depiction of social and cultural l i fe promoted by the polit ical party inpower. Its discourse generates a single powerful metaphor: that the wayforward is also recovering traditional values. Tradition has become a reasonfor progress. The way forward is defined not as building a better society, for

    Individual i ty and diversity

    that smacks of the collective and state idioms against which the presentideology is constructed. For the way forward is a better life for individualpersons, and that is to be achieved by pror4oting what is proclaimed as'Britain's lEngland's) long l ived ' individualism'. 'A return to Victorian Values ,, ,.

    l-.-sgtl*-ley-:1b_i9_iru_"qi11.1-"..l.y,andasa'"q.i s p re se n r ed a s at o nce--eyqki te.e_ -d_e_991.L."-lg y-: fu_i 9_tru_"gll i19l--irc^r from state intervention interferins in individual choiceretreat from state intervention interfering in individual choice and personaleffort.r? Rather, as a consequence, enterprise must be privatised, and thesovernment has indeed privatised one of the country's foremost plant-6reeding institutes along with its seed bank. Such a projection of the past intothe future is beautifully exemplified in the elision with ContemporaryAmerican: recapturing traditional values will bring the bright future promisedby (what English fantasise as) American enterprise. In the 1980s, English pubshave become heavy with reinstated Victorian decor in high streets dominatedby over-l it fast-food outlets.

    As a piece of history, of course, the'return to Victorian values' is nonsense.But it ought to interest social scientists. A traditional value is claimed forEngland's (Britain's) true heritage, and individualism promoted and en-couraged in the name of returning to tradition-.i

    Not only is the individualism promoted so actively in the late twentiethcentury radically different from its counterpart of a century ago, it would notbe conceivable with the intervening era which made the state an explicitinstrument of public welfare. For the target of present political discourse is thetyranny of the collective. Indeed, the way in which the present 'individual' isconstrued comes directly from values and ideas that belong to that collectivistera. This is also true of many of the ways in which anthropologists have r.thought about the study of kinship.

    Schneider was right to celebrate 1984 with a crit ique of the idea of kinship.His book is an attack on the unthinking manner in which generations ofanthropologists have taken kinship to be the social or cultural construction ofnatural facts. But underlying the attack is the recognition that this is howkinship has been constructed in anthropology from the start, and indeed thatthis is its identity.

    The anthropological construction of kinship as a domain of study wasformed in a specific epoch. It came init ially from the modernism o[ Morgan'sera, from the 1860s onwards, but flowered in England in the middle decades ofthe twentieth century. This was the era when the anthropological task was tounderstand other people's cultures and societies, being thereby directed totheir modes of collectivisation and public welfare. The concept of kinship as aset of principles by which people organised their fundamental relationsepitomised the anthropological capacity to describe cultural production onthe one hand and the way people made collective and social life known tothemselves on the other. It was thus no accident that kinship played such apart in the making of Brit ish Social Anthropology, which - and howeverhybrid the origins of their practit ioners - between 1910-1960 was basically


  • 46 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    English anthropology. Kinship was above all seen to be concerned with whatpeoples did everywhere with the facts of human nature.

    For the modern anthropologist the facts of kinship were simultaneouslyfacts of nature and facts of culture and society. In this light, it is more thanintriguing to look back on these mid-twentieth-century assumptions from aworld that seems, if only from the ability for endless printout or in the timelessattributes of role-playing games, to post-date Society, and whose culturemight no longer mould or modify nature but could be everything that is leftonce Nature has gone.

    2Analogies for a plural culture

    Looking back almost ten years later, the Brit ish obstetrician who pioneeredtechniques of in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer gave his motive as self-evident: ' It is a fact that there is a biological drive to reproduce', PatrickSteptoe said, and to thwart this drive would be harmful (quoted in StanworthlggT: 15). The procedure involves ferti l isation outside the body. The firstperson in England conceived this way was born in 1978; she was alsocelebrated in the press as the world's first. r Her birth has come to be regardedas cultural property for it 'serves as a symbolic watershed' for a deeply feltdebate about the new reproductive technologies in general (Rose 1987: 152).

    It is, I suggest, a symbolic watershed for former reproductive models, and Iinterpret aspects of the debate in the reflected light of the model I have calledmodern. The debate turns on ideas about persons and relations that can nolonger be taken for granted, and on this fact. While many women wish to havechildren, Michelle Stanworth comments (1987: l5), the views that havegathered round the issue do not simply reflect that wish; they institute theirown vision of what is risht and natural.

    Displacing visionsImages in anticipationThe future orientation of the debate is provocative in itself. The last chaptertouched on the ease with which discussion slides from the immediateaccomplishment of embryologists to futuristic fears about genetic manipu-lation. Such leaps into the future accompany the scientisation of existingprocedures. Diverse forms of assisted reproduction are classed as medicalintervention, and medicine as science, 'science'providing the technology thatenables otherwise childless persons to have children (cf. Doyal 1987; Spallone19871. On the one hand technology is thus seen as enabling;2 on the other handintervention has become a symbol of interference. 'The Surrogate Mother hasbecome . . . the personification of anxieties about unpredictable technologicaland social developments' (Zipper and Sevenhuijsen 1987: 138).

  • 48 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Feminist reactions, on both sides of the Atlantic and on the continent aswell as in Britain, have not been without their reflective irony (Petchesky 1980;Stolcke 1986). What to some had appeared earlier as utopian the possibil i tyof freeing women from their biological burden - now appears totalitarian. Farfrom being regarded as liberating women from their bodies, the newtechnologies may be taken to represent the supreme domination of them. Thelanguage of this debate matches violence with violence when motherhood islikened to female prostitution. 'Whereas in the beginning of this century themetaphor of the prostitute was a way of delineating decent heterosexualbehaviour, cultural feminism now tends to use it as a way to create an overallfeminist identity that denounces heterosexuality itself' (Zipper and Sevenhuij-sen 1987: 125).

    1'he concept of heterosexuality is sustained by a specific gender imagerywhich classifies a mother's body as axiomatically'female'. The consequence isthat any technological intervention is axiomatically 'male' either in relationto the instruments themselves or in relation to male interests (cf. ' the woman'and 'the doctor' in Emily Martin's study of contemporary American attitudes(1987: Ch. 4)). From this perspective even the foetus can appear as intruder.

    Ann Oakley (1987: 39) draws attention to findings which suggest thatwhereas some women may express disappointment with a girl at birth, duringpregnancy it may be the discovery that they are harbouring a boy which theyfind disturbing. She quotes Barbara Rothman (1986: 144) as observing that itis one thing to have given birth to a son, quite another to be told that the foetusgrowing inside you is male. 'To have a male growing in a female body is tocontain your own antithesis. It makes of the foetus not a continuation andextension of self, but an "other". ' That the male foetus has a nature distinctfrom the mother is thus symbolised in its distinct masculinity. The assumptionon which all this rests that gender defines the whole person thereby allowsone to see the gender of the foetus as separate from that of the mother: thefoetus becomes a miniature 'whole person' within the mother. The sameassumption also implies that switching the gender might alter the mother'sfeelings of identity, as they are expressed here, but not the perception of theperson. The body of the child is not the body of the mother, and its claims toan individual existence become as much its own claims to personhood as dohers.

    The distinct identity of the child is also used by protagonists who may beof a very different political persuasion, those who desire to promote notfemale autonony but maternal bonding.

    In the last decade, obstetrics has taken on a new and explicit responsibility,'to bond mother and child' (Oakley 1987: 53). It came with the realisation thatobstetricians had at their technical disposal a means to institutionalise thisnatural emotional bond, just as making ferti l isation possible responded to thenatural drive to reproduce. The means lay in being able to show the mother-to-be her unborn child via ultrasound imagery. Now virtually routine in

    Analogies for a plural culture

    61ssodnc! monitoring. diagnostic ultrasonography produces sonograms thatl^,it,, reproduced as visual images. The abil ity to'see'the foetus is felt to

    "lfrnn.. the mother's impending sense of attachment to it an experience

    inia.ty .nnntmed by tnothers themselves. This is the benign face of science.assisting in an apparently natural process, promoting the conditions underwhich'nature'wil l happen (see Price 1990). The kind of emotions that can beexpressed when the child is born is brought forward in time, a relationship ismade out of a relationship. In short, what is being anticipated is the child as anindiviclual person. It is when persons become visible as individuals that theEngl ish feel they'relate ' to one another. I expand the observat ion.

    If there is a defect in natural functioning, then medical science is regarded ashaving a legitimate role to play in remedying it. What natural functioningmight be defective in the extension of monitoring practices to the question ofbonrling? Maternal bonding refers to the child's capacity to bond with itsmother yet it is for the mother that assistance is being provided. The remedyis anticipatory: lack of bonding is believed to put the child at risk of neglect orabuse, and encouragement of bonding is preventative action to protect thefuture child.3 In other words, the mother is obliged to make herself into anentity that the child can bond with, and her own emotional development mustprovide it with an appropriate environment. If the mother shows a proper flowof emotions towards the child, the child wil l respond, while in the absence ofsuch cues it may not. The flow of obligation and emotion is downwards: beingable to 'see' the child cues the mother's emotions in order that the mother'semotions should be ready to cue the child when it is born. Indeed, the screenimage which invites the mother's eye anticipates the eye contact that mothersare told is so important for their babies.

    However positive the experience may be for mothers - and flor fathersasuch procedures have also attracted outside critical comment. The ultrasoundptcture presented to the mother of the baby is interpreted as presenting herwith her own self image as its 'mere' environment. her body appearing as itsenabling technology or, in Oakley's phrase, support system. The motherseems visible only as an appendage to the foetus, in the same way as nutrientsare simply regarded as resources. For the image has an existence beyond thesocial context of the clinic or the parents' responses: someone e/se looking at itsees not the parent-child relationship it may evoke for the parents, but only aprcture of the (future) child.s On this interpretation, even the mother'spresence as a support system may seem to have been screened out..

    Rosalind Petil iesky provides an American example. She analyses thelnnuence of a report which c la imed

    that early foetal ultrasound tests resulted in'maternal bonding'and possibly'fewerabortions'

    . . . [for] upon viewing an ultrasound image of the foetus 'parentsprobably will experience a shock of recognition that the fetus belongs to them' andwrll more than likety resolve 'ambivalent' pregnancies 'in.favor oJ'the./btus'. Suchparental recognition of the fetal Jorm', they wrote, 'is a fundamental element in the


  • 50 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    later parent-t:hild bond.'... These assertions stimulated the imagination of DrBernard Nathanson and the National Right-to-Life Committee. The resultingvideo production was intended to reinforce the visual 'bonding' theory at the levolof the clinic by bringing the l ive foetal image into everyone's l iving-rooms. (1987:59, author's emphasis)

    The video, The Silent Scream, purports to show a medical event, a real-timefilm of a twelve-week-old foetus being aborted:

    The most disturbing thing about how people receive The Silent Scream, and indeedall the dominant foetal imagery, is their apparent acceptance of the image itself asan accurate representation ofa real foetus. The curled-up profile, with its enlargedhead and fin-like arms, suspended in its balloon of amniotic fluid, is by now sofamiliar that not even most feminists question its authenticity . . . ['Photographs'typically present the foetus asl solitary, dangling in the air (or in its sac) withnothing to connect it to any life-support system but 'a clearly defined umbilicalcord'... From their beginning, such photographs have represented the foetus asprimary and autonomous, the woman as absent or peripheral. (1987 61-2)

    She underlines the depiction of physical isolationism:

    In fact, every image of a loetus we are shown . . . is viewed from the standpointneither of the foetus nor of the pregnant woman but of the camera. The foetus as weknow it is a fetish. Barbara Katz Rothman observes (1986: p. l l4): 'The fetus inutero has become a metaphor for "man" in space, floating free, attached only by theumbilical cord to the spaceship. But where is the mother in that metaphor? She hasbecome empty space.' Inside the futurizing spacesuit, however, lies a much olderimage. For the autonomous, free-floating foetus merely extends to gestation theHobbesian view of born human beings as disconnected, solitary individuals. (1987:63)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 especially the mother, feelpositively towards the unborn child. In presenting an image of the foetus, theintention is to present a 'person', to make one see the person that is alreadythere. An anthropologist might remark that one does not 'see' a person: aperson is a subject who acts in the context of relationships. But I suspect thatin this American view, there is also an English one. Culturally speaking, wecan see the person when the person appears as an individual, and we see anindividual when we see a body. The elation that mothers report when theultrasound image is shown them - the sense of reassurance that it gives thatthe child is real, and the self-reporting that they do feel bonded with it - isreal elation.

    Here perhaps is a reason for the dissonance between such positive reportsand much critical reaction, especially from feminists. The appeal to thepersonhood ofthe foetus takes place in a cultural context where relations areimagined as existing between individuals. What is claimed to be promoted isthe bonding between child and mother, not that the mother contains the childnor indeed that the child contains the mother. At the same time, showine the

    Analogies for a plural culture

    child as a separate individual appears to exclude the parent. For the mother tosee the child as an individual is to invite rer response; but the image of the childin itself is not - in English cultural idiom - also an image of the mother. Hence,the counter-critique that the mother is displaced.6 And hence the critique thatcreating an image of a foetus requires creating the foetus as an image.

    Frances Price (1990) notes that from a clinician's point of view, ultra-sonography releases the foetus from the pregnant woman as a visible secondoatient for monitoring and therapy. I take this practice as an instance of themore general Western propensity towards making the implicit explicit. It isone that inevitably involves a shift of perspective.

    Perhaps, then, the sense of maternal displacement on which observers (non-clinical rather than clinical and third parties rather than mothers) commentcomes from the fact that, from an outside perspective. one image is beingdisplaced by another. No doubt the child felt through the thickness of themother's skin, or manifest in her reported nausea and weight change, can beimagined as though it were an object of vision. Yet live eye contact with theborn child mobilises another field of perception: before ultrasound, eyecontact with the child was a function of its physical separation from themother, a displacement of earlier perceptions of bulk and movement. In thepremature portrait of the unborn, what is displaced is the perception of thechild mediated by alterations in the mother's physical state. At the sametime it seems, very simply, just a matter of making what is otherwise hiddenvisible to the eye, since we 'know' the foetus is there, we are curious to provethe matter. It is there as a natural fact, and its perceptible body is evidenceof that fact in singular, individual form.

    Certain relationships are also natural, and that for the English is reason tovalue them. Maternal bonding confronts mothers as a necessity. Ultra-sonography can be regarded as a method for revealing the'true nature' oftherelationship as individual-to-individual contact. Indeed, we might character-tse scientific endeavour as a whole as an effort to enable us to apprehend ourown natures.

    I also take this as an instance of the abstract point made in Chapter One: thedesire to make what we think is there known to ourselves leads the English toembrace the techniques that in apparently fortifying their values irrevocablycnanges them. The motive may be no more than the desire to be explicit aboutthe source of values. In this case one wants to see what is not otherwiseexperienced through vision. The way this changes the nature ofthe experiencets described. by some at least, as though the process were denigratory ratherthan enhancing of the mother as herself an individual person. For if what hasuterally happened is that one mode of perceiving the mother-child relation-sntp has displaced another, it perhaps evokes an earlier displacement. Thisconcerns the identity of the father.

    It has always been a fact of nature for the English that while you can seernaternity, it is much harder to'see'paternity (e.g. Rowland 1987: 68 9). lt is


  • 52 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    not just that the role that the father plays in conception and childbirth isthought to put men at a remove from paternal feelings but, it is held, thefather's genetic tie must be a matter of inference. The father is naturallyinvisible. Paternity thus has to be symbolically or socially constructed (apicture made of it) in the way, it is held, that maternity is not. The necessity issupposed to be a primeval source of men's alleged greater interest in social life.Whole theories of social evolution were once built on the supposition that inprimitive society, so-called, children would not know who their fathers were,and that civil isation has been a long process of making paternity explicit.?This was the supposition towards which. if we are to believe ThomasTrautmann (1987) (and see Kuper 1988: 5960), Morgan was reluctantlypushed by his contemporaries. It would be ironic if the new techniques ofimage-making were thought to make maternity invisible. Certainly, when the1980s debates on assisted reproduction dealt with the child's social origins, the

    i if guestion became not just who the real father is but (Warnock 1985: 37) who'-,tr. the real mother is.' J These debates reveal analogies between certain values implicit in the way

    the English make kinship known to themselves. One lies in the very value given,,

    to making natural relationships explicit; kinship is to do with tracing natural' )-:" t1q;A second lies in the value given to a person's desire to reproduce. and/?,-"

    ---/,, ' reproduce themselves. Third is the idea that if something can be seen, it is real,and to uncover the normally hidden makes the latter especially 'real',formulations that may be contested in other domains but, in matters to dowith procreation. carry an equ,a.tion between what is seen. what is real andwhat.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, i t was not so very long ago that the'natural child' was a stigma. The naturalness of the procreative act was notsufficient to establish real relations. There was also the issue, we might say, ofthe naturalness of social status. Reproducing one's own did not l i terally meanone's genetic material: one's own flesh and blood were family members andoffspring legitimated through lawful marriage. Although illegitimate 1'na-tural') children were consanguines, they did not reproduce their procreativeparents socially. Schneider (1984: 103) quotes N.W. Thomas in 1906 on the

    ; point that in English law the father of an i l legitimate child was not akin to it,.

    despite the blood tie between them. It was thus improper for the offspring ofi l l icit relations to 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 socialrelations, it would be taken for granted that the paramount social reality wasthe legitimacy of the claims to kinship. But it is as though social legitin-racy hassince been displaced by the legitimacy of natural facts. This is an effect of a

    Analo-eies for a plural culture 53

    switch in what is made explicit. Increasing discourse on the role of 'social 'construction in the conjoining of natural and social relations - of theartificiality of human enterprise - has given a different visibility to naturalrelations. They acquire a new priority or autonomy. And out of everythingthat might contribute to the substance of natural relations, genetics affords acomplex map of inheritance and the transmission of traits. Genetic relationshave thus come to stand for the naturalness of biological kinship anassumption, we should note. that f lourishes in the face of genetic'engineering'and the deliberations of the Warnock Committee as to whether, in the case ofsurrogate rnotherhood, it is the genetic or the birthing nrother who is the real ))-"molher. t

    The antecedents to this biologism were evident in the reproductive model ofthe modern epoch. For that model reproduced reality. English kin reckoningalways distinguished between'real' relatives and courtesy or fictional or step,and thus in some sense'artif icial ', relatives. To call a number of people by thesame term (e.g. uncle) invited the qualification of how one was 'actually'related to them. And mother meant a real mother, except when the term wasused in deliberate metaphorical extension. Indeed. the very differentiationbetween literal and metaphoric meanings implied that the l iteral meaning wasthe one that matched reality. The question became what was taken for real.We could put it that the reality of a socially sanctioned relationship has sincebeen 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: 'know, it is said, what its biological antecedents really are. ,/ 1, ' ,,

    The language of realism had a further effect. The very fact that one could r ,debate about'who' was the real relative implied that individual persons weresomehow prior to the relationship. The child was there, according to this view,as an outcome of the acts of other individuals whatever relation they mightclaim afterwards. From such a perspective, Ihen, individuals reprocfuceindividuals. This was the third fact of modern kinship.

    Relationships, in this English model, were not reproduced in the act ofprocreation itself. For, however natural, relationships had to be made evidentin a way that individuals did not. In this sense. individuals were regarded asreal whereas all relationshios had a conventional or artif icial dimension tothem. Thus whether on. ,pok. of individual families or individual persons, asunits they enjoyed an autonomous existence while the relations between themwere open to negotiation. Units composed entit ies that 'made' relations. Andwhen it came to perpetuating themselves, individuals did indeed have toproduce'real' individuals, that is, new ones: the individual person reproducednrm or herself as another individual person.^

    Parents had to reproduce persons who were individual in themselves. Intact. this model guaranteed natural singularity insofar as the potential forvariation was something each person carries in their genetic makeup.8 Whilethe studv of senetics had borrowed the social terminologv of inheritance and

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    they present irnages of a foetus in two ways, one of which is visually accessible,while the other has a hidden form which contrasts with the visible one.

    I extrapolate here from Munn's (1986: 138fI) account of the connectionbetween canoes, the human body and body decor.e The wooden materials are,she observes, metaphorically identif ied with internal bodily f luids. 'The mostmarked connection is ... between the red wood ... of the hull and blood.which is the body's maternal component and the essential medium from whichGawans say the fetus is formed'(1986; 138). The visual image of th is mediurnis thus present all around in the red wood trees from which canoes are carved.While blood is the material out of which the fetus is made (1986: 140) andcomes from the mother's body, its chief property in its interior location. lt isthe hull of a canoe which is compared to maternal blood, and the process ofcanoe-making emphasises the creation of a hollow container. So althoughGawans say that the mother's blood coagulates within her to form the child,perhaps the canoe image in addition invites us to imagine the blood in theform of the interior maternal body itself. If so, its cavity wor"rld be fi l led byinvisible persons-to-be. I suggest one might think of these as the as yet unbornchildren of a collectivity of kin.

    Now the manner in which anthropologists have generaliy designated suchcollectivit ies of kin has been a source of much theorising. What is at issue is theway bodies of kin may be seen as the offspring of males ('brothers') or as in thiscase females ('sisters') and present themselves as a group thereby. Members ofthe former wil l seemingly trace descent through their fathers, of the latterthrough their mothers. However, here and in the discussion following, where ageneric is required I propose to use the terr.t.t 'clan' rather than 'descent group'.In the case of Gawa, the designation contradicts the author's specific usage.My reason, as wil l become apparent, is that descent is not the neutral term itseems to be.

    On Gawa canoes are collectively owned by dala, small land-owning groups.Dala may be regarded as refractions of clans. However, the crews that sail inthe canoes are varied. In fact it is mandatory that canoes circulate in affinalexchanges, so that the l iving persons borne by these containers are alwaysmore than simply members of a matri l ineal clan unit they also have anidentity through affinal and paternal connections. It is these connectionswhich make it travel between clans.

    The canoe itself is thus l ikened to a (kin) group that itself contains a group(of members). While there are potentially many persons within, the entirevessel may be treated as a single person, and here of course one has to imaginethat single vessel in the company of others when it sails. A canoe is sometimes \called mother because of the produce it carries in its interior (1986: 147), andwe have seen that Gawans make analogies between canoe and maternal bodyand foetus. I suggest we 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.

    Analogies for a plural culture 57

    Body is made visible in the only way that vision works for Melanesians,perceived as a matter of exterior form. Perhaps the standing trees on dala soilare l ike so many external foetuses. If so, they are also l ike mothers: once theprocess of (canoe) creation begins then the particular body (the tree to bemade into the canoe) will conceal other potential and undifferentiated foetusesrvithin, while the outer body takes shape as a single visible foetus-child in theform of its mother. A canoe only ever'appears'as a result of the actions whichmen perform on the outside of the hull. It is decorated (carved, painted andornamented) on its exterior, with an outrigger made from a type of white woodassociated with masculinity. The red wood is itself covered and thus concealedwith whitewash, a new external form. The whole is highly anthropomorphisedin Gawan thought (1986: 145), and once fully decorated may be l ikened to abeautiful young man.

    Munn points out the close connection Gawans makes between these canoe-decorating activities and the father's actions in forming a foetus. Gawansinsist that the child's facial features should look l ike the father's. or at leasttake after its paternal kin. This is a matri l ineal system in which nothing isregarded as inherited from the father or transmitted by him duringconception; rather we have to grasp, as Munn suggests (1986: 143), asophisticated theory of visual imagery or aesthetics by which an externalsocial orientation is irnplied in the way personal capacities are renderedvisible. That is, the very process of making something visible is a social act thatorients the entity (person, vessei) outwards towards those in whose eyes itappears.

    The canoe's surface specifically evokes the facial apparance of the personwhich connects the person to his/her paternal clan. The father's features thatshow in a child's face indicate its potential lor entering into externaltransactions with these kin. for whom the likeness acts as a kind of mnemonic.One Gawan woman said that the father's kin may go and visit his childrenafter his death to look on the face that holds his memory (1986: 143). Andwhat is remembered must be the acts of the father, his role so to speak in thecanoe building. Hence a sea-going canoe is carved and decorated with thelntent that the canoe wil l travel away from the land on which the trees grew inorder to mobil ise exchanges with others from other clans..

    The relationship between the plurality of bodies, who fi l I up a canoe, andthe conversion of the canoe ihto a single body, when conceived as an objectIiom the outside, is recursive in Munn's (1986: 156) phrase. 'One'child so tospeak is also 'many' children, depending on an internal or external perspect-tve. Many trees grow on the one dala land, as a single tree may ferry itsrnultiple produce abroad. It is therelbre no paradox to say that one persontncught o[as c lan or canoe contains man] persons within. And analogous toall the other members of his or her kin group (clatalclan), the chiid is oneo.nong a plurality of forms. We might pr-rt it that the child is not of itselfstngular, for its maternal substance is intrinsically plural, the generalised

  • 58 English kinship in the late twentieth cenrury

    potential of many children. The child becomes singular by virtue of theindividual body its father's acts create, even as the internal plurality of thematri l ineal clan is transformed into unity from the outside perspective ofdifferently related affinal kin. As a consequence. the one entity 1clan. person)also displays itself in diverse relationships, and thus manifests diverse fbrms ofitself. The canoe is at once mother, child and young man.

    when the external form is a bociy with a cavity within. what it conrains maybe kept invisible. That is, it constitutes a kind of negative space, to borrow aphrase from Debbora Batraglia ( 1990). Ler me briefly rouch on the deliberateconceptualisation of hidden forms.

    Through a second set of images, Gawans draw analogies between gardengrowth and bodily reproduction (cf. Munn 1986:296,n.29). A garden forms amass like a woman's body, may be said to give birth, and the members of a kingroup may be referred to as its 'plantings'. Elsewhere in the Massim, explicitparallels are made between yams in the ground and the growing child in awoman's body; here it is crucial that what is contained remain hidden ti l l themoment of birth, for only thus wil l i t grow. Land must be heavy, Gawans say(1986: 86), in order to produce, and further aesthetic practices concern therespective heaviness of the land and lightness of the people who feed from it.Indeed, the equation between growth and what is hidden is so strong thatGawans prefer to contemplate food over consuming it. Food growing in theland satiates feelings of personal hunger; to consume food is to increase thepossibil i ty of future hunger. The invisible is not absent but hidden, and notaccidentally but deliberately, to the point that people derive internalsatisfaction, bodily satiation even, from imagining plenti lul food sti l l growingunderground. The full garden is an undepleted version of the full belly, thimore satisfying image.

    Gawans are careful, then, about what they make visible. There is nothinginadvertent about the invisibil i ty of the foetus, as there may be about theconcealed paternity (even maternity) in English thinking. on the contrary,these Melanesians proceed by analogies which depict the productive effects ofnot being seen. In its contained condition, the hidden foetus grows, and whatis contained acquires a surface only from an external perspective. It is surfacefeatures which the father visibly adorns, and thus draws the child's (visual)attention to himself or his kin.

    Gawa also introduces what in English would be a quantitative paradox. If'one'contains'many' then one is as rnuch a render ing of many ui .nuny u."examples of one. To think of group members as a unity or collectivity is morethan 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 toreveal the one one garden, one clan contains them all, like the maternal body.The pluralism of a collectivity is contrasted not with singularity but with thepluralism of diversity.

    Diversity is the capacity people display to make their own particular

    Analogies for a plural culture

    connections in such direction as they wil l, to extend themselves, as Munnargues. beyond the clan through transactions with external others. Thecapacity is generic (all children ideally have paternal featr.rres). The outcomes,however, are diverse and various relationships that can in no way besunlnated. Acts which take people off in particular directions - theirindividual contacts - can neither be added together nor reduced to unity;diversitY cannot be quantif ied.

    I asserted that in their analogies for complexity, the English make a simpleequarion between diversity and plurality - the more (individual) things there1re in the world. the more difference (heterogeneity) there will be. Thecounterview I have imagined for Gawa is not simply a play on words. Tounderline the point I turn briefly to another English analogy for theproliferation of difference. If diversity is in turn strongly l inked to the Englishidea of novelty, it is naturalised in the idea that children are born'new'people.To the west of Gawa, the Trobriands, as analysed by Annette Weiner. furnisha counter-instance to this English supposition.

    Trobriand babies are old people, not new ones. That is, they are ancestorsre-appearing as spirit-children. In fact Trobrianders go to elaborate lengths intheir mortuary ceremonies to divest the potential ancestral spirit of thepaternal and affinal connections it made while alive in order for it to bereincarnated as matrilineal spirit (A. Weiner 1976: 120, 122-23). The rebornancestor is a generic. One could say that children are born 'old' and have tomake then.rselves'new' (1983). Thus what their fathers do for them first theythen do for themselves, creating afresh the diverse connections that establishtheir own social presence. But the innovation has to be effected - newnessdoes not inhere in the newborn.

    There are two points of contrast here with the English thinking described inthe previous chapter. First, the English see plurality and diversity asintert'ering with the dimensions of a collective or shared life; hence thesupposition that the diversity of English l ife naturally hinders generalisationabout English kinship. The diverse personal paths that Massim people makefor themselves, however, do not threaten their clan membership or in somesense confuse or confound it. On the contrary, the body of the group is madevisible in being adorned with the exploits of its members. Second, the Englishcommonly regard tradition as threatened by innovation, for by definitiontradition continues unti l i t is stbpped;10 and what stops it is innovation, since itts innovation that makes new things appear. The Massim premise seemsrather that things do not appear unless people make them appear, and thatmust include old forms such as conventions and traditions. Indeed, that actshave occurred in the past is no guarantee that they will happen in the future:they must be made to happen. Gawan women, l ike their Trobriandcounterparts, observe pregnancy taboos; magic and spells accompany canoemanufacture. and so on. Each action is at the same time a new action in that itsoutcome for the actor is always indeterminate. People thus work to make their

  • 60 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    conventions appear (as in reciting spells they have learned from others) and tomake old entities appear (such as the child that is an ancestral spirit).

    I have presented these Melanesian ideas as an aesthetic practice concernedwith the reproduction of relations. It has interesting implications for conceptsof plurality and diversity, and is a non-genetic view.

    In this view, a child is not regarded as an autonomous yet randomconstellation of traits inherited from its parents. Rather, parental contri-butions are evinced in a relationship, as between internal cavity and externalsurface. The uniqueness of the child lies in the fact that it appears as its parentsin another form. Through its own and the acts of others it embodies a newversion of old persons. Parents in turn appear in their children, as on SabarlIsland (Battaglia 1985) where fathers are evident in the bodies of theirchildren, until the children, conceptually pre-deceasing them, die. The'father'(a cousin designated as such) also dies at the death ofthe child, but does notdie ti l l that moment. Continuity, then, does not have to show a sequence oflikenesses: on the contrary, one form may give birth to a different form. And ifcontinuity cloes not depend on the replication of likeness and similarity, itfollows that diversity or variation is not itself an index of change. A variantform may be perceived as the analogue or version of another, as when theGawan matriclan 'appears' in its canoes, in its mothers, in its foetuses, and inthe ground in which the canoe/foetus/mother trees grow.

    But what about the English sense of time as itself increasing the diversityand plurality of all the things in the world? The question will also return us tothe idea of naturalness implied in the English distinction between real andartificial parents.

    Let me briefly offer an example of kinship system not only patrilineal incharacter but also, if we are to believe the ethnographer, stridently masculinistin ethos (Godelier 1986). Baruya, from interior Papua New Guinea, are oneamong many Melanesian peoples who regard the foetus as a solid entity madefrom material provided by one parent alone. Baruya hold that the foetus, maleor female, is internally composed of a male substance (semen) enclosed by anexternal female body. What a woman later transmits to her child, in the formof milk, is made in her by her husbandll and can thus be seen as malesubstance in female form. Transmission seems an appropriate idiom here,though the mother's body acts as a crucial mediating vessel (transformingsemen into the foetus/milk) for the passing on of such male substance, bothbefore and after birth.

    This being the case, one might note Peter Rividre's (1985) reflections on theWarnock report. He points out that the conceptual equation in Englishbetween social father and biological father is fundamental to the notion of thefamily. Since there is no clear division between social and biological parentingas is found in many other societies, he says, it is no surprise that the Committeehesitated in its recommendation that the DI child be only 'treated' aslegitimate - it is not said to be legitimate (1985: 4). As we have seen, the

    Analogies for a plural culture

    English division is between real and artificial parents. Insofar as the geneticfather appears as the real father, artificial insemination by donor (DI) meantthat the Warnock Committee had to establish the 'permitted' (artificial)paternity of the mother's husband. Riviere regards maternity as posing a verydifferent problem. He argues that surrogate motherhood is rare in theethnographic record, and suggests that there is no language in the worldequipped to deal with the radical innovation that technology has introducedin separating conception from birth. Other cultures might make a distinctionbetween'biological'mother on the one hand and'social 'mother (nurturer) onthe other. But now for the first time there is a new function: 'no human societyhas had to make allowance for this third function . . . of the carrying motherwho is not also the genetic mother'(1985: 5, after Warnock 1985: 37). Forthose with a theory of genetic reproduction, this must be true. But in Baruya,the carrying mother is not regarded as the parent whose substance forms thefoetus.

    When what is real is natural, then further splitt ing of natural function is,,radical and innovative. Western artifice intervenes where it never did before.Rividre thus observes that a 'distinction between genetic mother and carryingmother cannot arise in nature' (1985: 5). Again, for those with a theory ofnature, this must be true. Baruya, for their part having no theory of natureseem to have no trouble in imagining a mother giving birth to a form that wasnot conceived from her own bodily t issue. In Baruya thinking, however, she isa surrogate not for another woman but for a man (her husband). But thenwomen are imagined, one might say, as males in female form.12 Gender isrelative; girls, like boys, are composed of semen, and semen is a version ofmother's milk.

    The whole Warnock discussion is conducted in terms of the fit betweengenetic makeup, the recognition of real parenthood and the fact of birth. Itwould have us concentrate on the transmission of substance. However, tounderstand the Melanesian cases. a further element must be taken intoaccount.

    Each clan member on Gawa may be regarded as an icon of the clan; buteach individual person is an icon of a relationship, and a microcosm of diverserelations. The person who appears composed of interior matrilineal fluid andpaternal features on the surface encapsulates within him or her the relation-ships between mother and fat'trer, between matrilineal clanship and paternalties. In the same way, the Baruya child, a'male'body born out of a'female'body, encapsulates the relationship between father and mother, betweenpatri l ineal clanship and maternal t ies. Certainly the encasing body of theBaruya mother is not simply an empty vessel, symbolically discarded once thefoetus 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 ofmale semen) appears out of the maternal-foetal relationship (a'female'form


  • p l ' ,

    62 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    containing 'male' substance, semen, the male manifestation of female milk)'In other wtrds, the relationship between maternal body and foetus is retainedin an everted mode as one between a clan and its members. Neither maternitynor paternity has a final effect here, and the child must be completed by theinfluence of the Sun and Moon (Godelier 1986: 53). These relationships arerecapitulated over and again with great explicitness during ceremonies inwhich boys are made into fathers and girls into mothers'

    If anything is transmitted, then, it is the relationship between the child'sparents, and this has to be transformed if the child is to make relationshipshim or herself.

    The paradox for us here is that the child 'contains' its parents, and must beturned into a parent containing its children. This is the essence of girls'marriage ceremonies and boys' init iations. In the latter case, I suggest thatBaruya 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 assemble to induct youngermembers into sequences of a male cult which constitute various init iatorystages. Now adult men are spoken of as all sons of the Sun, children in theSun's gaze. It is out of their collective activity that fathers will come, the newlyadult men who will then be able to bear children themselves. The sons of theSun thus give birth to 'new' sons, who are simultaneously born as 'fathers'.The collective body is sustained through a displacement of relationships.

    These are analogies for temporal succession which make relations betweenthe generations appear recursive in character. We might say that relationshipsreproduce relationships. I do not have to underline the contrast with theEnglish formula that only fathers can beget sons, not the other way round, aview sustained by a concept of progressive time. It is not that the Englishcannot imagine time going back on itself but that they ca4n.o,t imqglnerelationships going back on themselves. For them the temporal sequencing ofgenerations is irreversible. Indeed, the English are able to point to the'biological' experiencing of temporality as vindicating a l inear interpretationof it. The clinching argument is always the experience of body growth anddecay. A life has a demonstrable beginning and end in this view, and biologicaltime is irrefutable evidence of hnearity.

    Now a Melanesian might comment that the l inear nature of t ime is provenonly insofar as we imagine ' l ives' as succeeding one another in irreversiblesequence, with neither perpetual return nor generational replication. Whatmust be explained for the English, then, is not just the manner in which theylink plurality, diversity and novelty, but their ideas ofirreversible generationalsuccession and of a l ife having a specil ic duration'

    The point is not trivial. The downward flow of t ime is also the downwardflow of life. It is because of the downward flow of life, from ancestors todescendants, that so much weight is put on determining who the real parents

    Analogies for a plural culture 63

    are in the English case. This in turn has determined the way Brit ish socialanthropologists have classified this kinship system by comparison with others.

    Given the further fact that life seems to flow equally from both parents,English kinship reckoning has been invariably described in modernistoarlance as cognatic or bilateral. This has been a principal comparative axisior contrast with the l ineal modes of peoples such as the matri l inealinhabitants of the Massim or the patri l ineal Baruya, who seem to privilege oneDarent over the other in the formation of kin groups. Kinship systemsiescribed as cognatic instead 'recognise' the duality of ties traced througheach parent alike, since placing equal weight on both mother and father seemsto reflect the facts of life. In part, the contrast thus repeats that betweendescriptive and classificatory terminologies. As it happens, cognatic reckon-ing has been claimed for some Melanesian societies. But cognatic systems inMelanesia are more Melanesian than they are English and, in the end, theclassification obscures more than it clarif ies. In putting the above contrast intothe context of general issues to do with the perception of life, its beginning andits end, I wish to show that wherever it l ies the particularity of the Englishkinship does not l ie in its so-called cognatic mode.

    Biological rhytltnts for a cognatic system?The Warnock Committee refused to pass an opinion on when life might bedeemed to have begun, or rather, 'when life or personhood begin to appear'(Warnock 1985: 60). The conflation with personhood is significant, and as faras the ethics of embryo experimentation are concerned, has seemed crucial.Janet Gallagher (1987) points out that in fact the duty to protect does not haveto depend on whether or not the embryo is a person: the law protects all sortsof things that are not persons. However, in popular English reactions, theanticipation of personhood is It is regarded as an issue thatconcerns the individual develooment of the embrvo/foetus: oersonhood in thisview is a developmental attribute of the individual. and e*erges as a functionof t ime.

    Yet there is a skewing here. The English allow that l i fe may have begunbelore they start regarding the embryo as a person (the embryo is 'alive' in abtological sense). but the cessation of the l ife of an adult does not obliteratepersonhood at all. Once a l iving creature has become a person, it alwaysremains a person. Fail ing human memory may mean that he or she is onlyvaguely recalled, but the vagueness is regarded as a question of memory andnot of the status of the person. The supposition is that if one could find outabout one's forebears thev would be discovered as comolete individuals. Thatls' theV could be plotted on a genealogy by name, dates of birth and death,exploits. occupation and all the rest of it. To talk vaguely of those who haveoted does not mean, as it might on the Trobriands, that the counterpart to the

  • o4 English kinship in the late rwentieth century

    once living person now exists as amorphous spirit in the land of the dead. Onthe contrary. English who believe in a land of the dead believe that thecounterparts to once living persons wil l be resuscitated as persons, though itwill be good deeds and sins rather than occupation and social class that willsignify on the day of judgement.

    Persons are thus seen as more than the l ife that animates them. Death doesI not take away the identity or individuality of the person, who continues inpeople's memories and in records; thus dead kin are included in l ists ofrelatives (Firth and Djamour 1956: 38). what death terminates are the activerelationships the deceased enjoyed. in the same way as it terminates his or herenjoyment of life. Thus a marriage ends with the decease of a spouseanticipated in the vows of the bride and groom who are united till parted bydeath (Wolfram 1987:213). By virtue of the natural event (death), thesurviving 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. Therea person is defined and has identity through his or her social relationships,over the course of a lifetime augmenting such relationships through individualaction. Death does not destroy them: people do. When a l ife ceases when aperson is no longer active in relation to others then those related to thedeceased must terminate or otherwise alter these relationships themselves.Unless that happens, the deceased continues to influence the l iving.

    It is thus no trccident that the Massim should be notorious for its treatmentof widowhood. Until the relationship between spouses has been severed byhuman action, widows and widowers enter into a prolonged and onerousphase of 'negative marriage' in which their bodies are assimilated to those ofthe corpse. They are unmarried when this condition is ritually l i fted. But it isnot just the conjugal relationship that is subsequently undone the futureeffects of the union may also have to be terminated, and thus all therelationships that were contingent with it. Death becomes the most significantmoment for the redefinit ion of relationships, and by far the most importantpublic ceremonials across this part of the world are devoted to mortuaryrituals.ra Life has no simple downward flow, and relationships do not haveenduring consequences for the future. Survivors impose on themselves theobligation of terminating the relationships that made up the deceased's l effect of 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 east of Gawa lies the island of Muyuw.There a person's death is accompanied by cerernonies at which the marriage oftheir own pre-deceased parents is undone (Damon 1989). They are unmarriedin order that fresh marriages may take place in the generation following; for asubsequent generation to become parents. a previous generation is un-parented. The North Mekeo, on the Papua New Guinea coast, visualise a

    Analogies for a plural culture

    sirnilar move. The composite of socially diverse substances (bloods) that aperson derives from his or her grandparents has to be decomposed in order foririr ot her to marry, for marriage must bring about a composition of newsubstances (Mosko 1983, 1985). However, what happens at the time ofrnarriage is a fictional or artif icial anticipation of what wil l happen at death. ' l tis at the final mortuary feast that each person and his or her surviving relativesare de-conceived once and for all ' (1983: 30). This deconception is ac-complished through rearranging the relationships implicated in the init ial actof conception. It is as though ancestral spouses were returned to their ownsibling groups. For exchanges undo the marital and affinal connections bywhich the deceased was brought into being, un-mixing as a4result the bloodsthat were mixed in the deceased's own procreation. Foreign blood can be'sentback' (1985: 177) from where it came.

    More generally, persons embody their relationships with others and are theoutcome of the acts of others. At death, the person that embodied thoserelationships can no longer serve as a l iving embodiment of them. They haveto be re-embodied in others. and thus turn into, that is, reproduce, otherrelationships. Hence the Melanesian necessity to dissolve those specificrelationships of parentage by which the person was procreated.

    The English treatment of death reveals, by contrast, the idea that a personembodies a subjective self or agent. In terminating them, death freg-ze! therelationships he or she enjoyed. The marriage that was made, the job taken,the style of life and above all parentage: subsequent generations mightreclassify these according to their own interests, but there is no concept thatthe once living relationships have to be undone. They remain forever solidif iedin the record - which is why, of course, one can go to records to getinformation about them. Since the English regard the person enduring as aunique individual, the relationships in which he or she was enmeshedcontribute to his or her individual l i fe history. Rut the person is alsodistinguishable from them. It is precisely because individual agents are thusconceived to have an existence apart from their relationships that death canleave them as they were. Before returning to the issue ofparentage, let us takefurther the English connection between time and quantity here.

    Since persons are never de-individualised. the result is perpetual increase. Inthe same way as'tracing back'people yields rnore and more ancestors. so witheach generation more and moFpersons are born into the world. For howevermany Ann Evanses I were to find in the genealogical record, I would knowthat each name - if memory could be revived - was once attached to a separateperson. That is equally true of all the Ann Evanses of the future. Names, l ikeproperty. are passed on from one individual to another; they do not displaceeach other. To invert L6vi-Strauss's (1966: 195) observation of the Penan ofBorneo: procreation is conceived not as the substitution of one being byanother but as the addition ofnew beinss to the entire stock ofthose who haveever existed.


  • 66 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    The English passage of t ime therefore multiplies the number of persons inthe world (Gellner 1964: 2). Indeed, each person embodies so to speak theplurality of t ime itself its potential for punctuation into individual units. Anassociated notion is that there is always more time in the world, that is, as eachday passes 'more' t ime has happened. This is registered not only through aknowledge of history, which punctuates this flow as a succession ofevents andperiods, but through what is perceived as biological duration. over a l ife span,a person is regarded as constantly adding to his or her number of days, weeks.years of l i fe. an accompl ishment engraved on tombstones. conceiuing thespan of a person's l i fe in the numerical passing of the years in turnencapsulates what the English imagine must also be true for the world: theworld itself ages, gets older with each day. So it is not surprising that they aredrawn into questions of when the universe began, and what its end might belike, for there are questions that can be asked of individual l ives. The notion ofa world growing older, having more history to it, in turn verif ies the idea thatthe l ife of a person is of a specific duration. Individuals can then be plottedagainst the dat ing of the wor ld: Jane Austen, l77S l8 l7; Lewis HenryMorgan: l818 1881, and so forth.

    A point of debate thus becomes'when'death occurs. In much of Melanesia,the issue is decided by those around the deceased: the moment a Derson nolonger embodies the relationships he or she has with others, or no longerembodies the spirit that animated him or her, marks the commencement ofmourning. Signs of physical change are acted upon, but the signal is given bythose in The anguish of the English mode is that the signal has tobe given by the dying person him or hersell ' : i t is terrible either to anticioatedeath or to discover it hours later.

    The English regard dying as an autonomous process, something whichhappens ro a person, for it takes away their l i fe, as it irreversibly takes themaway from others. But it does not take away their personhood as anindividual. Mourning is a reaction to a death, not constitutive of it. Indeed,experts at reading the signals may have to be consulted when the manner ofdying makes the timing of the end ambiguous. since the signal is given by andthus read from the individual body, the capacity to keep certain organsfunctioning after others have ceased to do so generates controversy aboutwhich part of the person's dying constitutes 'real' death. Similarly, anysuggestion that the person has not done his or her own dying raises a moralissue. This is not a question about wil l: voluntary death is equally problematic.It is a question about the individual (biological) body. Life is regarded as acondition of the natural body, and it is the body that must therefore registerdeath. The person as an active subject is distinguishable from this embodi-ment, and to'take one's own life' is as problematic as taking the l ives of others.

    Life, then, is seen as more than the person - as a force or principle thatpervades the human world thought of as part of the natural world andagainst which it is possible to offend. Punctuations of t ime are also

    Analogies for a plural culture

    nunctuations ofl ife. The span ofyears indicates that one has had one's sharelrf i,., enjoyed 'a l i fe'. Through moral precepts, ethical guidelines and legalstatutes, society protects this diffuse principle against individual agents whowould abuse it '

    Each person not only marks off the accumulation of years (birthdays andanniversaries) but moves between stages, of greater and lesser duration, as somany mini-l i fe spans. Transitions are conventionally troubling, and theEnglish perceive problems in the development of the body. Adolescenceconventionally epitomises the awkwardness of transition; physical matur-ation brings with it social privileges, but the match may not be a 'real'match,for rates of maturity differ. Defining when a person is old is equallyproblematic, compounded in the experience of the elderly who have a lifetimeof ages they have passed through and which constitute their present. How oldone feels is flrequently reported by the elderly as a subjective reflex of therr ownvigour and liveliness (e.g. Jerrome 1989). Like adolescents, the becoming-oldplay off ambiguities in the supposed matching between chronological age andpersonal experience and capabil it ies, in theircase not to hasten adulthood butto delay inlanti l isation. This is social infanti l isation, the syndrome identif iedby gerontologists as the culture ofold age care. It is heightened in the case ofold people l iving in residential institutions, where loss of biological functionbrings loss of status as full persons (Hockey and James n.d.).to

    From one perspective, a person is more than life; from another, life is morethan a person. These perspectives overlap in their manifestation as'a person'slife'. and it becomes possible for an individual to be more or less of a personand to evince more or less l ife. Such perspectival overlap is analogous to thatencountered in an individual's distinction from and involvement inrelationships.

    Among everything that determines this English exercise of personhood andlife, two principal factors are seen to be the capacities oIthe natural body, andthe constraints and possibilities offered by the cultural and social world. Thesetake effect in the living individual. It follows that a life cannot be affected byevents after death and although someone's acts may have consequences forthe future, the future does not alter the acts themselves. Causes thus flowforward in time. Consequently a person may be regarded as influenced bymany things that happened before he or she was born, for he or she is born into /a world already full of eventi and relationships. Parents affect children'sidentity much more than children affect parents'. This downward or forwardflow in time recurs as a question of individual development. As Judith Ennewobserves (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 seemssimilar to that of 'who' one's parents are. This is a reason I think for MauriceBloch's (1986) complaint about the emphasis Brit ish social anthropology hashabitually placed on the determining role of birth as a criterion of status.Anthropologists of this tradition would point to societies such as Gawa or to


  • 68 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Baruya for examples of maternal or paternal parentage that give a personrights in a group lineally constituted with reference to the appropriateancestors. Hence such groups have been designated 'descent groups', and thefuss that Muyuw or Mekeo make in their mortuary rituals is interpreted as arecognition of the disruption that death causes to the (downward) flow of l i fe.Mortuary rites come to seem a variant of the practices of inheritance andsuccession familiar to the English transmission of identity (downward)between the generations.lT The transmission of material assets such asproperty and immaterial assets such as culture itself seemingly compares withthe transmission of rights of membership to descent groups. Since in this viewmembership of such groups flows from senior generation to junior, as holdersbestow items of inheritance on their heirs, the release of property at death isbound to create the need for readjustment. Groups simply reconstitutethemselves after death.

    Bloch puts forward a counterview. He does so in relation to the Merina ofMadagascar, Austronesian-speakers whose language belongs to the samefamily as that spoken by many peoples of the Massim. Where he retains theterm descent, it is with a significant qualif ication.

    Here, t ies established at birth create what he terms 'biological kinship' ofan interpersonal nature, but what is established at birth contrasts with thekinship of group membership (Bloch 1936: 38). If we call the latter'descent',then it points less to birth status than to the blessings of the ancestors and aperson's attachment to a specific tomb of the dead. Identity is variouslyestablished according to where the person is f inally buried; the communaltomb summates an equation between 'descent' and ancestral locality, whichcontains all the tombs of all group members. The group so assembled in a finalsense can only be assembled of the already buried. As a consequence, neitherbirth nor death but rather burial determines such status. This is true not onlyas a final classification of the deceased corpses can be retrospectivelyregrouped (cf. 1986: 35) but because where a parent is placed hasimplications for the attachments of the l iving. Such a suprabiologicalrepresentation of parenthood overcomes 'the discontinuities created bybiology', especially sexual difference. in Bloch's view ( I 98 7: 3271y Descent asan eternal and life-transcending condition, he argues, ignores the differencebetween men and women.

    Now BIoch's account holds some interest insofar as the character of thetomb group is apparently cognatic. That is, it is composed of l inks throughmen and women alike, since one may be buried there because either one'sfather or one's nother was so buried. In effect, the sibling group is alsoreconstituted, although Merina may be buried with spouses on occasion.Merina practice bears a similarity to English habits of kinship reckoning intracing connections through either parent; sexual difference in this regard issimilarly ignored. However. the crucial issue in Merina is that the retrospect-ive regrouping of corpses in the tomb asserts the continuity of these

    Analogies for a plural culture

    relationships over and against the sexual joining of the conjugal pair andsignificance of conception. As Bloch pointed out earlier (1971: 170),oro."rr involves the gradual depersonalisation of the dead. In effect,urgurn"nt is that (group) burial displaces the (individuating) actDrocl eatlon'

    ' ln our own society', writes Fox (1967: 5l) 'which lacks descent groups ofany kind, we recognize all cognates as "kin"."" On the basis of the fact thatties are reckoned bilaterally, through both mother and father, the 'cognatic'system of the English has been held to be more like other cognatic kinshipsystens than they are l ike those whose descent groups have a l ineal (patri l inealor nratrilineal) character. Yet an unfortunate consequence of the terminologyof cognatic kinship, so-called, l ies precisely in the implication that the mostintelesting difference in the English case must be the absence o[ groups. It isthis absence which in turn allegedly weakens the claim of English kinship toform 'a "constituent" unit of society' (Fox 1967: 166). Such perceivedweakening or dilution of its potential encourages writers to go out of their wayto apologise for the general insignificance of kinship in Western societies as faras public or social l i fe is concerned.

    One has to appreciate that where kin groups seemed to make up'segments'of society, as in the case of matri l ineal or patri l ineal descent groups, so-called,the formation of and recruitment into such groups occupied much of theattention of mid-century Brit ish social anthropology. And it was because ofthe particular potential of l ineal descent groups to form clear boundaries thatthey became an archetype. Meyer Fortes (1969 287) summarised the positionneatly: whereas'unil ineal descent groups' are defined genealogically, cognaticgroups'are open by genealogical reckoning and are closed by non-kinshipboundaries'. They were imperfectly defined by kinship criteria alone, and theirclosure was problematic. From this view, the anomaly of cognatic'groups' isapparently resolved in the English case where no-one tries to form groups outof the recognition of cognatic parentage.

    I turn briefly to a Melanesian example of a society which by suchanthropological criteria evinces cognatic kin reckoning. The ethnographerrefers to'personal kindreds'and to the absence of'unil ineal descent groups'.One would expect a radical contrast with ihe l ineal Gawa or Baruya case, orwith Muyuw and Mekeo for ltrrat matter.

    In the Massim, one of the Melanesian corners oIthe Austronesian-speakingworld, systems identified as cognatic have been rare. One such is the Molimaof Fergusson Island. described by Ann Chowning (1989), virtually alone in asea of matri l ineal peoples. During a Molima person's l i fetime, he or shenominally distinguishes 'mother's family' from 'father's family', but the l ivingperson treats kin on either side in much the same way.20 At death, however,l iving kin differentiate themselves socially through their actions and thus withrespect to diverse rights and duties towards the deceased. In fact, con-sanguines beyond an immediate circle effectively divide into two unlike


    thethehis ,of j

    , l

  • *'10 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    categories, analogous to maternal and paternal sides. This distinction isdeliberately created.

    These post-mortuary realignments mainly concern the conduct of thefuneral and associated rituals itself; kin categorise themselves according towhether they would trace a link with the deceased through a male or femaletie. The two maj or classes are 'children of a deceased brother' (mourners) and'children of a deceased sister' (workers). Not themselves kin terms, thecategories create collective distinctions between kin. Mourners feast workers,who eat the mortuary food. It is the acts that people must do at death that thusmake the difference. Difference is also made evident in terms of address, andMolima routinely refer to themselves by relatives who have died. Therelationship is signalled in the term: thus one may address someone as 'manwho has lost a brother'. or 'parent of a dead child'. But the point of themortuary division is that once a parent has died, the child acquires a differentsocial relationship to the kin he traces through that parent from that whichheld when the parent was alive.

    The necessity to rearrange relationships at death arises, as it does elsewherein the Massim, because the once living person embodied not only his or herrelationship with certain other relatives but their relations with one another.The living person, through acts and dispensations of interest, contained in himor herself a specific set of relations between paternal and maternal kin. ormore widely those connected through males and through females. What wasunited in the reproduction (that is, procreation) of a l iving person ;u;aGundone at death.

    I argue that the anthropologist's question of whether actions at birth or atdeath are determining of identity, or whether or not one can discern l inealreckoning, pale beside the fact that kin arrangements such as these effect adisplacement of relationships over time (cf. Gil l ison 1987; l99l). Theanthropologist's question of whether or not kinship organises persons intogroups thus masks a prior issue'. v,hether or not pareiltage is a fxed point ofreference for identitt'. The analytical concept of 'descent' assumes thatparentage is indeed fixed.

    As far as the Massim is concerned, the differentiation of consanguinesr depends on a division of personal identity that may actually involve shedding/,parentage. Thus the way in which kin of the deceased in Molima divide

    according to whether they are related through a male or female connectionundoes the procreative sexual partnership that reproduced him or her. Aconjugal relationship is displaced by the new differentiation of brother andsister. Similarly, the foetal imagery of the people of Gawa or the Trobriandislands shows the child composed of a relationship between its two parentsand thus between sets of kin who are affines to one another. Each trace theirconnection to it as the child of their'brother' or the child of their'sister'. Thoseaffinal relationships are undone at death for the sake of a reproductive futureon both sides. Consequently the deceased person must, in Mark Mosko's

    Analogies for a plural culture

    nhrase. also be de-conceived. The point may be summarised more generally.

    i, , p..ton. the deceased has to be divested of what gave him or her socialDresence ' these relationships in order that (other) social presence(s) maycontinue to be embodied in others.

    Life and death make a difference to the apprehension of social presence andof sociality itself. It is at death that the Trobriand person becomes pure clanspir i r . the moment at which lhe person contains the c lan ( in i ts ownsoiritualised substance) even as the clan contains the person. But as a l ivingan

  • '12 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    composite nature of the personal/group body and its decomposition in therecreation of luture parentage. From this perspective, the cognatic Englishcan only be cognatic so-called. Division between maternal and paternal kin isunimportant for the English simply because division l ies elsewhere -parentage is fixed and the burden of differentiation falls on the child. Thisfixing of parentage makes it appear that one looks'upward'to ancestors (cf.Geertz and Geertz 1964), for the causes always flow from them, 'downwards'and irreversibly. It is less the difference (division) between male and femaleties, then, than that bet,,ueen child and parent which is established atconception, and such a difference, coded in the make-up of the child's body, isnever undone.

    The Melanesian material serves as a commentary on the manner in whichthe English construe relations. More emphatically than that, lt reveals culturalbias, in the sense that Richard Werbner (1990) takes the original formulation(Douglas 1978). It has been necessary to contrast conceptualisations of thebeginning and end of life if only to show how life and death make a differenceto the kind of sociality evinced in persons and relationships.

    Let me summarise the contrast offered by the Massim in particular. TheMassim person embodies a l iving composite of relationships, which at deathare simultaneously separated and reabsorbed; the person, we might say, doesnot exist without the attendant relations that give him or her l i fe. The Englishperson is a part of l i fe, while from another perspective l ife is also a part of himor her; what is true of l i fe for the English is also true of society or relationshipsthemselves, which are both more than and less than the whole person.Between these two cases lie different possibilities in the verv wav analogies areconstrued.

    Overlapping views

    M erograp hic conne('tionsI have imagined a range oIEnglish constructs as components of a procreadvemodel. We can think of it as a model for reproducing modernist futures. Itpresupposed that relationships produced (individual) persons and that(individual) diversity led to productive relationships. such that individuacreated individuals. Difference was inherent in the nature of things, andentities either produced other than themselves or reproduced what wasalready different. We can now add a further dimension. The model becarneself-evident through the manner in which people construed analogies betweendifferent parts of social life or segments of the world. Connections could bemade between parts in a way that sustained the individuality of each.

    Consider: domains such as 'culture' and 'nature' appear to be l inked bYvirtue of being at once similar and dissimilar. What makes the similarit iesthe effort to 'see' connections; what makes the dissimilarit ies is the 'nition' of difference. Difference thereby becomes apparent from a simple fact

    Analogies for a plural culture

    of life: it is a connectionfrom another angle.Thal is, what looks as though it isconnected to one fact can also be connected to another. Culture and naturemay be connected together ds domains that run in analogous fashion insofaras each operates in a similar way according to laws of its own; at the same time,each is also connected to a whole other range of phenomena whichdiflerentiate them the activit ies of human beings, for instance, by contrastwith the physical properties of the universe. This second connection makes theoartial nature of the analogy obvious. It presupposes that one thing differsirom another insofar as it belongs to or is part of something else. I call thiskind of connection. link or relationship nterographic.

    The term recalls but is not identical with mereology, the study of part wholerelations (cf. Thornton 1988).'?' I wish to refer not to part whole relations, butto the English view that anything may be a part of something else, minimallypart of a description in the act of describing of it. In this view, nothing is in factever simply part of a whole because another view, another perspective ordomain, may redescribe it as'part of something else'." When that somethingelse is perceived as a context or underlying assumption, the very grounds onwhich things appear becorre another perspective upon them- To return to oneof my examples: culture belongs to the domain of human activity, and in thatsense is universally part of it: but as an idea it may also be claimed as thespeciflc construct ofa specific era and thus (and to the contrary) also part ofaparticular culture at one point in time. Perspectives themselves are created inthe redescriptions.

    The abil ity to constantly re-describe something from another viewpointthus produces a displacement effect of a particular kind. One entity is notsubstituted by another as a version of itself, as we might say Baruya fathers areverslons of Baruya sons or the body of the Gawan matriclan can appear as thebody of a canoe. Rather, the substitution connects the entity to a whole, other(distinct and unique) domain of phenomena. A different order of knowledge istntroduced. So, for example, the ultrasound image of the unborn body bringsthe foetus into a social clomain where individual persons have legal rights andthe body of the mother is redescribed as a l ife-support system. Such adisplacement is sin-rultaneously a loss of perspectiv" oi los of intormation:the new description makes maternity invisible.

    The very desire to put facts .into their context, is a merographic move. Thecontext. by virtue of not being equivalent with the thing put into it, wil ltrtull l lrot'the thing from a particular angle (display one of its parts). ThisSlves.scholars some Lf tn" measures of quantity riferred to in Chapter One:ttt ' ldeo that individual persons can be 'more' or ' less' individualistic, forrnstance, is measured by a dimension other than themselves (such as thecontexl of their opportunities). In the same way. the notion of plurality - of'tte multiplicity of things - is derived not simply fiom the number of things inttte world, but from the fact that any single entity can be dilferentiated from aslrnilar entity by some axis other than their similarity (tbr example, individual

    I )

  • 74 English kinship in thc late twentieth century

    7 Darwin and the .lace of nature, 1959

    Extract from Gillian Beer "The Face of Nature": Anthropomorphic Elements in thelanguage of The Origin o.f Species'.Reproduced by kind permission of Free Association Books from languages of Nature,edited by Ludmilla Jordanova.

    When we can feel assured that al l the individuals of thesame species, and al l the closely al l ied species of most gen-era, have within a not very remote period descended fromone parent, and have migrated from some one birthplace;and when we better know the many means of migrat ion,then, by the l ight which geology now throws, and wi l l con-t inue to throw, on former changes of c l imate and of the levelof the land, we shal l surely be enabled to trace in an admir-able manner the former migrations of the inhabitants of thewhofe worfd (Darwin, 1968,457)

    In this passage writer and reader are held in comradeship bythat init iat ing 'we'; individuali ty and community are, equally,promised ( ' individuals', 'closely al l ied species', 'one parent' ,'one birthplace'); continuity is assured 'the light which geologynow throws, and will continue to throw'; affirmation and hope- something rhetorically both beyond and just short of cer-tainty - are expressed: 'we shall surely be enabled to lrace inan admirable manner', and history and fullest community areconjoined in 'the former migrations of the inhabitants of thewhole world'. 'The inhabitants of the whole world' and theirmigrations include man, without sett ing him apart from all theother inhabitants of the whole world: animals, plants, f ishes,insects - the whole of animate nature - become one moving andproliferating family.

    Analogies lor a plural culture

    Dersons are different not as units, for that makes them the same, but in thecontext of their histories over time).23 We have also encountered a dramaticinstance in the Present chaPter.

    The contrast between the l ife that f lows or unfolds in a ceaseless stream ofevents and the punctuated l ife that is full ofdifferent events is l ike the contrastbetween the l ife of the entire universe, or animal kingdorn, and of theindivrdual organism who exists as a particular segment of it. It looks as thoughsocial discontinuity is being mapped on to biological continuity (Ingold 1986:160). But Ingold maintains that the contrast between duration and punctu-irrion. as it is often treated in the anthropological l i terature. belongs muchmore to the way in which scholars conceptualise the relationship betweenindividual and society than it does to theories of t ime. Thus, he argues, eachorganism can be regarded either as the embodiment of a life-process or as anentity with a specific configuration of elements.2a Now if anthropologists havebeen less than sophisticated in these matters, perhaps it is because of the powerof the indigenous model: the organism as a person, in the English view,conflates the two perspectives, and continuity and discontinuity can beimagined in either direction. Social continuity is also mapped on to biologicaldiscontinuity.

    As a natural individual, the person only manifests for a while the larger l i feof the universe of l iving beings. In the same way, as l ife is larger than theindividual who thereby embodies it for a while, and time is longer than the l ifespan of any human being or historical period, society and culture are regardedas more extensive than the particular relations a person has or the values he orshe pronrotes. Indeed, the English hold that society and culture only everimpose a l imited range of possible relations and values upon any oneindividual who manifests their effect. Yet, as a person with a social identity,and as an agent who takes action, the individual endures in the historicalrecord beyond the span of his or her own life. At the same time, then, theperson is also more than the l ife he or she has enjoyed, and is more than simplythe social relations and cultural values he or she manifests. Indeed it is possiblefor the individual's biographical or psychological complexity to seem morecomplex than any social system. These merographic connections betweenperson-and-life or between individual-and-society thus resolve into a furtheranalogy between the life that ishqth more and less than the person and societythat is both more and less than the individual.

    Such a formr.rla allows us to redescribe some of the earlier arguments ofthis chapter. It wil l be recalled that I have questioned the concept ofdescentlor the kin groups of certain Melanesian societies and the concept of cognatickinship for the English case. Now a counter-objection could well be that Inave overlooked a crucial distinction between radically different kin categoris-ations. Anthropologists have always posed society focused constructs, such asclan groups, against ego-focused kin constructs, such as personal kindreds,and the convention has dominated kinship studies for years. Thus Robin Fox


  • 76 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    adopts the contrast between ancestor-focused and ego-focused groups as amnemonic for an obvious difference between two apparently self-evidentfacts, 'true of all kinship systems' (1967 164): persons may share an ancestorwhereas one individual never overlaps with another.2s In this view, any groupfocused on an individual must be egocentric and cannot therefore besociocentric. But whatever its analytical uti l i ty, the distinction is not as radicalas it seems.

    I suggest, in turn, that the possibility of such a classification is given in theindigenous (English) merographic connection between individual and society.One may switch perspectives from one entity to the other, so that the twoperspectives seemingly encompass between them everything that might be saidabout social l i fe.

    The single Gawan matriclan, composed of persons unified in action,diversified in their exchanges with others, is replicated in their image of thesingle individual, who exists for both him or herself and his or her connections.It is not that the clan acts as a social 'group' and the individual acts in apersonal or egocentric'network'. Rather, social action in both cases takes thesame aesthetic form (the social person is the individual and his or herrelationships). In describing what is distinctive about English kinship, one wil lbe describing instead just how anthropologists might have been persuaded toplace so much weight on the difference between egocentric and sociocentricrelations. For in respect of the English idea of the individual, relationships doappear extrinsic and society does appear to be a phenomenon of anotherorder. An individual is a part of society, then, yet what makes an individual isnot what makes society.

    The popular supposition that kinship is only a 'part' of society rests on thefact that it is also a'part'ofbiological process. Such parts are not equal to oneanother. The perspective that gives each ofthem its distinctive nature appearsalways as a different order of phenomena. Each order that encompasses theparts may be thought of as a whole, as the individual parts may also bethought of as wholes. But parts in this view do not make wholes.

    The English imagine an inclusive series. Society is a part of l i fe; kinship is apart of society; an individual person is a part of a kinship system. The seriescan be imagined in reverse. But it is also possible to conceive a reverse thatdoes not retain the same serial inclusivity. A person is at once part of a kinshipsystem, a part of society and a part of l i fe, participating in all these fields'in hisor her own right'. In other words, these entit ies do not match completely on toone another. Whatever whole the person is, he or she is equal neither to akinship system, nor to society nor to l ife. In turn, these domains must beregarded as constituted by parts that only from the perspective of their ownindividual identity (organisation or order) have a holistic character.26 Thusthe 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

    Analogies for a plural culture

    :" I

    .. ..1


    This is the Key of the KingdomIn that Kingdom is a city;In that city is a town;In that town there is a street ;In that street there winds a lane,In that lane there is a yard;In that yard there is a house;In that house there waits a room;In that room an empty bed;And on that bed a basket-A Basket ofSweet Flowers:

    Of Flowers, of Flowers;A Basket ofSweet Flowers.

    Flowers in a Basket iBasket on the bed;Bed in the chamber;Chamber in the house;House in the weedy yard ;Yard in the winding lane ;Lane in the broad street;Street in the high town iTown in the city ;City in the Kingdom-This is the Key of the Kingdom;--*

    Of the Kingdom this is the Key.

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


    - - . \


    / ' - :

  • 78 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    kinship thinking, persons connected through kinship are regarded as of adiflerent order from the kinship that does the connecting.

    The sense in which the English view the person as a whole is not as akinsman but (the l ink is merographic) as a unique individual. lt follows, in thisview, that individuals are not in themselves relationships. Kin relationshipsare about how individual persons are connected to one another, yet not aswhole individuals, only as kin, so that kin ties appear as but a part of thatunitary entity, the individual person. Kinship connects unique individualswith the constant proviso that kin roles are only one among a constellation ofroles. Each role comes from its own domain, in Schneider's terminology(1968: 58). Consequently, kin roles simply evoke a role-playing or relational'part' of the individual person. If roles reproduce roles (playing daughter tomother) then to reproduce a whole individual must take a whole in

  • 80 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Substance may be metaphorised as blood, and the connections createdthe transmission of substance metaphorised as a flow. However, the bloodthat flows between English relatives is imagined as always flowing indirection (downwards in irreversible time), so that what comes to rest in anvsingle individual no longer moves. It will only be reactivated when he orcomes to procreate, and at that point flow is reconceptualised as a bestowalparts or traits. The flow of blood is at once like a moving stream (andtravel backwards) and like a substance that can be infinitely divided into partHence the'dilution' of any one stream that comes from mixing, rendering anyone individual an amalgam of blood. The procedures for working out theiproportion are simple: one divides one's blood in half by parents, into quaby grandparents, eights by great grandparents (cf. Wolfram 1987: l3). Borna mother with two English parents and of a father with a Welsh and Englparent makes me one quarter Welsh. But the actual'flows' have been renderedinvisible one sees instead the traits each individual displays. Indeed, inpopular belief, the parts that an individual person'gets' from either mother orfather may be thought of as parts of other ancestors that'show' in descendigenerations.

    What is visualised, then, is a transmission of substance proportionate to tindividual recipient. The individual contains within her or him so mucpercentage of blood from this or that grandparent, an image I would caliteralist. That is, it opens up a general metaphor connections of substaare like the flow of blood - to a precision or specification that brings in furldomains or perspectives, here ones that turn on quantity and on what canseen. Popular understandings of biological science make the point.

    The English always know there is more to see than falls within one's fieldvision: one sees only ever a 'part' of what one could see. Hence the questithat pursue the metaphor or flow concern proportion and quantity. Onenot act on the knowledge in such a way as to sustain or alter or redirect tflow, but rather acquires it as knowledge about what and how much onewithin. Those internal elements in turn have an ultimate visibility, fromanother perspective. They can be seen as gene-carrying chromosomes visibleunder the microscope. Indeed it is as though such a vision were just waiting fthe geneticist to map the genome. Yet the fact that each individual containstwo sets ofgenes, inherited from the connecting ofpersons, replicated throughthe cells of the body, does not prompt an intrinsically relational metaphor.Connections of substance are imasined as intrinsicallv oartial.

    While bloods may be transmitted in proportion, what 'shows' is infinitelydiverse. From a potential range only this or that trait or collection of traits getspassed on. For each parent passes on what are thought ofas parts ofhis or herbody (eye colour, tendency to obesity, personality, talent), and there are asmany characteristics as may be seen in the making of an individual person.Thus parts are manifested in offspring less as a set of paired or opposed

    Analogies for a plural culture

    qualit ies than as a .unique configuration of diverse particles, the random

    inreraction of genetic substances'So out of the coupling of parents and the pairing of chromosomes, we derive

    an image of a different order, of an individual who shows in her or himself auniqr. combination of heterogeneous particles. We stress the randomnessand chancy outcome of this process. None of your phenomenal orchestration

    of maternal and paternal substance, no division into the red and whitecomponents of the body, nothing in the individual to indicate that therelationship between its parents took the form of anything more than a singleact at the moment in time that started offits own and irreversible genetic clock.

    Portial theories fbr a plural societyThe connections imagined in English kinship can always turn into mero-graphic ones. Individuals produce individuals but relations do not producerelations. For those relations that produce individual persons reproduceentities that also belong to other domains of existence. The simple English ideathat the individual person plays various roles by reference to various domainsof which the roles are part, and which exist in turn as only a part of his or herwhole identity, offers a (partial) model for social life in a self-consciouslyplural and complex world.

    The single most significant feature of their studies of middle-class kinship inLondon upon which Firth, Hubert and Forge report is the factor ofvariabil ity, the ground on which they choose examples to i l lustrate variationrather than typicality. 'Nearly every family had some circumstances which'1

    , -made it unique and introduced some complication into the pattern of !l*relationships'(1969: 399). They are struck by the extent to which recognition

    ofkin, both within the kin universe and with respect to effective contact, canbe modified by the exercise of individual choice whether an outcome of classdistinctions or of the quality of the personal relationship. Variabil ity existsas much within the relativelv homoseneous section of the middle class as itdoes between classes. Indeed, other classes may be similar in this respect,and such variability was already a finding from an earlier study of aworking-class neighbourhood (Firth and Djamour 1956: 60). It exists withinas well as between families, 4 phenomenon not confined to the Englishcounties. The question of the heterogeneity of social experience found withinany one family, in the extended sense of a circle of relatives, was a point onwhich Colin Rosser and Christopher Harris (1965) opened their account ofkinship in the Welsh town of Swansea.

    There is an overlap of factors here. On the one hand people see themselvesas exercising a degree of choice in whom they'keep up with'; on the other handthey appear united and divided by social circumstances of class, demographyand the l ike that l ie beyond their control. The actors' perception of choice


  • 82 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    means that the manner in which relations are conducted can always bemodif ied by some extraneous circuntstance such as geographical proximityor level of earnings or how oue'gets olr '. The observer's perception of differingsocial circumstances, and the preferences people exercise in the way theyorganise family functions and the l ike, can lead (as it had led in the earlierstudy) to the conclusion that' in the English kinship system no single emphasis

    ' seems to be outstanding enough to give its quality to the system as a whole'r (Fir th 1956: l8) .

    Towards the end of their account, Firth, Hubert and Forge reopen thequestion of whether English kinship forms a 'system'. They delimit a numberof general features, and then introduce the topic of kin terminology.

    [W]hat stands out in this English systern is the tendency all the way through tospecily persons individually... In any formal context relatives must be properlypinpointed as individuals, with category label carefully qualif ied to bring out thepersonal aspect. In this sense the English kinship system can be called a speciJyingsystem as against the categorizing s)'stems of many other, especially non-industrial,societies. But its specification is ofindividual persons, not statuses and roles. (1969:451. original emphasis)

    The analvsis holds more senerallv.Schneider's observation apropos American kinship is pertinent: 'The


    relative as a person is quite difl-erent from the distinctive features which definei the person as a relative' (1968: 59). The individual person is'a compound of a

    variety of different elements from different symbolic subsystems or domains'(1968: 59). The relative, on the other hand, is defined rather narrowly byreference to ties by blood or marriage, such ties fomring a single symbolicdomain. In fact, he later observes that the self-reported variety that appears toprevent any generalisations about American kinship at large (see ChapterOne) belong not to this latter domain but to the system of person-centreddefinit ions (1968: l l2). In his view there is no variance as far as thedistinctive features of kinship ideas are concerned; variance, a pluralitydomains, is a characteristic of the person-centred system. In other words,suggests a location for variabil ity.

    Diverse factors are seen to impinge on the relative as a person. Scintroduces the concept ofnormativeness to account for the coherence oftheseplural donrains as they are experienced by the individual person. Thenonnative category 'father', for instance, contains components from thekinship domain, the age domain, the sex domain and other domains as well.For if what is appropriate or normative for a male upper-class person asfather is different from what is appropriate for a male middle-class person as afather, in his view the resultant variation in family form and behaviour is amatter of class and sex-role attributes, not of kinship thinking as such;Difl-erences thus arise from variation in non-kinship components. Scand Smith (1973:7) point to middle- and lower-class family forms in Amerias indicatins'differences at the normative level derivine from differences in t

    Analogies for a plural culture g3

    manner in which family structure articulates with other role systems'. Thenorrnative system. what makes the relative a person, is a cultural con-glomerate (1973: 69).

    schneider and Smith take the individuar person, or individualism, as a factof American culture at large. I have suggested, however, that as far asdescribing the English is concerned, we might as usefully take the individual asa modern fact of kinship. Ideas about genetic transmission, the act ofprocreation or the unity of the conjugal union can at any time combine tomerographic effect. English symbols of kin connection render the individualperson at once an entity composed ofparts and a part ofother entit ies beyondhim or her. The person as a relative is also a conglomerate.2s

    con-elomerates constitute mixes of parts from different domains, such thatone kind of relationship coexists in conjunction with another of a dif lerentkind. The connection between'child and mother' l ikened to .an individual ona life-support system' captures the asymmetry. Indeed, the whole concept ofhuman beings using enabling technology can be pressed into the service ofmerographic thinking. Neither entity defines the other: the person .uses' or'exploits' technology, as the technology 'detennines' or 'allows' the person todo this or that .

    Insofar as they are drawn from diverse domains, the components ofconglomerates may be regarded as distinctive in nature and thus potentiallyunequal in their effect. Hence the symmetrical mode of reckoning kinshipthrough both mother and father resolves into an asymmetry when eitherparent is thought of as themselves conglomerates of characteristics. Eachcornbines in him or herself the effects of different domains of relationship.Thus the real father is a man who is both the genetic progenitor and themother's husband; the real mother is both the genetic mother/Lirthing motherand the nurturer after birth. what rtefines one parent rs not what defines theother (cf. wolfram 1987: 209). And neither arone nor united do theycompletely define the child they produce. For all the identity parents bestow, itremains possible for individuals to reproduce .real' individuals.^

    English kin relations do not make an individual person equal to his or herfield of relations, let alone a universe of social relations. There is, in fact, nouniverse of relationships, any more than personal names or kin terms formunlvrses Thus they cannot be.mapped on to each other. Far from one system'tttomenclature being isomorphic with the other. as we saw in chapter one;l: lttt 't ine expectation that kin terms wil l shade into personal names. In;l: Y:.llnr,

    kin rerms are qualified by personal names, and personal names bynttt ttlr lS, neither therefore ever occupies a 'complete' social space. Eitherirt l":"t

    terms.may classity or individuare, bur thaidoes not in Engrish make

    ",l-^:Of suhstitures for each other. Instead they conrribure to I pluralityv'lerspectives from which persons can be seen.2e

    *J.!t is a.n infinitely pluraf world reproduced - full of persons onry some ofryIrom can be claimed as kin and with a range of kin onry some of whom one

  • 84 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    gets to know as persons. A genealogy simply unfolds this diversity throughtime, making more and more individuals appear. Each life punctuates timeitself into discrete spans embodied in persons who have beginnings and ends- 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 awider population, but not a part that is in any way equal to it: there is noclosure to conceivable relationships.

    What Fortes found disconcerting about cognatic groups, then, opened bykinship reckoning and closed by non-kinship boundaries, is an apt descriptionof the perception of overlapping domains I have called merographic. Groupsare a theoretical red herring; the very conceptualisation of relationshipsalready manifests this indeterminacy. For no specification of relationshipsescapes qualification by criteria which seem to lie outside the relationshipsthemselves. Hence, as far as the English are concerned, attempts to specifycompleteness in so-called cognatic kin term usage frequently fall foul of oneof its distinguishing features. Randomness within the individual is theoutcome of specific (parental) relations, yet indicates only his or herconglomerate nature not a person whose multiple origins are potentiallypartible, but a location or place, so to speak, where different elements overlap.And like the random collection of genes that any one person contains within,there is a random element in whom one claims as kin. That outward gesture ofrandomness (whom one 'chooses' to claim) paradoxically has as its aim thecreation of specific relations.

    We return to an init ial observation to be made of merographic connections,that although they precipitate a plural world of analogous contexts anddomains, these domains are never sustained as exhaustive or total analogies.That is precisely because the domains are regarded as overlapping in certain'places', in certain areas or institutions or persons, where they must appearonly as parts (of other domains). Thus, one may speak of an economic orreligious dimension to Western family life or, as Schneider did, to the effect ofclass or sex-role. 'The family' is equivalent neither to'economic l ife'nor to'thereligious system', but is one of the places where the effects of both can be seen.Nor is economic l ife equal to the religious system, though they may sharecertain features of ideology and organisation and in the impact they have onthe family (cf. Schneider 1969). The analogies between such domains remainpartial, their f it incomplete, for none is conceptually reducible to a version ofany of the others.

    The proliferating capabil it ies of a plural society are revealed in its kinshippractices, though that itself offers only one perspective among many. Butthere is a special reason whl,kinship evokes the conceptualisation of relationsas merographic. I suggested that the merographic connections betweenpersons-and-life, individual-and-society, resolve into analogies between lifeand society, or between the individual and person. They also evoke the further

    Analogies for a plural cul ture


    The young ladies arr ived. Thcir appcerance s'as b1' nomeans ungenteel or unfasl t ionable ; t l te ir c lress \ras vcr) 's l l lart 'their manners ver l ' c iv i l . T 'hcy 1'ere del ig| ted rvi t l t the hottsc,and in raptures u' i th thc furt t i tut 'c ; and thcy hapl lcncd to bcso doat ingl l ' foncl of c l i i ldrcD that Lady xl iddlctor i 's goodopinion \\'as engaged in their favour bcforc they had becn anhbur at the Park. She declarcd them to be r-er; 'agreeablegir ls indeed, u'hich, for her Ladyship, '$-as enthusiast ic adr l i ra-Iion. Sir John's cotrfidence in his orvn judgment rose $'itl 'rthis animated praise, ancl he sct off directly for the cottage' totell the N1iss Dashrvoods of the l\{iss Steeles' arrival, and toassure them of their being the sl 'eetest gir ls in the u-or ld.From such cotnmendation as this, horvevei, thcre s 'as not muchto be leirned ; El inor rvel l knc* ' that the s$'ectcst gir ls in theu'orld u'ere to be met t' ith in every part of Englarrd, underevery possible variation of fortn, face, tel'rl1lcr, aud under-standing. Sir John \\'anted the u'hole famill ' to rvalk to thePark direct ly, and look at his guests. Benevolent, phi lan-thropic man ! I t s 'as painful to him even to keep a thirdcousin to himself .

    t Do cotne no's',t said he ; t pray collle-)'ou nlust come -ldeclare'you slral l colne. You catt ' t th ink horv you n' i l l l ikethent. Lucy is ntonstrous pretty, and so gooci-ltutnout'ed andagreeable ! The children are all hanging about hcr alreacll', asif shc \\'as an old acquaintance. And they both long to see1'ou of ail things ; for thel' have lteard at Ereter that 1'ou arcthe tnost beautiful creaturcs in tlre s'orlcl, atrd I hal'e told thenrit is all very true, and a grcat dcal ltlore. You l' i l l bedel ighted u' i th theur, I aur sure. They have brought thervhole coach full of plal'things for the childrcn. Hou' can 1'oulle so cross as not to conrqJ \\'h1', they are )'our cousins, youknon', after a fashion. |'ou are nry cousins, and thel' are nlywife 's ; so ) 'ou nrust be related. '


    9 Sen,se and Sensibilitl,, 18 I I

  • 86 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    analogy between nature and culture. When the facts of kinship are simul-taneously both facts of nature and facts of culture, this analogy in turn isrevealed as a merographic connection. Kinship is, so to speak, the place ofoverlap.3o

    That such facts or dornains overlap invites qr.rantif ication - how much oneor other has influence. Hence the possibil i ty of anthropologists thinking, forinstance, that descriptive kin terms are closer to nature than classificatoryones, or that cognatic kinship reckoning looks as though it is a truerrepresentation of biological relationships than other systems. In this thinking,descriptive terminology appears to respect naturally occurring differences, asbetween lineal and collateral siblings, in the same way as cognatic reckoningappears to give equal weight to tracing connections through the two biologicalparents. I have tried to show that the conventions of English kinship alsopresuppose the natural existence ofparents as individuals, and take this as anindubitable fact of parentage itself. Riviere commenrs on Warnock's credulityfor imagining that registers of births are registers of genetic parenthood (1985:4), but the compilers of genealogies no doubt work under exactly thatpresupposition.

    In the 1960s, a heated debate sprang up between several anthropologists,Brit ish and American, about the relationship between biological facts and thesocial or genealogical categorisations of kinship relations. Ernest Gellner hasrecently reprinted three of his broadsides, init ially written at about the timethat Firth and his colleagues were embarking on their London study.

    Gellner gives voice to the 'English' suppositions I have been trying toconvey. Society, he states (1987: 184) 'can be seen as sets of relationshipsbetween people'. People thus pre-exist as entit ies between whom socialityexists l ike so many strands. And they exist in nature as discrete physicalpersons: ' i t 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 structure means the mannerin which a pattern of physical relationships is made use of for social purposes'(1987: 170, his emphasis). After all, he points out, of all possible socialrelations, anthropologists decide which are kinship relations precisely becauseof their 'overlap' with 'physical kinship'. He continues:

    [kinship structure means] the way in which a physical criterion is used for theselection of members for a group and the ascription of rights, duties, etc. Of course,the available physical facts are used selectively, distorted (but systematically). withsonte irregtlarity, etc. But: the elements of the physical pattern are essentially simpleand universal, whilst the social patterns imposed on it are highly diversified andcomplex. (1987: 170, original emphasis)

    In order to analyse different systems, anthropologists must f irst be able todescribe the physical reality which is their point of rel-erence. The challengetherefore l ies in how to devise an adequate descriptive language to cover

    Analogies for a plural culturc

    various possibil i t ies of biological relatedness. A prerequisite is that one mustcreare

    'unambiguous devices for picking out single individuals' (1987: 174).The ideal notation would thereby show the physical relations relevant to the

    sociery of sludy against which anthropologists could plot their socialdeploynrent. In passing, he says that of course this ideal notation of physicalrelations wil l require restrictions for it must be made nonsense, not just false,for a man to mate with a man or for a man to be his own offspring.

    This makes one realise the extent to which the plural culture is, or was,committed to the idea that kinship is the social construction of natural facts.Toke nature out of the equation, think of the Baruya of Melanesia, and one isthinking instead of a system premised on the idea that kinship is the socialconstruction of social relations.3r It comprises a set of analogies betweenrelations a//oIwhich are social relations in some sense. That sons give birth tofathers is another way of thinking about the fact that fathers give birth tosons.32 It is an imaginative possibil i ty that in having procreative intercoursewith a'woman', a man is also having intercourse with a'man', at least insofaras Baruya perceive a woman to be a male in female form, and vice versa. Thenonsense, there. would be to imagine individual persons apart from therelations that constitute them.

    Modern English views about the plurality and diversity of l i fe, the noveltyof t in-re on the increase, and their connection to ideas about procreation - thatbabies are new rather than old persons and that parents reproduce individualsrather than relations did indeed take the individual as a pre-existing unit.They thereby placed it in nature. But these ideas also turned on their own axis.lf 'society' rather than the'individual' were seen as part of nature, the conceptof the individual would no longer appear as natural ground but would berevealed as itself a social construction.

    The next chapter considers the power of the partial analogy between natureand society in English l ife. That axial turn is made possible by rnerographicconnection that a modernist could think equally of individuals as parts ofnature, or as parts of society, as he or she could think of society as part ofnature or nature as part of society. The aesthetic impetus towards eitherholism or atomism forever mobil ised a plurality of perspectives. Thecoordinating perspective to which the English held through all this wascontained in a hope for perspective itself. l t carried with it the pluralisticrmpetus to quantif ication, the idea that by looking we would see more thingsand that the more we saw the more true to the nature of what we were lookingat would be our knowledge. At some point we might even recognise ourdistinctive selves.


  • The progress3of polite society

    Some two hundred years ago, in r7g9, a young widow rnarried into tSperling lamily. Her husband was the heir of ihe foimer High Sheriff of Essr

    nings; the Sperlings' own chief improvements were outside laying out drirbuilding new stables and furnishing ornamentar water in the park.generation later rhe middle girl of f ive children, Diana Sperling (her nashortened then as now to Di), began sketching l ife at Dynes Hall."Most ofscenes come from around the hall itself, but also include the Buckinghamshihome of the von Hagens with whom they had connections thioueh tmarriage of her elder sister. The compiler of her sketches notes ttrat, jtheir recent origins. the Sperlings belonged to the middling gentry.English squirearchy contained many thousand families of this kind, untirbut locally prominent, and colrectively possessed of a large proportion ofcountry's land'(Mingay l98l: xi). Their family milieu evoked rank, pprietorship and the making of connections between similar promin

    and she brought up her family at Dynes Hall, an estate of 500 acres includifinely wooded parkland. The Sperlings were fur merchants of Swediancestry, the first emigre having been naturalised a century earlier, widealings both in Northern Europe and across North America. By ncacknowledged in county society, their rise into the ranks of the Essex gewas signified by the purchase of the house which became their seat.r

    The house had already been improved upon since its Elizabethan besi

    families.Diana Sperling's sketches appear aimed to entertain. There are foxhunti

    episodes, several pictures of the famiry returning from dinner parties, aamusing inside scenes such as Mrs Sperling and her maid swaitine fl ies,reminder of the proximity of the home farm, l ike another comic sketfh of hbrother chasing a chicken around the yard to cure it of sickness. Butremarkable thing about the sketches is that nrore than three-quarters areof doors: the family is set in scenes around the house in the park - arongtroads and in one or two cases near the ornamental water whose outlook hbeen improved by a porticoed edifice. But the improvement and orn

    The progress of pol i te society 89

    tation of country l ife is observed with a wicked eye. In almost half of thoseoutdoor scenes, someone's pretensions take a tumble, and quite l iterally. weare treated to people fall ing from their mounts, being unable to coax reluctantdo.keys. getting stuck in the mud on the way to dinner, having to be carriedthrough long wet grass' and carrying out geraniums when it is pouring withraln.

    This last rather charming picture of her mother shows lowering skies (seeFrontispiece). Mrs Sperling is holding an umbrella over hersJf and theservant who is carrying the pots of f lowers with which to ornament the garden.They are l iterally going out, one might say, after nature. The glimpse throughthe open door shows that whatever aspect they are bent on impioving, theyalready have a fine view of lawn and fields with woodland in the distance.Ironically intended or not, the sketcher enlarges the hallway enough to showthat the family aspirarions included a bil l iard table. only the largei houses ofthe well-to-do boasted such bulky assets. As the compiler adds, having abil l iard table might be fashionable but it was not always convenient.

    It would be inept to say that pretensions to polite society are being mocked.The Sperlings are obviousry very much part of society - always ippearingsuitably attired, for instance, and with the distinctive dress of servantsscrupulously observed. Status is probably not in question, nor indeed thedesirabil ity of having a seat in the countryside. But the circumstances in whichpeople find themselves give plenty of room for personal reverses of fortune,a_nd while the improvement of nature is undertaken tbr its enhancing efrect,the young sketcher observes that in the process one is l ikely to get mLrddy andwet.

    CultivationSeleuing lctnguage

    lle;eao.9r nray ask what these people are doing in my accounr. Families riketrrc rperllngs no longer exist; we regard them as having been overtaken by:u"nt:, including the massive upheavar of industriarisation. - It probablywould not even have crossed Mrs Sperring's mind as she tried to protect her:::,.l_tl "t ?, leasr the geraniums. that the rain woutd be carrying particles of;:: l:"T

    the then expanding towns. After all, one of tt r-n'osi persrsrenril-,t"t^":f:ent

    Fnglish culturd seems ro be that community l i fe is vanishing,*r')1 rne. drsappearance of the squirearchy becomes an example of it.^

    tn th is v iew, community is ol*uy, in the past, and one of the k inds of;"rT::::y lll,,nnt vanished is thai of a supposedly closed, ordered society,";."::.?"ne knew. their place. Families do not observe the proprieties ofi#:.:"ll lfii: "i,., least not of the kind that characrerised polite^sociery inh*"i:ll^:]"eteenrh century. The English of the mid_twenrieth may, in fact,-:- ' ' 'usseo over who marries whom - Firth, Hubert and Forge 1l-geg) notetnat for Londoners of the t960s r .onr.-pluted marr iage is the one point

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    at which the respective social standing of the families becomes very muchissue (and cf. Strathern l98l). But we do not think we are tounaconvention in quite the same way that our tbrebears were.

    Indeed, it is common for the English to assume that before the tcentury, everything was governed by convention, and everything since byrelease from convention, so that the epithet 'victorian'may be ,r.Jto signifvconvention itself. Exceptions prove the rule. Thus the courr and city tire orth,regency period may be likened to the naughty twenties of our own centurvThe Sperling sketches, however, present us with daily, domestic scenes arunconventionality of a dif lerent kind. It is hard to see convention in MSperling being sketched while she was swatting fl ies. It looks as though Dianais being rather less than a dutifur daughter in drawing her mother raiher thanlending a hand.

    If twentieth-century English have a perception of vanishing social ordeand vanishing convention, all rolled up somehow in the idea that traditicbelongs to the past, then it should be of some interest as to how the vanishing idone, as to what gets serected, as to what is chosen as the signar of a nermodernity - or of the old tradition for that matter. The horses that dominatedDiana Sperling's sketches have gone from the countryside: our stabres aregarages. Yet we still need pots for geraniums, and still associate famihes withouses, even to the detail of houses set about with gardens. Indeed, the lattwentieth century has improved on the familial idiom in that it conflates rtwo; one now buys and sefis 'homes'. In terms of the personar capital it locksup, trade in homes is one of the largest contemporary industries/services in thecountry The buildings may evoke tradirion, as wil lmott and young (1960:l0) describe for a London suburb in the late 1950s (' [a]ntiquity is always therein the estate agent's advertisements, even for tnoi..n of houses'), yetcommerce as such is dissociated from the idea of tradition. No one regards thehouse trade as an old-fashioned business. we obviously hold on to tlie idea ofconvention and tradition, especially as we think there was .more' ol-it in thepast, but rather selectively see it in some things and not others.

    By chance, an apposite exampre of selection has been described by Gifliantseer (1986). It concerns that proponent of natural selection himself, charlesDarwin, writ ing as he was a generation away from Diana Sperling. Theinterest of Darwin for our present purposes l ies in the way he strove to mouldthe language he was using to express ideas about the evolution of life for whichthere was no imagery ready-made.

    Among the images on which he drew were those of kinship. In order to talkabout relations between natural species, he looked to relations between kin,referring for instance to 'genealogy' and 'affinity'. He was apparently quitedeliberate about deploying such an analogy between the a.rangement oisocialand of natural l i fe.2 Nature and society in this sense took after each other. Atthe same time, by extending the kinship idioms themselves, he was alsoextending the idea that human beings were akin to animal and other natural

    90The progress of polite society 9l

    species. Hurnan society could be grasped as a part of nature. In either case. theexplicitness ol

    ,the association implied an init ial perception of difference

    between these domains. Beer notes the passage:As it is dil icult to show the blood relationship between the numerous kindred ofany ancient and noble

    'l..ity, even by the aid of a genealogrcaL tr.e . . . we can

    understand the extraordinary difficulty which natuiallsts iaue experienced indescribing, without the aid of a diagram, the various affinities which ihey percelvebetween the many living and extinct members of the ,u-. g..ui nutural class.(Darwin. The Origin of Species. 1g59, cited in Beer 19g6:221l D

    Darwin. she says, thus seems bent on a genearogical enterprise of a partrcularkind.

    Darwin sought to restore man to his kinship with all other forms of lif-e . . . anenterprise which seemed to accord with the surface ideals or r,;s society and itsl irerature' He sought rhe restoration of familiar ries, the di;.;;; i of a rostinheritance, the restitution of pio's memory... The factor of irony .. ' . is that alrthese themes, so ramiriar in the novers and dramas of the time, ur"i... drsplacedfrorn the class structure of his society. (Beer 19g6:222)

    For the point is that he was using those images in a highry selective way. whereit had been taken for granted that genealogies were of interest to the highlyranked - as Darwin indic_ates in the above pirrug" he extends their meanrngto quite dilrerent effect. His aim is to show affiniiy between ,p..i", iy o.g.r",that record natural ancestry. In naturarising the connections at issue, he is ableto democratise them.

    Beer argues that Darwin thus laid the grounds for his great , levell ing, ofman as akin to non-human creatures. He did so by divestingir, tunguuge of itsreference to social ranking and class;the emphasis on kinship changed the status of words such as .inhabrtants, or'beings' into a far more egaritaiian forrn: .when I view alr beings not as speciarcreations, but as the linear descendants of some few beings which lived long beforethe first bed of the Silurian system was oefositeo, they seem to me to becomeennobled'' Lineage escapes from class and then from kind: .we possess no pedrgrees.::^1-*:.ri"l bearings;,and we have ro discover and rrace the many,Oiverging lines ofoescent in our naturar genearogies, by characters ofany kind which hav"e long beenrnher i ted. ' (Beer l9g6: 222 3\

    Y,1l- '^ t.^"r suggesrs, is the derermining absence in Darwin,s account of the

    "';r5rr 0r specres. Consider his metaphor for organisation. ,The naturar:I:"i is_ a genealogical arrangement', writes this contemporary of Morganl , t j : t^1]" 1986: 2l r ) . conrained wirhin such a supposir ion is a doubre move: in-"uurrg rne connotatrons of rank and status attached to the very fact of^rlowing

    one's pedigree, he puts in its ptace tn. usrumption that a genearogy isl,!,1'o'!: ' oJ- naturar rerati 'ons.It disprays fhysicat kinship in rhe chain ofoetng' 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 beingswhich have lived on this earth appear descendea from one primordiar type.

  • 92 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    And what was being displaced? Was there a sense in which only the aspiringhad connections? Darwin would not have had to travel very far in either timeor space to think so. Despite his reference to nobil ity, the gentry and themiddle classes of his parents' generation would suffice, and in the neighbour-hood of his house in Kent where he did most of his writ ing. Kent, across theThames from Essex, was also the original county of the Austens, though JaneAusten l ived most of her l i fe in another southern county, Hampshire.

    I introduce the inevitable Miss Austen, a l itt le younger than Mrs Sperling, alitt le older than Diana. and frorn a bookish rather than landed background,with intent. The geographical connections are, of course, artificial; theysimply make evident the selective nature of my own narrative. But there is afurther purpose. For while Jane Austen took for granted the idea that havingconnections was an attribute of social status, her sketches of family l i feincorporated a crit ical scrutiny of other assumptions. She professionalised, soto speak, the amateur humour of Diana Sperling's drawings. To have apedigree is fo be rtell bred; yet to have connections is to have managed one'slife circumsirectlV, selected one's companionsjudiciously. People have to bothbehave according to and improve upon their own nature. Polite society thusregarded itself as the proper enhancement of nature. Yet the possibil i ty ofimproper or, worse, vulgar claims raised the question of the criteria by whichnatural and social rank might coincide.

    Her introduction needs a word of explanation. The facts and changes towhich I have been alluding are not being presented as history. Indeed thecavalier selections offered here hardly add up to information, and myconventional. even old-fashioned, sense of period ignores contemporawork on the rise of the individual or on the concept of nature. However Inot concerned with'when'individualism first appeared in European thoughtnor indeed with what people in the nineteenth century'really thought' abothe natural world. My concern is to recover some of the contexts for t(cultural) mode or conventions through which ideas were presented. Thusmight regard the visual perspective in Diana Sperling's sketches as a mediof expression demonstrably available at certain periods and not others, asalso true of ultrasonography. Genealogies were available for Darwin to wriwi th.

    Yet the account may be misleading insofar as its own narrative mode offeconcepts and ideas as though they were people's beliefs and feelings. To writhat society is 'seen' this way or 'att itudes towards' rank changed like tsuggests we are dealing with the perceptions of individual subjects, asparallel vein I referred to Melanesian perceptions in Chapter Two' Suchpresentation is of course a conventional twentieth-century l iteralism ticonveying cultural idrom. This is consonant with the fact that althoughdeploy nineteenth-century materials in making the past present, ltcontemporary preoccupations that wil l be exemplif ied. On the one hatradition is relegated to a lost pastl on the other hand late twentieth-cent

    The progress of polite society 93

    rniddle-class English also promote their continuity with a past that seemsenrinently recoverable. Thirty years ago. Willmott and Young sweepinglyasserted that'[ i ]n England the new is only acceptable it i t embodies the old'(1960: I I ). Nostalgia has since become an enterprise of industrial proportions.

    It would certainly be culturally inept to offer an account of English kinshipthat did not bring the past into the present. However, it wil l be seen that mostof what is re-presented here comes through the language of twentieth-centurycommentators. Except in one or two instances, I have not gone back to theoriginal materials. Rather, the latter-day perspective of this account ispreserved. I draw on what mid and late twentieth-century writers haveselected from the works oftheir predecessors, as though they were ethnogra-phers and as though their interpretations provided ethnographic data on thepresent. The selections are also significant to the (retrospective) sense ofperiodisation itself.

    The last chapter was concerned with the nature of English kinship at a timewhen kinship sludies loomed large in Brit ish social anthropology, although Igave a description from a late twentieth-century perspective that could nothave been composed at that t ime. This chapter extends the account as thoughearlier eras had produced those ideas. lt thus suggests the kind ofantecedentsin English kinship that one might have discovered when kinship was sti l l , as itwas in the mid-century, the social or cultural construction of nature. At thesame time, I must make the account leapfrog over itself in order to renderequally evident the antecedents of late twentieth-century thinking. As a result,the selections are also teleologically oriented towards what English kinshipwas to become. They incline therefore both towards a delineation of thereproductive model of modern times and towards its subsequent dissolution.Instead of moving back and forth between English and Melanesia, one will bemoving between different periods and discourses of 'English'. This apparentperiodisation also acts to close off a flow of ideas: a happening is named as'then'. Hence the always-present sense of contemporu.y iif. being somehowafter the event.

    Eliciting nqtureThe following sketch is drawn directly from Richard Handler's and s recent book (1990). It\ interest l ies in their claim that Jane Austenl:1n1ce:her texts in such a way as to allow internal dialogues to creare a:;^o",:

    The debate is over the naturalness of social (in)equality, and thus overutc_relatio_nship between 'nature' and 'society'. Assumftioni about rank or::et:t and the characrer ofsocial organisation - that people do divide into thell::1."0 unequal is nor challenged; civil sociery is built upon nature and is;i:f:: ""q natural for human beings. Bur people are intensely preoccupiedur".,1

    *iut cletennines any particular individual's place. In Handler and Segal's' '"w' Austen's concern with matchmaking goes to the heart of the matter.

  • 94 English kinship in the late twentieth centurv

    Dove Cottage Carob pctalsl r - ( i l l Dl t- \ ts

    " !i i{rj,t j iiliti$,r,,r -


    ","i_ lr l j i l ir ir l 1,r rr r r rrrsPFOt) l l ( .T () f lsR., \ i l .


    #1f--.!--j_k '%6




    On* (ofu1r- /^^l// /a/o its tutnt-/rtr- //t_ tryf, /o2^d'/nt tt- Ctsnzrc dAfU a,^/ {tr /e/d,&- lmft,r- UA,ba- Uilsak,/- io.t.

    J* /7ff hq canz rb Dnr+ hrlaqc lo"/i+ tn xhrorrrrta a //L *rr.rrt/,-^/O-//,?rpk. i41- fu allrtky' Jau,r^t/

    -of furA gJ./.-st ntr- f pcos, /zttg/rafa

    "iarlr! o^tWg"t lacl, *i,!l p/orTs h /fu uds.-Jf ys i^. {L znr+aa|iaL sg.tit a/ lt


    -r!h"( Oor'z &rto7c fiQZ ax. a//ot- t16q p4raa.n/ aafura,( pnd,i,ts, /,* /;' {";^/r,/-ptsadois, add,itxs, /1r^--^1" ^Z' co_lrors .Harr*rt; 1r,< ca,nj ,rn- J-r{, ; ;/--

    W U

  • 96 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Burke on the naturalness of property to be found in inheritance. wollcraft on the unnaturalness of property dividing families). Finally, nature existias a realm that receives the improving imprint of human actions and deciIn their dialogues with one another, her characters make it clear that birth inot the sole determinant of a cultivated manner. what is civil or social is tproper development of nature, including the capacity to discern it in otFor'[w]hat is given to human beings in or by nature must be added toimproved by human means in particular the exercise of human reathrough proper choice' (1990: 20).

    Now, by the end of the eighteenth century, the rhetoric of genealogies wralready well established as a device by which those aspiring to (new) sociheights could lay claim to (traditional) status.3 But appeal to genealogies hato go hand in hand wirh proving current connections. And that meant scrutinof the behaviour of individuals. one could be mistaken about the appeararof apparent worth. one could also be mistaken about another', urr"rr-.ntone's own, and make erroneous inferences of intentions. whether or notperson were a suitable marriage partner was the dramatic setting for muchAusten's analysis. For 'marriages

    ... should be made in harmony with thenatures of the two parties, both their personal natures, and their families'natural social status. . . [Since] marriage represents a claim to reproduce tnatural order socially and the social order naturally' ( 1990: 39). Drama lay ihow discernible either orders were.

    In his or her essential person, the individual was held to evince the particularnature to be embel l ished or improved by the exercise of ta lenr. Leainine howto dance or converse in French enhanced the person, but only insofar asstanding was evinced in appropriate personal conduct, and thus injudicious(or injudicious) pragmatic action: the proper exercise of choice respectednature while going beyond it. Landscape was improved so long as thelandscape gardening was in keeping with its natural character. As we haveseen, such a character was also revealed in people's actions, includine theconnections they cultivated.

    one certainly did not assume comparabil ity o[ social status amongeveryone counted as a relative - distant relatives could be a problem. Thisvignette from sense qnd sensibiliry (published in lgll) is irresistible.

    In a morning's excursion to Exeter they [Sir John Middleton and Mrs Jennings,Lady Middleton's rnother] had met with two young ladies whom Mrs Jennings h-adthe satisfaction ofdiscovering to be her relations, and this was enoush for sirJohnto invite them direcrly to the park. . . Lady Middleton was throwi into no l itt lealarm, on the return ofsir John, by hearing that she was very soon to receive a visitfrom two girls whom she had never seen in her life, and of whose elegance whosetolerable gentility even she could have no proof, for the assurances oJ her husbandand mother on that subject went for nothing at all. Their being her relations, too,made it so much the worse; and Mrs Jennings's attempts ai consolation were,therefore, untortunately founded when she advised her

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    It was, above all, a unit in its pretensions to status. and in a way tpotentially divided kin from kin. The authors note that for all the variconnot;rt ions of the term, it did not include reference to all one.s relatives ithe twentieth-century sense. By no means all relatives were family. Althouqfrom one perspective a family was given, whereas connectlons werefrom another perspective one's family to some extent determined the reachone's connections and one's connections the standing of one's family. Neiafforded a complete model of social position. Like the overlap betnatural and social sensibil i ty, the overlap between .family'and .ctnnectiproduced an individual person fully defined by neither alone.

    The descent of a family name with an estate depended on the capacityselect relatives, that is, on r.aking affinal connections. At the same tilanded families shed younger sons who had to nrove into other occupatioThe outcome was that (social) rank differentiated kin from one another. rpossibil i ty of such differentiation being present even where property inance was not such an issue, as the new middle clases were to make appaKinship convention meant that social inequality was perceived aseven inevitable, between those otherwise related. perhaps this wasconnotation that Darwin wished to divest from his democratisins merof descent and af f in i ty.

    Turning inside outThe 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 clbegins in 1780). In his classic ess ay on Culture ancl society, R-aymond willitells us that the phrase 'middle' or 'middling' class first became current in1790s (1961: l5). 'Industry', 'denrocracy' and .art' also acquired theicontemporary meanings in this period, according to his account, as did thconcept'culture'itself. while terms for the gentry and for the lower orders hadlong been in use. now the middle became visible - literally the categor/contained within or between these other terms. It provided u n.* p..rp.Jtion society.

    The middle classes differentiated themselves according to the assets t.commanded: the building up and transmission of family fortunes is one ofthemes of Davidoffand Hall 's account. But there were also many families withincome rather than fortunes, and whose children. far from inherit insduties onan estate, could be expected to find diverse occupations. one such fi-ily *rrtthe Taylors, who lived some miles away from the sperling house in the Essexmarket town of Colchester.


    Isaac and Ann Taylor married in 178 I . Isaac's family had been soldsmiths,

    Thc progress of polite society

    r, is farher learning the new craft of copperplate engraving (Davidoffand HallinSZ, Of n. He lived in a l iterate and religious milieu: his eldest brother edited,,.,opulardictionary of the Bible and became the l irst secretary of the Londoniifrrrry. while his youngest was a successf'ul publisher. Ann came from aIrmi lv oiminor gentry and clergy. and lsaac would have become a ministernimsel f had i l lness not intervened. so that he carr ied on his father 's engravingbusiness by default; Ann's own father, having lost his patrimony in buildingspeculution. worked as an estate agent. The Taylors moved several t imes -fiom London, to a small vi l lage in Suffolk, and then to Colchester in 1796,later to Ongar. They were non-conformists, and Isaac became a minister to asmall Independent congregation. His income was supplemented by thewritings of not only himself, but his wife and several of his children. In factbetween them Taylor parents and children wrote and il lustrated over seventy-three books. Many of these were aimed at young people, although Isaac's sons(one a draughtsman, one a publisher) also addressed themselves to theolog-ical, scientif ic and philosophical subjects. The parents had not really wishedtheir daughters to become authors professional l i terary work was precariousand inappropriate - and their early works were anonymous.

    Here, then, we have a family whose (l iterary) tradition is also being carriedon by default, as Isaac continued his father's business as a second best option.Its interest l ies in Davidoff and Hall 's claim that Isaac and Ann 'wererepresentative of the new culture which enlivened the Essex and Suffolkcountryside' (1987: 6l). Culture is intended in a strong sense. 'The Taylors ofEssex l ived by producing cultural items: lectures, sermons, engravings, writ ingand publishing ideas about correct middle-class morality and behaviour'(1987:51).

    Nonconformist moralising of this period developed init ially as somethingof an 'oppositional culture' ( I 987: 2 I ), i ts face set against the perceived laxnessof the gentry. Davidoffand Hall's analysis concerns the growing awareness ofdomesticity, its ideology of moderation and joy in small comforts and itspromotion of the home hearth. Will iam Cowper's explicit depiction of hearthand home had added a oeaceful rural dimension. Jane Austen comments onhis poetic enthusiasm ior such scenes by making him a favourite of herenthusiastic Marianne (1917: 8l), for his overt message stressed not publicenthusiasm but inner commitment. His popularity was immense.

    Cowper's best-known poetry reflected on the calm minutiae of everyday life in thenome, the garden, the fields and woods. . . Cowper's central themes were thehumility, comfort and peace to be found in the whitewashed cottage. Forgenerations of serious Christians born in the | 780s and I 790s, Cowper became theemblem of all their hopes and fears... [F]amilies ol bankers, shopkeepers,manufacturers, farmers, tanners, brewers. millers and clergymen . . . found succourand inspiration in Cowper, whether their politics were radical or conservative. . .He was reputed to be Jane Austen's favouriie author. (Davidoffand Hall 1987: 157,references omitted)


  • r00 English kinship in thc late twentieth century

    But Cowper (who died in 1800) had already written, and we are talking ofthe generation (1820s 1830s) that took him up. and of a possible transform-ation of perspective. Cowper's depictions of the cosy domestic interior hadbeen matched by the equal charms of the exterior: the garden round thecottage was 'Nature in her cultivated trim' which would be dressed to taste(1987: 166). From an era of landscape gardening, when estates were laid out toevince the taste of the landowner, here was an image of taste that had beenminiaturised to the proportions of a country cottage. The reduced propor-tions are intriguing. They invite one to look within the house to the smallfamily circle drawn round the fire. McNeil (1986: 197-8) comments that thegeneralised relationship between humanity and nature found in earlier poetsof the eighteenth century was, in Cowper, 'transformed into the very personalinteractions between individuals and nature'.

    Here also perhaps lay the means by which a culture set against theostentation of courtly excess could come to exaggerate itself (Boon 1982).Middle-class culture could not be promoted through the rhetoric of birth, northrough the artif icialit ies it despised; it could not elevate family fortunes tonoble estates. It addressed itself instead to small-scale connections, and to tsocial self-sufl iciency of the domestic unit.

    A conceit, of course, to animate a category ('culture') as though it hadintentions, but perhaps we see here the development of a partiperspective on social independence. Handler and Segal ( I 990: 52, n. 6) sthat the association of independence with choice. for instance. 'was not aelement introduced by an emergent middle class. but was an elementaristocratic l i fe adopted [rnade explicit], and thereby changed, by the wisocial order'. In Austen's circle, to be dependent upon another meant onean inferior, so that 'the value attached to independence - the power toand select - is thought to characterize the highest, most civil ized, formhuman existence'(1990:45). Independence was to be obtained with meaand with freedom from debt and from superiors who must be pleased.such independence could be reerppropriated (adopted) as self-sufficiency.

    Tensions over loyalties between the natal and marital family frequently surfacein srnal l matters such as where the adult chitdren would spend Christmas or lamicelebrations. It has been seen how each spouse's fanrily and their owncould struggle for the services of a woman or the material support of a man.times these intra-familial conflicts were exacerbated by differences in statusresources. When one branch of a family had made its way up the social ladder,or vulgar relations could be a handicap. Yet there are numerous examples ofprosperous or educated relat ives giving kin a helping hand . . . Most menwomen of the provincial middle class would have agreed that, indeed, 'Our Fis a Lit t le World' . (Davidoff and Hall 1987: 356)

    It is hardly new to say that the middle classes also appropriatedgenteelness of demeanour that characterised upper-class good breeding'

    The progress of polite society

    they did the idea of good works towards those of lower ranks. In hisclassification of codes of manners, Nicolson called the period between1770-1830 one of 'disti l led civil i ty' (1955:204). However, it overlapped withwhat was to become a passion for 'respectabil ity', reaching its zenith in the1840s and 1850s. As he depressingly comments: 'by l8 50 the whole of Englandhad become middle class' (1955: 227), a revolution he puts down to the rapidincrease in the numbers of families who regarded themselves as genteel. pietybecame fashionable. Nicolson makes his own class prejudice evident: it isclear that he favours disti l led civil i ty as the 'English gentleman' era, andAusten's presence is an annoyance. He cannot conceal his irritation at hercharircters for spending passion on the meaningless subtleties of social status(actually the subject of his book), and can only accommodate them asharbingers of the new order of respectabil ity.

    Indeed, the process by which the new middle class culture of the mid-nineteenth century became visible has been the subject of endless Englishdisquisit ion ever since, and one in which class prejudice has had a significantrole to play. Thus scorn has been poured on the very notion of the category'middle class' (Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969: 23), and my own vaniry istransparent in the intellectual distance I contrive. yet the middle class was notso much invented as reinvented. This returns us to the question of selection.when faced with changing attitudes or values or terminologies, we have to askwhat it is of themselves - what of the 'already thought' so to speak * people arechoosing to think about, and thereby making explicit. Hence the question ofhow a 'new'culture becomes visible and, in this nineteenth-century example.especially when it is a culture of moderation.

    Suppose. l ike the emergence of the middle class itself, the centre of what wasalready there or within could be externalised as an object of thought.6 Andsuppose the social field were already realised on a reduced scale. one wouldnot then look to the outside world nor to polite society. outward dispositionwould become reflected less in a spread of connections than in behaviourevincing one's own worth. worth would have public currency not as taste butas a self-sufficiencv of sorts.

    ^"Tnut the job *u, to improve one's personar tarents introduced a perspectlve

    oI transformative force. In Cowper's case, these were tarents given by God,lnd in that sense all were equal before God. But the middle classesi|ly,uentlv n;ade visibte tn" ofirror. talents; it was they whose;:tr,,y,:. with its empharic domesticity, was to evince the peacefulness, skil l#:::1, that lay within every one. They did this through miniarurising rhe act"'{ult lvation, shrinking the social landscape to the interio. p..roni It was;"^:l:tt a supposed internal srate of affairs that was explicit lyixternalised in;',": l:: works and deeds. No longer a quesrion of f inJing a match betweenri - l i 'o f nature and the external expression of taste in one's connect ions or in-"u

    .-rrclS within which one moved or the society one cultivated, persons made

    l0 l

  • Enslish kinship in the late twentieth centurv

    Scruby s dream.was a high class resident ia l area with no tone-lowering terrace houses or bungalows. He wanted to stress the ruralaspect of a suburb which was, nevertheless, only 13 miles and 22minutes (on the fastest train) from London. The Reed and Hoadbrochure rcferred to 'order ly roads. t ree planted, wide grrss verges,Iow stone q'al ls. Hand-made tr les. g iv ing everv roof a mel lo* 'edappearrnce. most satistying to those of artistic taste. Houses that,despi te their widely di f fer ing stv les, merge natural ly into the greenvislas of woodland that fom their background. A sylvan town withbirds. trees, f lowers - a real country home that, thanks to theboundary of Petts Wood. wil l always remain country'.


    1l Amenities without und x'ithinLe.ft: Pells Wood, Kent. Built in the early 1930s on 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. Civil i ty acquired a newpublic face, 'morality': the behaviour of others was to be copied, or avoided,but in any case treated as examples for one's own.

    Many of the ideas and forms that apparently distinguished the mid-nineteenth century were already in place in the early decades, there whenDiana Sperling was sketching and Jane Austen writ ing, and a possibleconceptual facil i ty for the transformation of this polite society has alread/been noted. We saw how in Austen's novels every new household was modelledon an eversion of relations. The son or daughter who belonged (internally) toone establishment, on marrying founded a new establishment with whichother family members now had (external) connections. This process wasexaggerated in the case ofthe gentry, who built new houses or refurbished oidones to show it. The aesthetic outcome may well have been a reassuringperpetuation of status, a visual replication of well-maintained residences -

    The progress of polite socicty 103

    children appeared to be following the logic of patrimonial inheritance or thel,...ruution ofjoint conjugal estates from one generation to the next butif.,r i r.rt perpetuation was also a perpetuation of the capacity for


    ,rence and Personal choice'"'t lo* replication took place on a significantly reduced scale. Enhancement

    was turned inside out as simplicity. Cottages were architecturally designed as

    -^r,ular forms of domestic building.? If those replicas of the country cottage

    ifri?"a perspecrive. it was to create a world that had moved away from the

    ,." f"r some kind of isomorphism between internal and external worth'

    l.i*."n family and connections, in which the improvements one did toInuru..' exemplified the capacity for self-improvement, in short that had

    ,''ou.a from a sense in which nature was elicited from within. Now one copied

    th..^t..nal form, the cottage, in order to depict an internal one imagined as

    Jo,nrrtic harmony. Frorn outward form one could gauge inner grace, and

    individual exemplars were models to be imitated. In other words' what was

    contained within could actually be created or brought to conscious attentionby correct outward behaviour. Moreover, the content of what was withinbecame focused: not the minute gradations of politeness which varied witheveryone but the personal virtues redolent of good domestic organisation'The internal (what is within persons) has been literalised as an interior(residential) space.

    I have laboured the analogy of domestic architecture (cf. La Fontaine 1988)because it seems as if the image of the secluded house/cottage accomplishestwo things at once. It both miniaturises the 'size' of the family group within,and evokes a sense of intimate organisation (the simple cottager has few if anyservants). What has become visibly internal to the family is its ownarrangement or regulation. The long-established division between public andprivate is now attached to an image of the domestic family with respect to theworld 'outside', and a reduced 'family' becomes a vehicle for conceptualisingprivacy.s If what was made visible to family members was its principles ofregulation, the family could thus appear defined as much by the internalexercise of authority as by external comparisons with others.

    Davidoff and Hall observe that residential segregation, and the expressedindependence of the middle class from the values and aesthetic prototypes ofthe gentry. was realised in the sqp,aration of dwellings as units on their own.An explicit desire for privacy mirked property boundaries with hedges andwalls.

    Humphrey Repton strikingly demonstrated the effect in his paper model of thespace in front ofhis Essex'cottage' where the view ofshops, road and passing publicwas cut off by fencing, shrubbery and trees; a strong contrast to the communalsquares and terraces of Georgian styles. The novel device of the semi-detachedhouse, combining the privacy and economy of a smaller house with the appearanceof one twice the size, was peculiar to suburban development. The inherent anti-urbanism of middle-class culture was reflected in the quintessential image of early

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    nineteenth-century desirable housing, the white cotmge with thatched roof andporch embowered with honeysuckle and roses. (1987: 361, references omitted,original emphasis)During the boom of the first two decades of the nineteenth century. houses

    were built along roads or by parcelling up large gardens within old towncentres, a pattern that set the scene for the mid-century. Residences wereseparated from both civic space and the workplace; social worth was conveyedas immediate outward appearance. Whereas the Sperlings'house had been setin a landscape that invited the ornamentation of its gardens, the garden round'the cottage' was virtually attached to the dwell ing itself. Roses and otherplants came to ornament the dwelling, trailing round its door or closelyclustered on its walls, an image whose details were revived in the Edwardiancottage garden. The cottage-and-garden appeared a free-standing entity,individual dwell ing. If persons were l ikewise imagined as individual d


    12 Twlor cottuge, l8l6The watercolour is by Diana Sperling, captioned 'A cottage buiit by the Duchess of Bedfor

  • I06 English kinship in thc late twentieth ccnturv

    Here are matched two forms of domesticity. It was possible to achiresonance between an orderly, well-run and decent household and on u,r Uf(decent_thinking mind. The interior person appeared u, u ,.griu,.d:r",l.j::..,j:1,,i1j.: ^yli

    -rayl or's d au ghrer Jane was, amons orher thirrtueditor of a rerigious youth magazine. when consulted about a young lad:i::j:::;:T":i::ji::.: Tl: F'?no end which '. ;;il;;J;;;0.,.ourselves in every intellecrual study is'rornli,np;;;r;;";, (T;;;"i;;io.,i:jx::j:.^t::,r-,r::\.rhis inciuded the domestic moratity of inner flife. conremporary educational movemenrs ;il;;,;'il# ffitJlater generation would calr the ,""ognition of kinship roles as roles. tnJ,i:j:"".:::l,11,::".:ell tooneipa*r,r, ," God. with retigion the rfor-gran red id i om of middle_class JL ;;;, ;; ;, ffi :":iffi ,,iTx::"-t^t]:I_:" improve in the sense of educare, and educate in the s"n*SENSElmpresslng upon persons their familial duties. Moreover,

    _ott,.., *"r 'lust taking 'the moralsecrcrr r { , , t . , , /1oo1. 1, ;nd spir i tual t ra in ing,of their chi ldren ur, larr . rn,sacred duty' ( 1987: 340,); they w_ere u.ritirtg ibnrt dornrrtic duties - unO lrlttii:,::l^'-t1g:ll

    frl' spate..rt *u, on" orir,. n",, evangelisms.Education appears not as enhancemenr, "r;;;;;;r,;il";:;:i;r,


    r.,li:ll:;:: Y':1:::::ll ll.. pr::"d ,;;;;; artenrion to rhe proportionsa building: ir was an execution of inner,,"i'ir;n1;;;:Yr.,ol"J;t"::ff;i#,l,l"t^?:j;-:: ::_: l"rents. Hence il,. po*". o f imitati on. Mid_centu-cenlpublic buildings attempted to capture the viitues of earrier ages, to imitateexterior granduer of medieval cathedrals.,

    Consonant with the growing aparf of publ ic and pr ivate spaces. busrnesalso came to have a .public, urp..,.'aunicommercir l Anra,*;c6- ^c^rr r-:-- ,

    ts ' Insurance companies acommercial en rerprises of ar r kind s now c.eateJ'rh;;;;;",.".' olilrr,*o:,'#":: i,?i::,,::-:.,,:re fortunes turned into public buildings; toweriroffi ces, li ke so m any I a t ter_d ay chu rch er, ;";; ;; 5;;;""i;'Jllit;"r:.:::::j.::j:,i.i^ln: o"lllant i3aee.ol1lba; spu"e. Ha,ring back to medievrmagery was no accidenr: if the (middre-crass) English trvio a.urltradition::j::::T:*."rt:ll became explicit in the iso0s, the momenr at which rh(necessiry for estabrishing a common curture r,, grgr""i'rr"rrr" ffiTl#:_*: j:,: :1T',,1T: L1 p"rwin was a., o..ui,r,ns nature, M arthew Arnoldwas trying to democratise curture. Society a, ,u.h could not be the oireclobject of democratisation, a point to which I shall return, for social differenceprovided the very images for improve..n, ,,u, a scale ,, o.ra"lll;l?ffrequired' where Darwin naruralised onre-.unk.d g.n"urogi.riii.n-, in ora'to talk of the ennobling effect ofperceiving o .o,nron kinship among alr livingspecies' Arnold drew on order aristoc.utiJuuiu", in order to find an ennoblingaim for the common curture of the EngliJ. Ina..a, it r, .o,n-onplace toobserve that Arnold' a school rntp."rir, aid so in reaction to rhe nar-rowmindedness of the nonconformist schoors he had to inspect. To him, themiddle classes appeared under-educat"a fr,irirtin.s, and he did nor concear hisdistaste for their religious platitudes.

    The progress of polite society

    ^NL) I ) l ls l ( ;N 127

    -n , racc ol l t l l ) ln l ier Jouth FOl

    PonP r""

    I r^ nn more the throne ofmarblc. ." thcrc ca" " 'u"^,-u,

    no morc the taul t of gold-but for- ' " , r-* ; t t l ic lof t ier and lovel ier pr iv i lcge

    l i r . t"- l , t t the pou cr and cham of art ui thin

    , i" ," .n . t thc humble and t l re pmr; and


    t t t " t"gni6""n"t .of past ages fai lcd by

    its nanowness and lts prde, ours may pre-

    rr i l ond .ont in '" , by i ts universal i ty and

    irs lorrliness'

    oa. And thus, bct$'een the pjcture of too

    lab-orious England, u'hich u'e imagincd as

    futurc, and the picture of tm luxurious ltaly,

    which u'e temember in the past, there may

    exist-tlere will exist, if we do our duty-

    an intemediate condit ion, nei ther oppressed

    by labour nor *'asted in vanitt-ihc con-

    dition of a peaceful and thoughtful temPrece

    in aims, and acts, and arts.

    95. We are about to enter upon a period

    of our s'orld's bistory in which domestic lifc,

    aidcd by the arts of peace, rill slowly, but

    at las! ent i rely, supcrsede publ ic l i fe and thc

    ats of $'ar. For our own England, she u'illno!, I bel ieve, be blasted throughort withfurnae I nor will she be encumbered with

    l3 Rr,sAl l ' . r Tu'o Puths. 1859Extract from John Ruskin's The Tto Paths; Being LL'ttures on Art and it.t Appli(ulion toDecorution and Manultlcture Delivered in 1858 9.In 1906 in its Thirt!'-sixth Thousand.Reproduced by kind permission of Unwin Hyman Ltd.

    But it was not the aristocratic classes themselves that would provide such afocus. As they currently existed 'classes were the embodiment of our ordinaryselves; to embody our best self we must create the state' (cited by Williamsl96l: 130). Arnold made literal the parallels between regulation, culture andpublic l i fe. In 1864 he wrote that 'to trust to the principle of supply anddemand to do for us all we wanlin providing education is to lean upon abroken reed'. He believed that if schools were to be efficient they had to besubject to public regulation; only then could solid guarantees of quality begtven (Scott 1988: 28). Of interest is what has happened to the individualperson in this view. Will iarns (1961: 127. original emphasis) quotes fromArnold's Culture and Anarchl, (1869).

    Culture . . . places human perfection in an internal condition . . . [Yet] [p]erfection,

    as culture conceives it. is not oossible while the individual remains isolated. Theindividual is required. under pain of being stunted and enleebled in lr is owndevelooment if he disobevs. to carrv others alonq with hinl in his march towards


    l2 l i M{) I )ERN}'ANUTACTURE

    palaces. I trust she will koep her gren 6elds,her cottages, and her homes of middle life;but the* ought to be, and I trust will b,enriched with a ueful, trutMul, substutialfom of art. Wc weot now no morc ferutgof the gods, nor mmyrdms of 6aints; wehave no ueed of pensuality, no place forsuperstition, or for qostly insolere. kt ughave learned and faithful historictl paintiog

    -touching and thoughtful representations ofhu|lru nature, in dram3tic painting; P@licaland fmiliar renderings of natural objecte aodof landscape; and rational, deeply'flt reali'zations of tbe events .thich are the 6ubjectgof our religious faith. And lel these thing6 wewant, aq far ae possible, be sattered abroadand made uessible to all men.

    96. 5o alrc, in manufacture: we requircwork substantial rathr than rich in make;and refned, rather than splendid in design.Your stuffs need not be such as would catchthe eye of a luchegs; but they should besuch as may at on sene the ned, andrefine the taste, of e cdtager, The Prevail-ing error in English dress, especially amongthe lower orders, ia a teodency to oimsinees

  • 108 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    perfection, to be continually doing all he can to enlarge and increase the volumethe human stream sweeping thitherward.

    This is anorher shift of perspective. For the Taylors, morality seems to haIain in externalising inner worth; following external prescriptions of dutya matter of cultivation from within, and of copying good examples fwithout. Here, by contrast, is a perception that only as one in a collectivityan individual progress in him or herself. Through the instrument of a culin common, each wil l acquire that culture as itself an internal condiRegulation, formerly an attribute of an interior condition, is presentedimpinging from the outside. The social field is enlarged again, butcommonal i ty rather than connect ion.

    In the end he saw no choice. 'For publ ic establ ishments modern societ ies havebetake themselves to the State; that is to themselves in their collection andcharacter. 'Arnold had no sympathy for the argument, as popular in 1860 as1980, that dependence on the state . . . destroyed the self-rel iance of thosebenefi ted. Instead he bel ieved that the fai lure to take col lect ive action windividual act ion was impossible, inappropriate or self-defeating producedvery ills . . . [For] he believed the state through education could combat the anithe collapse of culture, which otherwise might be produced by the inevitableof the old aristocratic order.. . So the middle classes were the key, not only to t lpreservation ofculture but also to the peaceful transit ion to a democratic sociei(Scott 1988: 28. original emphasis)It is not fair, the writer continues, to reduce this arsument to a si

    minded desire to make gentlemen of the Victorian middle classes. .Forlooked beyond the rule of the bourgeoisie to a mass age, a period when sociwould be ruled by its most numerous classes. Middle-class educationnever an end in itself for Arnold; rather it was a means to the enlishtenmentthe whole people ' (1988: 28). But how to conceptual ise .society ' inwas going to require imagery of i ts own.

    Arnold wrote, we are told, wrth the outcome of the French Revolutionmind; Trautmann (1987: 182) makes the same point for Arnold's (aMorgan's) contemporary, Henry Maine. Maine objected to ,Rousseau's belithat a perfect social order could be evolved from the unassisted consideratiof the natural state' (1870: 89). In fact his Ancient law, published in 186crit icised two strands of polit ical theory for their axiomatic assumptiabout human nature. not only Rousseau's notion of a natural statemankind but equally the competit ive individualism of uti l i tarian thinkiThe latter is far from a general condition of social life since it appears only i'progressive societies'in their later stages; while the former is mere speculatithat is used to evaluate proximity to or lall fronr an original perfecti(Trautmann 1987: l8l-2). Instead, different societies show a progressidevelopment; for example, family obligation is dissolved and indiviobligation takes its place. But in Maine's view, the individual person

    The progress of polite society

    -,, ite cruci:rl ly as part of a wider social reality: for the individual is rnanifest as

    )li" unit of which civil laws take account' (1870: 168).Regulation and order are, so to speak, here externalised in the idea of a

    cvsterfl of laws encompassing the individual person. The social order which,iur.*i16 beyond the individual is a collectivity presented to the person as the

    ield oi rights and duties by which he/she is defined. lt now seems self-evidentit at human nature should be affected by the way such regulations areorganised. and that social organisation wil l have its own specifiable features.eBu1 procedures for such a specification - modes of description - sti l l lay in thefuture, as did the twentieth-century concept of 'social organisation' itself.


    Personifying society: management and the sociul orclerAt the time when Mrs Taylor's works were probably still being readMaternal Solicitndefor a Daughter's Best lileresls (1814); Practical Hints toYoung Fentales on the Duties o/'a lVi/b, a Mother and a Mistress o/'a Family(1815); Reciprocal Duties of Parents and Children (1818) (Davidoffand Hall1987: 340; 494, n. l l4) a Dr Chavasse of Birmingham published hisstaggeringly popular Advice to Mothers on the Management o/'their Of/spring.First appearing in 1840, it sold 460,000 copies. It was shortly followed by.4dvice to Wives on the Management of Themselves during the Periods oJ'Pregnanc-v, Labour and Suckling (1843), as it was originally called, which sold390,000. Not only was there a reading public avid for such advice, but theirpopularity endured. By the end of the century, the former had run into l5editions, the latter to 14. Indeed, it was a copy of the l4th edition no doubtmuch revised (Barnes 1898) - that my mother passed on to me saying it wassti l l the most helpful thing she knew lbr its detail, lack of censoriousness andplain speaking on behalfl of plain l iving.

    Abstracted from the field of family morality, Chavasse's injunctionsaddress the internal necessity of realising one is the keeper of one's ownperson. But a personal regime wil l succeed only if i t follows the laws of thenatural regime. Here nature is less the soil out of whish individual souls wil l becultivated than a regulative field that the individual organism ignores to itsperil.

    The motivating concept, one- the later twentieth century has revived withsuch vigour. is management. In following such regimes, persons appear asmanagers of themselves. And although the word Chavasse most frequentlyuses is sti l l duty, where the twentieth century might prefer role, the mother isulearly regarded as the incumbent of an office which requires her to observecertain procedures of con

  • i l0 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    natural ones. Those who deform their bodies throush unsuitable dress orlive immoderately wil l suffer in their health, and the consequences mayparticularly painful when the mother tries to breast feed her baby. Moreover,the mother runs the risk of meddlesome interference from the ignora'Nature . . . is general ly best lef t a lone' (1898: 261).

    But what is this nature? In the section from which this judicious observationcomes, Chavasse, or Barnes, a consulting physician to the Brit ish Lying-iHospital who was responsible for the revisions to the l4th edition. icomplaining about the quacking, interfering and fussing way in which numeddle in what should be left alone. The topic is breast problems andadvice is that in fact the baby is 'the best and only doctor the bosoms require'(1898:260). Problems on the chi ld 's s ide do not come into i t : the chi ld iinstead presented as a kind ofnatural expert. The other expert is, ofcourse, tdoctor, and there is a clear hierarchy ofexpertise here. Chavasse/Barnes saysthat it is the doctor's and not the nurse's province to direct treatment, while iis the nurse's duty to fully carry out such instructions. The source of tdoctor's expertise in turn, it is implied, is his correct interpretation of nature,for nature like the doctor resents interference. Provided she is properlyinterpreted, she is the ultimate expert. 'Nature beneficent Nature if we willlisten to her voice, will usually tellus n^hat to do and what nor ro tto' (i898:2A;author's emphasis). As he repeats elsewhere: Nature is the best doctor.

    Along with this assumption about expertise goes an assumptioneverything can be learned. There is nothing in the conduct of oneself, therunning of one's household, the maintenance of health, that cannotlearned. Here writes a writer of books!

    If wives do not cook the dinner themselves, they should surely know how dinought to be cooked . . . Half the household miseries and three-fourths ofdyspepsia in England would, ifcookery were better understood, be done away witThere are heaps of good cookery books in the market to teach a wile how a dishould be cooked. She has only to studythe subject thoroughly and thedeed isto the great happiness and wellbeing of himsell and of her husband. (Cha(Barnes) 1898: 77, original emphasis)

    Education becomes a necessity. For since nature has to be interpreted, athere is plenty of room for the ignorant to otherwise pass on false learnrthen the experts must be recognised.

    The use ol the expert in women's matters has been a source offeminist commentary,l l and there is no need to labour the point. We minote, however, the further assumption that what is learnt is all of a piece. Thisvividly imagined as showing in the health of the mother (and her child): all trules she follows the correct diet. ventilation of her house. exercise and so- can be aggregated in the example of the healthy and happy matron.Derson wil l be the summation of all these observances. Orderliness is intrito health, and management is the contribution individuals make to orderPersonal management thus follows nature as the grand manager.

    The progress of polite society

    Chavasse/Barnes is running a polemic of sorts. Blue-stocking women hesavs make bad wives. better to cultivate her household duties than cultivate

    Lrtin or Greek, the crude rendering of an argument that neither began in thenineteenth century nor was to end with it ( 1898: 77). What goes unremarked isthe need for cultivation. Cultivation is beginning to appear l ike the processtwentieth-century people call socialisation; here it is the complete following ofrules of conduct whose natural integration would be evident in the (healthy)body. Despite the standard of material resources required for their enactment,theoretically they applied to anyone. Yet the rules are not conceptualised associal rules, but as making explicit what'experience' has taught about nature.In his view, too much social artifice is held actually to hinder nature's ownnath. The twentieth century was to produce the further idea that socialisationtnougnt of as the inculcation of cultural valnes was the source of the verycanons of health that Chavasse/Barnes took as self-evident. What he did nottake as self-evident was the inculcation of rule itself. This was not a question ofelicit ing either the good manners that constituted polite society or the personalmorality that ensured outward respectabil ity. The regulative and systemiceffect of following the rules as such had to be made explicit.

    In Arnold's view, right behaviour must be collectivised for the good ofeveryman, for what was at issue was the management of social lifle itself.Where Chavasse hypostatised Nature, Arnold hypostatised Culture. Cultureis right knowing and right doing, a process rather than a state, Will iamssuggests (1961: 134), but one with visible goals. Again there is an analogybetween a regulative field and personal health. 'Culture, which is the study ofperfection, leads us . . . to conceive of true human perfection as a harntoniousperfection, developing all sides of our humanity, and as a general perfection,developing all parts of our society' (from Culture and Anarchy,1869; Will iams1961; 124, original emphasis). Culture, a study and a development, is aninspirational force which draws thought to itself. Indeed, Will iams observesthat the constant intonation of Culture in which Arnold indulged may havebeen responsible for the common English hostility to the word whichdeveloped after 1860, and which found the word itself artificial.

    Nature had lone been reearded as such a centrinetal force.12 The idea thateither Nature or iulture silould draw people's thoughts in an inspirationalway towards themselves was,an effect of personification. The twentiethcntury would no doubt add Society to the l ist. But society was not yet,oespite Arnold's references to it, such an object of thought. In the midnineteenth century. an abstract conceDt ofsocietv existed in the sense ofa self-e l ident condi t ion of associat ive l i fe persons.rnnot exist outs ide of sociery inthis sense, as Karl Marx declared at several ooints. r3 But what I have in mindare the devolved ways of thinking that twentieth-century people take forgranted in their talk of principles of social organisation, as they do of ecologyor of cultural values. These are all orofessional constructs.

    I do nor mean professional s imply in terms of their d iscipl inary status in

    t l t

  • n2 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    academia. What is significant in the twentieth-century formulations isway the constructs depict domains each perceived as an autonomousto be identified by its own internal regulation. If we wish we could thusthat the concepts involved have been 'naturalised'. They create theircontexts. whether these are thought of as domains akin to those under 1operation of natural laws or akin to the variable outcomes of adaptatiand selection.

    That very phraseology of mine reveals the manner in which images ofand natural l i fe i l luminate one another. Thus one may say that it was thnaturalising connections between species that Darwin was able to democrathe concept of descent. For other thinkers of his time,'democracy'itselfproblematic. But we should note his own init ial reluctance to make direference to human society. Perhaps one problem was that, quite apart fiperfection, the very images of regulation and order involved in the studynon-social phenomena drew on metaphors for human government: classclassification and class as social position. order itself was a metaphor thatevoked social orders, even as Mrs Beeton's much quoted Book o/'HManagement, published between 1859 61, opened with the resoundievocation of commanders of armies and leaders of enterprise (the mistresshouse must remember she is responsible for the government of an establiment 'and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regu(Chapter l)).

    In reference to human affairs, then, the notion of social order perpetrecreated the connotations of rank and class that were its own metaphorifoundation. Arnold saw the possibil i ty of transcendence in the state. 'Butto organize this authority, or to what hands to entrust the wieldine of i(quoted in Williams 1961: 129). The organisation of existing society siprovided a model of entrenched and divisive interests, and this wasproblem that lay in the path of conceptualising a social order that wouldcommon inspiration to all.

    Imagining a contractual basis in the natural rights of men was not sufficiit was the governing or regulative principles of social l i fe and the accounfor social variabil ity that required description. What was to happen, inwas a naturalisation of the concept of societv itself. But that could onlyeffected through the further idea of society as some kind of self-reguartefact, one that had been produced by human design but could notreduced to it. It is most interesting, therefore, to see in the later nicentury valiant attempts to make human design the direct inspirational f iof such an artefact

    Arnold was also running his own polemic as in his diatribes againstvulgarity of wealth, and the petty adherence to differentiations ofand doctrine that blocked a sense of common purpose. But while thatality could be imagined, any particular embodiment seemed to fall shortperfection. Thus nineteenth-century crit ics of wealth and greed could

    The progress of pol i te society

    ,r.p oererdl idea of social order, but could not desc'ribe it in an ethnographicti j:; i mass society could be imagined. but not the form it would take. It ist"t '"-,,... ira perhaps that the social experiments under way at the end of the

    t:-:"; tailed to realise the order of which these men dreamed. They could

    l"j i""lrrgin. society in the generic. And one of the discoveries of theLnioor.phy-to-be was that nei ther cul ture n9r socic(y ever existed in gener ic;:;;


    s,c-neric form could only be discerned by the experts, distilled from the

    .,"orpu,lt iu. study of many societies, and represented in purpose-built models

    rcf . Langham I9El ) ''- Ho* then was the idea of a generic social order promulgated'? One responsewas clear. Value, wealth and labour must be taken out of the jurisdiction ofthe laws of supply and demand, and related to the fulfilment of each person's

    part in the grand design of l i fe'

    Such a fulfilment was only possible if society was regulated in terms of the generaldesign: a society must regulate itself by attention to 'intrinsic values' . . . But asystem of production geared only to the laws of supply and demand maderegulation impossible, for it reduced men to available labour and thus madeimpossible any'whole fulf i lment' of their ult imate function as human beings. Therecould only be one right economy: that which led men to 'the joyful and rightexertion of perfect l i fe'. (Will iams l96l: 148)14

    So concludes John Ruskin, that persistent crit ic of the eagerness with whichwealth is pursued. He observes the degradation of labour:

    We have much studied and much perfected, of late, the great civil ized invention ofthe division of labour; only we have given it a false natne. It is not, truly speaking,the labour that is divided; but the men:- Divided into mere segments of menbroken into small fragments and crumbs of life from Slore.r of Venice tI 1853].(Wi l l ianrs 1961: 148)

    It is not that men should not be organised but that they are i l l organised. HereI run together Ruskin's terminology ('design', 'arrangement') and that oI histwentieth-century commentator (Will iams speaks of 'organisation'). 'Theargument is a practical example of [Ruskin's] refusal to treat aestheticquestions in isolation: good design in industry, he argued, depended on theright organization of industry, and this in turn, through labour andconsumption, on the right organization of society'(Will iams l96l: 150). Bothwere to be measured by theii taithfulness to natural fomr. Art practised for itsown sake is in the end corrupt; 'whereas art, devoted humbly and self-torgetfully to the clear staten'rent and record of the facts of the universe, isalways helpful and beneficent to mankind' (1906 (1859); l6).

    At an inaugural lecture delivered at the opening meeting of the Archi-tectural Museum in South Kensington in 1858, Ruskin declared that no greatschool of art existed which had not had as its aim the representation of somenatural fact the human fiqure, the effect of colour and shade - as truly aspossible. In relation to induitrial design, the measure is the working man and

    l l3

  • l l4 English kinship in the late twcntieth ccnlury

    his capacity for edification. One did not want thirteenth-century art or l iback again, but one did wish for a consciousness {'design that wouldm odern Engli sh l ife. As he fu rther declared the followi n_e year ( I 8 59). designnot the ofi-spring of idle fancy: it is the studied result of accumuobservation and delightful habit. Great art goes with a noble (elsewheresays kingly) I ife. 'For in l i fe as in art, there is f irst truth, the perception ofworld as it is. and then the plan or design founded upon ir ' (1906: 47).

    As well as town halls. museums and public l ibraries (Corrigan and Sa1985: I l9 20), we have seen that those imposing commerciar buildings goiup in the civic centres of England rvere reminiscent of medieval churches.factories and warehouses were reminiscent of grand stables or baronialwil l iams reproduces excerpts from a speech (published in lg66) that Ruskigave at the Bradford rown Hall. He had been invited to advise on the best stof building for a new exchange, yet this expert in style refuses to be dra

    I do not care about this Exchange, because you don't . . . you think you may as.ha'e the r ight thing for your money . . . and you send for me, that I mav tel iyouleading fashion: and what is. in your shops, for the moment. the newest andthing in pinnacles . . . I can only at present suggest decorating i ts fr ieze withpurses; and making i ts pi l lars broad at the base, for the st ickine of bi l ls. (wi l l ial96l: 150, rel-erences omitted)

    The reason is serious enough. It was because architecture was the eof a whole way of l i fe that the only appropriate style for their Exchange woube one built to the great Goddess of 'Getting-on'. whether for tawdry or notends, that functional relationship was inevitable. At the same didreveal the true functionalism of Ruskin's ideal society lbr onlv that was truorqanic.

    The basic idea of 'organic form' produced, in Ruskin's thinkine about an isociety, the famil iar notion ol a paternal State. He wished to see a r isid clstructure corresponding to his ideas of ' lunction'. I t was the businessgovernment, he argued, to produce, accumulate. and distribute real wealth. andregulate and control i ts consumption . . . Denrocracy must be rejected; for iconception of the equali ty of men was not only untrue; i t was also a disabl ine deniof order and ' function'. The rul ing class must be the exist ing aristocracy, piopetrained in i ts function. . . Below this rul ing class, the basic lbrm of sociew wouldthe'gui ld' . . . [which] would regulate condit ions ol work and quarity of prodFinal ly, at the base of this edif ice would be a class whose business was'necessari ly inferior labour' . . . The Commonwealth thus establ ished would ensu'fel ici tous lulf i lment of lunction', and the' joyful and r ight exert ion of perlect l i feman'! [ from Sesctme and Li l ies. 1865]. (Wil l iams l96l: l5l 2)

    organism, design and function: what makes these ideas fanciful was nor rimagined division of functions as such, but their unhappy concretisation inclass structure of aristocrats and craftsmen. It was a Door model for hihumanising intent.

    Latter-day commentators were also to find uncongenial the conflationvalue with ornament, and in the largest sense art. Ruskin insisted that it

    The progress of pol i te society

    .r ir,c to irnagine that one can borrow bits of decorations. They could only,r]orf m outward form if they bore some relation to the purposes of the edifice.C)rnarlent and art are l ike aristocratic or craft taste. intimately part of socialit . tt l . l cannot be arbitrari ly extracted from it with any meaning, because.o.i.ty itself is an internally functioning whole. Art, then. is not simply aoro,ir.t of an aesthetic capabil ity. The artist is one whoperceives the organic,as opposed to mechanical, whole: 'the artist 's goodness is also his "whole-

    ness", and the goodness of a society l ies in its creation of the conditions for"wholeness of being"'(cited in Will iams 196l:144). When external form is.mechanical', i t is less than orgauically integrated, even as products geared tothe laws of supply and demand make the fulf i lment of human beingsimpossible. But these images of function and fulf i lment are ambiguous. In hisidiom, art embodies aspects of a universal, ideal truth (that is, natural lhcts).The organic society thereby lacil i tates the 'felicitous fulf i ln-rent of function' inliving Society, in short, has its own intrinsic order, which outwardform reflects or expresses. Yet this was also true whether it was a perfectorganism or not. Consequently, such forn'rs could express greed and pettinessquite as much as perfection and beauty. Unlike Chavasse's generic Nature,society does not always know best. Unlike Arnold's generic Culture, thecontemplation of society does not of itself invite a perfecting impulse.

    From hindsight, one could say that one of Ruskin's problems was theambiguous relationship between interior motivation and outward formation.Although Ruskin sees that other countries have diverse arts, he cannotconceive alternative rnodell ings of social orders. He could say that the art ofany country expounds its social and polit ical virtues, but dif lerences in virtueseem merely differences of wholeness and goodness.

    Anthropologists were to accomplish exactly the task ol'how one mightmodel and describe different social orders and the nature of their functioningwholes. Variabil ity (social 'morphologies') became an expected result ofdiffering adaptations. In fact, anthropologists would evenrually f ind wordstor perceiving a 'functioning whole' as equally characteristic of the kinds ofIragmented life which Ruskin found so wretched as in what was ostensiblyorganic and harmonious.r6 But for that, they needed an image of organisationor structure detached from place or class. Societv had to be detached fromculture.

    Suppose this came in part from un-doing the idea of culture as refinement1nd adornment. Sorrre indication l ies perhaps in the following. Before thedemocratisation of the notion of societv was realised. and thus the idea of anorganic whole independent of specific cultural lornrs. 'form' and 'culture' wereooth popularised. I append two footnotes to this effect.^. . : ' t t t .Ruskin 's complaint to Bradford was that the bui ld ing would fa i lelther because the form of design was a borrowed idiom and did not reflect thesocial realit ies of the age or because it could reflect only corruption. l9l4:nuskin is dead. Here is Cl ive Bel l , whose solut ion does not require the

    l t5

  • I 16 English kinship in the late twenticth ccntury

    remoulding of social relations and who does not look to the conditionswork and craft. All you need is the form itself.

    You have only to look at almost any modern bui lding to see masses o[elaborand detail that form no part of any real design and serve no useful purposeeverywhere you wil l see huge blocks of ready-made decoration, pi lastersporticoes. lriezes and fagades, hoisted on cranes to hang from lerrowalls. . . Only where economy has banished the architect do we see masonry olmerit. The engineers, who have at least a scientific problem to solve, create.factories and rai lway-bridges, our most creditable monuments. They at least areashamed of their construction. . . We shal l have no more architecture in Europearchitects understand that all these tawdry excrescences have got to be siaway, t i l l they make up their minds to express themselves in the materials of the

    steel, concrete, and glass - and to create in these admirable media vast, simple,signif icant forms. (1928 (1914):221 2)Materials have their own significant shape. Remove the ornamentation

    reveal their own functions, for this is what the lbrm of the constructionexpress. A natural building one might say. What then remains of trelationship between Art and Society? Bell devotes a chapter to this questiDo not educate children, do not take them to galleries and museums,admonished; experience has nothing to teach, let them find out for themselAnd find out what? The natural Derson.

    Can we save the artist that is in almost every child? At least we can offerpractical advice. Do not tamper with that direct ernotional reaction to thingsis the genius ofchi ldren. . . Therefore do not educate chi ldren to be anything orfeel anything; put them in the way offinding out what they want and what they(1928:28G7\

    The relationship between forrn and the expression of emotion is made

    There is nothing very wonderlul or very novel about rag-t ime or tango, butoverlook any fonn ofexpression is a mistake, and to attack i t is sheer si l l iness. . .those queer exasperated rhythms I find greater promise of a popular art thanrevivals of folk-song and morris-dancing. At least they bear some relationshipthe emotions of those who sing and dance them. In sofar as !he1t syp significantare good .. . Not every man can keep a cutter, but every boy can buy a kite. In anthat is seeking new forms in which to express that emotion which can besatisfactori ly in form alone, the wise wil l look hopeful ly at any kind of dancingsinging that is at once unconventional and popular.

    So, let the people try to create form lor themselves. (1928: 290, transposed,emrrhasis)

    Emotions reveal the person in natural state; hence perhaps the unremdemocratisation, the generic 'people'. But Bell was to be upstaged, forfinding out their emotions, people then began to 'do' them, to elaborateornament them and endow them with histories and pathologies of therr

    Bell comes close to prescriptive individualism. He could countenanceflying their kites as them being themselves, but not when they were trail i

    The progress of polite society

    -r,or adults round a gallery! In fact, an innatist imagery pervades his sense of

    l i" urtist. as in the exception he takes to the artif ice of ruralism."'-s..on.l. then, this was also a time when national English culture was being

    ^,inedin an explicit ly rural idiom, with the revival of the folksong and Morris

    ] thar Belldetested. By 1914 it was well in place. As we have seen, theJi.inn of the vil lage green evoked a specifically southern English countrysidetn its tttatcnea cottages and hedgerows. That the evocation of English rurality*ent hand in hand with a national cultural revival meant the discovery of the.unlettered classes', ' the common people', not only surviving in the country-side but also preserving 'their own speech' and 'peasant music' (Howkins19g7:72, quoting Cecil Sharp who began collecting folksongs in 1903).English culture was also English nature, at once countryside and character.yet if culture was to be found in the popular arts of the countryside and itsresidents, it would disappear unless preserved. The countryside might be l ikean interior, but it wits one vulnerable to degradation from the outside. Asecurer image could be found in those parts that were enclosed in garden citiesor leafy suburbs.

    We have come from the ornamentation of the landscape, an enhancementthat elicited people's enhanced sensibilities, via the garden that is cultivatedwithin, to the idea that the real countryside itself is to be enclosed for itspreservation. Penetrated only by lovers ofcountry ways, nature as country-side is now otherwise contained and hidden. It could, however, beappreciated in the deliberate encouragement of the proper flow of emotionstowards it. This was a channell ing of its inspirational force. For the middleclasses, the countryside became an object of sentiment that was appropriatelycollective in character. Meanwhile. if the cottage, an abode of morality. hasbeen re-cliscovered as the typical 'English' dwelling, it has also beenrediscovered as the suburban house.

    Through children's books from Beatrix Potter onwards generations learned thatnome was a cottage and, if not a cottage, then the 'Janet-and-John' mock-Tudor ofthe inter-war suburb. This kind of house became infused with a domestic glowsuggestive ofan earlier and better world ofdecencv and honestv. (Howkins 1987:73)

    Socialising persons; nicrocosnts of the clomesticating processThe personification of Nature had troubled Darwin. By contrast withLJlavasse's apostrophes, he had been concerned with elucidating the concrete]' laracter of natural relations and their systentic connections. However sherntght be hypostatised. nature was not to be treated in the generic or abstractout must be made to show her profuse and particular characters. The generalprinciples that made the natural world an entire domain of study had to bePresented in their own terms.

    .Beer Q986: 229) offers Darwin's reflections on the phrase 'naturalselectioni:


  • - -

    l l8 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    In the literal sense of the word, no doubt. natural selection is a misnomer; butwhoever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the variouselements? - and yet an acid cannot strictiy be said to elect the base with which it willin pr.f...n.. combine. It has been sai

  • 120 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Ifa pcrceived stripping of imitation were necessary to the appreciation of thestructut's and function of social life, a separate place had to be found forculture. The English found it in their Englishness. The turn of the century hadwitnessed a pluralisation of the idea of culture- anticipating Boas's Americanpresentrrtion ofanthropology as the study ofcultures. Indeed, a gulfseparatedBoas's l)erception of multiple cultural traditions from Tylor's earlier idea ofculture us a stage of development. Tylor too was dead, as was Arnold's view ofculture as 'the pursuit of our total perf'ection' by getting to know 'the bestwhich h3s been thought and said in the world' (quoted by Williams 196l: 124),thereby extending elite values to the common man. A generation later culturehad acquired an ethnic dimension, to use an epithet from the late twentiethcentury. what it is that already holds men in common.

    At home, 'Englishness' was specifically promoted. A new collectivepromulgation of culture as national culture (Doyle 1986: 9l) therebyreattacllsd culture to the notion of society. The English Association foundedin 1907 'applied itself to the advancement of the new English language andliteraturs] within the national culture' ( 1986: 102). Indeed, this was an era ofassocialions and organisations, of public interest expressed in a plurality ofcollectir 's, corporate forms. Eric Wolf's (1988; 754) aphorism is apt: whenSociety becorres the Nation, it is seen as incarnated in a project. The nationalor ethni q view of culture in turn realised a vision of the world as plural in itsmany c\rltures, full of different traditions. All traditions are seen as culturetransmills6 and thus reproduced, and 'education' becomes a metaphor forwhat is

    .rcquired generally by people. What they all acquire is in turn revealedto be w\a1 they have in common, a proposition which seems to have enjoyed along lifs in anthropological thinking. When what is already common andrnnate ('Englishness') is made visible, it must become an object (as nationalculture was) of deliberate cultivation. So the culture that belonged to manyalso in that sense lay outside the individual person. Insofar as culture was acollectir s and thus extended object of thought, it had to be at once impressedand impsssd on the minds of individuals.

    As B6i1i5[ social anthropologists tell themselves, their tradition in factdivergecl from American insofar as it did not pursue Boas's ethnic vision ofpluralit l ' and of the patterning of cultural personalit ies. What preoccupied theBrit ish was the transmission of society itself - the rules and relationships thatmade up; social l i fe. This meant being able to specify social organisation orsocial order as an entity with distinctive attributes. Specific (not generic) socialorders eould then be compared, yielding generalisations through the com-parison of different structural forms. The fact of organisation or regulationwas taksn for granted: the question was analysing the distinctive features ittook in different societies.

    Here British anthropology had borrowed from the French. The discoveryof socia-1 morphology went hand in hand with the revelation of society assimultarrseusly an external object of people's thought arnd as a phenomenon

    The progress of polite society l2l

    that existed outside of and imposed upon the individual. This solved anotherproblem: the source of morality. Thus it was possible to refer, in Durkheim'swords, to'different forms of external constraint [and] the different forms ofmoral authority corresponding to them'.le More than that, Durkheim'sinspirational formula that society was constituted in collective sentiment ledto the idea of persons individually attaching emotions to the collectivity ofwhich they were a part. They apprehended themselves as members of groups.

    Perhaps what made structural form or morphology a cornpelling image wasthe way that Brit ish anthropologists rendered it visible. A structure could beapproached as a mechanism for elicit ing emotions from persons. But it did notsimply pattern the emotional interactions between persons: it i tself was anobject of sentiment. Consequently one could describe how various observ-ances and customs encouraged people to experience a flow of emotionstowards their own social forms. Ceremonial expression enabled sentiment tobe transmitted from one generation to another.

    A. R. Radcliffe-Brown finished writing his account of The AntlamanIslunders in 1914. It opened with 'The Social Organisation' as 'the customsand institutions' by which the people of these islands 'regulate the conduct ofpersons one to another' (1964:22). His principal object was to demonstratethe lunction of such practices and customs. On the one hand, ' [t ]he knowledgeof 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 otherhand, the individual is made aware of his own attachment to this entity, forrites and ceremonies serve'to keep alive in the mind of the individual a certainsystem of sentiments necessary for the regulation of conduct in conformity tothe needs ofthe society' (1964 275). Thus. he gave as an example, through theactivation of social sentiments in connection with rules governing food thechifd is 'taught his relation to the societ!-' (1964 277, my emphasis).

    In the late 1930s and 1940s, Brit ish social anthropologists who keptcompany with Radcliffe-Brown, and who came to give the local discipline itsname, advanced this idea with much refinement. It was not so much 'society'in the abstract which encouraged a flow of emotions towards it, but specificstructures such as descent groups.20 Structural forms were made manifest insocial institutions. Moreover, their rules and organisational procedures didnot simply encourage a gener{gliense of collectivity: they promoted specificsentiments in ttrrn, such as polit ical solidarity, the religious veneration ofancestors, and fears and anxieties about witchcraft or insubordination.Indeed, social organisation, its structure, its groups, and its categoricalboundaries, could be presented to the observer as a kind of externalorchestration of the diverse sentin'lents that an individual person mightexperience. Indeed, it came to seem very obvious in the 1950s and 1960s thatsocial classification itself presented individuals with emotional as well ascognitive problems/solutions. In describing social structure one was alsodescribing how people 'felt ' , their 'att itudes' and values. It was assumed that

  • --

    t22 English kinship in the late twcnticth century

    they were oriented not only to the existence of social l i fe but to desiring its

    perpet uat ioniollective society thus conceived stood over and against its constltuent

    memberswhoarrangedthemselvesaccordingtoi ts lawsandru|es.The"gg."g",.

    was more than the sum of its parts: as a 'system" it displayed

    p?;p"?ri", of irs own. These properries were not to be derived from recall ing

    ihe value of a vanished aristocracy or the promotion of crafts and guilds; in

    this thinking, order acquired its own autonomy. The needs society evinced, or

    the sentiments evoked from individuals, contributed to the preservation or

    f.rp"ruu,ion of specific structural principles' In its demands and as the

    ioundation oforganisation. structure l ike society was at once personified andnaturalised.2l

    with considerable persuasiveness. Radcliffe-Brown made explicit his vision

    olsocial structure in the institutions that seemed indigenously to deal with thisvery issuel ui:. the recruitment and continuity of kin groups' Kinship systemsmigtrt ue .made and re-made by man' (1952: 62) but what rendered themsysie-ic in this view was a property of their own requirements as systems' On

    tire one hand, then. the concept of social structure was made concrete(personified) in the image of groups peopled by persons: on the other hand'iltution, between those persons were seen to operate according to abstract

    structural principles22 and systemic necessity (naturalised)' Duty became onesuch systemic nlcessity. Thus he asserted, in quasi-legal terminology, that

    where ithere is a duty ihere is a rule that a person should behave in a certain

    way, (1950: l l), and the clairn of a

  • t24 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    organisation became regarded as social organisation's quintessential 'organis-ation' an idea entertained with such conviction in the theoretical writ ings ofsome anthropologists that f irst Edmund Leach and then the school known asthe transactionalists saw themselves as iconoclasts in restoring the individualto view. Here was the mid-twentieth-century debate: how could an individualboth be a product ofsociety and culture and act quaindividual according tointerests not completely defined by society and culture? For by the time thetransactionalists ofthe 1960s wished to consider this figure. we have seen thatthey were faced with an entity conceived in the anthropological literature asitself a social and cultural construction. The individual had to be re-naturalised, 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 abil ity to exercise choice became crucial. Thegoal of subjective judgement that made Mrs Taylor's Christian readersperform moral acts as they went about their daily l ives now had to be givenback to the product o/ collective morality. Against the impression thatindividuals seemed produced only by the conditions of society, and asreproducing those conditions, was placed another self-evident fact of nature:as persons, individuals were also conscious agents, and in a way a systemcould never be. In this 'naturalising' move it was persons who were, we mightsay, re-personified. Individual persons came to appear most evident in theirautobiographies, in their private l ives and idiosyncratic histories, and in theirexpressions of self-interest as well as in their emotional states (cf. Lutz 1986:2e8).

    It is apposite to return briefly to the conclusion of Munn's account of theMelanesian Gawa. In discussing the way in which people anticipate the futureeffects of their actions, she writes (1986: 2'13) that 'experience is beingformulated in terms of a model of choice'; the dialectic of choosing regularly' locates the capacity to produce value directly within the actor's wil l ' . Familiaras this might sound, the depiction of choice in fact sits rather awkwardlyathwart common English understandings. As she makes clear, Gawansimagine for themselves not so much an ever-receding plurality of options, butthe sharply divergent effects ofpositive results on the one hand and negativeones on the other. Value is produced, Munn argues, by rendering the self interms of the favourable or unfavourable attitudes of others. All acts havenegative as well as positive potential, for the potential inheres in the radicaldivergence between paths taken and not taken. While a native English-speaker might apprehend the necessity of warding off unfortunate con-sequences, she or he would probably find it less easy to understand the humanwill in terms of the Gawan insistence that one should take steps to block theeffect on the future of choices not taken. Like the necessity to terminate atdeath the relationships in which a deceased person was enmeshed (blockingtheir future efl 'ects), it is further necessary to deal with the fact that one'srelationships may suffer the consequences of actions brought about by

    The progress of polite society

    someone one has ignored or simply by one's own inaction (Munn 1990).Gawans attempt to block the relational implications of negative futures by,finishing' the forward continuity of emotions such as anger or resentment.

    Chapter Two depicted mid-twentieth-century English kinship as a modelfor the reproduction of individuals and suggested a contrast with theMelanesian interest in the reproduction of relations. As individuals, persons

    in the English model do not symbolise whole social entities and cannot beisomorphic with a collectivity or a span of relationships. Rather' individualsare held to exist as parts of numerous different systems a part of the kinshipsystem, part of a naming system, part of society - and do not replicate in totalany one systemic configuration. I referred to the conceptualisation asmerographic. We are now in a position, I think, to give this merographicallyconceptualised English person its aesthetic or iconic dimension.

    If the modern person is a microcosm of anything, it is of the socialising ordomesticating process itself. The person registers the effect of culture onnature, society on the individual, and is in this sense convention (partially)embodied but never of course convention (fully) realised. Rather, theindividual person is constituted by the impact of different systems, includingits own self as an autonomous bio-psycho-physical organism. ln short, and inthis aesthetic, a person is a constellation of'roles' rather than relationships.She or he plays different roles off against one another, for in mid-twentieth-century parlance roles are worn rather l ike the hats of an earlier era.

    In this modern view, then, roles and conventions exist apart from theindividual. They do not exist already within the individual person, to be drawnout, because that place is taken up by the (personalised) self, by the uniquepersonality. its emotions and motivations. Thus the capacity to be a parent isnot uncovered in the child because. far more important, what must be realisedis thc chi ld 's di f lerent iat ing uniquencss.

    This in turn affects the way the child's role is conceived. Social science hasgiven 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' hasbecome a household word well beyond the earlier middle-class preoccupationwith potty training, the intervals at which an infant should be fed, and all therest o[ the professionalism of the new maternity. It points to more than theculture of expertise (Schneider and Smith 1973:. 47). The 'duties' of mother-hood have become tr-ansmuted into searching for the culturally acceptableway of ensuring the natural development of the child. Parenthood is notsimply to be elicited by the presence of the child: roles must be learnt, thenatural bond between them culturally nurtured.26 Natural development is tobe deliberately encouraged, then, or the person wil l not appear as properlysocialised. And that socialisation is evinced not only in the 'control ' personshave over their emotions but in a flow of emotions that must be protected fromabuse. Healthy emotions are seen to be at the base olwell conducted familialrelationships.


  • t26 English kinship in the latc twcnticth century

    I '1 i , . I tn i . t ( roui l

    t l l . \ \ \SSI S

    .rD\.1( l,l 1'o A lI0'l 'HIItY \ \ l r ; l lv l l \ I


    ) l lEk cI I ILI) l l i \

    l l l f \ l \ i r - \ l r \ l l l r l l ( r l l l i \ l ( ) f 5u\ l i : ( ' l T l l t l l t

    ( ,H.\ \ - \SSI, S


    ' fRl : \ l ) l l l \ l ( r l : JolJ l : i ' l T l l l l r r ' \ t t ' l \ l \ f {

    "f,iil[ifl* FEEDIIlG B0TTLE.Hrr R.c. lv.d th. l tah. . r t .d lc. l IDDEv. l : r I

    , r j r t .ntp t j ! [ i nr j r le ion co. io.rre

    Lf.( r re ! r "Trr nf^r 'Dr,n Ht, dj ! r ' ( .1 3r i l r . Hr i l ru i 's I j rhr l l r jL,D. \ r '$sr 1s

    h,cr, Cl lp a!p, aonpll . . | 6 i or $ i rh Cl lp Coyrr , Z . t r l !n id. ln four Si ! .s

    , , . STERILIZED MILK fon Inval ids.In bo(r les, j


    pr do!. L? . a l los.d lo. bot t l .st .

    , . HUMANIZED MILK rSter i l ized).\ , . r r \ , : l

    - ' f , r ' i r \ i , r l , f


    l l r l lkr . t . per do!. ? . ! l lored lor bol l l . ! r .

    PRtST0il'S,,il lpptE" UilHiltl.. | ._ [ , . ,J ho- i l , . n r(

    , . Pr ice | 6., ; / ( I r \ : t \ r . T| l r \ ,nr , : l n( f ro,r 3r f

    Ant i . .pt ic Poedcr, : . . I I t , , Ur:L

    I j ,n. ) t \ yr r t l

    d. PRESTON, Chemlt i .56, I t f rClTt , tak 1, [ igb sl . ] , and 33, c8uRc[ sT,, s[ [ t f lEtD.

    14 Advice to a wife, fourteenth editionFrom Chavasse's Advice to a Wif-e.


    i fu l3rd hou P.r t rc l ry ts!$b xdl , r ldu.nt uo ! [o (oul6n] .Osn F&ur,ihe prep$.tio! bihs uoder rbe d'!.r 6u!enrisudd... !t!b cout.ny s resideorcb6Drsr

    Th. Lr.c.t .q.

    ASSES' MILK. ;llf*{:l-,+,{i'i'1"#l; " -'FLII P.nle.].n ot UllL NlE.ry Ssrrl l.t o.

    tttxq.].. .t

    sfEr,FoRD & soNs (D&iny co.),: ELCIil AVEIIUE, IIAIDA YALE, LOIiDON, W.







    The progress of pol i te society

    In this context, socialisation takes on a new dimension. It does not simplyinculcate the regimen of social l i fe into the person; it must also make sure thatthe individual person is properly reproduced. Such a person fulf i ls him orherself in personal terms by reference to inner emotional growth. Hencepersolls are seen as subject to their own individual development.

    The term development has a double edge; it can mtrke the person equally thepassive object ofa process or the active subject ofit. The individual person, byour reproductive model, is l ike the kinship that reproduces him or her,perceived as the outcome of a domesticating process, a natural entity sociallyconstructed. At the same time, society itself is not constructed by any forceother than the actions ofpersons; indeed, in the 1960s and 1970s, social orderwas assumed to be an artifact of particular interests, the product of ideology.There was a tension between these views, and one that held apart theperspective of each.

    The mid-twentieth centLlry leaves us with a double image. On the one handthe person is seen as a construction (produced by society); on the other handsociety is seen as constructed (produced by persons). The two sides of thepolemic, each the obverse of the other, echoes the double vision of civil i ty thatJane Austen had her characters debate about. But whereas the question in herday was the extent to which social and natural breeding was combined inpersons. in this mid-twentieth-century view the question is the extent to whichpersons either act or are acted upon.

    English perceptions of social rank, of middle-class morality, of public dutyand of the welfare state have all produced persons as individuals. But theforms vary. However hard we look into the nineteenth century, we shall notfind the single traditional English individual, the self-evident and typical'Victorian'. so prominent in latter-day twentieth-century rhetoric. What wefind instead are the very different ideas about individuality from which ourshave come. And, most recently, in the mid-twentieth century. a highlyarticulate double. When the individual appears as a product of society,moulded by external conventions, the collectivised person speaks; when theworld seems to be full of individuals, a plurality of persons and interestgroups, each speaks from the centre of their own network of relationships, andof their own nrotivations.2? Indeed, this Jekyll and Hyde appears in Leach'sdictum, quoted by Fortes who lets theprescription go unremarked (1969: 288,my emphasis): 'ln all viable systefrsthere must be an area where the individualis free to make choices so as to manipulate the svstem to his own advantage'.

    But those perspectives are to be flattened, the tension dissipated. We shallfind that the two faces subsequently merge with each other there will be noobverse. The individual person who is the microcosm of convention becomeselided with the individual person who makes his or her own choices. In theprocess, this figure wil l present a different kind of image, a composite, amontage, of itself. That sleight of hand can only involve an extraordinarycancellation of many of the assumptions which polite society, among otherenterprises, generated five or six generations ago.


  • 4Greenhouse effect

    one of the dottier enterprises projected into the 1990s is the attempt to build atunnel underneath the English channel to l ink Britain with the contrnent. Afantasy since at least 1856, the date of an early proposal, it seems that ourenabling technologyl is good enough cause to l iterally go ahead with it. In themeanwhile, ferries ply the seas. Between northwest France and southwestEngland, a French company links Brittany to cornwall and Devon. Despitethese celtic affinit ies, the company's publicity leaflets are concerned to sell'England' to the French. Making the passage on the Brittany ferry, MaryBouquet, herself from Devon, was intrigued to find .Bed and Breakfast'featuring as an English attraction. Devon has long been associated with thatkind of tourist accommodation in the form of the bed and breakfastfarmhouse - and I dwell for a moment on her study of the domestic imaee itp 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 f irst sight aspragmatic and literal-minded as anyone might imagine the English to be. Butthere is more to it than this. It makes play, she suggests, with a contrastbetween 'modern conveniences' and 'home comfori ', and opens out adomestic domain for public consumption. Accommodation wil l be foundwithin the domestic space that a family might otherwise occupy - bedroom,bathroom and downstairs dining room and lounge o.. pui aside for thevisitors. Although they can expect evening meal and colour television. mearsare set rather than being offered a la carte, and the television will be in thelounge rather than in the rooms. It is understood that what enables theproprietor today to run her business are modern conveniences such as thedeep freeze. lumble dryer, microwave oven.

    The proprietor is invariably female, the wife in a household who as rt weresells housework from her own doorstep. Tourists become visitors; theyrecognise the resident's hospitality, a reciprocity that elicits a certain style ofpoliteness to deal with the fact that although they are not at home, they are insomeone's home. The farmhouse proprietor in turn is expected to be more


    Greenhouse effect

    forthcoming, more intimate than a hotel or even guest-house proprietor. Inshort, it is the privacy of home life which is laid out for public consumption.perhaps this is a version of that other form of English self-advertisement: theopening up of stately homes as tourist attractions while the occupants are sti l lin residence. Intense interest is provoked by the more private quarters - notjust bedrooms, but the behind-the-scenes kitchens or servants'passages; onefeels slightly cheated if one has only been shown the 'public rooms'.

    The domestic image of bed and breakfast arrangements, Bouquet argues, issustained by the fact that while the private is made public there is always afurther private domain that is out of bounds. Privacy is also preserved. Hencethe conventions of politeness. In stately homes, the private 'private quarters'are visibly cordoned off. In the case of the farmhouse proprietor, I would addthat what has also become private is the business that she is running. Herprofit, her investments, the improvements of her own house, are all her ownaffair. In short, her commercial interest also true of the owner of a lareehouse faced with upkeep - is taken for granted.

    Literal metaphors

    Homes u,ithin homesInversions are always neat. If what is for sale is traditional domestic comfort,then the'real' private domain becomes constituted by modern conveniencesthe enabling technology and the financial acumen which makes bed andbreakfast into an enterprise. The inner sanctum of the farmhouse includes thetaken-for-granted commercial interests that the housekeeper certainly doesnot share with her guests. They only eat her cooked breakfasts. Bouquetsuggests that the images work because the person as such is defined in manyrespects l ike a home. Out of reach of the duties imposed by public l i fe, andbehind the role, exists a further, more private person, the real interior whosedoorstep is not crossed. The English always imagine another recess, a privacybeyond public reach. But I wonder if that image itself - the home within thehome 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 doorsmarked 'Private' the proprietor is leading her own life, in fact the visitorknows that she and her familXdo not have a parallel 'home life': the hours ofthe day when they should be sitt ing down to their own breakfast, they areserving it to others. In other words, the real home is not within.2 what is thereis the domain of commerce and the exploitation of new technology.

    Bed and breakfast at a farmhouse is not the special case it might seem.Rather, it advertises an English way of imagining the person that has in recentyears become taken for granted in general public discourse. persons must oncemore be managers.

    In the late twentieth century this is above all a question of f inancialcompetence: the person is an individual with means. But although such


  • -130 English kinship in the late trvcntieth cenlury

    a Sense of surface has becotrle part of a current l 'epresentatit)nal .(l i teracy',^ ^nA

    xr:ilff"ii:1ffi,1ffiffiJ# i",i"* i,,ide and ourside, private and- -^r inf lS

    ;:ilii:;#. ri*"it-", inverred, sometimes flatrened. The transformatioosare of interest.

    iliiffi::lish made meanings for themsetves by insisting that meaning is


    conlpetence may be taken fi lr grante

  • t32 English kinship in the late twenticth century

    It seems that the English saw no reason to put an inside back once it hadbeen taken out.3 This is the obverse of their interest in making discoveries notonly explicit but communicable. Ever since the Enlightenment, the Westernsystems of knowledge in which the English have participated have rested onthe proposition that one should aim for a state of permanent revelation. to de-mystify and make things more and more apparent in consciously conveying itto others. This seems true whether one talks of human nature. culturalartefacts or inanimate things. But cumulative knowledge of such globalproportions rests only with an imagined collectivity, in l ibraries and archives,on someone's discs and tapes. For the individual person, to switch perspect-ives involves losing vision as well as gaining it, as we shall see in a moment.

    Modern English pragmatism, so-called, thus consists in the fact thatknowledge is invariably and merographically defined as useful for or relevantto some otherpurpose beyond itself. That the reality of things lies within themis a counterpart to the idea that knowledge is also conveyed by thus makingexplicit the external rationale or the principles on which it is based. I havealready indicated. however, that these counterparts may themselves be treatedas whole other orders of knowledge.

    In rendering the nature of things apparent or explicit, the English mightattend to the context or environment ofthe entity concerned or to backgroundassumptions or prejudices. but in either case would be attending thereby to theconnections that affected its identity. Thus, the flow of emotions becomesperceived as the content of a relationship. It matters when the human foetuscan be regarded as a person, for t ime turns a cellular mass into a l ivinghuman being. But of all the locational images on which we draw, that ofbringing depths to the surface seems (or seemed) to have (had) a particularpower.a

    Power may well have come from the very equation of interior space withprivacy. When the English conceal themselves behind front doors, it seemsone of their intrinsic characteristics [Chapter One], and thus there is acharacteristically secluded or enclosed nature to the ideal home. Privacy asfamily privacy is sustained through the combined connotations of exteriorsurface and interior depths; the change of scale is enacted on the doorstepdaily. Private l ives may overlap with public ones. but the one cannot stand asan analogue for the other. Farmhouse visitors know this. They are treated to aversion or representation of family hospitality, for its outer presentation doesnot equal its inner character. The same is true of interactions between persons.One person cannot suffice as the measure of another, but reflects only that partwhich is invested in the relationship in question. Thus from others one everonly gets a partial perspective on oneself. In the same way, one's own externalpresentation remains out of proportion to one's internal disposition. Wefclrever play roles as 'parts'.

    In summary, since what is within and what is without were not isomorphic'to cross the boundary was to enter another world, another systern of

    Creenhouse effecl

    relationships. Telescope or microscope, aggregate or particle: whatever iswithin one's field of vision makes other things either part or context, eitherinrrinsic elements within or ecosystem without. Public is different fromDrivate. the role from the person, convention from choice, as tradition isiiff"r.nt from change and nature from culture.' These are not simpleantitheses. When domains are not isomorphic or fully analogous to oneanother, significance will be eclipsed and importance magnified in seeminglydisproportionate ways. To focus on one is to lose another.

    The English kinship system was inevitably 'part' of such overlapping fields.Yet in comparison with some other of these domains, it has always appearedcuriously reduced in its effects. Kinship was seen as simultaneously dealing in(interior) primordial relations and as insignificant in its (exterior) socialdimension. From the latter comes the further effect that in communicatingother ideas one is not communicating ideas about kinship. If, for thetwentieth-century person, kinship relations were visible as a function ofbiology on the one hand (maternal bonding, sibling rivalry) or socialorganisation (the home, the nuclear farnily) on the other. I cannot describe'thekinship system'without also describing such conceptualisations of society andof nature. Yet it would appear that I arn not 'describing' kinship.

    Now Charles Darwin located images of connection in kin genealogies inorder to apply them to the natural world. Kin relations could be used as amodel for natural ones. But perhaps one result of such usage was anunintended displacement of the human relationships. Insofar as he wasinsisting on an explicit analogy between the two, he was also separating offtheorganisation of the natural world from that of human kinship. The moral andsocial nature that had been elicited front kin connections in the writ ings ofAusten subsequently became the generic and hypostatised Nature of Chevassewhose laws imposed themselves on the person, and especially on the physicalbody. and did not require the mediation of particular relationships (themother's duty was to the child's development). Relationships in turn came tobe externalised as society, an organisational system, a set of principles andforces outside individual persons. This (naturalised) understanding of societyin turn rendered kinship only one of the many domains it encompassed. Kinconnections did not seem sufficient to carry the entire imagery of socialrelations. They became internalisecl as'family'.

    The insufficiency of kinship as a conceptual apparatus was to become acrucial point of anthropological contrast between Western kinship systemsand those of many other of the world's cultures as anthropologists were ableto describe thern (La Fontaine 1985). Certainly, anthropological textbooks ont

  • aI

    134 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    the individual, they appear not to have an external, radiating impact onsociety at large. Keeping up with relatives can be subsumed under personalchoice.

    For all that relatives appear given, empirically speaking 'the principle ofchoice operated with kin as well as friends'(Firth, Hubert and Forge 1969:ll4, emphasis removed). The English capacity to shed kin, the idea that therange of relatives who are given also contains those whom, by introducingnon-kinship criteria, one can choose to ignore, and who in the course of t imeand distance wil l be forgotten, are domestic versions of the reducing effect.For what might once have been taken as a matter of cultivation (personalchoice evincing those discriminating criteria which determined one's socialconnections) has since come to be understood as an inevitable shading off ofrelatives at distant boundaries. It becomes a triviality that ego is at the centreof decreasing concentric circles.

    The idea that it is natural (inevitable) to forget kin at the edges of the kinuniverse presupposes their prior existence; conversely primordial relations arethere simply because they are primordial, even if people do not 'know' aboutthem. They exist at a simple or primitive level (whom you are related to). Itfollows that other principles will seem extraneous, and appear to belong toother and more complex levels or systems. As Firth, Hubert and Forge's(1969: 97) Londoners talk of themselves, neither 'family' nor 'relatives'represent clear-cut kin units. Similarly, Davidoff and Hall 's naturalisticobservation that ' in any kinship system, some relationships even whenacknowledged [wil l be] played down, others ... privi leged' (1987: 320; myemphasis) universalises what seems to give the English universe its l imits. Anintriguing revelation in this English assumption, then, is the way thatrelationships are open to acknowledgement and privileging: the content ofrelationships can be measured as more or less relational and more or less opento choice. It is the choice offered by those other levels or systems which makessociety as a whole appear complex.

    Radcliffe-Brown (1952: 63) observed that there is no difference betweenmaternal and paternal collaterals in Engiish kin reckoning. Is it the absence ofdifference that elicits the sense of choice? There is no choice but to choosewhether to treat them the sarne or treat them differently. Choice can thenappear as a natural and inevitable outcome of an interplay between degrees ofrelatedness and the flow of emotions that particular interactions elicit. Thisaccords with the modern English view that relatedness is about being close,and that the kinds of emotions that f low in kinship relations must evince thatproximity. One may feel 'warm' or 'cool' towards different degrees ofrelatives. In fact, Fortes' universal axiom of amity in the definit ion of kinrelations supposesjust such a flow of natural emotion at the heart of social l i fe.Kinship can be seen as the core of social institutions, but then Fortes wastalking with non-Western systems in mind.

    For anthropologists in general, one of the problems theoretically posed by

    Creenhouse effect

    conceptualising Western kinship as an open system, with a network of

    relations shading off into the distance. becomes how to give it proper

    rnagnitude by comparison with those systems of other (non-Western) cultureswhere categorical kin relations appear as idioms through which society itself is

    organised and regulated. For the English, by contrast and consistently, theDcrspeL'tive oJ-society seems to make kinship disappear.' Whilt we might attribute to the modern or pluralist epoch, then, is notsimply an investment in number and quantity, but the idea that one can alwaysDroduce whole new universes of numbers and quantit ies by changing the scaleof what one looks at, and thus one's perspective on it. Hence one couldconsider Western kinship from the perspective of non-Western systems whereit seemed a significant organisational frame. What was then recovered fromthe ' interior' of those kinship systems was society - the economic and polit icalinterests they organised. The'amount' of kinship and the'number'of kinshipsystems served to point up the cultural distinctiveness of the Western (andEnglish) case. But it was society, not kinship, that was held to increase incomplexity over time; complexity in kinship reckoning had no such purchaseon the future, Ibr however complicated the systems of non-Western peoples.they appeared to be dealing with primordial relations that westernersunderstood as inherently primitive or aboriginal.

    As an organising metaphor for social l i fe, 'society' was able to absorb, as itwere, any number of orders or domains, for they could all be aggregated underthis aggregating concept. On the one hand, then, society acted as a partialdomain; on the other hand, it provided a relational metaphor for the idea ofdomain itself. Other perspectives could be subsumed under its totalisingperspective.

    Yet the pluralist epoch is in the past. [t has been helpful to my account toconceptualise certain aspects of the mid-twentieth-century imagery thus inorder to overcome the problem that diversity (variation and change)seemingly posed for anthropological understanding. I suggested that we hadto take these ideas as part of the data, rather than an interference with them, inthat what we regarded as unique and novel was an outcome of the way wearranged conventional relationships. The English view of extended kinship asbelonging to the realm of tradition, for example, was part of the sarneconstellation of ideas which produced the sense that with increasing timesociety became increasingly complex, and that the world was constantly f i l l ingup with more individuals. lt was the modern image of the world increasing insocial (and cultural) complexity, apd in the range of'human choice. that inturn kept kinship as a rather hoiirely domain. To switch from looking atsociety to looking at kinship always seemed to reduce one's scope for soc:ialexplanation. It is, therefore, of some interest that in a postplural world theperception of different perspectives need no longer evoke scale change. Thepostplural ' individual' is no longer imagined merographically.

    Imagining the individual as a person who is supported by an enabling


  • 136 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    technology, and who thus sustains an independent existence by virtue offinancial means, is a concept of transformative dimensions. Technologyenables; it is a resource. Although it may take the form of property, it elicitsneither the old proprietorial sense of a given identity or possession nor theconstraints 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 resourcesirrespective of whether they come from within or outside themselves. I saytransformative, because when society itself is assimilated to an enablingtechnology, regarded as a kind of resource, as it can be, it disappears.

    If perspective switching always involved a concomitant sense of loss, thenthe English have always made certain losses evident to themselves. A long-standing one is the notion of family itself, to which I shall return. But recentlynew absences seern to have been voiced. I wish to document the successive'vanishing' of three concepts, Society. Individual, Nature. They were crucialto the construction of merographic connections, not just because theyprovided the substance of domains that clearly overlapped, but because theyprovided between themselves a conceptual scheme for apprehending connec-tion or relationship as such.

    The first is publicl i, announced. the second is to be found in the writ ings ofcultural crit ics, the third I infer, and it is the disappearance of the third thatbrings about the possibil i ty of merographic collapse.

    The English and the class e/fbctcollapse is obviously a metaphor. More appropriately one might take anotherand talk of cancellation. Relationships may be cancelled.

    Diana Sperling's sketch of Mrs Sperling and wilkinson (Frontispiece) showswhat would in the idiom of the day have counted as a familial relationship butnot a kinship one. while the couple are members of the same household('family'), their different and respective standing is displayecl in their dress. ona threshold, poised between interior and exterior, the one is bent on improvingnature, the other (presumably) to do his mistress's bidding. They are not reallyin that sense a couple, for they have different perspectives on their tasks. Eachbecomes, however, an extension of'the other the patroness who gives theservant reason for his actions, and the servant who is in a manner of speakingthe enabling technology for her intentions. In this sense, Mrs Sperling is notuniike the bed and breakfast proprietor, though in the latter case thetechnology is no longer human, and rather than going after it she wouldprobably l ike to ensure that nature is something her guests wil l taste in hercooking. Nor are machines quite l ike servants. However much they observedthe proprieties of place, human servants were also notorious for 'talkingback', for behaving unpredictably and speaking with a voice of their own.Machines are simply supposed to give back to the operator her own

    Greenhouse cffect

    instructions. That relationship is a domestic one, in twentieth-century idiom,but not one of kinshiP either.

    In the persons of Mrs Sperling and wilkinson and of the farrnhouseproprietor with her machines, I have chosen two images without kinshipostensibly ' in' them. Perhaps they wil l evoke the conventional portrait that Ihave not made present. The mid-twentieth-century reader would recognise.kinship'straight away had I reproduced the affecting group scene painted byzoffirny in 1778 that Macfarlane puts inside the covers of Marriage and Lovein Engluncl or even the collection of plastic dolls (male. female, two juvenilesand a baby) on the cover of Barrett and Mclntosh's The Anri-social Fanill'.

    For during the years that divided the late eighteenth century from the latetwentieth century, kinship became very much equated with the domesticfamily in English l ife (La Fontaine 1985: R. Smith 1973). To have portrayed afarnily group would have instantly conveyed the idea. Indeed, it is a recentcomplaint (wilson and Pahl 1988) thar many wrirings on rhe family lravenarrowed the focus of kinship even further, l i teralising family relations asmerely conjugal ( 'marriage') and domestic ( 'the household'). one effect is tothrow irrto relief the often asymmetrical participation spouses show in thefamily itself - one or other may be notionally 'absent', preoccupied byconcerns elsewhere.

    There is allegorical intention to my choice of portrait. The late twentieth-century person as an individual with his or her enabling technology is as mucha product of the earlier reproductive model as was the private domestic circle.In fact, the absent family htrs always been as strong a motif as the activelypresent one, as we shall see. At the same time, the relationships composed bySperling give one pause for thought. The conventional demarcation of statusdifl 'erence, the interdependence of proprietor and human servant, thesignificance ofthe grandly conceived threshold itselfand, despite the rain. thematching of natural improvement with self improvement - these have all sincebeen displaced. It is not, of course, this or that particular absence that issignificant but the relationship between absences.

    Merographic connections make entit ies disappear all the time. Theyreappear by the same device, the same connecting perspectives. But cancell ingthe connections has to be final. That it is entire constellations of absences ordisplacements that are significant no doubt makes every epoch think it l ives onthe brink of momentous change or at the edge of the universe, and so it does(tts own universe of connections). The English bring such change aboutInrg.usn doing what they have always done: rendering values and assumptionsexplicit to themselves. It has, however, mattered what is selected as thoseunderlying values and who does the selectins.

    I have described rhe titeralist pr;.-.;;;; ;;1"ni.n the Engtish make trringskno.wn. They search for specil ications of rlality that wil l yield knowledgeexplicit and available for communication. Each dimension, however, leads tofurther specification, to the further search fbr the really real. the l iteral


  • r38 English kinship in thc lare twenticth ccntury

    Tl ' , * , , romr r , r rcr i ,un9a*, \ .ar rgug --

    I 5, t ost and ruin . l9E9Fronr the Weekend Guurdiun dated New Year 1989.Reproduced by kind permission of John Ezard and Thc Guardian ll 'etkt,ncl sunnlemenr.

    relationships or connections behind the connections. (To want to makemetaphors is regarded as the artif icial inclination of poets and artists.) Thisactivity is by no means confined to the English, but it is one they accomplish ina certain style. The point is that one and the same procedure making thebasis of one's current values explicit both constitutes the nature of presentreality as it is perceived and leads to its displacement. Like the sequencing ofgenerations and the downward flow of t ime, the effect of l i teralisation seemsirreversible.


    In ils pt'ogressdotrtt tbe centuries.\rt li sb tt 11' Catlted ro Iseented a safepointer to eterni\,-frxla.f it s.'1'rnbolisastbe utstl.y' strtrytr4leagrtinst the rcrutgesof acid rain.Jobn Ezard repofts

    II vember. you will find crowds ofJ men. women and children wilder-I ing around, Just gazlng In maze-I ment I hey cotne frcm all over the] world. Why? Because this is one ofI the wonders of the worldI No generat ion before ours has] nad reason to expect that anythrngI p\cept lnp tast l rumu could removeI i t Whal our gpner. trur has to face] js the forecast that unless weI cnange our way of hfe Salisbury

    and many other churches, treatI and

  • r r40 English kinship in the late twcntieth ccnturyOver the last two hundred years, the English have repeatedly returned to a

    picture of society divided either'naturally'and inevitably or else'socially'andopen to reform, and divided either by pre-existing inequalit ies or by individualmerit and attainment. They recreate social heterogeneity thereby.6 Handlerand Segal ( 1990) suggest that such capacity for commentary developed from,inter alia, the eighteenth-century promotion of parties in the polit ical sense,for that brought in its train the idea of a permanent representation of differentperspectives as so many different viewpoints. The nineteenth-century conceptof social class, we might say, also came to embody the permanent represen-tat ion of d i f ferent v iewpoints.

    Whatever generalisation a nineteenth-century person and his or hertwentieth-century successor might wish to make about human nature, socialclass could enter as a qualifying difference. Over this period, society wascharacterised by the fact that one could not generalise across class boundaries.Polit ical and academic analyses of class that sought to define a single basis forclass formation had to contend with an amalgam of indigenous perceptions.For the classes, composed of diverse criteria, were not equivalent to oneanother. That is, they were not formed by the same rubrics: what made oneupper class (inheritance, estate) was not the same set of circumstances thatmade one working class (sell ing labour). Social classes worked like scales; to'move' between classes was to switch scales of measurement.

    While upholding class loyalties and status conventions may have madepeople think they were clinging to old ways, the perceived differences betweensocial classes throughout the modern epoch speeded up, one might say,reflection on the interaction between the givens of people's circumstances andwhat they made of l i fe. The picture of the English vil lage with its residentialcore and mobile periphery encapsulated this relationship. Mobil ity andimmobility, choice and non-choice in relations: the dimensions of Englishsocial class meant that one might at once belong and not-belong, claim originsand move, be embedded in a family network and be free of it (Strathern 198 l).The possibil i ty of moving'up' or moving'down' was, in effect, afforded by thepossibil i ty of moving between different domains - there was no simple set ofcriteria by which the classes were ranked. Individual persons as a consequencewere not to be ranked by any single measure.t

    As Austen's characters knew, different criteria could always be played offagainst one another, wealth against birth, good management against pride ofposition, and so on. Class in turn was not the only source of internalcommentary and reflection; others lay in the difference between town andcountry and between the generations. But social class provided an effectivemedium for the dissemination of ideas, for talking about habits at a removefrom one's own milieu. Notions of morality, decency, thrift key values bywhich people lived - shifted in meaning between class, and gave everyone avantage point from which to comment on their neighbours, whether or notthey wished to imitate their style.

    Greenhouse effcct

    The possibil i ty of transclass'dialogue' (or, in its colloquial form, prejudice)has also had the general effect ofspeeding up a sense ofchange in English l ife.Other classes of persons were seen to be doing things at a different rate or in adifferent quantity (more divorce, more child neglect, more second cars). Andother people's styles could also be an affront to one's own. One might refer to'the family' as a contested concept, and mean that it was a polit ical orideological concept, historically created.s But what also made it contestedwere the different perspectives that could be brought to bear upon it, and themost significant of these were class based. The middle-class family appeared aquite different phenomenon from the working-class one.

    One perspective thereby detracted from another. This was exaggerated inthe English tendency to pull down what was already in place when what was inplace was regarded as elitist or privileged or as incorporating a hegemonicvision imposed on others. But whether to pull down or elevate, the Englishhave had to work through their social class idioms. Thus the mid-nineteenth-century idea of a common culture negotiated middle-class claims to moralityand respectability through aristocratic claims to a privileged appreciation ofpolite society. A common culture was then in the late nineteenth centuryrediscovered in the rural working class, whose urban counterparts becamepolit ically visible in the twentieth century. It is partly because of such a classdimension, one suspects, that the mass institutions of the twentieth centurymost notably the totalising idea of the welfare state itself- could subsequentlybe attacked not only as unwarranted intervention in people's lives but assomehow protecting an undeserving minority of people who ' l ive off them.These days the poor find themselves being cast off as a kind of elite.

    Middle-class people used to observe that England has no constltutlonbecause it has never needed one, whereas Americans had to build up theirsociety.e An outcome was that the English felt free to un-do what they had.Democratisation did not entail elevating slaves to the status of freemen butentailed extending the privileges of the ranked or propertied to commoners.This particular possibil i ty of social un-doing, has had a profound effect on thedevelopment of ideas. It promotes the radicalism of the phil istine (to use oneof Arnold's epithets), with her general distaste for elitism and for the plannedintentions of others.

    In the late twentieth century, however, there has been a further and currousflattening effect. Class no longer divides different privileges. For anything thatlooks l ike privilege is nowadays worthy of attack, including the 'privi leges' ofthose on state benefit, and includingJhe prerogatives ofthe state itself. Presenthigh Conservatism rides exactly because it un-does or pulls down. The policiesof this party are highly selective, but not along class l ines: it is statelntervention in private l ives that must be pulled down. By contrast, the powerof the transnationals or of established domestic lobbies for commercialinterests survives untrammelled. for these bodies are not seen as class based.Super-private, super-individualistic, they seem only larger versions of the


  • , t43t42 English kinship in thc late twentieth century

    private individual. There is, we might say, no perceived change of scale (ofdifferent orders or domains) between the individual person and privatecompany, only a magnification or diminution along the same scale of virtues.

    I have been surprised at the extent to which this account has had to takenotice of the present polit ical dispensation. But that is partly because of theextraordinary force that the policies of the current Government in Britainappear to command. They are putting into effect a cultural revolution of sorts,and one which has had a flattening effect far beyond the dreams of the self-proclaimed levellers. It has not flattened privilege or property differences. Onthe contrary, material inequalit ies are as entrenched as ever in the new dividebetween persons and non-persons: to be an effective person one must havemeans. ( 'Al1 l ifestyles now require money'is an American comment (Barnettand Magdoff 1986:416).) What is f lattened in the polit ical promotion of thisview is a sense of perspective itself.

    To put it in extreme terms, there is no permanent representation of differentviewpoints any longer, because such viewpoints are no longer locked into classdialogue. Class dialogue has collapsed. This is hardly a return to the Englandof the eighteenth century any more than it is a return to the nineteenth; nor is ita 'new middle class' which is emerging. Rather, a quite novel constellation ofinterests has been created by policies such as the encouragement of homeownership among council tenants or turning over state industry to privateshareholders. The financial dimension is significant. The new person is thefinancial manager; and if universal upward mobil ity makes a nonsense of theold three-step strata, then perhaps we should also find a designation otherthan middle class. Plasti-class will do for the moment, after its preferred modeof credit display.

    The plasti-class seem everywhere, representing diverse and multipleinterests, and concealing social division between those with such flexibilityand those without. For the nature of the enabling technology financialf lexibil i ty suggests that perspectives are constituted merely by the choicesthat resources afford. Those without the means to exercise choice aresomehow without a perspective, without a communicable view on events.10

    Loss should be understood in a strictly relative sense. All the English havelost is what they once had, which was the facil i ty for drawing partial analogiesbetween different domains of social life. Referring to one class from theperspective of another went along with the abil ity to compare differentdomains of activity -- to talk of individual responsibil i ty towards the generalpublic, or to assume that the welfare of the family meant the welfare of thecommunity. But now, so long as one manages one's affairs, there is nodifference between whether one chooses to act in a role or act as this or thatpersonalised individual. So long as it gratif ies the consumer, there is nodifference between French bread and Viennese pastries. So long as the exerciseof choice is possible, the plasti-class expands,

    If there is a feeling of helplessness attendant on all this, it is that the most

    Greenhouse effecl

    plas*t ic ( 'p last lk) n. l . any one of a large number of synthet ic-usual ly organic mater ia ls that have a polymeric structure andcan be moulded when soft and then set, esp. such a material ina f in ished state containing plast ic izer, stabi l izer, f i l ler ,p igments, etc. Plast ics are c lassi f ied as thermosett ing (such asBakel i te) or thermoplast ic (such as PVC) and are used in the

    -plasticmanufacture of many art ic les and in coat ings, art i f ic ia l f ibres,etc. Compare resin (sense 2).

    -adj .2. made of p last ic. 3.easily influenced; impressionable: the plastic minds of chil-dren. 4. capable of being moulded or formed. 5. Fine arts. a. ofor relating to moulding or modell ing: the plastic arts. b.produced or apparent ly produced by moulding: the plast icdraperies of Giotto's f igures. 6. having the power to form orinfluence: the plastic forces of the imagination. 7. Biology. ofor relat ing to any format ive process; able to change, develop,or grow: plastic f issues. E. of or relating to plastic surgery. 9.Slang. superficially attractive yet unoriginal or artif ici al:- plasticfood. fClT: from Latin plasticus relating to moulding, fromGreek plastikos, from plassein to forml

    - ' adv.

    I6 Pla.sticEntry f rom Col l ins Dict ionary ( lst Edi t ion 1979). Computer data f i le designed: Aylesbury,Computer typeset: Oxford. Manufactured: the Unitcd Statcs ol America.Reproduced by kind permission of Collins Publishers lrom Collins Dictionary of'the Engli.:hLaryuuge. 2nd edition, 1986

    radical, most conservative government of this century has also collapsed thedifference between polit ical Right and Left. ( ' I don't know whether what I 'veseen is pure Thatcherism or pure socialism', are the reported words of amember of a Downing Street Policy UniI upropos a cooperative managementventure in Scotland (The Guardian,6 September 1989).) The collapse is notsomething, of course, for which it can claim complete credit. For instance,feminists have found that with respect to the new reproductive technologiestheir interest in defending women's rights is echoed in the anti-abortionists'interests in defending the rights of the unborn. Rather, by hastening thecollapse between Right and Left, the Government merely but powerfullyembodies it. And we had always imagined that 'totalitarianism' would havebeen the crushing implementation of one or the other!

    The speed with which such chang'es seem to be occurring is like watchingsomething on fast forward wind. Meanwhile, the Government itself seems toimagine it is midwife to a natural process of social evolution that wil l alsorestore traditional values. It can do this because it simply appears to bemaking the'nature' of individual motivation explicit, and thereby conceals itsown process of selection. As Handler and Segal (1985: 697) remark, however:

  • t44 English kinship in the late twentieth cenrury

    'Existing social relations are always presupposed in the interpretive construc_tion of subsequent relations. but they have no inherent ineitia, that is, theyhave no inherent tendency to continue or to determine the future . . . socialrelations are not f ixed without the possibil i ty of alternatives.' But if dialogue isflattened, if there appear no alternatives, then what happens to the idea ofrelationships? where is the negotiation? There seems no negotiation over howwe should define persons. of all the interpretations of the-person that couldhave been selected, we are presented with an individuar subject or agent whoknows how to deploy resources or the means at his or her disposal and whosepersonhood lies in the capacity for choice. we seem to have no choice in thematter.

    _ _

    I refer to flattening by way of alluding to so-called postmodern discourse.Yet the allusion must seem out of place. of what relevance is it that artists mayinterpret their images in terms of pastiche and collage, or crit ics see in fi lms theimitation of dead styles? what does it mean to say, as they do, the .death of thesubject', when choice is all around us and we have more means tnan everbefore at our disposal? The English are sti l l here in their suburbs or therr townhouses, and who cares what postmodernism means? It is quite true that therehave been momentous changes in peopre's attitudes towards the constitutionof the family, and towards such issues as premarital sexual relations (e.g.Jenkins I990), but the famiry is appreciated as a l ifestyle to a greater extentthan ever. In any case, individual persons appear to walk around solidlyenough. Above all, the nation has Government reassurance on the matter.The then Brit ish Prime Minister publicly pronounced:

    Ther-e is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there arefamilies. (Margaret Thatcher, l9g7)11But while one might be reassured about the individuals and the families, itseems that they can only be made to appear if .society, disappears.

    This was no haphazard remark. The pronouncement has been quoted andrequoted, was made the subject of terevision debate, and has been set as auniversity examination question for anthropology undergraduates. There hasalso been some anxious backpedail ing, whith led-the fol[wing year ( r ggg) tothe energetic promurgation of the concept 'active cit izeni[ip'. But thestatement is irreversible.

    Mrs Thatcher could in fact have used any one of those three terms -individual, family' society in any one of the three places she deproyed them,and the meaning would have been the same. No ru.h thi.rg as the individuat,only families and society; or no such thing as families, only society andindividuals

    . ' . what is breath-raking is that the leader of an elected polit icalparty should have chosen the collectivist idiom to discard. what vanishes isthe idea of society as either a natural or an artif icial consociation. what alsovanishes, then, are the grouncls of the class diarogue (the naturalness orartif iciality of social divisions) that has dominated poiit icaldebate and reformfor the last rwo cenlur ies.

    Grecnhouse eli'ect 145

    Yet in a sense herjudgement was unerring. To cancel society is to cancel allrhree concepts. Not being able to 'see' society is rather l ike the old l iteralistoroblem, one that Western anthropologists projected on to others, of notireing able to see paternity. We have literalised our perceptions of humannature to the point that we make social relationships as such very hard tovisualise.lz In fact the English cannot see the individual except by insisting onits rights to display its own individuality: and then all they see is the display.They insist on making farnil ies visible by their l i festyle. and then all they see isthe lifestyle. What is cancelled, then, is a certain relational facility.

    The Prime Minister could, I believe, have 'chosen' any of those terms todiscard, in the same way as one may nowadays 'choose' to be a public f igure orprivate person, 'choose' one's l i festyle, and so forth. The meaning would havebeen the same. We have cancelled the power of analogy: the facility to see thatindividuals are defined by society, or that families are analogous both toindividuals on the one hand and to social communities on the other. We seemto have lost motivation in drawing such parallels. The state must not appearpaternalistic, rights must not be trammelled with duties, cit izens do not haveto be members of a community. 13 The most powerful image one can devise forsuch a Head of Government is that of household manager, the proprietorsell ing fanily-style accommodation.

    D i sap p e aring fami ly, di sap p earing .t o cie t !-Family l iving can be seen as a l ifestyle of sorts. Bed and breakfast offerslamily-style accommodation the flavour of domesticity. A recent Englishtextbook on the sociology of the family (Goldthorpe 1987) argues that while itf l ies in the face of variabil ity and change to reify 'the family' as a thing,everyone has had experience of 'family l i fe': accordingly we should bestudying such life as events and processes. Interestingly, the author throws in'society' as a similar entity. To present society as though it were composed ofcategories and groups is to falsify the reality of human social l i fe (1987: 2): weshould study human actions as processes in time. (Everyone has hadexperience of 'social l i fe' l) A feature of this argument is the assumption that aproper subject for study is what individuals experience. All the variabil ity offamily forms are thus flattened out in the assertion that everyone has somesort of family life.

    On the surface, such views seem to give the family a new lease. It no longerappears problematic. For l ike the anthropologist's perspective on Westernkinship that makes it always subsu.rnable under other, more significant socialfactors, the perennial problem of the modern study of the English family hasoeen that it was always on the verge of disappearing. The very variabil ity oftndividual forms as well as the careers and different life patterns of individualshave seemingly interfered with a clear view of typical families or of a sense ofcontinuity. Valuing family l i fe, however, brings its own twist. When its futureturns on individual experience and, as we shall see, on choice, the family is

  • i116 English kinship in the late rrventieth ccntury

    simply made to disappear in a new way. A certain matrix of connections orassociations no longer holds it in its former place.

    The family in decline was a parricularly salient therne in the postwar period,and was among the assumptions that prompted counter-studies to show thehistorical antecedents of small domestic groups (most notably Laslett andwall 1972). Jonas Frykman and orvar Lcifgren (19g7: l50tr) observe ofmiddle-class Sweden in the mid-twentieth century that the idea of the sorrystate of the modern family has in fact been coterminous with the spread offarnil ial l i festyles and of the nuclear family as the basis for the household. yeta small family can seem somehow 'less' of a family. The idea is that in the pastpeople had more relatives. lamilies were larger, there was more of acommunity. in the same way that people imagine that vil lage l ife was oncecommunal. Dramatic changes in people's attitudes towards divorce and singleparent families are held to prove the point. As a consequence, the fanrily seemsto have become 'fragmented' though, as Jon Bernardes ( l ggg) also notes. theidea of farrri ly l i fe enjoys as strong a hold as ever. Martine Segalen (l9ti6:2)nicely captures the emphasis in her observation that to think of the family incrisis glosses over the real problem: it is society that is in crisis.

    Throughout the modern epoch. it seems that the English larnily has alwaysbeen vanishing. The same is true of'the English vil lage. terminally on the pointof disappearing (c1-. Strathern 1984), and equally true of the organiccommunity of rurai England (wil l iams 19g,5). The reasons seern to l ie inpeople's social activit ies, in their mobil ity, their capacity to move in, to moveout, and thus down or up in social status; consequently it is the naturalness ofthe pre-existing vil lage or community which is felt to be perpetually weakened.when a suburb of a large Northern city was called a 'vi l lage', it wascommunity survival that was at stake. The survival of the vil lage .had to befought for, protected against incessant, hosti le forces' (young tsso; tro). atthe same time, nostalgia for commu'ity was not necessarily nostalgia foregalitarianism: the vanishing of 'the gentry' ( ' the old-fashioned Enelish tvoeof family', as one woodford residenr said (wilmott and young 1960; 7)) co;dbe cause for regret. woodford an Essex vilrage/London suburb was at thetirne of the remark coming to seem .less rural'.

    Another contemporary strand to arguments about the family is reproclucedin English textbooks (e.g. Ell iot 1986): the revival of questions as to whether ornot it is a good thing whether there ought to be families. The most sustainedcrit ique co*es from feminist enquiry, but is not restricted to it. Theindividual's natural freedoms, development and emotional l i fe are held tosr-rffer at the expense of family organisation, which may therefore be regardedas an instrument of other (say, capitalist) purposes. At the same time, pro-family movements turn support for the famiry into an issue of polit ical choice(see Thorne and Yalorn 1982 for Arnerican observations on the point).Although support may be voiced on the grounds that the family is a naturalinstitution, to have to put forward a polit ical or legal argument for its

    Grccnhousc effect 147

    nreservation removes any taken-for-granted position. Family has becomen,,turol only for some. Hence the very idea that one might be 'for' or 'against'the family is today fuelled. as Faith Ell iot (1986 202f1) implies, by thecgnscious promotion of 'alternative' forms of domestic l iving. Alternatives torhe family invariably appear as alternatives to domestic l iving arrangements.The family thus acquires definit ion as a matter of l iving style.

    We have here a new virtue. Style in turn acquires definit ion as aquintessential exercise of choice, and what is new in this late twentieth-centuryrendition of an old question is precisely the place given to choice. Anindividual cannot choose into which family to be born, but evidently he or sherray well choose whether to opt fbr a family-style l if 'estyle or not. The family asa natural consociation vanishes in the promotion of family-l iving as anexperience. Experience is held to aft-ect the opportunities individuals haveavailable to them.

    Consider the following:

    [T]he r ight-wing argument for the'r ight to choose' in educat ion . . . means thatDarents should be able to choose what sort of state school system there is andwhcther to send their childrcn to private school . . . [T]his'right to choose' is oftenpr-esented as opposition to outside interference: in fact it means parental controloverchi ldreninsteadofsocial control . . . [Thequest ionishowtooffer] everyonethe best possible opportunities.

    The issue of child-neglect and the role of the social worker raises perhaps morethorny questions. Even when it is suspected that young children are being batteredby their parents, local authority social services departments are reluctant to removethe child from the home. The logic ol our collectivist position might seem to be that. . . children shor.rld more often be taken into the care of the local authority. Yetsocial work also represents an intrusion into people's l ives and especially working-class l ives . . . Here again, then, we meet the problem of the rebarbative character ofthe existing class lbrms of collectivity. Yet here again we would argue that we mustnot retreat into the individualism of 'the farnily', but must fight for better kinds ofcollectivism. So we should rccognize that at prcsent wc should olten want to defcnd aparent's right to keep her child. But at the same tine we should be working toimprove the quality of children's homes to open them up so that teenagers unhappyat home might actually choose Io go to them. (Barrett and Mclntosh 1982: 157 8,original emphasis)

    The authors point to the elision in many contemporary argllments on the issuebetween 'choice' and 'rights'. The 'right to choose' is problematic; but at thesanre time the abil ity to choose appears as the mode through which 'rights' areexercised. The subjects who exercle those rights are individuals' Relation-ships, such as the relationship between parents and children, cannot have suchclaims and the family disappears from view as the natural loctls for acollectivist position. In its place is the desirabil ity of improving the quality ofhome life.

    We have here a complete about-turn from Eleanor Rathbone's 1924 pleafor the provision of a Family Allowance on the grounds that 'the well-being of

  • r48 English kinship in the late twentrcth centurv

    the lamily concerns the community as a whore'. She added that .there seemssomething strange in the assumption so commonry made, that the luestron ofthe maintenance of farnil ier .on..rn, only individual parents uno .Jn be safelyleft to thenr; or that, at most, society need only take cognizance of the matterby. as it were, mixing a rittre phiranthropy with its buiiness and influencing

    employers to pay wages which wil l enable their inOutg. inthe praiseworthy leisure-time occupati.n of keeping families' (1927: ix x). Theabout-turn l ies in the sym-borisation of personal welrare. Rathbone wasconcerned with the miserable riving conditions of the working lr.rrl"a l lr.inadequacy of state provisions for the lower paid una un.*pTov.J. gut ,lr.was also concerned to give 'the famiry a furer recognition and a more assuredand honourable status' (r 927 : 304) against those of her day who put forwardcontrary arguments on the grounds of individuals'rightsio determine theirprivate l ives. She took the whole unit because the indi' iduafrairt inguirrr"a Uysuch rights often exclu.ed the women ancr chirdren or tne ra'ri i f.?e mightargue that because of the provisions of the eventuar werfare State in theintervening years, that is no longer the issue it was: the famiry having beenprotected, ' individuarised' in Barretr and Mclntort ', pt .u.rnf in" n.*collective can only be formed through undoing or decomposing

    Such collectivist arguments from the Left seem to have this in common withthe individualistic argumerts of the New Right: to exercise "troi."-i,

    a goodthing in itself. Barrett and Mclntosh (r9g2: 134) offer,.,"o g.n.rut aims forpolit ical srrategy on rhe family:(l) we should work for immediate chan.ges that wirt increase the possibirit ies ofchoice ftheir emphasis] so that alternatiires to the existing favoured patterns of

    'fumilv liJb [my emphasis] become rearisticariy avairabre ana aesirabri; (2) [w]eshould work towards. coilectivism and away hom individuarism in the areas atpresent alrocated to rhe sphere of private family rife,.rp".iurry in.omlmarnten-ance, the work of making meals, creaning and housekeeping, un,r tt . *ort or-caringfor people such as chircrren [my emphalsl. irre ora and the sick or disabled.children are here individuars at a stage ofpersonal development, not oflspringor relatives.


    Distinguishing their argument from that of l iberal individuarism does notdisturb the assumption that choice as such is a good thing. It makes veryevident the individual person as a subject and an og.n, oih.. ol 'ni, o*ndestiny. All that seemingly differs between Left and Right in this is the meansby which such destinies may be realised:socialism is bound to give a positive value to collective rather than individuarconcerns in questions of reproduction. what sociarists must d. is not deny theexistence ofindividual rights. for these wil l surely exist and even flourish in socialistsociety, but chalrenge the private content attrituted to such rights in bourgeorsthought. (1982: 136, emphasis removed)

    Greenhouse cffect

    Now in the manner in which we make explicit just how the individual person isconstituted by the choices he or she makes, I think we might f ind ourselvesfacing a new absence.

    The lamily as a set of kin relationships disappears in the idea that the qualityof home life has an independent measure. But what about the person as anindividual whose opportunities, decisions and opinions are so significant? Ifthe process of making assumptions visible indeed changes perception, then thechances are that 'the individual' wil l become eclipsed by the enhancement of'choice'. Or perhaps individuality wil l be juxtaposed as a choice.

    The result could be an apperception of person which has the individualvanish. The individual would not vanish in the old way seen to be absorbedby its social construction or by the metastructure of society- but would vanishquite simply/rom the exercise o.f its individualit.r,. The repository of choices:what we shall see if we look will be the choices, the experiences that evince'individualism'. Individual-style l iving! Prescriptive individualism displacesthe individuality of the person. We are already there of course, and havearrived at a view of postmodern imagery. For that is exactly how certainpostmodern reflections in aesthetics, art and literature have redefined theindividual subject of the previous epoch.

    I take up the words of one American exponent of the condition conceivedby some to apply generally to the Western world. His question is whymoclernism is a thing of the past, and why postmodernism should havedisplaced it. The new conponent, he says (Jameson 1985: 114), is generallycalled 'the death of the subject', or more conventionally 'the end ofindividualism as such'.

    What has disappeared is the modern premise of the individual with vision and private identity the great modernisms. he observes, werepredicated on the invention of a personal private style. He relates two just-sostorres.

    [O]nce upon a time. in the classic age of competit ive capitalism. in the heyday olthenuclear family and the emergence of the bourgeoisie as the hegemonic social class,there was such a thing as individualism, as individual subjects. But today, in the ageof corporate capitalism, of the so-called organization man, of bureaucracies inbusiness as well as in the state, of demographic explosion today, that olderbourgeois individual subjcct no longer exists . .. There is a second more radicalposition, what one rnight call the poststructuralist position. It adds: not only is thebourgeois individual subject a thing of the past, it is also a myth; it never reallyexisted in the first place; there have never been autonomous subjects ofthat type.Rather, this construct is merely a philosophical and cultural mystif ication whichsought to persuade people that ttey 'had' individual subjects and possessed thisunique personal identity. (Jameson 1985: 115, original emphasis)Yet such a proclamation (the death of the subject) of itself, is no more nor

    less interesting than other deaths - the father absent from the family, thefamily absent from the community, the community absent from the country-side, and so on. It is only interesting in corriuction with what is also


  • 150 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    cancelled. In Jameson's speculation, this includes l inguistic norms whichvanish in the value put on idiosyncrasy, on private codes and mannerisms,tswhich in turn vanish in pastiche, in the imitation of unique style. Wherecollage invalidates the very notion of style in its mix of genres and materials,pastiche is the emulation of past styles and other moods. Innovation is nolonger possible. We can speak of the'failure of the new' (1985: I l6). Diversityand heterogeneity, in this view, no longer reproduce new forms: all forms havealready been invented, and there is no novelty to be generated fromrecombinations.

    Let me use my English argument, then, to comment on why the hyper-individualism of the late twentieth century is simultaneously the death of theindividual. The simple reason is that the Individual has lost its elicitory powerto make Society appear. For that depended on its further (merographic)connection with a third concept, Nature. The individual once appeared likethe kinship that produced it as a connecting hinge between these twodomains, between society on the one hand and nature on the other. But stylesthat are after other styles do not need to be after nature at a11.16

    It is the potential cancellation of that connection with nature which has, Ithink, led us to see the world as myriad surfaces, to lose a sense of perspectivaldepth, and which thus makes the threshold imagery of scale-change work withless conviction, which has undone a pluralist and merographic perception ofrelationships. Perhaps in turn we think there is ' less nature' in the worldbecause we have lost the relational facil i ty for making a partial analogybetween nature and society work as the context for the way we think aboutindividuals. To cancel the merographic person is in effect to cancel the naturalindividual as a microcosm of the socialising process.

    Now the modern(ist) concept of nature encapsulated within itself asignificant relation: between what is intrinsic to an entity (its individuality)and that entity's context or environment. The individual vanishes not justfrom a surfeit of individuality. It vanishes when it no longer seems relevant totalk about its environment and thus as Mrs Thatcher discovered - about' itsrelationship' to society. The point is worth pursuing.

    The processes by which the concepts discussed in the previous chapter wereprofessionalised or 'naturalised' had a dual outcome. On the one hand, Ireferred to the way in which such concepts created their own context: thussociety was to be understood as a type of(social) organisation, orpersons wereto be understood as agents exercising (personal) choice, individuals as uniqueentit ies, and so on. Instead of imagining society as a contract among personsor persons as God's creatures, each reference point became self-defining. Inthus creating its own context, a concept such as society created its own domainof explanation, which then required 'relating' to others. The domain societymade proof, for instance, in Durkheim's realm of 'social fact' becanretypified by the kinds of facts appropriate (that is, natural) to it.17 On the other

    Greenhouse effect I 51

    hand, there was the l iteral sense in which nature served to model such facticity.The natural world was apprehended as full of facts, and facts appeared anatural feature of the world. Their social counterparts were made proof, forinstance, in the new quantif ications under way in the mid-nineteenth century.From the 1830s onwards, as Corrigan and Sayer remark (1985: 124 5), centralsovernment departments emerged as fact-collecting institutions, a prolifer-ation of Royal Commissions mounted enquiries into this or that state ofaflairs, inspectorates spread like a contagion, and above all statistics weregathered. Facts relating to social conditions could be collected, as naturalitems might be assembled.

    I do not wish to stress too much the new statistics of the nineteenth century,but note that they may have laid the grounds for an analogy between socialconnections and the abstract (causal) connections that could be revealedbetween social phenomena.l8 Society as a summation of relations could begrasped notjust as sets ofrelations between persons but as relations betweenabstract but nonetheless effectual entit ies such as ' l iving conditions', ' familysize'. 'level of education' that is, between characteristics at a remove from thepopulations to which they pertained. The possibil i ty of seeing such links as'relations' was exemplif ied in the mid-twentieth-century interest in 'therelationship' between individual and society.

    It is, if one thinks about it, and pac'e Radcliffe-Brown (Chapter Three), amost peculiar notion. The concrete person who had (social) relations withother persons could, when thought of abstractly as an individual, also be seento be in some kind of relationship with society, another abstract entity but of aquite different order of reality.

    The model of kinship as the social construction of natural facts is theoutcome, then, of various shifts not just in the meanings of society and ofstructure but of the facticity of nature and the naturalness of facts. I havesuggested that 'nature' itself provided a model for the very domaining (orprofessionalising) of concepts themselves. lt in turn was naturalised in theimage of the l ife of organisms and became understood as biology. Yet therewas always more to the matching between kinship and nature than theperception of biological affinity between mammalian forms of nurture or themechanics of sexual reproduction. Kinship in the modern, pluralist epochpreserved the idea ofvariable genetic heritage and the fruitful production ofnew, vigorous individuals. This dual connection between individuality anddiversity on the one hand and natural and social forms on the other has sincealtered. If we are in the position of imagining for ourselves the multiplicationof neither individuality nor divefsity, perhaps we should also be imaginingfbrms of relationships that are neither 'social ' nor 'natural' in character.

    No such thing as society: does this mean that the context for action istnternalised'? Is intrinsic worth the same as an external environment ofconstraints and reference points? Can we imagine overlap without domains?

  • r152 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    Rel'erring to other orders or domains of l i fe once conveyed convention as aquestion of morality. The individual should l isten to society. Has suchregulation beconre superfl uous?

    The present dispensation convinces because it appears to be merelyrevealing the character of or making explicit a figure already in place: theperson who in his or her dealings with others exercises individuality.Individuality signals choice; it would also seem that it is up to the individualwhether or not to adhere to convention. Choice becomes conventional. andconventions are for the choosing. It then becomes redundant to externaliseother domains, or even think of social relationships as an object of or contextfor people's communication with one another. This explains why the activecitizen can be relied upon to behave responsibly in her or himself; why theNew Right can talk in the same breath of the duties of the cit izen and thefreedom of the individual without any intervening image of a community.

    People forget, and still refer to society,le but society is orderly (I quote froma televised discussion among self-defined Right Wing thinkers in 1988, RiglrTalk,ITY Channel 4) simply by virtue of individuals following their ownhabits not by following 'society' and certainly not by looking to theGovernment. Such talk is accompanied by looked-for reassurance that thenew individualism, far from contributing to a break down of law and order,relocates it as personal motivation. Those who wor.rld backpedal and think ittoo dangerous to abandon society just yet (the same programme revealed)instead say that what is really targeted is the state and its associated evil, theidea of a national culture. As a speaker on Right Talk said: nationalism is amodern heresy - there is no single (no such thing as?) 'national community'.

    I have probably extracted too clear a devolution from confused and mixedmetaphors. But I write from the hindsight of how, through exactly suchimaginings as these, that f igure of the individual person vanishes. In the latetwentieth century it is possible to think that morality is a question of choice.Prescriptive individualism: choice requires no external regulation. As aconsequence, the individual is judged by no measure outside itself. It is not tobe related to either nature or society (vice national culture). lt is not analogousto anything.

    Now if morality becomes perceived as a question of individualistic choice,then nature appears as what a person consumes. From the perspective of thesymbols of the modern epoch, this double transformation far dwarfs theparticular policies that speed it up truly making God's ants2o of us all.

    No 'nature', hardly any ' law': two pivots on which Schneider's account ofAmerican kinship so persuasively rested cease to persuade. Insofar as the samewas true of English kinship at the time, it is slear that whatever culturalaccount I might have wtrnted to produce, it could no longer take the sameform. It is not just dichotomies that wil l, in many cases thankfully, go. Wehave potentially abolished the particular relationships on which our symboliccapacity for relational imagery was grounded.

    Greenhouse effect

    Reproducing preference

    The morslit.t' of choiceOn the face of it, however, the Active Citizen of late twentieth-centurypropaganda seems to embody rather than negate everything one might wish tosay about a sense of responsibil i ty towards others. It also appears to be theepitome of individualism. Actually it was a slip of the pen to say'responsibil i tylowards others'. As Lord Young has declared,2l the important thing is thatindividuals in developing their own skil ls take responslbll i ty./br themselves.There are clear resonances here with ways in which the typically English havebeen depicted in the past.

    I refer to Dixon's musings on 'The English genius', which includes adiscourse on the stock type, 'the English gentleman'. Consider the concept ofduty, which a century before Mrs Taylor had located as a question of moraldecorum between persons, and between persons and their God. Duty inDixon's panegyric may be attached as a defining outward characteristic buthas become detached from relationships. The English gentleman does his dutywithout knowing quite what it is. The important thing is that he does it.

    [I]nto this one word, duty, thc English have disti l led [a] whole body of cthics . . . 'Todo one's duty' suggests nothing exalted, magnificent, spectacular. . . [The words]adjust themselves to the simplest intelligence and to the circumstances of everyhour, it may be to no more than the performance of some daily drudgery; and yetagain on occasion may lift their standard to the heights olSpartan heroism. There isa notable plainness about the word 'duty'. It stands merely for what is proper,appropriate, becoming, to be expected of one. . .

    I am lar from saying that the men who were guided by this conceptionunderstood either its origin, or the nature of the obligation they felt. Withoutinquiry they responded to its call. In some way incomprehensible to them it gave.when obeyed, a happy sense of freedom, of release frorn further responsibility. Therest was not their atTair. What is English here is the sense of conduct as the test of aman. Not what he thinks or feels . . . Let others judge by the state of their emotionsor of their minds, by their personal inclinations or disinclinations. What do theymatter? Brushing all these aside as irrelevant, the Englishman judges sinply by theact, his own or another's. (1938: 78 80, passim)

    Duty is no longer a fashionable word. But this 1930s evocation of individualmotivation anticipates a most interesting feature of the active cit izen: that heor she is her own sollrce of right acting. lntportance is placed on convention,yet it is not specific conventions thaf are the object ofthe exercise but a specificorieutation of the person. As Dixcfn might have said, provided the person hasthe right motive ('duty') it wil l follow that whatever the sense of duty isattached to wil l be the right thing; one may perform one's dr.rty withoutknowing what its ends are. The individual in (him)self personifies convention('the sense of conduct'). To attend to the individual is thus a highly moralisticstance.

    I )-i

  • 154 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    For the late twentieth century, however, the promotion of such a figureseems at the same time a complete turn around from the socialist--welfareoriented propaganda that influenced public l i fe when Dixon was writ ing. Thatpropaganda helped shape the collectivist idioms in which 'society' was thenconceived. and anthropology's discovery of society as a source of moralityendorsed the significance being given to public institutions and the idea of acommon good. Contemporary propaganda appears to change these preceptsout of all recognition. Yet what some might interpret as polit ical reactionism,or as a swing of a pendulum, can also be regarded as a devolution of or aprocess of l i teralisation in the development of ideas. The concept of moralsociety produced, so to speak, the concept of the moral individual. However,while this conceptualisation of society has reproduced itself in the idea that theindividual contains convention within, it has not reproduced itself as'society'.

    I sketch one of the paths such devolution may have taken. To regard societyas having a l ife of its own and to regard human institutions as having ends oftheir own, as I suggested was a personifying proclivity of early and mid-twentieth-century anthropology, presented abstractions modelled on persons.Persons in turn were imagined in culturally specific ways. As a consequence,society was 'personified' in the English sense, evoking persons as individualsand as subjects or agents, in short as autonomous organisms. So, if the formthat the person took were that of the individual subject, the form that societytook was that of a collective organisation of separate elements whichcommunicated with one another to compose an individual system. The samemight be true for particular components, the groups or institutions that'madeup' society. Yet I have also suggested that insofar as the analogy (betweensociety and individual) was partial, each concept also participated in orextended into the other. A relationship between institutions and persons wasreplicated within the person, who showed its effect (as a microcosm of thesocialising or domesticating process), as indeed society in turn was held toshow the imprint of human ingenuity. Considerable effort was put intomaking such connections explicit. In particular, the relationship betweenindividual and society was interpreted as bearing on motivation in humanaction. This in turn privileged the image of the individual person as an agentwith a purpose in life. Here is the figure who will turn into the late twentieth-century person for whom convention is a choice.

    The substance of some of these notions was described towards the end of thelast chapter. Here I present a set of propositions i l lustrative of the modernepoch, and then add late twentieth-century outcomes for them. The outcomeshave no logical status. That is, they are not inevitable precipitates of thepropositions; rather, they are excavated, with hindsight, from these pro-positions in the l ight of certain contemporary values. The il lustrations comefrom anthropological and other social science writ ing. All the propositions areones I have embraced myself at earlier times(l) Society was an agent. The relationship between human institutions andpersons could be imagined as one between subject: object.

    Greenhouse effect 155

    Either society or person might render the other object to its subject. Socialscience took for granted that its task was to uncover determinism or directionin this relationship, and thus the causes of behaviour or action. This wascolceived as an explicit aim of investigation. One recent overview of 'therelationship between the individual and society', points out that the problemtul.ns on the polit ical abil ity of persons to pursue their own interests as againstinterference from others (Sharrock 1987: 131). Interference could come fromsociety itself: in interactionist terms, discussion about the relationshipbetween society and the individual appeared like a discussion of the relativeeft-ects of two persons on one another (cf. Barnett and Silverman 1979).

    Society is both a subjective and an objective reality. Society is built up out of theactions of its individual members. . . Spontaneously constructed patterns ofrelationships, however, become stabilized and relatively immutable, and sosomething which began as a 'subjective' creation, the product of the aims andactions of individuals, develops into something'objective', into a fixed arrangementwhich presents itself as a givcn and constraining environment for subsequentaction . . . We must recognize that we have the power of 'agency', that we can actand achieve things, but must also appreciate that we act within and upon structures,and that, in addition, those structures themselves shape us [and] affect the kinds ofthings that we want. (Sharrock 1987: l5l 4, original emphasis)

    Thus the answer to the question of whether or not society was made up ofindividuals or of collective phenomena or even of structures (Sharrock I 98 7:146) was given in the aesthetics of personification. Yet because of ademocratising sense of plurality. it was also imagined that the collectivity wasof a different order from the individual, more powerful because of itsmagnitude, an impersonal person. ln short, when determinist and voluntaristpositions were set against each other, the debate appeared to be over whichexercised the agency: whether individuals produced structures or wereproduced by them. What was made visible was agency, and the dichotomiesboiled down to the question of where to situate the agent. In that it had adistinctive natural form of its own (its structure and organisation), societyappeared to have its own reasons for existing, which is what social scientistsinvestigated. Concomitantly, individuals were perceived as having thetr ownreasons for existing, and for existing'naturally' as subjects who would preferto be able to act as subjects rather than as the objects ofanother's subjectivity.Any demonstration of an object-l ike status indicated a relationship ofdominat ion.

    The outcome: individuals in thelr natural state act as subjects.(2) Society had needs. A justif icatidn for human institutions acting accordingto their own goals was the maintenance of their own life. Institutions neededpersons in the same way as persons needed institutions; as well as havingcertain needs that must be met in order to sustain themselves, then,institutions were also regarded as meeting human needs.

    Although social scientists repeatedly claimed to have outgrown functional-ism, the notion persisted in their explanations of institutions such as 'the

  • 156 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    family'. The family was based in a need to 'regulate' sexual and parentalrelationships (e.g. Ell iot 1986: l). This echoes Ronald Fletcher's (1962: 19)rendition.

    The human family is centred round these same biological propensities and needs:mating, the begetting ofchildren, the rearing ofchildren . . . It can therefore be saidto be a'natural'grouping in so far as it is rooted in fundamental instincts, emotions,and needs serving important biological functions; and a 'socially necessary'grouping in the sense that it exists in all societies for regulating sexual and parentalbehaviour in order to achieve those relationships and qualities ofcharacter whichare considered to be desirable.

    The regulation of relationships found an external justif ication in the idea thathowever variable the social form, there was a natural necessity for regulationitself. 'The natural propensities involved require regulation, both with regardto their relationships with each other, and with reference to the wider stabilityand order of human relationships, and the allocation of claims and duties, inthe community' ' (1962:20). Family organisation was regarded as a correlativeof collective organisation and social order. Similarly, Macfarlane argued thatmarriage (1987: 139) was a solution to the need to regulate sexual intercourse,even as convention was a general solution to what to do with human emotions.'Love' was not so much constituted in kin relationships, but was somethingthat flowed between persons prior to relationships being made. Especially inrelation to its romantic form, he was thus able to postulate love as an'ideologyof individualism': emotions arose spontaneously within the individual, or, iftriggered by other persons, nevertheless fulfilled the need for self-expression.So an emotional bond between persons could be seen as a result of theirrespective individualit ies.

    The outcome: the individual has pre-existing capacities for emotional self-expression which are simply channelled or regulated by convention.(3) Society was self-regulatory. Society was composed of conventions, andimposed them on individuals, but individuals also wil l ingly entered intorelations with others in the same way as they subordinated themselves to theoverriding necessity for social order.

    Rules were made by persons, and persons made by rules; convention wasseen as intrinsic to an orderly and organised life, and to a human one. Theissue as anthropologists tried to explicate it was the extent to which peopleappreciated or recognised the necessity for convention. Thus Fortes (1969:44)pointed to Radcliffe-Brown's interest in the mechanisms of social organis-ation the 'principles' by which institutions are preserved - in terms of howpeople make them known to themselves through their models. Fortes' axiomof amity depended on a 'consensus in accepting the value of mutual support inmaintaining a "code of good conduct" for the realization of each person's"legitimate interests" . . . in the last resort, even by acts of violence regarded aslegitimate' (1969: I l0). Non-amity implied non-relationship. ln many sys-tems, this reach of amity was coterminous with the recognition of close kinrelations (cf. 1969l. 123) insofar as these had both an affective and a moral

    Greenhouse effect

    dimension. Personal interest and social legitimation were thus fused. Conven-tion could be taken as a good for its own sake; it was understood to be thecultural counterpart of natural law, embodying the order necessary forsustaining a complex (and civil ised) l i fe. It was externalised as'social order' orthe 'norms' of good conduct to which people subscribed.

    The outcome: the individual who perceived the importance of convention(respecting amity, doing one's duty) for its own sake.(4) Society became an object of collective sentiment.

    The point was rehearsed at the end of the last chapter. I note MichelVerdon's ( I 980: I 36) observations on kinship groups. By l inking the problemof a group's internal cohesion to boundary and regulatory mechanisms,

    the proponents ofthejural model rested their notion ofgroup on a behaviouralfoundation. If internal solidarity is problematic, it follows that the focus will have tobe shifted from problems of structure to considerations of behaviour and normativemental representations (such as values, beliefs, norms, etc.). Indeed, there seems tobe only one way ofsolving the question ofinternal cohesion, namely, by describingand explaining how a set ofmental representations has a psychological effect onindividual feelings or sentiments, thereby drawing individuals together. Despitetheir claim of divorcing social anthropology from psychology, the structural-functionalists were only rooting it more deeply in the study of behaviour.

    Examples are 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) Society was a property holder. It treasured and valued its conventions andsought to pass them on; socialisation was likened to transmission, and valuesand conventions to the property of society, its estate.

    The period when society was discovered in the conventions that theindividual person followed, the roles he or she played, was also the period ofsocialisation theories. In British social anthropology property seemedimportant, for there was an elision between two conjoint ideas of inheritance:society was transmitted from one generation to the next much as real estatewas. This was evinced in the early work of Jack Goody among others. Notonly did he connect property and role in the idea of 'office' (1962:276), but heplaced emphasis on the socialising agent. There has to be someone who couldpass on information to the next generation. The induction of ideas was donevia a 'tutor' who was thus a mediating person, one who teaches and transmits(1962:274). This bookish English image of the person passing on his skil ls, l ikefather to son, simultaneously rei{ed the values and items transmitted andpersonified society (society is l ike a/father who hands over assets to his heir). Italso assumed that property is uniquely possessed, that what one person hasanother cannot. Goody gave the example of a person who divides his plotamong his children and thereby loses part of the land himself (1962 274),contrasting possession with the non-exclusive transmission of information.Yet such a distinction could only work in a culture where on the one handtransmission of information was not resarded as loss and where on the other


  • t58 English kinship in thc late twentieth ccntury

    possession of property was always at another's expense. This fitted the Englishunderstanding of society as made both of persons in communication with oneanother and sharing their meanings, and of individuals divided against oneanother by their material interests.22

    The outcome: the individual as the expectant heir (of society), and thus anentity with inherent rights against others.(6) Societl 'al lotted roles to its members. Social roles were, so to speak, part ofthe property of society, the disti l lation of its traditions and heritage. In playingtheir parts, individuals as role-bearers thus brought conventions to l ife: they'did' convention.

    The analogy between the person as a microcosm of convention andconvention personified as having a l ife of its own was thereby externalised inthe mediating irnage of persons as role-playing individuals. This constitutedone of social science's direct contributions to popular ideas about kinship.Anthropology became the study of how other people 'do' their conventions(and had endless trouble in describing peoples who do not do convention). Aperson did convention by acting out being a good mother or a good nurse. InChavasse's time, the choice was between good and bad role playing; theconventions were not in question. But convention came to be perceived asexpressive and thus also a question of cultural style. What one did informedothers about one's class, gender, ethnic origins or whatever; behaviourreflected category. role.

    The outcome: whether or not individuals observe convention at all becomesitself a style of l i fe, as though roles were there for the choosing'

    And the outcome of that is that convention is internalised as personal style.Over and again we find in this constellation of ideas the notion that it is theindividual person or role-player or member of society who takes it on him orherself to show convention at work. The indir"idual is thus revealed as asocialised entity. Society is thus revealed in its success as a socialising agent'and its eflects are l iteralised in its impact on internal motivation. But theconsequence is that the individual person comes to contain within him orherself the knowledge for right acting. and thus beconres his or her own sourceof morality. If society itself vanishes from this drama, then, it wil l have done soquite simply

    ./iom the exercise o.f its socialising /aculty.With such possibil i t ies in place individuals personifying convention,

    giving it l i fe and reason by their acts one can begin to see how Mrs Thatchercould make the remark sire did.

    There is no such thing as society. There are individual rnen and women and there arefami l ies.

    Although her crit ics seize on the atomistic and selt--interested attributes ofprescriptive individualism, the then Prime Minister herself and the Conservat-ive intellectuals who sti l l debate the matter no doubt take the pronouncementas one of profound moral significance. The reference to family evokes the

    Greenhouse effcct 159

    notion of a circle of persons enjoying l ife in their own homes, where decency isaxiomatic, in the same way I think that she intends us to take the individual.An active cit izen wil l shoulder the responsibil i t ies that the lazy leave to the state;there wil l be a new era of respect and orderly behaviour based on individualresponsibil i ty as there wil l be prosperity based on individual enterprise. Theone proposition is the enabling condition of the other. Our proprietor wil lcombine her financial management of herself with public decency andcharitable dealings towards others. So where, then, does morality now cometiom? How can it be 'seen'?

    It appears to come from within. But that interior has itself no structure. Nopublic/private difference is required. lndividual and the family are taken forgranted in this pronouncement as natural and self-evident units, that is,evincing a unity manifest in themselves. There seems a potential analogy herebetween them. However, and emphatically, the family is not being modelledupon society or vice versa, since society is eliminated in this fbrrnulation, itsorganisation and systemic. relational character cannot be invoked.23 Instead,that people wil l know what is right is taken for granted, rather l ike thestereotyped English gentleman who knows his duty even if he cannot say whati t is unt i l the moment is upon him.

    The pronouncement is an outcome of the image of the socialised individual,and indeed does not make the moral sense that Mrs Thatcher wishes to conveywithout that prior image. But there is a new qualif ication. for the individual isnow abstracted from the socialising agent. society. 'Socialisation' is ap-parently dispensed with as a structured process of relational interaction: it issirnply there in the home.

    On the surface, this seems to recapitulate those early nineteenth-centuryassumptions about civil order and natural law that characterised politesociet)'. But there is a dif lerence: the intervening epoch externalised theconcepts oflaw and order, arriving at the idea ofsociety as a set ofcollectiveand objective controls over the individual. I have suggested that it is againstthat specific collectivist vision that the individual is now reinstated. In themoral decisions she or he makes. what is revealed is not rank or good breeding,or respectabil ity or social worth, namely a place in society as the outcome ofconnections with others or as the outcome of following the examples othersgtve. What is revealed is the fact that the individual is arbiter. choice-maker.naturally knowing what to do.2a He or she merely needs to become consciousol the fact.

    In a way, Mrs Thatcher has pushed the image of the socialised person,mlcrocosm of the domesticating $rocess, into another fiame: the individual(or the family) is all there is of society. But see what has happened. It does notappear as a 'sociely' composed of relationships. as an organisation, but acomposite or collage of human nature and processed convention, a kind ofa.uto-socil l ised body.:5 Perhaps that possibil i ty draws on the ease with whichthe Engl ish have in the past personi f ied convent ion: the' forces' or 'pr inciples '

  • r60 English kinship in the late twentieth century


    The qll for active cit izenship has apleasant ring to it. Nodrubt foi rme itiels wirh tf,e rhetoric on Victorianialues. The clever adveniser couldmake rcmc headwav with the ioea.Howevcr. the debite raisel pmcou eries.- Tbe notion of acrivc citizenship

    implies rhat there is somethins qlleilpaisive cituenship_. Active cit i lenshipdenotes a -doing" in the communily(neighbourhood -watch. lmking aft eiyour own old or handicapped family).withoul relying on the state. Passivccitizenship implies a kind of morallassitude: if one pays swingcing ti lesthen the state should do the "activebits" for vou. This involves hieh tu-ation, delLgated oncem and de-nial ofFErsonal rcs[pnsibil i ty. The ine-sponsible l960s (and de6rndency cul.ture) reaG iis ghastly myrhical headagaln.

    -Intentionally or not. this fomu-

    lation is a clever tumins of the tables.The onventional image-s of citizenshipin politis are: (l) thatihc more activslidea, dcmanding involvcment and par-l icipation, is to'be found in dctrinessuch u Jaobinism or kninism, aod,u any Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayekor J. L. Talmon'witi tell vou. this qnlead to totalitarianism: {2) nesative orpassive cit izenship, a mnientionall iberal bourgcois ucw, impllcs, on-ve6ely, the right to protection ofone'spe mn, propny and liberty. ActlvecitirenshiD. favoured bv Jacobins. de-manded positive d\ty. 16 vrais action.mires de'h grande eiterprLse sociale.ltinvolved a positive oneotion of mobjective c6mmon qood, '- o

    .volontlgcnergre -

    wnlch ts the ground to ourtrue positlve freedom. Pcsrvecitizenship ties in with a Dore negativeundeFtoding of freedom. However,now the activl panicipating citizen lssen to bc the n@sary concomitanlof a sueesful liberal earker seiety.

    In the pcsive rnse of otizenshii.the ilsument is usuallv based umn adistinciion between the oublii mdprivatc reaLns. Individulls chm*their privale snss of thc gmd life, aslong as rhy do not irfringe a likefrecdom for othcm. Value (specifiellymoral valuc) is lilslv an individualmatter- Msy liberais Iiave admittedlywanted smi kind of broad renlarrvemora.l @nsensus in society. Not,howevcl, penerated bv sorehmenr.Valuc is a foaner of individuat chore.It is not iDposible for a onsensus onertain values to evolve in a classielliberal sciety, but it ould nor be aommunally generated moral goal. Ifthe govemmcnt were to dcfine themoral goals or individuals. somethingsignifient would havc becn under--mincd rn [beral thouqht, the Drivale/public dichotomy.

    Another clement of the varied clas-sical libcral vision is the free eonomv.Indisiduals musr be ahle at Ubenv iopunue their own interests and have

    AndrewVincent on wlrat it nreanstobeanactivecitizen

    t /L.AyAA/

    Looking afternumber onemunal moral goals; (6) human Darurcis seen to be scial. develoomental andgrowiog in ethiel awarcricss; (7) thesta(e is Dan of u enterDn* to makehumans'more virtuous. Ttis is nor anexhaustivc l ist. however, it indiresthe gencral ethos *irhin which oneimDonant sns of active qtizenshiD

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

    ism. The weakness is that a ciuzeDmight be penuaded a neighbourhoodwa-rch rlicme would trirer defcndpesonal prooenv. Ye( would citucnsidentify l ienbnaf intcrest in uorkinglonq houn on a sh@l qovemrngboa-rd. where thev had no-child otrelative. or lookinp after a snilc

    Grcenhouse cffect

    fur morality, good conduct and the rest can be apostrophised as existing ofthemselves. so that people can respond to these forces without the interven-tion of (contrived, collectivist) human institutions. Morality is set free fromsuch institutions. lndeed, they are in Right Wing thinking a block on its properexercise by the individual hence the minimalist role that is seen forgovernment. People. we are told by the Government. do not need governmentio tell thern what to do. Since ideas and values are seen to exert an influence bythemselves, they do not have to be mediated by others, but can be taken forgranted as embedded in the minds of right thinking individuals. All thatindividuals have to do is manage their l ives properly. Government interven-tion is in this view properly reduced to making the resources individuallyearned individually available, principally by reducing taxes.

    The prescriptiveness of this move cancels the idea of a correlation betweeninner and outer law: it instead becomes incumbent to do everything that wil lclear the path for individuals to exercise their individuality.

    Bypassed in the new prescription, then, is any idea that people are part of anorganisation, or that people make society, and thus what people do when theyact is to enhance sociabil ity. Indeed, the whole question of ideology and thusof the 'authorship' of society - in whose interest social conventions aremanufactured that characterised polit ical thinking in the 1960s and 1970s islaid to one side in a sweeping gesture of plasti-class anonymity.26 Whatdisplaces the plurality of other persons who might be held to 'make society' isthe single individual with means. 'Society' thereby becomes unimaginable.

    Writing in the 1830s, Arnold's father summoned the image of society inorder to offer a bit ing condemnation of laissez-faire. He wished to makeevident the effects of individual acts. Thus he could say that laissez-faire is

    one of the falsest maxims which ever pandered to hunran selfishness under thenamc of polit ical wisdom . . . We stand by and let this most unequal race take itsown course, forgetting that the very name of society implies that it shall not bea mere race, but that its object is to provide for the common good of all. (Citedin Wi l l iams l96l : 123)

    His crit ique would cut no ice with 1980s propaganda. Society becomesunimaginable as an associational dimension of people's affairs if they canentertain no analogies for relationships of commonality. And in any case.when one has no choice but to be defined as a customer in respect of socialservices, there is nothing laissez-faire about prescriptive consumerism.

    It becomes impossible to invqke selfishness with the same axiomaticcondemnation. Attention to one's/own interests is now a virtue. Moreover.stnce morality is within, then it must necessarily take the form that in turntypifies the individual: the capacity to exercise choice. Here appears thatflattening to which I alluded at the end of Chapter Three. The individualperson who is the microcosrn of (what was once external) convention is alsothe individual person who makes his or her own (what was once internal)


  • 162 English kinship in thc late twentieth cenlury

    choices. The individ Lral does not j ust follow convention or have it irnposed but'does' convention, that is, shows his or her capacity lbr morality. and thusmakes explicit the fact that moral behaviour is contingent on the capacity forchoice. But what the choice should be between. the norms and canons ofbehaviour, no longer need lie in institutions outside the individual. The personis his or her own reference point. a position that requires no negotiation orbargaining with others, least of all with a collective wil l.

    The quest ion might then be posed: how do we know that choice is beingexercised? How can we 'see' choice being rnade?

    One answer is simple. Exercise of choice is shown in the style that theindividual affects, not just in dress or food but in almost anything that aperson does. We might epitomise the contrast with ideas in circulation at theturn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by saying that if ' then'individual behaviour revealed the natural basis of morality, 'now' moralbehaviour is a question of individual style. This involves a further cancel-lation: style and taste are exercised in public. but for their own sake, withoutpolite society as an arbiter. Aesthetic canons are on sale magazines show onehow to choose kitchens and office furniture - but good taste does not revealsocial standing or natural breeding and cannot reveal one's proper station inlife. Indeed, 'style' is an appropriately more democratic version of 'taste',good or otherwise. And one that only reveals an exercise of itself. Latetwentieth-century people talk consciously of l i festyles, and style is donebecause individuals do (l ive) style.

    Despite the incipient analogy. there seems litt le difference here betweenindividuals and families. When in her study of the family Ell iot (1986: 1) putalternatives alongside 'traditional family ideologies', she called them 'alter-native l ifestyle ideologies'. The former assert that the family is basically thesame everywhere; the latter assert the variabil ity of sexual and parentalrelationships, and she suggests we should talk about fami/ies rather than thefamily.

    There has been an explosion of information about diverse l ifestylesavailable to the English over the last twenty years, not only through travelabroad. in ethnographic fi lm and the l ike, bLrt through widespread attention tolocal and ethnic differences at home. If they have a common significance, it isfor home life. English television serials deal with the niceties of difference: theyare not only period pieces but are subtly classed, regionally placed and aboveall domestically nuanced. No one would dream of showing a typical Englishfamily: we are shown the insides of styles whose essence is variety. What wasonce largely anarea ofstatus-consciousness has been heightened by what onewould call a general cultural or ethnic consciousness about the specificit ies ofl ife. It is through such lifestyle that choices are evidently made. But thatexplicitness has had in turn its own effects.

    Since individuals (or families)'do'l i festyle, the style can then be attached tothe individual rather than the kind of l i fe that is imaeined. In an arena of self-

    Greenhousc cffcct 163

    conscious displacements one should not perhaps put too much ernphasis onthis or that shif t , but the fol lowing comment on perceived advert ising andmarketing futures seems apt. The reference is to a major furniture retai l anddesign business that dominated middle-class taste in the 1960s and 1970s.Aimed at professionals who were f lat-dwellers or recent house-buyers, i tsdist inct iveness was that i t did not just sel l individual products but 'entireensembles of things for the home', based on 'modernism married to natural,unadorned materials' such as t imber. earthenware and rush matter.

    The eclipse of [ ], in common with the resounding crash of [former fashion chain],signals a prolound shilt in retail and consumer culture, away liom the two-decade-old strategy of ' l i festyle' marketing. . . Tomorrow's more mature customer,educated by two decades of consumerism, will choose products from many sourcesin a much more individual manner. The growth of 'car boot sales' and antiqueshops (the consumer equivalent of re-cycling) are just manifestations of a desire toescape the tyranny of manufactured lifestyle, to rediscover distinctive productsoutside the commercial arena. (Carl Gardner, Nev' Statesman and Society,9 MarchI e90)

    One way of l i teralising choice-rnaking is to define it as the capacity topurchase commodities. But as Daniel Mil ler argues (1987, see Gullestad inpress), commodities may in turn be re-appropriated in the service ofdistinctive and individual family identity.

    Choices appear exercised when they are exercised in certain well-defined'choice-making zones'. For many, family-style l iving may only be areal optionwhen choosing where to have one's holiday. As we have seen, however, theidea of a family l i festyle is invariably imagined as domestic style the kind ofhousehold one runs. The appurtenances of domestic-style living have been self-consciously thrust on individual decision makers as a question of marketchoice - to the point of their being able to choose between different 'designs'. Idraw on Miller's 198G7 study2? of kitchen furnishings on a London Councilestate where we witness, so to speak, the delayed plasti-class effect of middle-class preferences. While in one respect people appear to monitor theirlurnishing according to external evaluations of social worth, it is revealingabout other aspects of the choice-market. I make two points.

    The first is the massive scale of the industry which has created choice-rnaking zones as against the relative paucity of 'styles' available. Middle-classowner-occupiers spend large sums on fitted kitchens, in an industry worthabout 1.5 bil l ion pounds. Miller observes that most commercial kitchens arebased on essentially identical melamine-faced chipboard carcasses; functiondifferences are minor. Substantive difference rests in the style and materials ofthe doors and in the name of the company. Here tradejournal advertisementsrnake it evident that a maior stvlistic dimension l ies in the evocation of t ime.t le l is ts three pr incipal opt ions:

    (a) Solid wood doors evoking an olde-worlde nostalgia style associated with carvedinsets, leaded glass, items of copper and brass, preserves, dried plants, old rnasters

  • IIt

    English kinship in the late twentieth century

    l8 Tailor-madt ut read.v--nude price.s.From S4,rcr l r i rc January I989.Reproduced by kind permission ol Ncville Johnson Olficcs Ltd anclLtd for Signature ntagazine.

    Greenhouse effect

    and pewter; (b) A laminate fronted modernist form associated with geometricdesigns, bright colours, spotlights, non kitchen equipment, stainless steel, liuit andcut flowers; (c) A mixture of laminate and wood associated with a mixing olnostalgic and modern i tems and more olten associated with practical functions suchas cooking'

    Underlying the temporal symbolism were two modes of organisation. On the onehand was heterogeneity and bricolage with for example china from a number ofdifferent sets, such that the objects were not united as visual style but impliedmemorabil ia related to the householder's own past. The opposite organisationalprinciple was one of homogeneity, in which all items related stylistically to allothers, and it was the visual cohesion which determined the meaning andacceptabi l i ty of part icular forms. . .

    []n advertisements the young are shown with modernist forms and the elderlywith the nostalgia style. Historically however the earliest fitted kitchens in the1950's were universal ly modernist, the mixed pine and laminate developed in the1960's and the nostalgia style based on oak did not take offunti l the 1970's. For thepresent generation, therefore, it is modernism that is historical, nostalgia that isrelat ively new. (1988: 358-9)

    The irnages portrayed in the commercial brochures associated fittedkitchens and their carved or beaded doors with 'middle-class' l i fe-styles. The(white) residents on the estate were in fact highly conscious of their tenantstatus. The two households with such kitchens were amongst the few whoprovided unsol ici ted and quite vehement statements about being 'ordinaryworking-class folk' . However, although the idiom is that of class, the issueseems the nature of home ownership. There is nothing in Mil ler 's account toindicate that were tenants to move into a dif ferent style of accommodation,other aspects of their working-class status would inhibit them from obtainingsuch furnishings.

    Mil ler points to the gulf between what people ' fel t they were supposed tolike' and 'what they actually identified with', and to the gap between advertiserand consumer. I t is almost as though to incorporate a commercial design intothe home were i tself an act of pastiche, an evocation of other contexts(minimally the'home magazine' i tself l) . That also had i ts own value. Despitethe possibi l i t ies for semantic conversion (Werbner 1990: 143) from purchasedcommodit ies to expressions of personal identi ty, i t seems that some people atleast wanted the commodity form to remain apparent.

    My second observation thus concerns the mode of act ion through whichchoice is conceptual ised.

    [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 offloorand wall units, as in advert isements for f i t ted kitchens, for them a 'real ' f i t tedkitchen was one purchased, not allocated. Certain tenants when asked to selectpreferred styles lrom examples, noted that they would have chosen the nostalgiamode but for the fact that they were in a counci l estate that is, the ideals theyassociated themselves with were rendered pretentious by their circumstances. ( 1988:JO) I


    Reed Publ ishing Services

  • 166 English kinship in the late twentieth ccntury

    In other words, decisions thought to be appropriate to one's l i festyle are setagainst an abstract sense of what one could choose if choice were the onlvfactor. Actual decisions come to be perceived as the outcome of constraints(here tenant status), ofnot being able to exercise choice, there being no tenant-style decor among the choices. what the council provided they had to put up;the meagre alternatives offered in the advertisements on the other hand weieinterpreted as offering scope for preference. visible choice is thus exercisedbetween certain well-defined styles that are purchasable as styles. Indeed.choice can appear most visible when it is inscribed in a purchase: 'for theindividual consumer, spending is a duty - perhaps the most important ofdut ies ' (Bauman 1988: 808).

    when choice is consumer choice, the motivation is neither private norpublic. And insofar as the range of styles appears to be taken for granted, theadvertised 'culture'is not presented as a set ofcriteria open to crit ical scrutiny:these modes of design are simply present in the world, available from themanufacturers, and people's concerns are with the preferences they feel able toexercise. The difference between choice and no-choice conceals the extent towhich, insofar as the styles come from a limited range of acceptablecommercial alternatives, one might also perceive choice itself as, in fact, lackof choice.

    what is there, then, to preserve difference between the styles, to sustain thefacil i ty to choose 'between' them? It can only be through the activeparticipation of the consumer in the perpetuation of individual designs. Millerdescribes how, in the two instances of commercially purchased kitchens,people strove to preserve decor integrity (l9gg: 363).

    The [first] new fitted kitchen was white with 'classic' internal rectanqular beadinsand a white worktop. This was set against the blue-grey found in the"new floorin!and curtains and picked up by a variety ofobjects such as a set ofthree cylindricalcontainers, a cassette radio and a grey tray with an internal white rectangle andsome blue and white china pieces. virtually nothing remained from the pieviouskitchen, even the array of houseplants was replaced by one in a dominant greyceramic plant pot. . .

    The overall look, evoking the pictures in advertising brochures, was also found inthe [second] ... although this kitchen had been built four years previously. Itrncorporated a split level oven and extractor fan, neon strip lighting, a wallpaper offake'terracotta't i les and a floor of'fake'stone. Apart from a double spice-rack,some matching china and a utensil rack there rvas a marked lack of additionalobjects.

    whereas the majority of tenants personalised their kitchens in their own ways,the advertised kitchens that these two households were preserving remainedvisible as a multi-dimensional unity. Whether as 'homogeneous' or 'hetero-geneous', decor itself makes a unity out of the different f lower pots, worksurfaces, cupboards and the activit ies they indicate. Perhaps it is the furtherrequirement for the active participation of the consumer in sustaining the

    Greenhouse effect 167

    uniqueness oldesign that has led to the plast i -c lass counter percept ion: i t is(really) the individual who is stylistically reassembled through consumerism.

    What one might have perceived as diverse grounds for negotiatedbehaviour and moral judgement may also be elided in the composite but nototherwise structured image of the person. Like homes, l ike persons: the newindividual is also a multi-dimensional unity.

    In a polemic against the traditional notion of the family, Bernardes offers anew theorisation of 'family l i fe', though he is concerned with social conditionsrather than designer objects. He introduces the concept of multidimensionaldevelopmental pathways based on the unity of human social existence.

    That is the way in which a given life-space structure upon a given lile-course andperhaps shared upon a given pathway is the centre (not necessarily outcome) of ahuge range ol different interacting factors personal background, history, age,gender, class and so on. This is to conceptualise individual human social existenceas a multidimensional unity. I am a sociologist, and a lecturer, and a male, and at acertain age, and a father, and ofa certain class etc. (1988: 65, original emphasis)

    We must commit ourselves, he says, to the unity of everyday and actualexperience: people's l ives should not be seen as disparate segments of health,education and so forth.28 It is a stirring call, except that the notion of adefinitive unique and single life-course as embodied in the individual has nodimension. Internal plurality apparently requires no organisation. The dohim justice, Bernardes does hypothesise an external organisation in the formof a the local 'democracy' that wil l discharge public functions. But in hisaccount this is an internally undifferentiated body, and he gives no indicationoi how one democracy might differ from another.

    Here is decomposed that merographic image of the individual person as aparl of diverse systems or clomains beyond him or her. The individual hasbecome an internal constellation of plural elements. Instead of composing'alife' merographically conceived as belonging to many different externalsystems (health, education and so forth), life is reconceived as decor, as awhole with diversity and multiplicity contained within. Yet if in this plasti-class rendering diversity and multiplicity have no external analogue, whatpreserves the difference between being a lecturer, a male, a sociologist? We donot really get an answer. There are only the multidimensional developmentalpathways of collectivit ies of other individuals. 'Such collectivit ies mayconstitute a "unity of interacting personalit ies" or a "temporal form", whichmay regard themselves as "a family" (1988: 56).2e People may share pathways,and even interrelate. The choice {o do so is presumably theirs.

    Bernardes states his theoreticii l position as encompassing the unity andindivisibil i ty of what are often seen as dualit ies: Macro/Micro,Reality/Ideology, Agency/Structure.

    Thus the activities of individuals within temporal forms, some of which are'families', are social structure. In making sense of our lives in negotiating identityand stability in the life-space structures of our daily existence (probably but not

  • 168 English kinship in the late twentieth ccntury

    necessarily as a member of a temporal form)- in doing this we are society. society isnot 'out there', but rather' in here' in our minds and given perceptible iorm in ourmutual and shared activit ies. (1988: 63, original ernphasis)

    But in here and out there are already collapsed in this formula. The one side ofhis equation does not encompass or determine or give rise to the other thereis no switch in scale to make one move from reality to ideology or from agencyto structure. His'inside'might as well be'outside'anyway. These hypostatisedelements are seen as adjacent, coeval dimensions within the frame of a singleform (the individualsubject). overrap without domains. .Unity'works as nomore nor less than an aesthetic device. Let me contrast this with the position ofDavid Morgan.

    In his crit ique of analyses of the family, Morgan observes:[O]ne of the key issues of sociological theory is the establishment ol relatronshipsbetween various levels of analysis, specifically the relationships between thepersonal and/or interpersonal at one level and the social/structural at the other.(1985: 275)

    He comments on the forms that 'the relationship' may take (the onedetermines the other; the one arises out of the othei; or t irey are mutuallyreinforcing, or appear as two sides of the same coin). As far as the institutionof the lamily is concerned, he emphasises the dift-erence that perspectivemakes. In observing the way many writers have placed the family ai somehow'between the macro and the micro, the societal and the inclividual, theinstitutional and the personal and between the public and the private' (19g5:282), he states that for himself

    I prefer the alternative formulation of the 'place' of the family in social space, notsimply as lying between . . . but as being both . . . at the same time. In short, thefamily is both societal and individual, both institutional and personal, both publicand pr ivate. (1985: 283)

    The contrast'o with Bernardes is that Morgan locates his different elements asdifferent theoretical, and indeed polit ical and ethical, external perspectives onthe family, corresponding to different enquiries we might wish tomake andthus to different referential domains. That (theoretical) externalisationconstitutes the distinction between merography and pastiche or collage.

    were it just the case that society is vanishing, the thought might prompt thefurther thought that someone shor.rld conserve it. our govern.nint spokesmanon the state of the world instead suggests that it never existed. The death of thecollective! In its place is pastiche: the authentic individual from a traditionalpast. And collage: men. women and families, a mix of genres and materials.

    A government that does not identify with 'society' not only out-radicalisesthe radicals, but consumes its mandate to govern. -to bypass the idea of sociallegitimation, to interpret the electoral mandate as no more than the outcomeof individual acts of choice, l ike so many multidimensional pathways,contributes to a kind of greenhouse effect. All that requires is maintaining our

    Greenhouse effect

    Dresent levels of consumption. And all that requires is continuing to assimilate.'',ur .r*n precepts - in this case for public figures to make explicit already heldvalues concerning the propriety of individual choice. The self-gratif ication ofthe individual as consumer is then bounced back to the consumer in the formof publicly sanctioDed individualism ('privatisation'). The exercise of in-dividual choice becomes the only visible forr.n of public behaviour. Likephotographing the foetus, the result is to extract the person from itsembedding in social relationships.

    Tlrc cottsutnptiott o.f fialureFantasies that the world might run itself without human intervention have nodoubt a long history. One twentieth-century version l ies in the idea that theartefacts human beings create are capable of sustaining themselves. Perhapsthis is a kind of delayed counterpart to the vision of society as having a l ife ofits own - so too n-ray technology or, as one recent televised dialogue had it,Cul ture.

    This was a programme on life forms, including the 'artificial life' that canreplicate itself within computer programs." The thought of l i fe based onother than DNA as a mode of self-replication led to the observation that, insonre possible future, 'culture' may be able to reproduce itself without thepresence of human beings. Culture was rather anachronistically imagined as arobot-driven universe of factories sustaining communication between them-selves. Two observations are of interest for us. First, this culture that wasgiven a l ife of its own was imagined literally in terms of replication. lt thusbrrrrowed from a model of genetic mechanism: l ife is defined as theautonomous capacity to replicate forms. Second, it also borrowed frommodes of human interaction: what is transmitted is information whichprovides models or templates for future forms. Although they do not yet, itwas said. computer viruses could in principle replicate with variation. Butabsent ttom either of the above analogies was any idea that diversity andindividuality were intrinsic to reproduction. These are qualit ies by which theEnglish have in the past characterised the future of animal and especiallyhuman populations. Diversity entailed the ferti le reproduction of vigoroushybrids, individuality the uniqueness of organisms. Such qualit ies wereregarded as having adaptive potential, suited to the idea of populationssustaining l ife within an environment that was the context for their l i fe.

    To think of reproduction as replication seems at f irst simply a matter oflocating the reproductive process fulther back in time, in the communicationdevices by which the transmission of the appropriate messages is effected.However, the image of self-replicators such as conlputer viruses is breath-taking in its orvn way. No environment appears necessary when what is atissue is the replication of communication devices themselves. It is as thoughgenes did not need to be embodied: what is reproduced is simply theinformational capacity itself. Models with a l ife of their own!


  • 170

    18 COMMENTThe costanc! theguallty ofjustiaeI GNORE the squeals from theI legal profession. The three greenE papers on legal services pub'lished by the tord Chancellor yes-terday were not designed for theprofession, but for its clients. Theirpurpose is to increase competition,improve cholce and raise the compe-tence of lau'yers. These objectivescan only be achieved by removingthe restrictive practices and shame-less privileges of the most cossetedprofession ln the land. Hence thewails from all sides.

    For nine years the lawyers have'been protected by their Old BoYsfrom the chill principles appliedelsewhere: competition, efficiencyand economic cost. But not anymore. Belatedly, concern for con-sumer inter'ests has been given pri-ority over professlonal interests. Be-latedly, the legal Big Bang hasbegun, provided the proposals in thegreen papers are implemented. Theyrepresent the biggest restructuringof legal services this century.

    l9 Natural iuslice. 1989Extrircts from llrc Guardiun. January 26lh 1989.Reproduced by k ind i rermission ol 'The Guatdian Ncws Service Ltd

    English kinship in the late twenticth century Grcenhouse effcct

    It would be something of a future anachronism to call such replicationsculture. Meanwhile, one human model for the concept of culture is. so tospeak. already there.

    To think of individuals as motivated by choice and choice as evinced in styleis already to render individuals redundant. The modernist sense of style asunique erpression is displaced in pastiche and collage. Styles appear to imir4teother styles, replicating them by an inner momentum that is contained in thevery notion that style itself is an imitative act. Not the imitation of nature or ofnrore noble ages. as it might have been seen a century before, but imitation ofversions of itself. Representation without reference is in fact 'a description ofthe way fi lm or tape functions as a "language", receiving exact copies ofsightsand sounds . . . f l i f ted] f rom their contexts ' (Ulmer 1985: 92).32 But i f i t werethe context that once elicited the adaptive uniqueness of individual forms. andthus the individuality of modernist styles, style now becomes self-consdming.The individual disappears from a surfeit of individuality, in the same way associety has disappeared from its too effective techniques of socialisation. Itwouid seem that culture emerges as the new totalising concept that can gatherall human enterprise to itself, including its own capacity for regeneration.

    Yet hopeful as the possibil i t ies for its future reproduction might seem, thereis a small problem. This imaginary culture may be able to reproduce itselfwithout either Individuals interf-ering with its plans for replication or Societydetermining its goals. But without Nature, it wil l indeed only have itself toconsume. Without nature, there is no context for its existence.

    In mid-twentieth-century thinking, nature provided a model for a processof consumption that was also one of (re)production. The conversion of rawtnaterials into energy, inanimate into animate l ife. was imagined as anecological relationship between individual organism and its context orenvironment. The three concepts could be played offagainst each other. The'individual' modelled ways for thinking about diversity and the uniqueness oftbrms, 'society' ways of thinking about relations and connections, while'nature' combined both of these as an at once single and manifoldphenomenon. Nature x'cs reproduction. Like the composite image of therelationship between individual and society, nature accounted simultaneouslyfor the diversity of individual organisms and for the relational or systemic( 'adapt ive') nature of their interact ions. But what does one do with the idea ofcultural replication'? of self-consumption'? If the question seems claustro-phobic, this is greenhouse heat. Nature does not represent or model this newreoroductive process: on the contraly. it is the substantive entity that is beingeaten up without being regener-a/ed. In some present visions of nature,consumption has become the very antithesis of reprocluction.

    I earlier noted that there have always been English protests against thespoil ing of nature. They were certainly voc.l in the Sperlings' t imi. Nature'was being destroyed by the new. and growing, industrial society' (Urry l9g7:214). Nature was beingdestroyed, uu1 uy aiociety rhat was thr iv ing, in the


    Thetest of the gTeen papers is to athree consumer tests.

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

    The key proposals, althoughpresented as the Covernmcnt'sprovisional r iervs, are bel ievedto ref lect a Irrm intcntion to endrestr ict ive practices in the prof'esslons and encourage freemarket cornpeti t ion.

    to what has.gone before, this istruly radical package. Lord Macof Clashfern is a revelation' Heserves wholehearted suPPortall those who seek to consumeessential commodity called justica

  • 172 English kinship in the late twentieth ccntury

    same way as the assertion of individual choice was made against tbackground of assumptions about the conventions of social rank. And whenindustrial society was crit icised for squalor and greed. it could be shown upas unnatural neither attending to the necessities for a natural l i fe nor naturalin its own terms, that is, recognising the human relationships on which it wngfounded. Such analogies have since lost their plausibil i ty.

    Nature is no single concept and I have tried not to treat it as one; it hasalways meant many things, and in changing constellation. In modernparlance, it covered at least f ive different areas (after Urry 1987: 214). Theycomprise the essential quality or character of something; the underlying forcethat directs and controls events in the world; the entirety of animate andinanimate objects in the universe; the physical as opposed to the humanenvironment; and finally the countryside, rural as opposed to urban, the realmon which industrialisation was seen to encroach. These elements wereconnected in the merographic mode. Each thus inhabited and created specificcontexts, so that to invoke one was to recall or eclipse other contexts ordomains. While each element thus appeared as a part of a wider range ofmeanings, the combination meant that it was also legitimate in English to talkabout nature as though it were one thing. This habit olthought gave a furthersense that there was an identif iable entity under attack from diverse sources.The English could bundle these elements together in the same way as theybundled together diverse perspectives on society or the individual. Conceivedas discrete entit ies, any of these (and other) salient entit ies could also bebrought into partial analogy with one another.

    Analogy implies perceived difference as well as similarity (cf. Fernandezl97l). Among the analogies by which nature and society were compared wastheir respective internal organisation or structure. Insofar as the analogieswere never complete, neither domain was wholly modelled on the other (cf.Jackson 1987) - and indeed either could be thought abour rhrough modelsdrawn from parts of each. Thus idioms of reproduction and biologicalfunction could be used to describe the maintenance of social institutions;idioms of engineering or architectural form to describe nature's design. Eachcould also be imagined as participating in the other, evinced in compositeentit ies such as 'the individual' who appears as both a natural and a socialproduct. The elements of such a merographic figure were kept distinct by thedomains from which they were derived, in the same way as the compositefigure itself constituted a further distinct individual.

    That sense of distinctiveness rested on the evocation of environment.Environmental forces had an effect on the individual organism, to which theorganism responded, and environments were perpetually modified by suchresponses. This modern model indicated possibil i t ies for interaction and two-way feedback. It is a l itt le different to imagine that we are consumingenvironment itself.33

    Just such an image, however, is contained in the idea of appropriating

    Greenhousc effect

    nature to personal ends, of l i terally ingesting it. What is taken to be part ofene's body becomes coeval with the destruction of wild habitats. Moreover,there seems no difference in the way the individual or in the way society is seento consume nature. The dilemma of consumption is regarded as a dilemmathat atlects all l i fe. As protest movements and alternative l ifestyles proclaim,oersonal and social responsibil i ty are fused. Indeed, the kind of society oneiives in seems much less an issue than the kind of culture: the aggregate lifestyleof its individual members resolves into how much how many householdsconsume. But there is a new quantity effect here that is very different from theold sense of culture as a community of shared meanings. (Lamenting thepassing of hegemonic middle-class texts, of the place national newspapersonce held as a common denominator of cultural experience, a Guardian writer(18 April 1990) comments: 'Mrs Thatcher set out to abolish society. She maywell have abolished culture as well ' .) The new culture. if one may call i t that, iscontained instead in a new common denominator, technology.

    The late twentieth-century English consume nature in two modes aboutwhich they talk. The first concerns the using up of resources, and it is to feedtechnology, including the technology that sustains present home comforts,that resources are being used up. General awareness of world depletion ofnatural resources is sometimes dated to the oil crisis of the early 1970s; yet ifpeople think that new technology wil l always overcome shortages in this orthat material, such as oil, that speeds up rather than slows down their sense ofa diminishing natural world. Similarly the effiuents of technological produc-tion are seen to speed up the disappearance of natural habitats and wild life.While one might date growing public apprehension to about the same time, inEngland the greenhouse effect changed from being an outlandish metaphor toa l iteral apprehension in 1989.3a

    The second comes from depicting continuity between human and otherspecies in a mode which tries to sustain a natural continuum: food is marketed- in supermarket chains as well as Health Food stores - as 'natural'. Quiteliterally we are invited to free ourselves from artificial additives. Thetechnology that appears as gratuitous additions can also supply the means forpurification. As a result, even natural products (such as coffee) can be furtherpurified, made allegedly more healthy (decaffeinated). Various natural optionsare available in other spheres, of which childbirth has received considerablecrit ical attention. With the elision between nature and biology, bodilyfunctions have long been regarded as the special province of nature; what isnew is the scale on which a naturql style to certain aspects oIl iving is presentedas consumer choice. Indeed, the duty of the consumer to purchase isreinforced in the idea marketed in 1989 90 that one is helping theenvironment by buying particular products. A preference for X againstproduct Y is thus re-presented as a consumer preference for sustaining nature.

    One of the great discoveries of the social constructionist era in social sciencewas that the manner in which the bodv is thoueht about has social or cultural


  • 174






    English kinship in the late twentieth century

    origins. whether one refers to gesture, habits, the expression of emotions or tosexuality. What receives new (cultural) attention is the body as a digestivetract and its physical requirements for resources, for protection frorlpollution. We do not just simply attempt to ' improve' the pleasures of thebody (irr the phrasing of Dreyfus and Rabinow 1982: 257). The culturalconstruction of biology has been overtaken by the (cultural) necessity tosustain biology itself.

    My remarks are not meant to detract from a present sense of crisis, but topoint to the conceptual collapse of the difl'erences between nature and culturewhen Nature cannot survive without Cultural intervention. It is hard toimagine that there wil l not be consequences for the way we imagine intimatehuman relationships. These include possibil i t ies as well as actualit ies, thekinds of things it is conceivable to think about in the late twentieth century. Itis not that human relationships or social l i fe or the natural world or whateverhave disappeared, but that we have potentially cancelled the basis on whichcertain relations of similarity and difference were taken for granted. Consideronce more the image of person as consumer.

    Attention to the body and to bodily functions is not simply amanufacturer's conspiracy to make customers consume more products. It is aconsummate l iteralisation of modern(ist) concepts of human nature. I refer tothose concepts that assume that knowledge about human life is to be gainedfrom inspection that if one looks (inside) one wil l f ind the real thing, that onecan always bring to the surface the reasons lor behaviour, that motivations areexplicable. lt is to such literalisation that manufacturers contribute in puttingthemselves into the hands of 'the new intensive forms of market research . . .designed to offer a social map of desire which can be used to determine whereexactly which products should be "pitched" and "niched"' (Hebdige 1989:53). Persistent l i teralisation of knowledge practices alters the perception of the 'terrain. Self-consciousness is both means and ends.

    I have argued that the English have always made assumptions explicit tothemselves; making apparent their conventions is also to make apparent thecontexts for their values. The danger is that something no longer taken forgranted wil l disappear, as Zygmunt Bauman (1990: 435) observes ofcommunities that 'fall apart the moment they know of themselves ascommunit ies. They vanish . . . once we say "how nice i t is to be in acommunity"'. But the nesting box ellect of insides within insides, homeswithin homes, formerly controlled this movement as one between different


    perspectives.I have also argued, then, that one powerful if homely set of imaginative

    devices has been in the interplay between public and private domains. Thuswhat was within could become the object of overt attention, even asconvention could turn into individual role-playing. As we have seen,movement between the perspectives of public and private domains, l ikepotential movement between social classes and thus between different orders

    Greenhouse el1'ect

    of phenomena, acted as a source of reflexive English debate on the nature ofsocial l i fe. It also sustained the difference between the individual and his or hersocial/cultural/natural environments. An abstract relationship between avalue and its conventional context was made concrete in the image of anorganism in its habitat or a person at home.

    When the person is defined by what she or he takes inside, the differencebetween exterior and interior is merged. The generic consumer image is that ofingestion. And consumables are neither simply part of one's public presen-tation to the outside world nor do they simply reflect one's inner moral orsocial worth. Outside does not mediate inside, or vice versa, because theindividual's gesture towards the outside world - the choices to be made - aresimply choices about what she or he is going to take inside. Nor can thesemovements sustain the merographic sense of reality, such that one finds'morereal' dimensions to an object the 'further' one looks. To look inside theconsumer is to see the items the consumer has ingested from outside itself; tolook outside is to see producers apparently moulding their products to theconsumer's desires. Choice of style turns out to be choice of style, serialsubstitutions that create images of change by altering surfaces (Barnett andMagdoff 1986, quoting Baudril lard). Surlaces only 'reveal' other surfaces. Itthen appears contrived and melodramatic to point out that choices havepolit ical consequences, that it rnatters what style people adopt, or that thefigure of the consumer conceals power relations. And that is because theconsumer image does not contain onv depictions of a relationship v;ithin itsel/.

    It is as though we had all been photographed: as though the individualperson were a walking foetus/floating spaceman. In Petchesky's words, thehuman organism is imagined as a self-contained unit. free floating apart fromits l i fe-l ine which is attached to something not in the picture and (bardischarging waste) taking-in not giving-out. The foetus the spaceman isalso our individual as consumer. Given the enabling technology (a l ife-support system), the consumer imagines the person as a package, an enterprisewith nothing to do but manage his or her own affairs. The ultrasound image ofthe foetus and its enabling technology ceases to be merographic when thedomains of 'person' and 'technology' are no longer discrete contexts for themultidimensional whole.

    The Warnock Report (1985) on human ferti l isation and embryology gavevent to numerous concerns about the social consequences that might followadvances in the new reproductive technologies. One question was how toprotect transactions in human garpetes from market forces. As critics havecommented, it is thought propel for the technicians to be paid for theirservices but not the donors of gametes, and especially not those who act assurrogate mothers. The Report was concerned to discourage commercialexploitation of surrogacy (1985: 46); it thus recommended that it shouldbecome a criminal offence to set up agencies to lacilitate the recruitment c fwomen for surrogate pregnancies. At the same time, it recognised that private


  • l- 176 English kinship in the late twentieth centuryagreements will take place, and acknowledged the argument that individualwomen have the'r ight ' to enter such an agreement just as. i t sweepinglyclaims, 'they have the right to use their own bodies in other ways'(1985: 45).Together with that right to private agreement went the assumption that thedecision to choose surrogacy will be made either in the context of a marriageby a couple who want children, so that it is their private affair, or else that thecarrying mother wil l enter into a private contract affecting only themanagement of her own body. Consequently it looks as though there is nocommerce involved. Exploitation only begins when financial interests comein. That persons should be allowed to exercise choice in the matter for theirown ends goes without quest ion.

    The recommendation depended on a prior cultural premise: that peoplereproduce themselves. Reproduction can thus be construed as a privatematter. And that people have a natural desire to do so is reason for the desireto be protected. A concomitant assumption of the Report seemed to be that,of all that they transmit, people naturally desire to pass on their genes andshould ifthey can, especially as this has consequences for legal inheritance andsuccession. (Glover et al. 11989 67] suggest that a surrogate mother may findher task easier when 'the egg is not hers, [since] it reduces the feeling ofgiving away her own child'). The kind of rights and obligations that attendsthe actual 'donation' o[ gametes is another matter. Donation is seen as aspecification alienation, and the donating person cannot assume parentalrights over the eggs or semen once they have been given (Warnock 1985: 54).Yet because of the intimate nature of the transaction involved. the donor sti l lremains a'parent' of a kind; indeed, it is recognised that children may want toknow who the 'genetic' parent is. Egg donor is referred to as 'genetic mother'(1985:37): however, she is a mother without rights in and thereforepresumably without obligations toward the child.

    This is not just the English belatedly recognising a split between biologicaland social mother, as anthropologists might have framed it, for the split is notsimply about relationships. This is also language. an expressive capacity forimagery, stretched to some kind of limit. A similar flattening occurs betweenthe terms nature and culture. When nature becomes a question of culturalstyle and culture the exercise ofnatural choice, the one ceases to be'inside'or'part of'- contextualised by - the other. The language wil l not work. Let mespell out what I mean by these phrases.

    Pfeffer related current concerns to a new, and what she regarded asinsidious, assumption. Why is it, she asked, that in the late twentieth century,personhood is equated with the capacity to reproduce? She pointed to variousdiscrediting images of infertile men and women. Accused of selfishness or ofspiritual irresponsibil i ty, they may also be regarded as'the sort of people'whowould equate children with stair carpets, microwave ovens and other itemsavailable for purchase (1987: 97). At the same time what makes theirbehaviour in seeking assistance explicable is the popular notion that to beinfert i le is tn he desnerafe and that one is dr iven to desnerale means.

    Greenhouse effect 177

    We can answer Pfeffer's query in one way.3s Personhood is equated with thecapacity to reproduce insofar as language and imagery presents the act as oneof choice. Persons who otherwise did not have the choice now do have thechoice to reproduce themselves, for they now possess access to the enablingtechnology. But the 'choice' to reproduce is l ike 'choice' for style: t_o nQ,t sodesirqj.s-.qo,prehofrG"ue'ieis of a.person. The assumption is tttut. gii;il;'chaii ie, one wil l take it, part of the widei riexus of prescriptions that presentsfailuib-to eiercise one's capacity for choice as failure of motivation. The factthat one should reproduce oneself with as close an approximation to naturalprocess as possible is a point I return to in a moment. As we shall see, if onecannot reproduce one's genes, one can reproduce (be parent to) choice itself.


    Chapter Two referred to the observations of Stanworth and others on theway medical doctors appeal to the natural desire, natural right even, of peoplehaving children 'of their own'. At the same time, there is increasing.gtr't|El.sJgp.fithe whole language of artificial reproduction ;itlief lie6alse-ilignores thecontifiuity of"dafrifef"piocesses, of nurture and pirental boniiing Ueyoiiacondf)fion and biith, or on the contrary because it ignores jlre fact that allpareflthood is socially constructed. Exactly. What is in crisis here is thesymbolic order, the ionceptualisation of the relationship between nature andculture such that one can talk about the one through the other. Nature as aground for the meaning of cultural practices can no longer be taken forgranted if Nature itself is regarded as having to be protected and promoted.

    After nature: modification of the natural world has become consumption ofit, in exactly the same way as modification of the world's cultures (throughcolonialisation) has become consumption of them by the international tourist.The old double model for the production of culture- society improves nature,society reflects nature no longer works. The individual consumes culturaland natural products alike, but in consuming them him or herself reproducesonly him or herself. So consuming the world is turning it to alreadyanticipated ends: the pleasures of the closed circuit (Haraway 1985: 88-9), thebody as the place of private satisfaction that completes its own desires.

    Perhaps a new ground for individual action wil l be this very capacity tocombine desire with the appropriate enabling technology. If this is a change,then the change has occurred as a result of people becoming self-consciousabout values already held. When the traditional yearning for parenthood canbe satisfied by'artif icial ' arrangements, it is the yearning that seems'natural'.Stanworth is right, I think, to comment that accelerating rates of divorce andremarriage hardly signify the lreakdown of the family or marriage asinstitutions; on the contrary, pedple are perpetually re-composing family stylelives. But how should we visualise kinship? For what is signified, she says, isrnarkedly greater uncertainty in the 1980s about relationships themselves,'about the ties that bind individual parents to individual children'(1937: I9).

    S Chapter One noted the shift over the last thirty years in English views aboutartificial insemination. Far from being regarded as an attack on the family andDrrrmnt ino fomi l . , r l ic inteorof inn T)f marr nnw he helr l tn enhnnce fami lv l i fe

  • 178 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    (Smart 1987: 10G7). The difference between the hapless ' i l legitimate child' ofthe 1950s and the DI child of the 1980s is that the DI child is l ikely to beopenly wanted by both husband and wi{'e. They have simply resorted toaitif icial means to implement their wish. That the husband. for instance,wants the legal status of father is an overriding plea for recognising legalpaternity (1937: 108). Paradoxically, if the couple complete their naturaliesires by having children. these desires seem to have been fuelled by theincreasing assimilation of social roles to biological ones' As far as paternity is.on"..r"d, the old assumption that within a marriage thb hudbefrilfrfiif,ffilid il hi, *ire*nna;a'hA; b d sed on the frrrther aisump t i on o I EiFeeie,ffipeiemh6bdl'tirii iioli; pieoiile talk'of the is widely accepiea-[[ilt tfiE-chili l born butside marritige should be socially recognised. The new questioxnar"-Ue"oniglhe'statiis i)ft'he parenrs who reproduce outside marrii[ij.'I'frLeWainock Report debates the right of the child to know its 'genetiCfathr'; theGlover Report similarly speaks of 'biological parents', of ' the right to know'and of the claim of 'the biological father'.

    This very desire for a real match between biological and social parenthoodseems in the case of fathers the obvious outcome of kinship thinking, of themodell ing of social on biological t ies. But see what has changed: what is'biological' is no longer subsumed under the parent-child relationship itself,the flow ofblood that was supposed to connect parent and child through theact of procreation. It is l i terally the donation of genes. Blood could be imagedas some kind of metaphor for a bond; t ike the act of procreation it worked as atrope for a relationship between individuals, a symbol of a communicativeevent. Genes are the bits of information themselves.

    Biological process is l i teralised as genetic donation, a technical act open toartif icial assistance. The resultant emphasis on 'donation' f its older models ofpaternity more closely than those of maternity (Stolcke 1986), but I remarnwith the general case.

    l l parenthood is f ragmented into part icular components. as the goinglanguage has it, decomposed, deconstructed (Stanworth refers to the de-conitruction of motherhood; Gtover et ql. to the fragmentation of bothmotherhood and fatherhood), then what makes a pelel1 (cf. Smart 1987:1l+15)? All the various contradict'i6;i"s"'irf th6'rii'aGii;T-with which theseReports had to deal, with increased value being placed on genetic parenthoodon the one hand and increased possibil i t ies of supplementary aid on the other'resolve into a single answer: the parent must be the one who desires to

    .b.33.Darent.' 'A

    woman who gives birth from a donated egg can be seen as the mother ofthe child because she wished to have the child; if a man consents to his wifehaving DI then the warnock Report recommended that the child beregardld as his legitimate offspring (1985: 23 4). In this view, the parents wii!-be those who planned and wished for a child to be born to them. It completestheir desires. Yet there is sti l l an equivocation for they do not supersede the

    Greenhousc effect 179

    'genetic father' or 'genetic mother'. As far as possible, then, such desiresshould also be completed naturally, so that an approximation to geneticparenthood wil l be the natural choice of all intending parents. That needs nojustif ication.

    Natural choice can even appear to inhere in the pre-natal material itself.Thus the anti-abortionist movement anticipates the child's (natural) choice tolive. Janet Gallagher (1987: 148, my emphasis) quotes from the 1979 MichiganLan' Review:

    One'foetal rights'advocate writes that legal provisions for foetal protection can bejustified

    . . . by the expectation that they will provide people with 'the gratification atthe thought that their v'ishes were.significant even before thel'n'ere born.They canthereby escape whatever insecurity may be aroused by the notion that at one time intheir prenatal existences they were deemed wholly undeserving ol legal respect'.

    Yet when choice has to be exercised on another's behalf, it comes up againstthe other's exercise of choice. Thus the new reproductive technologies also'interfere' with women's bodies. 'Reclaiming our bodies and bodily integritymeans renting [tearing] the entire fabric of sexual subordination', for underattack is bodily integrity because 'our bodies are p(trts o/ ourselves' (Raymoncl1987:62, original emphasis). It is not society or social relationships that are injeopardy, or even in this case the mother-child bond or the right to be a parentto a child. But, then, as one contemporary writer on English kinship hasobserved, relationships may conflict with rights. 'Women must have the rightnot to care, and dependent people must have the right not to rely on theirrelatives' (Finch 1987, quoted by Hicks 1988: 252).36

    Women's reproductive l ights are in turn defined as rights to dispose ofbodies.3? As a result, paternal interest may be read as an intervention.

    Some are wary of this increased role for men in parenting. . . One anxiety is rhat ifmen do get involved they will in fact take over, leaving women with no sphere ofinfluence: 'He creeps in like another mother, between the mother and the child'.(Rowland 1987:70, quoting Elizabeth Badinter, original emphasis)

    Choice by oneselfon behalfofothers is evident in certain areas such as geneticcounsell ing,38 and over abortion decisions that have the child's future in mind,as it is also embedded in the desirabil ity for protective legislation. Within theframework of 'assisting nature', however, whether choice is pro- or anti-technology, the capacity to choose is above all validated by reference to theindividual and her or his fulfilment or development. The involvement ofothers can be regarded not as intel ts i fy ing relat ionships but as intrusive. as inthe case of the male parent just cfuoted.3e

    It is the exercise of choice, then, that wil l enhance human capabil ity; whereearlier visionaries experimented with social forms (Utopias, Erewhons, 1984sand so on), we re-l ive our recent modernist past in the hope of being able to goon exploring further, seeing more, extending our capacities, and above all inenriching personal experience. But in one area, such possibil i t ies are almost

  • r80 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    uniformly met with dismay, the area that concerns the reproduction of theconsumer him or herself, the reproduction of the maker of choices.

    Recall that remarkable projection: that alongside the development ofreproductive technologies have consistently gone popular fears for theconsequences of genetic engineering, eugenics and the rest of it. These areepitomised in science-fiction fantasies about creatures who are halfhuman half machine, or human*animal transplants, 'parts' of differentworlds that stick on to one another. These figures are often presented asterrifying and unnatural, or where the combination is poetic or the resultaesthetically pleasing - as in Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sarg - withpathos for the incompleteness of the sentient being.

    Such negative reactions represent choice at a kind of limit. The individualconsumer's capacity to choose this from nature, that from culture, has turnedinto the person itself. A composite of bits from different sources. literally aconglomerate, a collage of physical materials. Not metaphorical parts, buttissue and plastic. But for how long wil l amalgams of human and non-humanparts seem grotesque? Dental amalgam is one thing, and chemical stop-gapsto decay acceptable medicine. These new images introduce the further ideathat a fusion of materials is also a fusion of identit ies. Persons who pridethemselves on individualism, as the English do, are right to be suspicious: forthe fantasy supposes a creature who is no longer an individual. It might berepaired but how should it reproduce?

    Yet as Cecil Helman points out, we are already familiar with transplants(organs between bqdigs) and implants (non-organic substances introduced assubstitute organs).'[Ie]peaks of the blurring of the boundaries between natureand art, and of a sotial consequence. The new industrial body

    symbolizes a new type ofsociety, and new types ofsocial relationships. The creationof implants or prosthetic organs, for example, requires an elaborate socialorganization of production. distribution, marketing, maintenance, and repair ofthe artefacts. The individual's body is now part-industrial. His implants link himpermanently to the world of industry and science. He is also the ultimate consumer,incorporating the products of industry into his very body. and a l iving, walkingadvertisement for their eficacy. He is not only a unit of production in the workforceofthat society, but also a unit ofconsulnption in every sense. The new parts o[hisbody are mass-produced, impersonal, replaceable. . . Having an implant also l inksthe individual to a huge team of experts: surgeons, radiologists, anaesthetists,nurses, physiotherapists, hospital technicians, as well as the designers, producers,suppliers and repairers of the prosthesis. While the implanted body may have moreof these 'social ' l inks to other people, the l inks are really those of consumer toproducer. (1988: 15, original emphasis. note omitted)

    The reappropriation of the consumer's identity by the makers of commodities!In passing, Helman comnlents on the practice of allograft - the transplant

    of t issue from one body to another. 'The closer the kin relationships between

    Greenhouse effect l8r

    privatizatlon or f;L'*.T;I,:X;'.ll tf :leaked policy pap;r Mr Robert Jack-son, junior mihister for h igher educa-t ion. ruminated on "an al ternat iveparadigm". Instead of the state provid-ing higler education its role sh6uld beconf ined to "enabl ing indiv iduals topurchase services from providers".With their own money, at least in part ,not the taxpayers ' , of course.

    As to what sort of structural changesthere will be, I believe that we may beapproaching a fundamental choice be-tween rwo different patterns of evo-lution. One route towards mass highereducation could be through an in-creasingly state funded and thereforestate-organized "system" of highereducation. There is a real possibilitythat this will be the course followed onthe Continent. If this is the path wefollow, the difficulty which the institu-tions of higher education will face isthat the expansion of provision by theState - witfi tilrDayers" money - witt Ueexpected to take place without sub-stantiallv increasine the burden ofpublic eipend(ture -and taxation, andin the absence of mechanisms forengaging private funding. The otherroute would see the movement to-wards mass higher education ac-

  • English kinship in the late twentieth century

    comDanied bv sreater institutional dif-ferentiation ai'd diversification in amarket-led and multi-funded setting.But much depends upon the willing-ness of the institutions, of the heads ofdepartment, of the teachers, to go outanil market what they have to offer,rather than to wait for applications toroll in.

    In the first scenario, the structures ofmass higher education will tend to beincreasiigly rationalized, under press-ure to stretch public funding as far as itwill go. The effect will be to offer alimited variety of institutional struc-tures and missions, providing a rangeof broadly similar experiences to all,and prociucing a rdnge of similaroutcomes for all. In the second scen-ario, the structures of mass highereducation will be much more diversi-fied, as they are in the United States.The traditional modes of provision willstill, of course, be cultivated: but therewill be a much greater emphasis on avariety of approaches better able tomeet the needs of different tyPes.

    Whv do I orefer that we in Britainshoulci take ihe second of these tworoutes, that of exPansion throughdiversification and- differentiation?

    continued: see plate I

    20 Baker's two paths, 1989From The Times Higher Etlucation supplement, [3 January 1989 and 30 December 1988.Reproduced by k ind permission.

    Greenhouse effect

    recipient and donor. . . the less l ikely the graf t is to be "rejected" ' (1988: 15).How, then, are we invited to think kin relationships?

    Perhaps what is being consumed in this process is that relational facil i ty, theidea of a symbol itself. We cannot in any simple way talk of the new body as'symbolising' a new society if we cannot externalise or differentiate the onefrom the other.oo Helman argues that there is a reciprocal relationship betweenimages of the personal and the polit ical body (1988: l6):

    The parallel for replaceable body parts is, therefore, replaceable people, par-ticularly in the workforce. However, this new society like the new body is acollage of different elements: some living and contemporary, some artificial andindustrial, and some ancient and traditional.

    Yet society and body are equally collage. On what are 'reciprocal relation-ships' and 'parallels' between them modelled? Where is the analogy foranalogy?

    The English have made explicit to themselves the partial nature of thevarious social systems that once met and Bernardes would like us to thinkstill meet - in the person of the multifaceted, many-role playing individual.But their insistent cultural search for literalising that multiplicity, for showingup how fragmented people's lives are, how partial their descriptions, howhesitant their grasp on the scope of life, along with their celebration of theplurality and diversity of form, and of individuality itself, have made theindividual vanish. Instead of becoming more individuated, we become moreparts of one another ethnically (French bread/English marmalade) andpersonally (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 aboutourselves. They wish to be conscious of their experiences. Not parts of otherdomains but parts accreting with other This makes everyone intoversions of one another's particularism.

    In the modern epoch, the individual person was equal to neither nature norculture but could be imagined as participating in the realms of each. What theEnglish used to think of as their kinship system was the keeper 9f that partialanalogy. But persons can now be imagined as simply composed of elements ofother persons whether in terms of organ transplants, or the borrowing ofcultural forms or the imitation of other individual l i festyles, or even thetransmission of genetic particles. We move from the unique amalgam ofelements drawn from different lomains to a literal assemblage of partsperceived as substitutable or reflaceable for one another. The relationshipbetween these components cannot be conceptualised in other than terms ofsel f -management. So let us return to our foetus spaceman. or our farmhouseproprietor for that matter.a2

    A photograph of a foetus with its umbilical cord cannot model a socialrelationship if social relationships are not the model for it. In terms of natural


  • 184 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    substance, the baby is all human tissue. But the protest against medical' intervention' is about intervention in the relationship between child andparent. Technological enablement becomes reproduced in cultural dream-work (the phrase is from Zoe Sofia, quoted by Petchesky) as rendering themother herself like a machine. In that sense, the baby is properly regarded aspart machine. The organistn connected to a life-support system evokes thefamily photographs in the front room of the farmhouse, above a flickering firewhere visitors sit, with the quiet hum of white goods singing away tothemselves behind doors misleadingly marked private.

    A perceived relationship between inner and outer worlds, part of the waymodern English have understood knowledge, worked as an analogy for thechange of scale by which social science in the earlier part of this centuryconstrued society as containing a plurality of individual members, andconstrued the individual as having internalised social norms. Does apostplural world imply that we can no longer change scale? Changing scalewas visualised as an exemplif ication of perspective - society seen as more thanthe sum of individuals; an individual seen as more than the social conventionsit observed. Is abandoning that relational facil i ty, then, abandoning thefacility for calibrating difference and sirnilarity through partial analogy?

    And might l i teralising as such lose its power? One of the popular academicdebates of the 1980s assumes that the referencing facil i ty of words can nolonger be taken for granted words do not have 'meanings' either inside oroutside themselves. They do not provide contexts for one another. Wordssimply summon other words.a3

    It is very obvious, I suppose, that if one imagines away society as a collectiveplurality, then one imagines away the individual elements of which it iscomposed. Less obvious perhaps are the potential consequences of the presentecologicdl necessity namely that we make explicit the participation of natureand culture in each other. Literalisation's last stand? Insofar as the individualhas long been regarded as the site at which nature and culture fought it out, toremove the battle is also to remove the battle ground. I use the militarymetaphor as a reminder that loss is not always a matter of regret. It is certainlya matter of interest. At least such a potential absence should be of interest toanthropologists, for that particular conception of the individual has not onlybeen at the centre of the English education and welfare systems in previousdecades, but also at the centre of what. for a time, anthropologists calledkinship.

    Greenhouse effect r85

    TIJEt a t t d t n p r a ph


    Net Snnh

    You *ould not nadd i. ftonr of1 Finringbv N&l Smrh nndn..d N ak ut. d&r i l n.rn) W. on on. t.!ct hr rounrry.oti iC. hndraFs pl.&d th Vi.tor6 .y., .n anorn.r a.d.qudlv obvous lcvel rh.y sbw yrh Victonb vdu., sdlr. l.qnr rdv rh. dnnS mdd.,, Mtur. and ou, h,,n,orou,


    l imden.Uratf i ics ffiilfiililruilililGreeting card: late twentieth centurNRcproduced by kind pernrission from Camden CraphicsLibrarv L1d.

    Ltd and Fine Art Photographic

  • II

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postpluralworld

    Thirty-five years ago, at the end of his study of types of civil i ty, which takeshim to many countries but ignores America, Nicolson predicts the future:

    I do not foresee that the social habits of this island will ever be imitated from thoseof the French, the Germans. the Australians, the Dutch, the Trobrianders. or thePortuguese. I imagine that it will be the American model which will in the endimpose itself on the English-speaking world. (1955: 284)'

    But he professes not really being able to understand their type of civilitl,. Hisclinching reason brings us back to enclosed gardens and fenced properties.Trying to look at the English through American eyes, he writes:

    There is again the curious indifference to, or disregard ofl, what to us [the English]is one of the most precious of all human possessions, namely personal privacy. Tothem, with theirproud belief in equality. with their rather ignorant affection for thepioneer spirit, privacy denotes something exclusive, patronising, 'un-folksey', andtherefore meriting suspicion. Thus they leave their curtains undrawn at dusk. haveno hedges separating their front gardens. and will converse amicably with strangersabout private things. How can a European dare to discuss the manners of a peoplewho seem to ignore, or to be unconscious of, what to him is civilisation's most valuedher i tage? (1955: l8)The ignorance, so-called, informed an oppositional culture. An American

    exhortation published in 1927 deliberately promoted the idea of 'foundationplanting'- plants pushed up against the house rather than, as was taken to bethe style of the old country, forming a hedge on the street l ine. 'The Americanway called for uniformity of landscape design: no f,ences or hedges, onlyfoundation planting and'lawns. Anything else was vaguely unpatriotic andmorally suspect' (Ottesen l98l: 2l). The reason was that the home was thegreatest institution in America, and should be open to the street.2 In the 1980s,it is the lawn that now seems the problematic import; it is taken to be anEnglish influence that interferes with American nostalgia for the land as itonce was. Nowadays, 'sophisticated gardeners learn to appreciate what isunique in the American landscape', to restore beauty in natural bogs and tosty l ise meadows (1987: 27,29).

    Recapitulat ion: nostalgia from a postplural world

    For England in the late 1980s, US-style popular design (stars and stripes,block letters, American football on television and icecream in tne super-markets) have made a new and explicit entry into the advertised aestheticrepertoire. we are officially told - and I refer now to Higher Education - thatour provision for state benefit should learn from the American model offinancial competence. So it seems that I have been describing the outcomeNicolson predicted; what happened when the dichotomy between public andprivate disappears. Indeed, I have flowed between English and Americanexamples insofar as I think we share certain cultural forms in common. Butthe situation is not quite as simple as the idea of adopting or resisting amodel would suggest. As far as that public/private dichotomy is concerned, itmight appear flattened but it has not'broken down'any more than the familyhas. Nor have the English simply imitated the apparent American disregardfor it. Rather, we might say, it has worked itself out in people's imagination ina particular way.

    The epoch of bourgeois revolurion, that one might date to l7g0- 1g20, led inwil l iams's view to terms such as class and culture being used in their modernsense, and in Roy Wagner's (1986) view made God a function of nature. ltanticipated the period in England when a division between public and privateworlds was realised in the middle-class, kinship-based image of the home awayfrom the workplace. The home in this sense was not some timeless attribute ofthe English, howeverprecious a human possession some English have claimedfor it. Here was a particular devolution of ideas, an interpretation of humannature l iteralised in domestic architecture and the conduct of family l i fe withas much particularity as the countryside was steadily enclosed throughdeliberate, individual acts of parliament (2,341 private enclosure bil ls betweenI 780 1 8 l0). Those enclosed fields that so srrike the visitor were made step bystep as a practical necessity which the new agricultural technology hadpresented as the only choice a landowner bent on improvement could take.

    Like their formulation of social class. the reappropriated distinctionbetween public and private became one of the modes through which theEnglish reflected on the relationship between individual and society andbetween nature and culture. Certainly the distinction was the hinge ofNicolson's interpretation of types of civil i ty: what floored him was that hecould 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 theembrace of American individualism in current polit ical rhetoric. Americanpostage stamps celebrate constitulional figureheads; one recent frank camewith the declaration, Freedom /under Law. Our English commoner, bycontrast, can throw out the notion ofconstitutional society as a source oflawprecisely because of the way the language she uses is able to recapitulate achanging relationship between public and private priorit ies. That languagemakes a vernacular appeal to individualism a self-sufficient. intenselvmoralistic and nostalgic gesture.3


  • 188 English kinsbip in the late twentieth century

    But we also participate in the promotion of one another's cultural forms.The American essay on foetal photography was published in a volume put outby an English press; this book originated in my talking about English kinshipin America. hoping that I would simultaneously convey a sense of distinctive-ness and speak to common concerns. That capacity to participate is promotedby the way the English have thought about kinship over the last 200 years. Itled in the pluralism of the modern epoch to the indigenous perceptions I havelabelled as merographic, where meanings seem always to be partial, wherethere is always more beyond the field of vision than one sees, and whereelements that are part of one system are also in another dimension conceivedas parts of others. The mid-twentieth-century view of kinship as a set ornetwork of relations between individual persons is a beautiful example. Asystem itself is thus regarded as an aggregation of elements- natural insofar asit displays their internal relations, artificial insofar as it never encompassestheir entire defi nit ion.

    The vantagre point of the postplural world disaggregates. Its own charac-teristic l ies in the notion that wholes have dissolved into parts in such a waythat they can only be reassembled as so many parts. Yet the very idea seemssinister (Spallone and Steinberg 1987: 10, original emphasis):

    The'new'reproductive technologies are thus not really'new'. They are based on thesame old ideology of abusing, disrespectirig, and exploiting women as objects thatcan be manipulated according to the needs of the group in power. What rs new is theemphasis today onparts of women's bodies being used in both unprecedented waysand to an unprecedented degree. Will the body that is allowed (or forced) toreproduce in the future be White, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied?

    Nostalgia here is for difference, for variation, for diversity, for the multiplicityof human cultures and bodily forms. When what is reproduced are not bodiesbut choices themselves, the spectre of choice is conventionalised desire.

    In 1984, we heard the suggestion from an Australian IVF clinic director that peoplemay want to use donor eggs and donor sperm with IVF rather than their ownbecause they do not like their own or their partner's characteristics for example,intell igence, personality, or appearance. (1987: 5)

    Technology enables people to substitute for a random outcome their own alltoo predictable wishes.

    The nostalgia for multiplicity is also the nostalgia for whole forms, whereelements are intrinsic and parts non-detachable, for the integrated home andunique landscapes. At its extreme we might say that itis nostalgia.for the ideaoJ the individual. I include here persons as individuals.

    Vanishing forms was always a perspectival analogue to receding horizons.Thus for as long as the individual person was an emergent form, it was'community' * including communal family l i fe - that was ever receding.Brit ish anthropologists for their part never had much doubt about thechimeric nature of such a construct. Their obiect was the studv of social

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world

    relationships on the ground and the cultural values (including notions ofcommunity) that attended to such relationships. It was the collective ('social')dimension of l i fe that they took as their subject matter. So if there is aparticular loss that lies in wait for anthropology, it will not be for the idea ofsocieties and cultures themselves, for their holism is apprehended as anartificial (constructed) tool of analysis. It will be nostalgia for a relational viewof the world.

    Or rather, this is the point at which I locate my own sense of being after anevent. Drawing Melanesia into this account (Chapter Two) was not meant toevoke the kind of community life for which Westerners conventionally yearnand never existed. The intention was to make explicit certain understandingsdeveloped within the discipline of social anthropology that address themanner in which human beings create society for themselves. In the words ofone Melanesianist, (modern) anthropology 'has at its core a commitment tomaking the social component of human life visible' (J. Weiner 1988; 5). Toconvey a Melanesian world through idioms of relationship, to describepersons as composed of relations, imparts a sense of sociality that makes thesystemic and individualist tenor of English-language-based perceptionsequally apparent.

    That tenor was contained by the general Western perception that relationswere to be appreciated after the fact, for they comprised a distinctive order ofbeing, sui generis one might say. Thus the relationship between different partsof social life was held to inhere in principles of structure or organisation thatwas not equivalent to social life but 'underlay' it or were 'superimposed'.Social life itself could be shown to have 'a relationship' (expressive'constitutive) to those principles even as an individual person, in that peculiarcolloquial English on which I have dwelt, could be said to have'a relationship'with society.

    A relational view of the world encompassed the connections people made atall levels. That ideas should not be considered in isolation but in relation toone another was the starting point of this book. This tenet has been modernanthropology's professional contribution to social science. 'Social anthro-pology is about relationships' (J. Weiner 1988: 5). As in the manner in whichsociety was professionalised or naturalised as an object of study that providedits own frame of reference, so too with culture and symbolic constructions. lnputting things into context, anthropologists assumed that there would be setsof relations internal to the domain in question whose elucidation would revealits own structural form. The pfesent cultural analysis has been just such arelational exercise. It also beals its own relationship to other works.

    Much of my account can be read as an English exemplification of Wagner'sThe Invention of Culture. He not only demonstratesjust how modern Westernculture invented 'society as man's relation to nature' (1975:132),a but analysesthe symbolic mechanisms by which this most unstable of cultures has


  • r90 English kinship in the late twentieth centurvprpe-:rrraliy ci:lbilised itserf'. while there is no curture that is not itselfi,lJli:.,:,tr r:

    ,,"j:: in people's views of the world, Westerrrers took on as::rerr

    .=-\wn qvrr I project the ever-receding goal of inventing.onu"ntion uoth,l?.i::lo agarn

    'after') a pruraritv gruen in nature - afrer individuarity andll.llll ':,n ThL hev.came'to embodv, and to live in a worlJ-of naturarorversi'i tv. urrir by [their] own efforts to master and understand it'(1g75:I -10). ---he Dr.,, enraired the counrerpro""rs of con."."d;";r;r-g inu"nt,ons,

    :j^ln:"tr cons'i ry making evidenr to themsetves the principres upon whichthe! c:'1'r1r11s,gr, society and culture itself. weste.n, ,ougt t? o.i'," out tt .

    :tlflt-r )rrs !g1r'n things. ro make the connecrions rhar un

  • t92 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    thus, for anthropologist, of cultural relativity. This was the person-centred epoch of pluralism. It is the one to which my three facts of modernEnglish kinship belong.

    In this latter phase of modernity, then, diversity became a guarantee ofnatural vigour but people's consciousness of collectivity and institutionalis-ation also produced the idea of the person as the subject of or microcosm ofthe domesticating process. This was the socialised individual, the consumer ofvalues whose individuality was in danger of being suffocated fo" a collectivegood. ln thereby discovering the social construction (the representation) ofthe individual, mid-century anthropologists began undoing that collectivistidiom. The aggregate appeared instead as a heterogeneity. A fresh sense ofpluralism came both from the discovery of internal crit iques of social systems(the rediscovery of political economy, for instance, as marxism and feminism)and from the revelation that the individual as an object ofsocial constructionalso resisted complete construction. But if one sees pluralism as the final epochwithin the larger Modern cycle, one would then imply that it was thetransformation of the entire Modern cycle that is contained in the presentepoch I have called postplural.

    This is to exceed the possibil i t ies of relational exposition. The restaurantat the end of the universe. Let me return to the moment before, to the I 980s,as though the postplural world were simply devolved from a plural one. Atthat moment, '[s]ociety, the ideal and the goal of the Enlightenment, isinternalized and taken for granted' (1986: 121). The move appears to repeatthe internalisations of 200 years ago. But in being freshly internalised, societynow vanishes as an object of people's dealings with one another. For the latetwentieth-century mandate is not longer of reason but of consciousness, andthe society internalised is not rational society but the elicitor of emotion andpreference. 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 synthesis of humanneeds and meanings through the media' ( l936: 120). It is the moment at whichhis exposition stops. Intriguing as it might be to speculate beyond this point, atrope, he asserts, is elicited not determined and certainly not predictable.

    In certain parts of our imaginings, at least, the individual has already becomesomething else; it has ceased, so to speak, to be reproduced. I have dwelt on theparticular fantasies of reproductive engineering that not just the English butalso others with access to Western technology have thought up tbr the future.They persistently include that of cloning, of being able to produce individualitywithout diversit.t,, endless replicas of unique forms. Yet it is merely toextrapolate from present medical practice to imagine the joining of humanand animal parts, ofproducing beasts that are neither one nor the other, thatis,diversity without individuality. The old assumption, the more individuals areproduced the more diversity, wil l not work. I have suggested that these

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world 193

    dreams/nightmares are already visualised in an area currently given highestmoral value: the capacity to exercise choice.

    As Jencks and Keswick (1987 54, my emphasis) unwittingly assert: ' theoptions/brce us to reassert a freedom o[choice'. Without such prescriptivevariation one could not create a market for customers to exercise theirpreferences. In the view of the chairman of a public funding body in HigherEducation, the role for the (Brit ish) state is Just to make sure the systemworks, just l ike it regulates a free market'; funding should 'encouragediversity . . . If they [the services to be funded] all look the same; 'we'11 saywe've got enough of those"' (The Times Higher Education Supplement,l4 October 1988; phrasing transposed). Individuality without diversity: thecustomer is pressured into the exercise of choice, an emphatic promotion ofpreference, as a mandate impressed on all consumers alike. Diversity withoutindividuality: the riot of consumer preference collapses all other possibil i t ies,all choice becomes consumer choice, not just rearranging the same variantsbut converting social relations into market forces. Individuality does notproduce individuality.

    This, we might say, is the demise of the reproductive model of the modernepoch which was, if the reader recalls, a model not just of the procreation ofpersons but for conceptualising the future. The individuality at issue was thespecial individuality of parts elicited by merographic connection. Parts haveceased to be merographically connected.

    The merographic capacity to put the individual into different domarns orcontexts, as now a social construction and now a natural and biologicallygiven entity, depended on one consummate perspective: that these were all(plural) ways of knowing the world. For the world was composed of numerousrelations between entities of which symbolic sequences themselves (construc-tions, representations) were a part. Relations were in the nature of things, thisbeing at once a symbolic and a social statement. However, relations were notall relations of comparable (analogous) order and while concepts such asIndividual, Society and Nature could always be connected with one another,each term carried its own substantive or tropic effect. They were not simplesubstitutes.q and their interactions led to varied outcomes.

    We have seen the way in which concepts participated in one auother. Let meseparate out differences in their effect. l. When people personified ('in-dividualised') society or nature, they were conscious of creating a metaphoricconstruction. The point of resemblance was understood 'symbolically'and asno more than resemblance. The reseprblance thus remained in the domain ofsymbols, as a cultural artif ice or'f igure of speech. 2. The idea that theindividual person was socialised, however, drew not on resemblance theindividual was not really thought to be ' l ike' society - but on a perception ofprocess. Society was the human construction of the world, arnd persons weremoulded by it. Nature might also be perceived as a human construction, eitherin the sense of humankind's impact on the environment or in the sense that theverv idea was a category of thoueht. But nature was not 'socialised' the wav a

  • 194 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    person was. When we talked of the social construction of natural facts wemeant a construction that remained in the domain of social l i fe and artif ice.even though it attended to or incorporated aspects ofthe natural world such asbiological processes. 3. Finally, then. nature itself composed an autonomousdomain, for that is how nature came to be defined. Its twentieth-centuryassimilation to the concept of environment was no accident. lt created its owncontext, and did so because it worked as a kind of grounding conceptualis-ation for knowledge, for understanding the intrinsic character ( 'nature') ofanything. To speak of the person as a natural individual was to point to whatwas taken [or granted about the autonomy oI organism, and here the personwas seen as a 'part' of nature.

    Now because human constructions already had their own autonomy,anthropologists also regarded the representation of social institutions as'naturally' belonging to the domain of symbolic construction (thus one couldcompare, for example, different representations of family forms as symbolicconstructs). But that was because for them society was the entity that wasnaturalised in its own self-regulative and context-providing aspects. A contextwas generated from properties seen to be inherent in the object itself, as in theperception that social science was the study oIsocial facts, and therefore to benamed by itself (social, pertaining to society).

    The perspectives that these three concepts gave upon one another were notreciprocal: none was a complete substitute for the others, and where analogieswere perceived, they worked only to a partial extent. Hence the concepts haddifferent controlling effects. l. Persons evinced an essential consciousnesswhich properly resided within them as individuals, and was only 'rnetaphori-cally' or'symbolically' extended to non-human entit ies. 2. Society was theexemplification or sign of human enterprise, so that social life was cotermin-ous with the activit ies of human beings. 3. Nature, at once intrinsiccharacteristic and external environment, constituted both the given facts oftheworld and the world as the context for facts, thereby providing a ground to thelife of persons and results of social enterprise. Although it could be made intoa metaphor or seen to be the object of human activity, it also had the status of aprior fact, a condition for existence. Nature was thus a condition forknowledge. It crucially controlled, we might say, a relational view betweenwhatever was taken as internal (nature) and as external (nature).

    Making these concepts explicit extended the concept of consciousness, andthereby brought about a further range of effects. l. To be conscious of theagency of persons was simply to recognise the nature of persons for what theywere (individual agents). An already explicitly recognised element of humanIife was given its due. 2. To be conscious about the social construction of theworld, however, made an implicit realisation explicit. As soon as it was said itbecame self-evident, by virtue of the fact that society was coterminous withhuman enterprise, and that included the way human beings 'construct' theirworlds. Society became joined to symbolic practice. Yet its new visibil i ty also

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world 195

    meant that what had been taken for granted no longer was. Both thesepositions were, in fact, well rehearsed in anthropological debate in the 1960sand 1970s, and devolved from what I have called the mid-twentieth-centuryview. 3. But to bring to consciousness the context or grounding for one'ssense of the world could not be confined to recognising what was alreadyexplicit, nor to making the implicit explicit, though we might have thought wewere doing both of those things. Its effect has been to make context or grounditself disappear.

    The Modern cycle, to recall Wagner's terminology and as we might remindourselves, was ushered in with a new conceptualisation of the ground The discovery of social enterprise, the point at which humankind took responsibil i ty for the conventional or for law, was also the point atwhich nature had become that ground.

    Of course, Nature does not 'really'disappear. On the contrary. late twentieth-century culture renders it more and more evident. What has disappeared, so tospeak, and for which we seem to have nostalgia, are persons as individuals andsociety as a relational view of persons. Easy to kil l off the individual as theoriginator of private worlds and original symbols when one can substitutecosmopolitans as consumers of world society. Easy to dismiss society as asymbolic fabrication when it seems to ignore the mainsprings of individualmotivation and enterprise. But postmodern aesthetics and Thatcherism alikemost interestingly pull out from under our feet the grounding or reason forthese constructs, and thus an anterior assumption about the conditions onwhich 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 uniqueness and intrinsic nature of forms created acontext for the modern or pluralist concept of the individual. A concept ofsociety created a context for perceiving that social relations formed an(external) environment to people's dealing with one another. Unique formand relational knowledge: Nature grounded both these contexts. It held thetwentieth-century notions of individual and society in relation to each other asthough one could apprehend inherent facts and self-regulating systemssimultaneously. It was also the context for the idea of symbol as humankind'sconsciousness of its own place (context) in the world and of symbolicconstructions as the environment (context) for its own understanding.

    Ifnature has not disappeared, then, its groundingfunction has. It no longerprovides a model or analogy fur the very idea of context. With thedestabil ising of relation, contexf and grounding, it is no surprise that thepresent crisis (epoch) appears an ecological one. We are challenged to imagineneither intrinsic forms nor self-regulating systems.

    To recapitulate; the English of the educated middle class have merelypractised what they had always practised. It seemed a matter of pragmatics.They valued their values, and in doing so slid from making more explicit what

  • 196 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    was already explicit to searching for the assumptions or principles behind theiractions and thus making the implicit explicit. The mother's role in caring forthe development of the child was seen to include the vital relationship betweenmother and child itself. That relationship then ceased to be taken for grantedand became the object of attention and elaboration. If one may choose to see arelationship either as socially constructed or as a natural state of affairs(socially) assisted, one is in fact choosing what to consider natural.

    To introduce consciousness about one's own practice is, in the latetwentieth-century idiom, to introduce the possibil i ty of choice. This is not thechoice about which Jane Austen or Mrs Taylor wrote, nor quite Bell 'sexhortation that we should choose our forms of self-expression, though it hasdevolved from all of these. Chapter Four suggested that choice has sincebecome naturalised by the aesthetics and constraints of consumer culture. Tohave choice about the grounding of one's motivation in this way is tosimultaneously render trivial any relationship between external context andinternal character. Plasti-class does not even sound like a class. Let me amplifythrough a further recapitulation.

    Clumsy as the expression might have been, I have needed to name theparticular kinds of past connections I have called merographic. Theyproduced overlapping domains that in the end made a relative matter out ofthe concept of context itself. They rendered Nature context-dependent.

    ln the marrner in which the English have in the past valued their values, theyliteralised a particular kind of relationship, namely that between an entity (aperson, value or principle) and its necessity or rationale, that is, its context. Inthe example I have given, the child's healthy development provided a contextfor the mother's interpretation of her role. We may think of it as a referencepoint for her motivation. though it was not the only one.

    What was literalised, then, was the relationship between a value (role, duty)and its rationale (healthy development), so that the whole formed a referentialor conventional domain. The relationship was not between persons butbetween entit ies of non-comparable order. Hence the constant effort to makeevident the individual's'relationship' with society. Spell ing out the connectionmade it evident that at the same time the individual is not completelycomparable to society, and therefore this was not a wholly self-referentialdomain. Indeed. it was the constant perception of the fact that entit ies couldalways be re-described liom further perspectives that revealed merographicconnections between domains. One could displace one context by another,and thus alter one's perspective in that part of one domain now seemingly partof another. A principal example has been the very figure of the iridividualperson, who could be assimilated now to a context thought of as nature, nowto a context thought of as culture or as society or for that matter aspsychological selfhood. From the perspective of the individual, we can see thatany of these entit ies, nature among them, could be a ground to this figure.

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural world 197

    There was, in turn, a constant tendency to render the analogy between these

    contexts partial, to turn them merographically into parts of each other and

    rnake one the momentarily encompassing context for others'Contexts seemed real (ihey provide the rationale for the properties of

    things), where analogies once made conscious seemed artificial or incidental,:m"tlupho.ical'. Indeed, contexts were real insofar as they provided a

    perspective, even though they could always be displaced' In short',contexts't,ou. b."n 'natural' toihe twentieth-century viewing of the world. We were

    ,rrguniseru of the spectacle but it was in human nature to so create the contextspJ.rp."tlurr) for understanding, and thus humankind created for itself itsg.ounaittg for (self; knowledge. This was modernity'r'

    But the spectacle was sti l l , in the mid-twentieth century' at a remove' It was

    persons who suffered crises ofconsciousness about what anyone could 'really'

    'kno*.Natrremightappear inthisorthatguise,orasani l lusion'butthe

    existential problem of consciousness and representation seemed contained

    withinthehumanframeanditscapaci tyforsymbol ism.Thenewcris is(epoch) is not so contained. A crisis perceived as ecological contains all.

    we are still After Nature: still act with nature in mind. But I have suggested

    that the concept that grounded our views of individual consciousness and

    symbolic activity on th; one hand and a relational view of human enterprise

    and society on the other has been transformed. And because it is ground that is

    transformld, an equally devastating effect is of triviality. Insofar as the plasti-

    c lasspersonofthelatetwent iethcenturyalsoperceiveshimorhersel fasaconsumer of it, nature seems turned into a mere artefact of consumer choice'

    Its image may be borrowed here and there, slapped on to products as a new

    dimension, a kind of marketed contextualisation that reinvents human

    responsibil i ty as a matter of discriminating between products - even where the

    greaterresponsibi l i tymightbenottobuyatal l .Butnatureasasuperaddeddimension to human products makes the point nicely' l2 The idea of

    autonomous form seems old-fashioned'There is a final effect for this, that lies in knowing that knowledge will (so to

    speak) cease to search for its own grounding, for its contexts will no longer besignificant.r3 There wil l be no need to extrapolate a new'grounding'for thefuture.

    As a consequence' it would seem that we are as free as we like to go on

    talking about .nature' and the importance of 'natural' products and wil l no

    doubt do so unti l, as the English say, the cows come home. The bovine idiom is

    at once unfortunate and wholly appgsite. In the year (1990) that Brit ish cattlereveal they have been infectei by 6 slow-growing virus (bovine spongiformencephalopathy), with its disastrous effect not just on herds but on people'sfears for human health, it is also revealed that these herbivores have been fed

    animal offal. Such plant-eating animals were always, of course, intended asanimal meat for our own table: now they turn cannibal on their cousins (the

  • 198 English kinship in the late twentieth century

    offending offal is thought to come from sheep).la Domestic cows no longerbelong to the domain of herbivores: as we have always known, they are simplyproduced to be consumed.

    This 'as we have always known' is the fatal traditionalism of the English. Itbears one more rehearsal.

    To exercise choice over whether cattle should be herbivores or (l ike humanbeings) omnivores seems to be quite natural for human beings (who are always'improving' on themselves, economising in Thatcherite idiom),1s even if i t isunnatural for nature. In any case, opposition on the grounds ofunnaturalnessseems equally traditional we have always known that human artifice worked'against' nature. After all, Ruskin, among other commentators on theindustrial revolution a hundred and more years ago, thought it preventedhuman fulfilment, deformed the capacity to labour. and perverted peoples'consciousness away from the self-evident reality of the world. Along with thisidea grew up the twentieth-century notion that different social arrangementsnot only deformed the natural person but also deformed themselves: the ideaof society as composed of internal contradictions and interests pitted againstone another meant that the need for social cohesion that was so important toearly twentieth-century anthropology gave way to a later perception thatsome forms of social arrangements were less adaptive than others. Societycould thus be seen as deformative of human relationships. But of course thesevery notions of imperfect lives or maladaptive functions rested on thoseimages of individual form and relational knowledge intrinsic to the notion ofnature itself.

    There seems to be no real basis (no ground) on which to regard feedingsheep to cattle as shocking when multimedia is the name of the game andcomputer viruses might be alive.r6 To date, however, BSE is found in neitherEuropean nor North American cattle. In this manifestation it is a strictlyBrit ish disease.

    It is impossible not to make the modern English seem either less importantor more important than they really were. However, some place should begiven to their reproductive model. Kinship was regarded as an area ofprimordial identity and inevitable relations. It was at once part of the naturalworld that regenerated social l i fe and provided a representation of thisrelationship between them. Anthropologists. in turn, apprehended kinship asa symbolic construction that took after the natural facts on which societyimagined itself based, a microcosnr of the relationship between natuie, iocietyand symbol. One cannot say what wil l become, though possibly the elementsof technology, motivation and design are being rearranged in the idea of whatit would take to decode the human genome.' ' Natural selection is reinventedas auto-enabling choice. Perhaps replicators that need no base in biologicalsubstance merely imagine for us a cultural future that wil l need no base inideas about human reproduction.


    Prologue : ntaking exP licitl Fox (1967:24) states i t bluntly: 'Kinship and marriage are about the basic lacts of

    life. They are about "birth, and copulation, and death".'2 An original impetus lay in the politics of feminist anthropology (cf. Strathern

    1 980). Since then I have been provoked by Donna Haraway's question about whatconstitutes Nature for late twentieth-century people

    3 Al ter Thompson (1978 [1965]: 3) .4 'Coordinates' after Werbner (1989: l4).5 My interest is primari ly in the perception of complexity. I t does not require a theory

    of production, although Sahlins's (1976 215) comment on consumer marketsnicely literalises forms as objects made: 'every conceivable distinction of societyis put to the service of another declension of objects'.

    6 The contrast is a contrivance, a claim to a particular mode olinterpretation, and isobviously contestable. Jencks (Jencks and Keswick 1987) takes issue, for instance,with the influential interpretations of Foster (e.g. 1985) and his colleagues (Owens,Lyotard, Jameson) in arguing that 'postmodernism' is often confused with latemodernism. Late modernism is the tradit ion of the new, whereas in his eyespostmodernism is a recapture ofthe vernacular that evokes the tradition ofthe old'But I f ind his own emphasis on'superabundant choice'and 'widespread plural ism'(1987: 54) anachronistic. Superabundant choice subverts widespread pluralism,subsuming pluralism under the single gesture of choice not 'everything goes' but'everything participates'. Needless to say, these legislations over terms, periods andso forth can be seen either as late modern exercises or as the postmodern traces ofavernacular tradition that in the new context must appear faintly absurd. Thesources of the confusion are simple: postmodernism makes evident the plural ism ofthe preceding epoch, and thus seems to make 'more' of i t . But i t does not i tselfreproduce pluralism; for it makes pluralism appear as u single, all-embracingphenomenon. Both this point and the quaint personifications of convention impliedin these debates (epochs as agents) y'cur in the arguments that follow.

    I Individualit,t' and diversityI A term used of the policies of and promoted by the Conservative Party in power

    throughout the 1980s (see Keat 1990; Heelas and Morris l99l). Their heavyinvestment in the need to advert ise, the late twentieth-century's locum for acl ionresearch, has contributed to this self-revelation. Unfortunately, the enterprtse

  • 200 Notes to pages 12-40

    culture is not entirely their product; it is as much constitutive of a culturalrevolution as of the political will of an electorate.

    2 On the assumed affinity between pets and persons, also see Wolfram ( 198 7: l6). Shefurther suggests that the implied relationship between similarity and difference isanalogous to that between blood and affinal kin.

    3 I deliberately mix kin terms and names here because I am describing a 'mixed'system. Thus, Firth, Hubert and Forge (1969:451\: 'In any formal context relativesmust be properly pinpointed as individuals, with category label carefully qualifiedto bring out the personal aspect.'To anticipate the argument that follows, suchmixing is an example of merographic overlap.

    4 He contrasts the use of first names by 'the gay Devonshire House circle, and thesentimental intimacy of Charles James Fox and his friends, [from ] . . . the tightnessin such matters observed and expected bV the characters in Jane Austen's novels!Even when happily married, the Woodhouse daughters continued to call theirfather "Sir". Emma denounced as "vulgar familiarity" Mrs. Elton's reference toMr. Knightley as "Knightley"; she herself, we may assume, continued to refer tohim as "Mr. Knightley" even when they had been husband and wit-e for manyyears' (Nicolson 1955: 272). A more sober commentary on Austen's terminologyis offered by Isaac Schapera (1977).

    5 Of course. the personal name may recall a specific relative or be drawn from a stock ,,1i1lof 'family names', or even follow rotation or succession rules. When the personal i)lname is a family name, it becomes a kind of generic. But in so far as it is known by {1i+- .+^^1.^f-^ ' . - .+L^rL-^." to, l -^.1"^ i - , l i " i^ ' rotacf l rpfr- ;1. '^^-^. . - - , .1 A" l ; r ' ; - 1 i ,its stock of names that knowledge also individuates the family concerned. As Levi- iiStrauss (1966: 188) observes, the one term can 'play the part either of a class , ' findicator or of an individual determinant ' . 'John'dist inguishes which Smith, and ;,'Smith' which John. I return to this in the next chapter.

    6 Cf. Schneider (1984: 181). Trautmann (1987: 180) takes i t as axiomatic that every I'anthropological investigation of kinship sets out from . . . the idea that kinship issomehow more important to the working of simple societies than of complex ones, ,and that in the course of their development complex societies have substitutedrsomething else lor kinship'. From status to contract; lrom relationship toindividual!

    7 Eliciting people's relatives as 'persons' related to one was seen by Nisei (secondgeneration Japanese-Americans) to be an 'American' procedure involving in'dividuals and choice, and not elicitory of their own practices or definitions(Yanagisako 1978: 20).

    8 The reference is to Schneider here. I should make it clear that my theoreticalinterest in the cultural practice of quantification is just that. My colleague DavidRheubottom (e.g. I 988) has convinced me that the patterns thrown up by historical :demography are as intriguing as one might uncover by other means.

    9 In a iepori submitted to the 1987 Macdonald Enquiry on racial violence itrManchester schools, Elinor Kelly notes that'English' was by far the hardest tennfor the researchers to define consiructively. It appiared a residual category aftef all 'r,

    other groups had been eliminated (a set of language, community and religiousdesignations such as Irish, Gujarati, Hindu, Chinese, etc.). I am grateful to Elinof rrKel ly for permission to cite this work.

    l0 'New blood' is the anti thesis of in-breeding: compare Strathern 1982: 85.I I According to Rividre (1985: 2), artificial insemination by the husband was first

    recorded in 1'l':-6. I note that the former acronym for artificial insemination bYdonor (AID) has been replaced by DI (donor insemination).


    Notes to pages 4147 201

    12 ' [The committee] concluded that whilst i t could not condone the practice ofartificial insemination using donor semen because clearly it was immoral, it couldnot prevent it from taking place between consenting adults. Thus the wives ofinfertile men who were inseminated with donor semen became stigmatized because-

    . . they were indulging in an unnatural act in order to conceive a bastard within theinstitution of marriage' (Pfeffer 1987: 95, my emphasis).

    13 see the discussion in wolfram (1987: 2l0f). Pfeffer (1987: 97) adds rhat the'mercenary image ol the infertile, their alleged commodification of parenting, isreinforced by the ways in which the cash nexus has infiltrated the alleviation ofinfertility. Not only are there now commercial agencies arranging surrogacy [but]. . . cuts in funding in the NHS have led many Distr ict Health Authorit ies to cutback on [free] services for the treatment ofinfertility which they see as an expensrveluxury'.

    l4 Intheinterwaryears,thecounterpartfearofhomogenisationanticipatedanover-exercise of bureaucratic or state control. Machinery, an image of control, wasimagined as getting larger and larger, human beings becoming dwarfed as merecogs in a wheel. A generation on we havedwarfed many of ourmachines but, byusing individual choice to create the outer dimensions ol our world. have found anew source for anxiety about hornogenisation.

    l5 A number of the contributors to this last volume set out to allay fears about whatmight or might not be technologically/medically possible. Ferguson, for instance,points to the way in which the term cloning has been misused in the popular press;while it is possible to take embryonic cells and transplant them across species, andwhile transgenic animals can now be patented as new life lorms, arguments (againstexperimentation) based on population control through cloning are'pure fiction'(1990:23). The reassurance both points to the widespread nature ofthe fears and isno reassurance about what the barriers of possibility will look like in the future. Ishould underline the fact that it is the form the fears take (the images they engage)that is my interest.

    16 This is a part icular example of what Sahlins (1985: vi i) would argue is a moregeneral case. Not only is history culturally ordered but culture is historicallyordered, 'since to a greater or lesser extent .. . meanings are revalued as they arepractically enacted'. The more things are the same, the more they change.

    l7 CorriganandSayer(1985: l7)remark oJ'stateformsinEnglandthattheydisplayasingular capacity 'to accommodate substantial changes whilst appearing topreserve an unbroken evolutionary line with the past'.

    2 Analogies Jbr a plural cultureI Thef i rst 'surrogate'babyinEnglandwasborninear ly lg85,throughtheassistance

    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 andintent ions olpersons. In th is v iew. thdse who see i t as disabl ing' fa i l ' to appreciateits potential. Thus the view that reproductive technologies are themselves failedtechnologies has to run counter to the general futuristic assumption thattechnologies do not 'fail' - they only pass through primitive experimental stagesfrom which they improve. The Fourth Reporr of the Voluntar', Licensing Authorityfor Human in vitro Fertilisation and Entbrl,ology (1989) records the following cruderates for all treatment centres per treatment cycle over the period 19g5 7:

  • 202 Notes to pages 47-56

    pregnancy rates 11.2. 9.9, 12.5'/"; l ive birth rates 8.6,8.6, 10. l '7". There was aconsiderable difference in the rates of large and small centres.

    'Enabling technology' is used by the European Community's academic pro-gramme (New Framework Programme for Science and Technology 199G4) todemarcate one of three areas of contemporary research interest (Enablingtechnologies/Management of natural resources/Management of intellectual re-sources). Under its rubric fall information and communication technologies,industr ial and materials technologies. Here technology may thus be'enabling' oftechnology.

    One might note the increase of 'enabling' legislation, once thought to beconstitutionally 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 fateof nrothers not bonded to their children), grow up, a la John Bowlby, intoaffectionless and socially disruptive adults' (Oakley 1987:53). Goldthorpe (1987:49) reports a comment that when Bowlby's thesis was promulgated, no-one neededconvincing of the importance of maternal care, only of the best means to implementit thow to put into practice what one values).I am grateful to Charles Lewis (pers. comm., Reading University) for thisreminder. Fathers - and other attendants may in fact be in a much better positionto see the screen at the t ime than the mother who is on her back. I t invites theirparticipatory 'experience': on the deliberate and explicit promotion offather infant bonding, see Lewis (1986: 59 and Ch. 7). My own observation relersnot to these practices as such but to some of the accompanying culturalinterpretations of them.An inrage ofan individual chi ld evokes a relat ional response on the part ofotherindividuals related to it (that is, the parents), but is not itself an image of thatrelat ionship. (The English require a relat ionship to be visible'between' persons; asingle person cannot represent a relationship. Later in this chapter I consider aMelanesian construction which supposes just this.)'Maternal bonding' is reported to be an outcome of the mother's feelings in thepresence of an image of the child; but it is a relationship without interaction, andthe mother appears simply as passive spectator. This, I have suggested, contributesto the dissonance Petchesky reports between the evidence of women's strongemotional responses and the voyeuristic scenario as it appears to the outsider ofthewoman'passively staring at her objecti f ied foetus'(1987: 7l).I refer to the identity olthe father rather than his fathering role. On the invisibilityof that, see Lewis (1986: Ch. l) . The relat ionship of paternal invisibi l i ty to theabsence of biological connection (through childbirth, breast-feeding) is reiteratedby G. Smith ( l9gl: lS): 'Unl ike a woman, I am notplr-r 'si cul l l ' t ied to any one chi ldonce conception occurs' (original emphasis).I have since come across Sarah Franklin's observations on what she calls the newgenetic essentialism. She notes that the fascination of genetic determinism has rootsin beliefs not only about procreation but about human origins. She adds that a'common-sense ideology of genetic determinism has long been a guarantor ofdifference and of individuality in Western culture' (1988: 96).I also draw on this analysis in another publ icat ion (Strathern 1991). While I extendmy interpretations in other directions than Munn's, they derive from hertheoretical elucidation ofthe nature ofbody, external form and the effects ofsocialin leract ions.

    Notes to pages 57-67

    l0 By cultural definit ion. that is. Contrast the cri t ique in Hobsbawm and Ranger(1983); when i t is given a contemporary place, tradit ion is of course either'preserved' or ' revived', I iv ing by being construed as heritage (Bauman I 990: 435). Ihardly need add that i t is not only the Melanesian case that underl ines thespecif ici ty of the English view: Apff-el-Margl in (n.d.) reminds one of the Vedicassumption that continuation is not a given ofnature but is incessantly constructedby ritual activity. An example of the English assumption I have in mind is offeredby the phi losopher Simons (1987: 353) who quores the fol lowing remark (fromHarr6) as .szf ' evident: 'Enduring is in no need of explanation. We are not requiredto explain the fact that something remains the same; onty if there is a change isexplanation called for.' The first sentence is 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 analysis of Baruya imagery. Indirect justification forthis extrapolation is given in an interpretation of a related society, Sambia (seeStrathern 1988: Ch. 8 and Ch. 9, afrer Herdt 1981, 1987).

    f 3 Hence the emphasis given to arguments about the potentiul of an embryo tobecome an individual (person) (e.g. Harris 1990).

    l4 On Massim mortuary r i tuals, see Darnon and Wagner (1989); on the importance ofhaving to erase individual memory. see Battagl ia (1990).

    l5 The Molima ol the Massim do not embark on full mourning until the signal isgivenon a conch shel l byone oftheattendants that the deceased'ssoul hasdeparted tothe land ol ' thedead. This is some hours after 'death', when preparations for thefuneral begin, during which close kin must weep only softly and other mournersshould desist (Chowning 1989: 103). I f mourners weep too soon, their tears mayflood the road to the land ofthe dead, and they (so to speak) prevent him or herlul ly dying.

    l6 Hockey and James argue that since medical advances have made the survival olchildren more certain than in the past, 'children can now more surely symbolise thefuture than at any other time. For elderly people, however, medical advances . . .have simply meant that ntorepeople l ive to an old age... The age at which deathoccurs has not changed signif icantly '(n.d., original emphasis). They suggest thatthe infanti l isat ion of the elderly is a response to this di lemma: rhe thought of deathis avoided, especially by the carers, through drawing parallels with children. On theadoption of motherhood as the role model for the (female) carer, see also Ungerson( r983, r987).

    White what happens at the beginning of l i fe is thus brought in as a meraphor lorthe end, there are also obvious asymmetries. One is of particular interest for mypresent argument about the downward flow of English time, obligation andidentity. At the beginning oflife, children do notjust need carers, they also need (itis held) carers in the specific kin relationship of parent and above all a mother; aswas noted earl ier in the chapter, the mother provides emotional as well as physicalsupport. While the child is encourage/ to grow up in both senses, and finally awayfrom its dependence on his parents, Jpecific kin thus provide a crucial environmentat the start of life. At the end of life, however, rhe elderly and infirm are held toneed carers to provide physical and emotional cornforts, but there is not the samefelt need tbr the carers to be kin nor the assumption that damage will bedone if theyare not attended by their children. This leads one to reflect that the earlier parentingof the child constitutes acts which do not just belong to the relationship betweenparent and chi ld but belong also to the development of the (to-be-independent)individual. This lays the ground for the lact that anv exnectat ion that a chi ld wil l


  • 204 Notes to pages 67-73

    care for its parents can be compromised by the independence of the child, and theoften reciprocated desire for independence on the part ofthe elderly relative (Finch1989: 38*9).

    l7 A cri t ique J. Goody (1983) himself of lers in relat ion 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 runningcomparison with early European practices; the Lodagaa disposition of propertyseems similar to Western modes of inheritance in that inheritance itself comes tohave its own rationality (holders must ultimately divest themselves of property totheir heirs). But what appears to be taken apart at death is a very different kind ofsocial person from the English holder of property. Goody makes it clear thatLodagaa mortuary ceremonies are ultimately concerned with the reallocation ofthe deceased's rights and duties among members of the community (1962: 274\.lneffect, they disperse the social person - in the case ofa man his offices, roles, rightsin others, activities represented in the handing over ofhis tools, and his potentialfor transactions represented in other assets. It seems to me that the English personis not seen as constituted by kin relationships in such a way that death means areallocation of rights and duties. On the contrary, those rights and dutiesterminate. They were part ofhis/her individual presence; ifconnections endure, it isin memory of the deceased or because absence creates a need such as care ofdependants or a debt to be settled. Above all, English rules of inheritance areaxiomatic, and only by an extension of his or her 'will' does the deceased affect thesubsequent disposition ofproperty- and then as a matter ofwish or choice, not as amatter of having to de-assemble and reassemble his or her 'roles' (relationships).

    l8 Consequently, 'descent abolishes the relevance of the difference [discontinuity]between the dead and the living. This is essential to the notion of a descent group, inthat the existence of such an enduring entity depends on a succession of substitutivegenerations' (Bloch 1987: 327, my emphasis). Carsten (n.d.) has demonstrated theretrospective creation of consanguinity between grandparents on the birth ofgrandchildren for the Malaysian Langkawi.

    l9 A point he quali f ies by adding the' inheritance'of surnames as'patr i l ineal '(sic).The terminology of cognation is disputed among anthropologists (e.g. Barnandand Good 1984:71). For a critique of Fox's usage, see Wolfram (1987: 189-90).

    20 Persons may in their lifetime maintain gardens on both father's and mother's land,but r ights to hamlet land pass at death through women only. Those related to thedeceased through female ties become the'workers' at burial.

    21 Mereology is an established department of philosophical enquiry; my thanks toGillian Beer who first introduced me to the term. To set it apart, I anglicise myneologism 'merographic' by analogy with the biological term meroblast. Meros,Greek, 'part' or 'share'. Graphic, since the issue is the way ideas write or describeone another; the very act ofdescript ion makes what is being described a part ofsomething else, e.g. the description.

    The neologism is intended as a substantive cultural (Western) exemplification ofthe interplay between literal and figurative constructions (sec Wagner 1977b; andbelow, Recapitulation, note 5). Anthropologists have conventionally treated suchconstructions through theories of metaphor and symbolic process.

    But the neologism does not necessarily imply invention. I have not, forinstance, paid proper attention to the Derridean notion of 'supplementation',though no doubt i t pref igures much ofwhat I have to say here. Culler (1979: 168)

    ) )


    Notes to pages 73-83 205

    points out an originating reference in Rousseau's observation that educationiupplements nature: the 'concept ol nature [becomes ] both something complete initsiit to which education is an addition, and something incomplete, or insufficient,which must be supplemented by education for it to be truly itself . . . The logic ofsupplementarity thus makes nature the prior term, a plenitude which was there attheitart, but reveals an inherent lack ofabsence within i t and makes educationsomething external and extra but also an essential condition of that which itsupplements.'A mereologiial part, by contrast, is commonly taken as a part made up of whatmakes up the whole (e.g. branch of a tree). As for merography, it might seemthat any range of phenomena can be diagrammed as so many intersecting circles(by definit ion, of meaning etc), l ike the Venn diagrams Edmund Leach madefamiliar to anthropologists. So it might, as long as this does not obscure thecultural bias. This rests in the (Western) apperception that persons work to bringinLo relationshlp with one another whole differcntorders of phenomena, as differentways of knowing the world and as different perspectives on it.See the discussion in Barnett and Silverman (1979:41,63, etc.) which fol lows asimilar reasoning apropos the dual conceptualisation of an individual person beingdominated by other individuals or else by external forces.'Our propensity to "biologize" human l i fe-history may in part be due to a ratherfundamental tendency in Western thought to locate the mainsprings of socialbehaviour in the inherent nature of autonomous individuals' ( Ingold 1986: 160).My observation has to be offered naively, but such a naturalistic assumption seemsto lie (for instance) behind Simon's distinction between proper overlapping andother forms of overlap between individual entities. Proper overlapping, whereindividuals overlap without being parts of each other is, he suggests, an uneasyconcept perhaps because it is 'connected with its abnormality for human beings'(1987: l2). In his vierv. most human beings are disjoint from one another; themother-foetus case where, he avers, individuals overlap without one being part ofthe other, is a routine excePtion!

    26 Or else are left as some indeterminate referential 'field'. Firth, Hubert and Forgestrikingly refer to kinship as a field of relations, an area divided into 'lots' in theidiom of one informant. 'The ideology of kinship in i ts moral aspect is not a seriesof one-to-one relationships, each with its separate moral content, but a constel-lation in which the moral responsibility of each party is regarded as relative to thatof others in the f ield'(1969: l l3, emphasis removed). Cf. Cheal (1988: 168)' whoinsists that 'the social order of mass society consists of a plurality of interrelated,and irreducible, systems of social organisation' (original emphasis)'

    27 Goody's (1983: Appendices I. I I I) cr i t ique of the conventional classif icat ion ofWestern European kinship systems makes the point that kin terms have forcenturies stressed the distinct (unitary) nature of the nuclear or conjugal family.The conjugal family is itself only 'bilateral' by virtue of an extension of referencebeyond i t ( ' the range of kin traced ttyough fathers and mothers', 1983: 223)'

    28 Johnson ( I 989: 94) suggests that num6rous techniques are in fact used in Americankinship to define a person as a relative. The part that choice ('friendship') plays inthe perception of relat ionships is signif icant - Johnson's point being that thiscannot be relegated to the person-centred system. The issue would have to beargued, however, in terms not of normative 'flexibility' but of categoricalincompleteness.

    29 And the shading off noted above thus has a special charactcr to it that one cannot



  • Y206 Notes to pages 8-j 96

    assume is necessari ly similar to the 'continuum of relatedness' (Carsten 1990:272)from close to distant kin routinely reported ol bilateral systems elsewhere in theworld.

    30 What Schneider cal ls the universe of relat ives in American kinship ' is constructedof elements from two major cultural orders, the order of nature and the order oflaw'(1968:27, emphasis omit ted). [From another perspect ive] ' i t is the order oflaw, that is, culture which resolves contradictions between man and nature, whichare contradict ions within nature i tself (1968; 109). Gellner ((1963) 1987: 182,emphasis omitted) writes: ' [A]n area in which society and nature overlapconspicuously, or seem to, is kinship'.

    3l This does not of course dist inguish 'kinship' from any other social domain. TakingGellner's point that kinship as anthropologists understand it consists in therelationship between (socially possible) biological relations and the social systemsbuilt up after these, rne might look for a Melanesian analogue in terms ofprocreative practice. We would recognise'kinship' relations by their reference to areproductive model of social l i fe.

    32 My thanks to Janet Carsten for drawing attention to the Geertzs' early discussionof teknonymy in Bali . Their interest is in the manner in which teknonymy erases thememory of preceding genealogical ties. Consider also that in the parent beingnamed after the chi ld, the parent is thus'produced' by the chi ld. Hence the Geertzs'observation for Bal i that i t is not who one's ancestor is that is strcssed but whomone is ancestor to (1964: 105). I add that Levi-Srrauss's (1966: 195) interprerarionof the phenomenon of the couvade is not that the father plays the part of themother 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 Sperl ing's drawings (198 l). The book came into mypossession as a gift, and I am grateful to Nigel Rapport for the pleasure it has given.

    2 charles Darwin needed a trope for the organisation of natural relations ('kinship');each term had to define the other. The analogy itself was already in place in thel i terature, poetry and phi losophising ofthe eighteenth century. But the work i t wasthen made to do differs. When two generations earlier Erasmus Darwin refers tothe natural world as 'the whole is one family of one parent', he is drawing attentionto a Creator who has 'stamped a certain similitude on the features of nature'(quoted in McNeil 1986: l7l). Conversely, the Creator is understood as Natureitself. Here is Joseph Priestley writing in 1777 (A Course of Lectures in Oratory andCriticism) as cited by McNeil (1986: 198 19, emphasis removed; my emphasissubsti tuted). His disquisit ion is on the use of personif icat ion as a device to make thenon-human world intel l igible to the human.

    As the sentiments and actions of our fellow-creatures are more interesting to us thananything belonging to inanimate nature . . . a much greater variety ofsensations and ideasmust have been excited by them and consequently adhere to them by the principles ofassociat ion. Hence i t is of prodigious advantage in treating of inanimate things . . . tointroduce frequent allusions to human actions and sentiments, where any resentblance willmake it natural.This converts everything we treat of into thinking and acting beings. We seelife. sense, intelligence everywhere.

    3 The definition of 'family' as a 'course of descent, a genealogy' did not appear inJohnson's dict ionary t i l l the I 758 edit ion. An expl ici t recognit ion of the family as a

    Notes to pagcs 97 I I I 201

    'commurri ty of descent' is l inked to the increasing 'rhetoric of genealogy and rankto label newly acquired social posit ions as tradit ional and natural ' in the lateeighteenth century ( l{andler and Segal 1990: 32).Schapera (1977: 17) observes the manner in which certain affines could beconsidered 'connections' even il they did not have to be treated as 'relatives'.I{owever, thc latter term is here Schapera's, and the contrasl is to some extent-eiven by his use of it as an analytical catcgory.From one's own perspective. however, it rvas also desirable to marry a superior -respecting nature while improving on i t . The authors observe that Austen'scharacters do not so much assign one another to discrete ranks as discourseendlessly upon i ts ef lects, thereby evaluating one another in terms of a dualdistinction between the low, vulgar, servile and the civil, genteel, elegant.' [S]ocial mobil i ty.. . must be understood as an internal. dialect ical leature of thehierarchical system'(Handler and Segal 1990:52). They add (n. 6) 'This suggeststhat the rise of the bourgeoisie [was not a new historical element of social life, but]an immanent feature of the aristocratic order'.I am not talking of l iv ing condit ions; to paraphrase Ray Pahl 's aphorism aboutvillages. the phenomenon in question could be called 'cottages in the mind'.Along with its separation fiom work came a gendering of 'the home'. Talking ofwriters of the mid-nineteenth century, Davidoff and Hall (1987: 181) say:

    Mrs. Ellis . .. does not . . . write about a whole society peopled by both men and women.Her advice books and novels assurne a world in which the tlomestic sphere is occupied bywomen, children and serl'ants, with men as the absent presence, there to direct andcommand but physically occupied elsewhere for most of their time. Similarly, HarrietMartineau assumes a world divided between political economy and domestic economy. . .lt was recognized that men would be preoccupied with business, and domesticity hadbecome the'woman's sphere'rather than, as it is for Cowper, a way of living for both menand women.

    Speaking of change, Maine (1870: 168) says: 'Everywhere a new moral i ty hasdisplaced the canons of conduct and tbe reasons of acquiescence which were inunison with the ancient usages, because in fact they were born of them.' Such arelat ive view of society is not, of course, local ly English. Trautmann (1987: 187)also cites a 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 isbecause there has been a change in man. There is, in fact, a part ofour being whichis modified from age to age; this is our intelligence. It is always in movement; almostalways progressing; and on this account, our institutions and our laws are subjectto change.' He adds that, like Maine, de Coulange writes to undo the FrenchRevolut ion.And of chi ldhood. See David Morgan's (1985: 1630 contextual isat ion ofsociological interest in this field.For instance, Mart in's (1987: Ch.2) analysis olthe American counterpart to theseideas.The evocation of sensibi l i ty in,r6is respect has a long history. McNeil (1986: 197)cites the poet James Thomson for whom it is the contemplation of nature which willevoke and thus constitute the capacity for contemplation itself' 'Thomson'sSeasons (first completed version 1730) represented a new direction for naturepoetry. Its main concern and presumption was that each individual's relationshipwith nature was vital. For Thomson, nature was the primary focus of human lifeand of poetry: 'I know no subject more elevating, more amusing, more ready to



    l l

  • 208 Notes to pages I l l -122

    evoke the poetical enthusiasm, the poetical reflection and the moral sentiment.than the works of Nature." ' Mark Akenside contended in 1744'that Newton'sdescript ion of the rainbow actual ly intensif ied the human experience ol this part ofnature' (McNeil 1986: 168). Nature developed people's sensibi l i t ies.

    l3 For instance, in Grundrisse, published in 1858. Society is conceptualised as thecapacity for and precipitate of social relat ions, a condit ion that some latter-dayanthropologists recognise in the term 'social i ty ' . I t indicates associat ion andinteraction between persons, and a source ofvalue lor their labours, without thetwentieth-century connotations of morphology or structure ( 'organisation').

    14 wil l iams also states (1961: 148, his emphasis): 'This posit ion was necessari ly afundamental challenge to the nineteenth-century system ofproduction, and to the"laws of political economy" which supported it . . . In asserting [a wholly differentsocial judgementlRuskinwasalso,necessari ly,assert ingtheidea ofasocialorder.Attherootofal lh isthinkingishis ideaof" funct ion"- theful f i lmentofeachman'spart in the general design. '

    l5 The phrase refers here in the f irst place to vital beauty (quoted in wil l iams l96l:t4s).

    | 6 And was partly achieved through a recovery of the laws of political economy thatRuskin had rejected, with a reinterpretation of productive life as social formation.

    l7 organicism was not simply a metaphor borrowed from physiology: it had longserved to describe human institutions and the wholeness of human life. It *as now,so to speak, renaturalised in order to convey the inevitability of an internallyregulated system.

    l8 Fortes attr ibutes to both Morgan and Maine what he f inds lacking in Tylor (theidea of a social system). Yet I suspect that Morgan at least uses.system'in the senseof tabulated or otherwise arranged taxa rather than in the structural-functionalsense ofa set ofprinciples which interact upon one another, for this needed theintervening image of 'structural form'. we may note that Morgan found system rnnature. Morgan's'system of nature' is presented by Trautmann thus (19g7: 137,original emphasis removed, my emphasis substi tuted): 'The l inks of kindred arenever broken, but the streams ofdescent perpetually diverge from one another. . ."This self-existing slstem, which may be called the numerical, is theoretically thesystem of nature; and, as such, is taught to all the families of mankind by naturalsuggestion. It specializes each relationship, and indicates, with more or lessdist inctness, a general izat ion into classes ofal l such persons as stand in the samedegree of nearness to the central Ego."'

    19 From Elementary Forms o.f'Religious Li/e, lgl2. The remarks are quoted withapproval by corr igan and Sayer (1985: 9), who give the concept ofmoral authoritynew life in their account of English state formation as cultural revolution. Cf. Bell( I 9 I 4: 288): '[b]ecause no two ages express their sense ofform in precisely the sameway all attempts to recreate the forms of another age must sacrifice emotionalexpression to imitative address'.

    20 In laying out 'the structure of the Andamanese societ y' (1964:22), Radcliffe-Brownturned first to local and family groups. He later distinguished 'social structure'(manifest relations) from their supposedly abstract 'structural form', as he alsodistinguished individual from person.

    2l And, personif ied, may'do'things (see Metcalfe [1987: 78] apropos the personif i-cation of classificatory categories). 'lf any society establishes a system ofcorporations on the basis of kinship - clans, joint-families, incorporated lineages -it must necessarily adopt a system of unilineal reckoning of succession' wroteRadcl i f fe-Brown in 1935 (1952:46). Structure has needs: ' the existence ofuni l ineal

    Notes to pages 122 123

    . . . succession. . . can be traced to. . . certain fundamental social necessit ies', such asthe need for a precise formulation of rights over persons or the need for thecontinuity of social structure i tself (1952: 47).An example of a structural principle is the manner in which persons trace theirrelationships to one another through an apical ancestor ('descent'). He gave as asimple instance ' the cognatic principle' (1950: l3).This was another solution to Darwin's problem of personification, insofar as theawkward analogies between nature and society were resolved in the idea that theindividual was a hinge to both. The awkwardness had antecedents in the explicitquestions people asked about the analogy itself. I quote from Jordanova (19g6:39, original emphasis): 'eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers also questionedthe unity, coherence and goodness of nature. Increasingly, nature appeared fullof contradict ions, tensions and ambiguit ies .. . By the 1780s, the idea that thenatural world contained unambiguous ethical prescriptions was coming to seemnaive, at least in some circles. Nature was simultaneously taken as a theatre ofhuman aflairs, in a dcliberate and celebratory anthropomorphism, and ascontaining dramas which repel or disgust the human spectator. The parallelismbetween human social life and the natural world could also take a more absrractform .. . Ideas like division of labour, progress and hierarchy appeared to haveequal explanatory power in both realms. This raise s the question of metaphorwas it that society and nature were like each other, that is, linked through ametaphorical language, or was it rather that they wcre diflerent aspects of the.same thing for which only one language was needed. social phenomena beingmerely more complex organic ones?'From one point of view it looks as though this turn of the century moment simplyrepeats another. The following comes from a review of Maclntyre' s Which Justice !W hit' h Rat ionali/-r,2 (Duckworth):

    It was the late lTth century according to Maclntyre that saw a transformation ofthe viewofthe task ofmoral philosophy. The idea that there could and would be a diversity ofviewsabout the good took hold and political theory began to centre on the practical issue ofhowpeople with these diverse conceptions might live together. It is in this context that 'theindividual'emerges as a fundamental social category individuals as prior to and apartfrom their membership in any particular social and political order. The question forpolitical philosophy was set then and continues to be: why should this isolated individualconform to any particular social order? Why should the individual obey the state? For thisquestion, neither the ancient answer that the individual already has an assigned social rolewithin thepolis nor the medieval answer that the order of things is laid down by God -was available as a solution. The question remains, then: 'how can someone moved only byself-interest be motivated to obey the principles of justice?' (Brenda Almond, The TimesHigher Educational Supplemenl, l4 October 88, original emphasis).

    Yet the question does not really remain in that form. While the 'new' twentieth-century plurality of viewpoints (ethnicisation) seems to have precipitated a similarrelashioning of the individ ua! '(he assumptions are not the same. The central issueis not that of 'obedience' (to a state which could be personif ied in i ts king orlegislative assembly) but of 'the relationship' between the individual person on theone hand and society on the other, when society is refashioned as an organisationand system whose authority extends to the very moulding of cultural values andpersonal attitudes themselves.An example no doubt at the back of Fortes' mind when he generalises about theway the differentiation of persons in the domestic domain feeds into the structure






  • 2t12t0


    Notcs to pagcs 123 132

    of the uni l ineal descent group, this being nrore (he says) than just a matter ofphysical recruitnrent (1958: 6).From the moment of i ts birth, in this view. a baby embarks on a struggle: betweenbeingmoulded by al l the forces of convention that wi l l turn i t into a schoolchi ld,adult, engineer or whatever, and real ising i tself as an individual, with i ts ownpersonality, tastes and skill and successes in life. The one is played off against theother, so that the best inst i tut ions are those which'al low'the individual to'express'him or herself . Hence we make very l i t t le olthe lact that the (biological) capacity tobe a parent is already within the chi ld: rather, we dist inguish dit lerent processes.The chi ld must both natural ly mature and cultural ly learn what parenting is - andthus do parents evince convention [Chapter One].For a recent Anglo/American formulation, see Paul (1987: 80):

    One of the enduring diflerences of opinion among anthropologists . . . concerns the degreeto which society is understood to be an entity in itself, with some power to determine thebehaviour ofits constituent members, as opposed to a position according to which societyis nothing other than t he prod uct of the summed behaviour of a number of individ uals . . .[From ] Holy and Stuchlik ( 1983: 2): 'lf society . . . is an objective reality to whose demandspeople respond in specific ways, then it is an autonomous agency and individual people areits agents, and the only acceptable explanation is in terms of the functioning of the system.If, on the other hand, society . . . emerges from, and is maintained or changed only by whatpeople do, then individuals are autonomous agents and systems are consequences of theiractions and, in the Iast instances, explicable by them.'

    4 Greenhouse eLl'ectI 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 homes and enjoy family life. perhaps thisis a point at which again to make expl ici t my own concern with imagery. The way inwhich the image of the 'home' is presented to the paying visi tor is not isomorphicwith such 'home' as the residents may also construct lor themselves. Theproprietor 's home is, of course, l ikely to bear more resemblance to the homes theirvisi tors have left 'at home'. I should also make expl ici t that in a number of places Iwrite with affection, indeed have gone out of my way to select for considerationcultural 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 Melanesianassumptions. Two examples which show the facility to keep scale betweenanalogies may help. ( I ) I f the tree growing on clan land that wi l l be cut into acanoeis for the people of Gawa simultaneously the mother and the chitd she carr ies. thatidea 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 andcarve the tree into a likeness of a mother: it remains with these images 'inside'.Consequently the tree is a tree while it is also a canoe, a mother, a descent group orwhatever is being drawn from it. Any one of these possibilities may be hiddenagain. (2) The men of Mt Hagen show inner wealth by decorating their outerpersons: that inner capacity brought outside, made visible, is then hidden again inthe recesses ofthe house, underneath thedirty apparel oleveryday work: what isexposed returns to an original position within. Inside and outside can be seen asequivalent analogies or reciprocal inversions of each other. Much Melanesianceremonial concerns the momentary nature of revelation, for revelation can neverbe a permanent state of affairs.

    Notes to pages 132-144

    4 The image of the penetrating eye has been much discussed; with respect toanthropological knowledge, see Fabian (1983), to i ts gender connotations, seeJordanova (1989). (Perhaps i t is ofno surprise that such perspectival imagery isnowadays displaced by other imaginings, lor example in 'visuals' which do notrepresent what can be seen (such as fractal graphics) or through 'measurements'conceived as 1,000 times smaller than the micron (The Coming Era of Nanotech-nology 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 anddomestic domains in a non-Western context is understood merographically in onerecent commentary: Goldthorpe (1987: 7) takes Fortes' 'domestic field, viewedfrom within as an internal system' to be'the psycho-social interior of the family' .

    6 Rapport (n.d.2) develops an intriguing contrast between British 'social pluralism'and American'cultural plural ism'.

    7 The English habitually contrasted themselves with Americans here, of whom theysupposed that money provided a single scale of measurement.

    8 For example, Barrett and Mclntosh (1982: 9l): 'An analysis couched in terms ofcontradictions is certainly more satisfactory than a complacent evocation of tidyfunctional relationships. We need to ask, however, whether such contradictions aregenerated within the dynamic of capitalist production relations or whether they area consequence of perceiving the family as a unified category.'

    9 Note that Darwin had to work from a situation in which civilisation rank andclass - was already in place. His concern was to extend an ancestry that wouldreveal common origins lying beyond the inequalities of social worth. The contrastIngold (1986: 59f) draws between him and Morgan is suggestive. Their evol-utionary perspectives, he says, took offfrom quite different vantage points. Darwinwas concerned to'downgrade'man while Morgan wanted to'upgrade' animals.Ingold cites what Morgan was supposed to have learnt flrom Darwin (butmisunderstood), a view of man as commencing at the bottom of the scale andworking himself up to his present status, whereas Darwin's scale was in factbottomless. extending back into the lower animal kingdoms. Darwin talks aboutnatural forces; Morgan talks about the purposeful 'working up' of man's presentposition as the result of'the struggles, the sufferings, the heroic exertions and thepatient toil' of his ancestors (quoted 1986: 62). Of course, one cannot match thisdifference with a simple contrast between England and America, even though oneEnglish view of Americans is that they are all'self-made'. After all, Morgan's viewwas also close to Tylor's, that the development of the arts takes place by skill andeffort. In the English case, however, any claim to privilege must negotiate pre-existing class identity - whether of the aristocracy or the masses'

    l0 Not having a communicable view on events has'always' been true of minoritygroups. The difference is that we have vastly multiplied the number of suchminorities - ethnicising this or that characteristic into a special case. A pheno-menon of the last decade has been the appearance of public advertisements bycharitable organisations that bring particular physical and mental disabilities topeople's attention, simultaneously cryrating a minority perception of the deaf orrheumatic and appealing to the public to treat them 'as persons'. But a furtberdifference 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 oninformation.

    I I One of the forms in which the quotations appeared, purportedly in a BBCinterview. A version quoted in a New Right debate on television in mid- 1988 went:



  • 212 Nores to pages 144-151

    'Who is society? There is no such thing. There are individuals and families.'On thisprogramme the opinion was also offered thal individualism was our tradition andthere was no single national community. A further note is in order: with the changeof regime in late 1990 appears to have come a reinstatement of society. But Major's'society of opportunity' has nothing social about it. As I note, the backpedallingbegan almost as soon as Thatcher finished her utterance. That it should have beenuttered at al l is what interests me.

    l2 I say 'we' because Thatcher was simply speeding up a common devolution of ideas.Anthropological conceptualisations of society are also implicated, as in thefollowing statement, from an American but in the tradition of the EnglishmanSpencer. The subject is Kluckhohn's 1949 distinction between society and culture.'Since culture is an abstraction, it is important not to confuse culture with society.A "society" refers to a group ofpeople who interact more with each other than theydo with other individuals who co-operate with each other for the attainment ofcertain ends. You can see and indeed count the individuals who make up a society. A"culture" refers to the distinctive ways oflife ofsuch a group ofpeople' (quoted inIngold 1986: 236,my emphasis). Note that what emerges as visible and concrete isnot society but the individuals who make it up.

    l3 This has been a sore point with apologists for the New Right: what meaning can begiven to the idea of active citizenship when there is no corresponding promulgationof an idea of community or body to which the citizen, so-called, belongs? The anti-monarchical connotations of 'ci t izen'have not been lost on the Opposit ion (e.g.David Marquand of the SLDP writing in The Guardian,2 January 1989'1.

    l4 As their argument about the bourgeois 'right to choose' shows. what makes theexercise of alternatives desirable in the above case is the fact that the family isalready in place: 'the family' is an ideological construct and when we considerdebates on "'its place in society", "its historical development" and "its relation-ship to capitalism" we have to look at the extent to which the analyses arethemselves constituted in political and ideological terms' (Barrett and Mclntosh1982:85).

    l5 Suppose,hesays(1985: l l4) , 'modernartandmodernism-farfrombeingakindofspecialized aesthetic curiosity actually anticipated social developments alongthese lines; suppos [e] that in the decades since the emergence of the great modernstyles society has itself begun to fragment in this way, each group coming to speak acurious private language of its own, each profession developing its private code oridiolect, and finally each individual coming to be a kind of linguistic island'.

    l6 '[A] signifier that has lost its signified has thereby been transformed into an image'(Jameson 1985: 120).

    l7 And thus' logical 'and'rat ional '( for that domain). The constructions are in thissense figurative (Ch. 2, note 2l). On the rhetoric of rationality in self-referentialmodels, see Mirowski (1990). In animating the concepts referred to in thisparagraph, I am of course pointing to their effects, that is, the conventionalunderstanding of lother) phenomena entailed in their usage.

    l8 The 1830s cholera epidemics that forced people to take account of the inter-relationships between different aspects of life had a similar effect in France(Rabinow 1989: l5): 'medical commissions produced a detailed statistical analysisof the relationships of social class, housing, and disease'. The increased use ofnumbers in solving social problems, as he says, Ied eventually to the concept ofstat ist ical norms, that is, norms intr insic or 'natural ' to the society in question.(Rabinow (1989: 66) describes Quetelet 's precocious insistence in 1833 that the

    Notes to pages 15l-167 213

    only way to study individuals was to take them as indications of general populationcharacteristics; hence his formula of the 'average man'.)

    l9 Thus Douglas Hurd, then Home Secretary, allegedly first used the phrase 'activecit izen' in a speech in February 1988 in the context ofurging people to take aninterest in 'the community' and restore 'the amazing social cohesion' (!) ofVictorian England. But whatever community or cohesion might exist, theGovernment does not symbolise it. 'The first instinct of the active citizen', saidHurd,'should notbeto apply for a Government grant' (The Guardian, g November1988, original emphasis).

    20 A phrase used by the Nuer of the Sudan to underline their own insignificance inGod's eye (Evans-Pritchard 1940: l2).

    21 Lord Young of Graflham, then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and headof the Enterprise Policy Unit, was speaking in 1989 at a conference on'The Valuesof the Enterprise Culture'(see Heelas and Morris l99l). In his own view, thepresent mandate is to restore'the Age of the Individual ' that between 1870-1970has been overshadowed by the state. As he put it, private enterprise shouldsubsume public responsibility.

    22 The elision between role and property both involving 'rights' that personsexercise yr's-d-yrs others - should be understood in the context ofa changing seriesofconceptualisations about property and propriety that extends back beyond thecompass I have chosen for myself here. I note just one notable English contributionto 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 theSupreme Proprietor ownd men, and he owned all men. Men only 'owned' oneanother's labour as a service bought and sold: the products ofwork are separatefrom the will to work, and that will could only be exercised by the individual beforeGod.

    23 It is unlikely that Thatcher meant family in terms of a ramifying set of networks oranything like a 'family of man' between people across the globe; the statement hasbeen taken as obviously referring to nuclear families of the English type.

    24 Hence perhaps the topsy-turvy status of public funding in Britain in the late 1980s.There is an unprecedented central intervention in the conduct ('accountability') ofthose who receive public funds. The person visibly dependent on public funding(and I include employees of state institutions as well as recipients of public benefit)is compromised in a way that one dependent on private funding is not. Those whoreceive public funds in effect lose individuality.

    25 Cf. Haraway (1985: 88). The new communications eradicate publ ic l i fe: modernsociety produces 'private life'. But what is public and what is private has itselfbecome problematic.

    26 That idea. that people make relations/people make society, is itself the pre-condition for this move. (lt is the same idea as that peculiar notion that people havea relationship with society.) In Melanesia, people make people; people do not'make relations'. Relations, already in place, are made to appear.

    27 He was interested in how essentialiy identicat facilities provided by the local councilhad been differently utilised by the occupants (1988: 356), and in how as consumerspeople appropriated commodities to create an inalienable sense of 'being at home'.

    28 He writes (198S: 64) that this has consequences for social policy: 'social policyshould be related to the actual needs ofpeople in their lives as lived and that theirl ivesshouldbeconceived ofasunit iesnotdisparatesegmentsofeducation,health,income or social work needs' (original emphasis).

  • 214 Notes to pages 167 183

    29 Qne such collectivity of purpose is acted out in Norwegian working-class familiesthrough constant attention to 'doing up [decorating] the home [house] '(Gullestad1984: Ch. 5). Home seems to have a self-defining emphasis in Scandinavian culturethat goes beyond the English: see for instance Frykman and Lofgren (1987: Ch. 3).

    30 A similar contrast is made by Bauman who notes the shif t from the (modern) ideaof state society as the environment for goal-achievement to the (postmodern)concept of community. The old setting 'derived its solidity from the presence ofmutually reinforcing, coordinated and overlapping agencies [domains] of integ-ration' (such as economic system, body politic) while communities are'grounded intheir act ivi t ies only' (1988: 800).

    l l BBC 2, Horizon, 'Signs of Life' , l l June 1990 (f i lm by John Wyver). I t noted thatartificial life researchers have turned traditional biology on its head. 'lnstead ofanalysing l iving things by taking them apart, they are using computers to simulatsimple organisms' (from accompanying booklet). The new metaphor builders!

    32 Ulmer is discussing Derrida's concept of mime ( 'mimicry imitat ing nothing').33 It is not that we did not 'consume' nature in the past, but that the image of the

    consumer has come to dominate late twentieth-century representations of therelat ionship between nature and i ts social or cultural despoliat ion.

    34 For me the date is precise: between writing the first and second drafts 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 Frankl in (n.d.) who locates the desire ofinfertile couples to procreate in what she calls a modern and 'very British'narrative: the scientific discovery of the facts of nature. Couples are invited tounderstand their experience as a contribution to scientific progress.

    36 The context for this statement is admirable (a critique of the insufficiencies ofprovisions for the disabled): i t is the utterabi l i ty of the sentiment that is intr iguing.Hicks says that the choice should not be between dependency and beingindependent, but for interdependence. From where, then, do we find thc languagefor interdependence?

    37 Gallagher, concerned to restore a balance to the debate about embryo rights andthe new technologies, comments that as feminists we'have to learn better to avoidthe media caricature of feminism that ignores our carefully wrought and balancedagendas. We need to project a vision that addresses the whole range of women'sreproductive experiences, to publicly associate ourselves with amrmative proposalsand demands support ive of a woman's choice to become a mother' (1987: 145). Isimply draw attention to how the debate is constituted by the problematic status of'choice' as one of its key terms. No wonder the sperm bank established by RobertGraham in the States was called 'Repository for Germinal Choice' (Spallone 1987:3l ) .

    38 Rapp (1988; 1989) reports on the new responsibi l i ty taken on themselves bymembers of the medical profession to ensure that mothers do exercise choice. Sherefers to the process as one of privatisation: such choice is supposed to besomething one can exercise in isolation, with only counsellors to help.

    39 Rowland continues (original emphasis, 1987:70): 'with the intensification of malepower inside the home comes the greater demand for a father's rights blut notnecessarily a parallel increase in his responsibilities'.

    40 Helman points to the imagery of difference mediated through the englobing andrejecting processes ofa body in relation to the'foreign bodies' that invade it. Thelanguage of xenophobia and transplant surgery mix. Emily Martin (n.d.) examines

    Notes to pages 183 186 215

    a similar range of metaphors concerning the militaristic representation ol theimmune system.

    41 Thus when Rapport (n.d. l) defines the mult ipl ici ty of viewpoints which E. M.Forster sustainsin Howards End, he points out that 'Forster foresaw connectednessin the form of an intermediary (a participant-observer) making repeatedexcursions between separate realms, domains or entities, and drawing comparisonsby coming to terms with the regularities o.f life practised by each as he interpretsthem'(my emphasis). This is the merographic amalgam of pluralism. A postpluralworld has 'lost' this mathematics insofar as it can no longer enumerate suchdifferent domains. What looks like a breach of outworn dichotomies ('the oldoppositions - science versus art, fact versus fiction, Left versus Right, high cultureversus low culture, mass culture versus "progressive" modern art and so on nolonger hold' (Hebdige I 989: 49)) in fact breaches the facility to perceive social life asmade up of countless (i.e. potentially countable) discrete logics and 'separaterealms'.

    42 Petchesky (1987: 63, reference omitted) quotes an article by Sofia in Diacritics(1984): "'In science fiction culture particularly, technologies are perceived asmodes of reproduction in themselves". . . The'Star Child' of 2001 is not a l ivingorganic being but "a biomechanism . . . a cyborg capable of living unaided inspace". This "child" poses as the symbol of fertility and life but in fact is thecreature of the same technologies that bring cosmic extermination, which it alonesurvives. '

    43 One feminist anthropological critique (Kirby 1989: 13 14) refers to Derrida'seconomy of difibrance, the transference onto an other ofall that is residual to theOne/Referent, as the solution to difference in a binary mode. 'It is this flickering"in-between" . . . of content and form, interiority and exteriority, surface anddepth, an oscillation that urges a continual revaluation ofeach against the otheruntil the disjunctions become blurred and ambiguous, that discovers a "thirdterm" that escapes and somehow betrays the system.' But such a vision alsocontains its own nostalgia for plurality, for it encourages 'the prolifleration of amultiplicity of readings/meanings such that the "truth" of any one perspectivemight be rendered ambiguous, parasitic, relational'. A postplural world does notdeal in perspectives. It knowingly appropriates alterity: 'We do not sell; we makepeople want to buy' (John Hegarty, Advertiser, interview with Michael Ignatieff,BBC 2, 8 January 1988 (programme; Three Minute Culture)).

    Recapitulation: nostalgia from a postplural worldI His qualification should be entered.

    When I say'American'I do not mean .. . the type of social American who l ives in NewYork or Paris. I am not thinking either of the lonely, home-sick American whom weencounter on his travels abroad, and who is apt from lack ofself-assurance to render hismanners too emphatic. I am not refe.rring to American big business which is to mewearisome and incomprehensible. StiYless do I have in mind the political manager whoencourages the fiction that it is unprofitable to differ from the average; that it is un-American to manifest intellectual or aesthetic distinction or to be interested in thoughts orfeelings that are beyond the range of the common man. The best heads America possesseshave always been her egg-heads. The type that I esteem is ... the calm scholar whopreserves all that is most venerable in the tradition ofthe founding lathers. (1955:285)

    2 I owe these remarks to another gift, Ottesen's book, and thank Mary McConnell.

  • "I21' l216 Notes to pages 186 197

    The reference here is to the Introduction that Frank Waugh from the Massachus-etts Agricultural College wrote to a volume on Foundation Planting (1927). One ofhis own works (1917) was called The Natural Style in Landscape Gardening.

    3 It follows that whatever model of 'private industry'America might offer, it cannotprovide a model for the present and radical English spate of 'privatisation', simplybecause American private industry is already there. If we have produced a versionof American individualism, we have produced it English-style.

    4 And individuals as containing unique personali t ies and emotions (1975:79).5 'When the actor's intention is focused upon "relating", he will perceive his action

    as a transformation of discrete phenomenal entities into a consistent relationalpattern' (Wagner 1977b:391). All human activity may be analysed into both literaland figurative (non-referential) components, each ofwhich acts as a context for theother, Wagner argues, but different world views support different modalities of theconventional. 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 andcontrol [innate] difference' (J. Weiner 1988: 8).

    6 One may think of an epoch as an event that is also a relation, for each eventassimilates what has preceded i t into i ts own'now'(Wagner 1986:81).

    7 Thus all obviational sequences of a temporal kind will end just before a 'final'obviation (as Wagner's double sequence ends before its own closure).

    8 Choice has also changed: no longer the exercise of discrimination and thusrevelation of social or natural (good) breeding, but a preference on a par withopinion and decision-making, to be exercised no matter how trivial or momentousthe occasion, and to be seen to be exercised. I enter the qualification here notedearlier apropos home 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 humanresponsibility for God, and thus for an elucidation of the world that had to explainnot only God but humankind's place in it. This displacement obviated earlierassumptions. In Medieval Europe, humankind had always been placed in an orderbeyond itself, but insofar as that order was personified in God, the question of theindividual person's relationship to it was a question of personal responsibility toGod. The world was full of divine presence, of which natural manifestationsconstituted signs for the faithful. When the context or ground of being then becameapprehended as nature, God was internalised: people became responsible for theconventions by which they apprehended divinity. As a consequence, whatappeared at issue for individual persons was their relationship to the conventionalorder. The world was seen to contain both creations and inventions, facts ofnatureand people's interpretations of them. The connection between the apparatus fordiscovering the world (reason) and its internal autonomy (nature) becameunderstood not as a matter of decoding signs but as a matter of unravellingrelations. Hence, throughout the subsequent Modern cycle, what is beingrefashioned at each moment is the nature of relations, namely, humankind'srelationship to a world conceived in the abstract as the work of a Creator, or thehand of Nature or eventually Society itself, but always posing the question of howone 'does' the relationship.

    1 I Thus Rabinow (e.g. 1989: 18 l9), after Foucault's The Order of Things. Modernity

    Notes to pages 197 198

    was not distinguished by the attempt to study humankind with objective methodsbut with the appearance of what Foucault calls a doublet: 'Man appears as anobject of knowledge and as a subject that knows.'Might Culture finally be seen as 'added' to Technology? 'Modernists and Late-Modernists tend to emphasise technical and economic solutions to problems,whereas Post-Modernists tend to emphasise contextual and cultural additions totheir inventions' (Jencks and Keswick 1987:22, my emphasis). But, then, this onlyrefers to architecture!Werner Sperschneider brings to my attention an observation by Brian Hale (fromFokkema and Bertens, eds., Approaching Postmodernism, 1986) that the dominanttheme of modern writing is epistemological (how do we know knowledge) bycontrast with what he identifies as the ontological stance of postmodern writing(what kinds of worlds are there?). Ontological here carries the connotation not ofgrounding but of being.The 'cannibalism' is literal for chickens that eat recycled chicken/feed. Some of theoutrage expressed in the popular press may stem from the'familial' association ofdomestic farmyard animals. Wild carnivores quite properly eat other animalspecies, as may carnivorous house pets.It is alleged that the BSE disease was transmitted when, in the interests of financialeconomy, the Government allowed a drop in the minimum standard for thetemperatures at which cattle feeds were sterilised.The Guardian, T June 1990, carried a double spread on multimedia as 'new productswhich offer combinations of text, sound, animation and images' and on thecomputer virus as the possible 'harbinger of a new form of life, able to spreaduncontrolled through the world's network'.'The development of a genetic and physical map followed by acomplete sequencingof the estimated 3,500 million base pairs making up the human genome are nowtechnically feasible: all that is required is the will and the money (about 50 pence perbase pair) ' (Ferguson 1990:8). E.P. Thompson's novel The Sykaos Papers(Bloomsbury 1988) depicts a 'human' species without kinship.







  • References

    Anderson, Michael, 1980, Approaches to the History of the western Family l50G tg 14,London: Macmil lan.

    Apffel-Margl in. Fredrique, n.d. 'woman's Blood: Life Rhythm and work Discipl ine'.Paper presented to WIDER conference. Systems of knowledge or systems ofdontinat ion, Karachi, I 988.

    Austen, Jane, 1917 [811], sense and sensibility, London: Macmillan and co. Ltd.Barnard, Alan and Anthony Good, 1984, Research practices in the studl,of Kinship,

    London: Academic Press.Barnes, Fancourt, 1898 U8431, Chavasse's Advice to a wife on the Managernent of Her

    Ov,n Health, elc. (Revised: l4th Edn), London: J. and A. Churchill.Barnett, Steve and Martin G. Silverman, 1979, Ideotogy antl Ever-vday Life:

    Anthropologl', Neomarxist Thought, and the problem o.f ldeologv and the socialWhole, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan press.

    Barnett, Steve and JoAnn Magdoff, 1986,'Beyond Narcissism in American culture ofthe 1980s', Culture Anthropology, l :41T24.

    Barrett, Michdle and Mary Mclntosh, 1982. The Anti-social Familv. London: verso.Battaglia, Debbora, 1985, "'we Feed our Father": paternal Nurture among the Sabarl

    of Papua New Guinea', American Ethnologist, \2: 427-41.1990, on the Bones of the Serpent: Person, Memory and Mortality in sabarl Island

    Society, Chicago: University of Chicago press.Bauman, zygmunt,1988,'viewpoint: Sociology and postmodelr.;,ity', The sociological

    Reviev, ,36: 790 813.1990, 'Philosophical Affinities of Postmodern Sociology' , The Sociological Review,

    38: 4l l-44.Beer, Gillian, 1983, Darwin's Plots- Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Elior and

    Nineteenth Century Fiction, London: Routledge and Kegan paul.1986' "'The Face of Nature": Anthropomorphic Elements in the Langua ge of rhe

    Origin of Species.' ln L. Jordanova (ed.), Languages of Nature, London: FreeAssociat ion Books.

    Bell, Clive, 1928 |9141, Art,Lond,on: Chauo and Windus.Bernardes, Jon, 1 988,'Founding the Neb' "Family Studies"', The Soci ological Review,

    36: 57-86.Bloch, Maurice, 1971, Placing the Dead: Tombs, Ancestral villages ancl Kinship

    Organization in Madagascar, London: Seminar (Academic) press.1986, From Blessing to violence. History and ldeology in the Circwncision Ntual of

    the Merina of Madagascar, Cambridge: Cambridge University press.


    1987, 'Descent and Sources of Contradiction in the Representation of Women andKinship.'In J. Collier and S. Yanagisako (eds.), Gender and Kinship, Stanford:Stanford University Press.

    Boon, James A., 1982, Other Tribes, Other Suibes. Symbolic Anthropologf in theComparative Study oJ- Cultures, Histories, Religions, and Texts, Cambridge:Cambrid ge University Press.

    Bouquet, Mary, 1985, Family, Servants and Visitors. The Farm Household inNineteenth and Twentieth Centurv Devon, Norwich: Geo Books.

    1986, "'You Cannot be a Brahmin in the English Countryside". The Partitioning ofStatus, and i ts Representation within the Family Farm in Devon.' In A. P. Cohen(ed.), Symbolising Boundaries, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    1988, 'All Modern Conveniences: Properties of Home Comfort in EnglishFarmhouse Accommodation.' Paper presented at Conference Anthropology ofTourism, London.

    Bouquet, Mary and Henk de Haan, 1987, 'Kinship as an Analytical Category in RuralSociology: An Introduction', Sociologica Ruralis, 27: 24T62.

    Brooker, Peter and Peter Widdowson, 1986, 'A Literature for England.' In R. Collsand P. Dodd (eds.), Englisfuess, London: Croom Helm.

    Carri thers, Michael, 1985,'An Alternative History of the Self ' . In M. Carri thers, S.Collins and S. Lukes (eds.), The Category of the Person, Cambridge: Cambridge[Jniversity Press.

    Carsten, Janet, 1990, 'Women, Men, and the Long and Short Term of Inheritance inPulau Langkawi, Malaysia', Bijdragen. 146: 27V88.

    n.d., 'Women, Kinship and Community in a Malay Fishing Village on PulauLangkawi, Malaysia', Ph.D Thesis, University of London, 1987.

    Cheal. David. 1988. The Gifr Economy, London; Routledge. "'ciowninE. Aiin.1989, 'Deaili ano Ki;siip il M;iima.' In F. Da-on and R. wagner

    (eds.), Death Ntuals and Life in the Societies oJ the Kula Ring, deKalb: NorthernIl l inois University Press.

    Cohen. Anthony P.. 1985, The Svmbolic Constntction of Community, London:Tavistock Publications.

    1986. 'Of Symbols and Boundaries, or, Does Ertie's Greatcoat Hold the Key.' InA. P. Cohen (ed.), S1'mbolising Boundarie.r, Manchester: Manchester UniversityPress.

    1987, Whalsay. S1'mbol, Segment and Boundary in a Shetland Island Cotnmutity,Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    Colls, Robert and Philip Dodd, 1987, Englislmess. Politics and Culture 188U1920,London: Croom Helm.

    Corrigan, Philip and Derek Sayer, 1985, The Great Arch. English State Formation asCultural Revolution. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    Culler. Jonath an, 19'19, 'Jacques Derrida.' In J. Sturrock (ed.\ Structuralism and Since:From Livi-Strauss to Derriela, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Damon, Frederick, 1989, 'The Muyuy Lo'un and the End of Marriage. ' In F. Damonand R. Wagner (eds.), Death 4.iruals and Life in tlrc Societies of the Kila Ring'deKalb: Northern I l l inois University Press.

    Damon, Frederick and Roy Wagner (eds.), 1989, Death Rituals and Lilb in the Societiesof the Kula Rlng, deKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.

    Davidoff, Leonore and Catherine Hall, 1987, Family Forlunes. Men and lVomen o;f theEnglish Middle Class, 1780 18J0, London: Hutchinson.

    Dixon, W. Macneile, 1938 (1931), The Englishmar, London: Hodder and Stoughton.


  • 220 References

    Dodd, Philip, 1987, 'Englishness and the National Culture.' In R. Colls and P. Dodd(eds.), Englishness, London: Croom Helm.

    Douglas, Mary, 1978, Cultural Bias, Occasional Paper 35, London: Royal Anthropo-logical Institute.

    Doyal, Lesley, 1987, 'Infertility A Life Sentence? Women and the National HealthService.' In M. Stanworth (ed.). Reproductive Technologies: Gender, Motherhoodand Medicine, Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Doyle, Brian, 1986, 'The Invention of English. ' In R. Colls and P. Dodd (eds.),Englishness, London: Croom Helm.

    Dreyfus, Hubert, L. and Paul Rabinow, 1982, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structurqlismand llermeneulics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Dyson, Anthony and John Harris, 1990, Experiments on Embryos, London:Routledge.

    Elliot, Faith R., 1986, The Familv: Change or Continuit.t'?, London: MacmillanEducation Ltd.

    Ennew, Judith, n.d., 'Desire and the Anecdote: The Ethnographic Present of Researchon Children and Childhood.' Presented at ASA Conference, Autobiography andAnthropology, York, 1989.

    Evans-Pritchard, E. E., 1940, The Nuer. A Description of the Modes of Livelihood andPolitical Institutions of a Nilotic People, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Fabian, Johannes, 1983, Time and the Other. How Anthropologlt 74o1rrt r, Object,NewYork: Columbia University Press.

    Ferguson, Mark, 1990, 'Contemporary and Future Possibi l i t ies for Human Em-bryonic Manipulat ion. ' In A. Dyson and J. Harris (eds.\, Experin' tents onEm br.t,os, London: Routled ge.

    Fernandez, James W., 1971,'Persuasions and Performances. ' In C. Geertz (ed.) Myth,Symbol and Culture, New York: Norton and Co. Inc.

    Finch, Janet, 1989, Family Obligations and Social Change, Cambridge: Polity Presswith Basi l Blackwell

    Firth, Raymond (ed.), 1956, Introduction to Two Studies of Kinship in London,University of London: The Athlone Press.

    Firth, Raymond and Judith Djamour, 1956,'Kinship in South Borough.' In R. Firth(ed.), Two Studies of Knship in London, London: Athlone Press.

    Firth, Raymond, Jane Hubert and Anthony Forge, 1969. Fanilies and Their Relatives.Kinship in a Middle-Class Sector of London, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Fletcher, Ronald, 1962, The Family and Marriage in Britain, Harmondsworth:Penguin.

    Fortes, Meyer, 1958, Introduction to The Developmental Cycle in Domestic Groups,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    1969, Kinship and the Social Order, Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co.Foster, Hal, 1985. 'Postmodernism: A Preface.' In H. Foster (ed.). Postmodern

    Culnre, London: Pluto Press.Fox, Robin, 1967, Kinship ond Marriage. An Anthropological Perspective, Har-

    mondsworth: Penguin Books.Franklin, Sarah, 1988, "'Life Story": The New Gene as Fetish Object', Science as

    Culture, 3: 92-101.n.d., 'The Changing Cultural Construction of Reproduction in the Context of New

    Reproductive Technologies: Redefining Reproductive Choice.' Paper delivered atBSA/PSA Conference, London. 1990.

    Frykman, Jonas and Orvar Lcilgren,1987. Culture Builders. A Historical Anthropology

    of Mittdle class Life (trans. Alan crozier), New Brunswick: Rutgers UniversityPress.

    Gull;eh;;, Janet, 1987,'Eggs, Embryos and Foetuses: Anxietv and the Law'' In M'Sianworth 1ee, nepiiductive iechnologies; Gender, Motherhood and Medicine,Cambridge: PolitY Press.

    Ge"rit, Hlldrld and Clifford, 1964, 'Teknonymy in Bali: Parenthood' Age-grading-

    and Genealogical Amnesia" Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute,94"9+108.

    Gellner, Ernest, 1964, Thought and Change, Chicago: Chicago University.Press'-it8t,'

    ih, Conrrp, of t

  • \222 References

    Heelas, Paul and Paul Morris, 1991, fhe Values oJ'the Enterprise Culture: The MoralDebate, London: Unwin Hyman.

    Helmann, Ceci l . 1988, 'Dr. Frankenstein and the Industr ial Body: Reflect ions on"Spare Part" Surgery', Anthropolog.t' Today, 4: 14-16.

    Herdt, Gilbert H., 1981, Guardians o/'the Flute: Idioms oJ Musr:ulinit.t,, New York:McGraw Hil l Book Co.

    1987, Tlrc Sambia. Ritual and Gentler in New Guinea, New York: Holt, Rinehart andWinston.

    Hicks, Cherrill, 1988, Who Cares: Looking A.fter People at Home, London: ViragoPress.

    Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger (eds.), 1983, The Invention of Tradition.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Hockey, Jennifer and All ison James, n.d.. 'Growing Up and Growing Old: Metaphorsol Ageing in Contemporary Britain.' Presented at ASA Conference, The SocialConstruction of Youth, Matltation and Ageing, London, 1988.

    Holy, Ladislav and Milan Stuchlik, 1983, Actions, Norms and Representations.Foundations of Anthropological Inquiry, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Howkins, Alun, 1987, 'The Discovery of Rural England.' In R. Colls and P. Dodd(eds.), Englishness, London: Croom Helm.

    Ingold, Tim, 1986, Evolution and Social Life, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Jackson, Michael, 1987, 'On Ethnographic Truth', Canberra Anthropology, 10: l-31.Jameson, Frederic, 1985, 'Postmodernism and Consumer Society. ' In H. Foster (ed.),

    Postmodern Culture, London: Pluto Press.Jencks, Charles and Maggie Keswick, 1987, Llhat is Post Modernism?, London:

    Academy Edit ions/New York: St Mart in's Press (2nd ed).Jenkins, Richard, 1990, 'Dimensions of Adulthood in Britain: Long Term Unemploy-

    ment and Mental Handicap.' In P. Spencer ed,., Anthropologv and the Riddle of theSphinx: Paradoxes of Change in the Life Course, London: Routledge.

    Jerrome, Dorothy, 1989, 'Age Relations in an English Church', The SociologicalReview,37 761 84.

    Johnson, Colleen Leahy, 1989,' ln- law Relat ionships in the American Kinship System:The Impact ol Divorce and Remarriage', American Ethnologist, 16:87-99.

    Jordanova, Ludmilla, 1986, Introduction to L. Jordanova (ed.\, Languages of Nature,London: Free Association Books.

    1989, Sexual Visions. Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between Eighteenthand Nineteenth Centuries, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

    Keat, Russell, 1990, 'Starship Britain or Universal Enterprise?' In R. Keat and N.Abercrombie (eds.), Enterp rise Cu I ture, London: Routled ge.

    Kirby, Vicki, 1989, 'Capitalising Difference: Feminism and Anrhropology', AustralianFeminist Sttulies, 9: l-23.

    Kuper. Adam, 1988, The Invention of Prinritive Society. Trans.formations of an lllusion,London: Routledge.

    La Fontaine, Jean S., 1985, 'Anthropological Perspectives on the Family and SocialChange', Quarterly Journal o/'Social Affairs, l:29 56.

    1988, 'Public or Private? The Constitution of the Family in AnthropologicalPerspective', International Journal of Moral and Social Studies,3:267-89.

    Lancaster, Osbert, 1953 (1939), Homes Sweet Homes,London: John Murray. (Revised1975, A Cartoon History of Architecture).

    Langham, I., 1981. The Building of British Social Anthropology.llt. H. R. Rivers and hisCambridge Disciples in the Developnrcnt of Kinship Studies, 1898-1931, Dor-drecht. Holland: D. Reidel Pub. Co.

    Laslett, Peter and Richard W all,1972, Household and Family in Past Time, Cambridge:Cambridge UniversitY Press.

    L6vi-Strauss, blaude, 1966 (1962), The Savage Mind (trans.), London: weidenfeld andNicolson.

    Lewis, charlie. 1986, Becoming a Father, Milton Keynes: open University Press.

    lewis, Charlie and Margaret O'Brien. 1987, Reassessing Fatherhood. Nevv Observ-ations ott Fathers and the Modem Family, London: Sage'

    Lowenthal, David, 1990, 'Awareness of Human Impacts: changing Attitudes andEmphases.'ln B. Turner et at. (eds.), Earth Trans.fbrmed,cambridge: cambridgeUniversity Press.

    Lutz, Catherine, 1986, 'Emotion, Thought and Estrangement: Emotion as a CulturalCategory', Cultural Anthropology, l: 28'7 309'

    Macfarlane, Alan, 1978, The origins of Engtish Individualism. The Family, Propertyanrl Social Transition, Oxford: Basil Blackwell'

    1986, Marriage and Love in England. Modes o.[ Reprotluction l3o0-1840, Oxford:Basil Blackwell.

    1987, The Culture of Capitalism, Oxford: Blackwell.Magarey, Susan, 1985, 'Women and Technological change" Australian Feminist

    Srudies, l : 9l 103.Maine, Henry S. 1870 (1861), Ancient Law, its Connection with the Early History oJ

    Society and its Relation to Modern ldeas,London: John Murray'Martin, Emily. 1987, The Womanin the Body. A Cultural Analvsis of Reproduction,

    Boston: Beacon Press.n.d., 'The Cultural Construction of Gendered Bodies. ' Paper at invited session.

    R:eprorluctive Technology, Medical Pracrice, Public Expectations and New Rep-resentctrions of the Human Bodt'. AAA Meetings, Phoenix, 1988'

    McNeil, Maureen, 1986, 'The Scientilic Muse: The Poetry of Erasmus Darwin.' In L.Jordanova (ed.), Language oJ'Nature, London: Free Association Books'

    Metcalfe, Andrew, 1937, 'The Ghosts that Walk: A Critique of Objectivism inMarxism', Mankind, 17:78 91.

    Miller, Daniel, 1987, Material Culture and Mass Consunrplion, oxford: BasilBlackwell.

    1988, 'Appropriat ing the State on the Counci l Estate', Man (n's') ' 23: 35T72'Mingay, Gordon, 1981, see SPerl ing.virowsti, Philip, 1990, 'The Rhetoric of Modern Economics" History of the Human

    Sciences, 3: 241-87.Morgan, David H.J., 1985, The Family, Politics and Social Theory' London:

    Routledge and Kegan Paul.Mosko, vart, tgg:, .conception, De-conception and Social Structure in Bush Mekeo

    Culture', M ankinrJ,Speilat lssue, C onc ep t s o/' C oncep ti on ; P r o c r eati on I d e o l ogi e sin Papua Neu' Guinea, D. Jorgensen (ed').

    1985. juadripartite S*ucture. Categories, Relations and Homologies in Bush MekeoCulture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press'

    Munn, Nancy D., 1986; The Fame of GTwa. A Symbolic Studv of Value TransJbrmationin a Massim (Papua New Guinea) society, cambridge: cambridge UniversityPress.

    1990, 'Constructing Regional Worlds in Experience: Kula Exchange, Witchcraftand Gawan Local Events', Man (n.s.),25:. | 17.

    Nicolson. Harold, 1955,Good Behavi,ur, Being a Study of Certain Types of Civilit);,London: Constable and Co.

    oakley, Ann, 1987, 'From Walking Wombs to Test-Tube Babies. ' In M. Stanworth

    References : : -1

  • .,,.| A References

    (ed.), Reproductive Technologies: Gender, Motherhood and Medicine, Cambridge:Polity Press.

    Ottesen, Carole, 1987, The New American Garden, New York: MacmillanPaul, Robert. 1987, 'The Individual and Society in Biological and Cultural Anthro-

    pology', Cultural Anthropology, 2: 8V93.Petchesky, Rosalind Pollack, 1980, 'Reproductive Freedom: Beyond "A Woman's

    Right to Choose"', Sr'gns, 5: 661 85.1987, 'Foetal Images: The Power of Visual Culture in the Politics of Reproduction.'

    In M. Stanworth (ed.), Reproductive Technologies: Gender, Motherhood andM edi cine, Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Pfeffer, Naomi, 1987, 'Artificial Insemination, In-vitro Fertilization and the Stigma ofInfertility.'In M. Stanworth (ed.), Reproductive Technologies: Gender, Mother-hood and Medicine, Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Price, Frances, V., 1990,'The Management of Uncertainty in Obstetric Practice:Ultrasonography and In Vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer.'In M. McNeiland S. Franklin (eds.), The New Reproductive Technologies, London: Macmillan.

    Rabinow, Paul, 1989, French Modern. Norms and Forms of the Social Environment,Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

    Radcliffe-Brorvn, A. R., 1950, Introduction. In A. R. Radcliffe-Brown and D. Forde(eds.), A,f it'an Svstenrs of Kinship and Marriage, London: Oxford UniversityPress.

    1952, Structure and Function in Primitive Society, London: Cohen and West.1964 (1922), The Andaman Islanders, New york: Free press.

    Rapp, Rayna, 1988,'Constructing Amniocentesis: Maternal and Medical Discourses.,In F. Ginsburg and A. Tsing (eds.), Negotiating Gender in American Culture,Boston: Beacon Press.

    1989, 'chromosomes and communication: The Discourse of Genetic counselling',Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 143 57.

    Rapport, Nigel, n.d.l, 'From Forster's England to Newfoundland Academics: A NewImage of the Comparative Anthropologist', University of Manchester:manuscript.

    n.d.2, 'Passage to Britain: A Stereotypical View of Coming Home from the OldWorld to the New', University of Manchester: manuscript.

    Rathbone, Eleanor, 1927 (1924), The Disinherited Family. A PleaJbr Direct provisionfor the Costs of Child Maintenance through Family Allowance, London: GeorgeAllen and Unwin Ltd.

    Raymond, Janice G., 1987, 'Fetalists and Feminists: They are nor the same.' In P.Spallone and D. L. Steinberg (eds.), Made to Order, London: Pergamon press.

    Rheubottom, David, 1988, "'Sisters First": Betrothal Order and Age of Marriage inFilteenth-Century Ragusa', Journal of Familv History, 13 359 16.

    Riviere, Peter. 1985,'Unscrambling Parenthood: The Warnock Report', AnthropologyToday, 4: 2-7.

    Rose. Hi lary, 1987, 'victorian values in the Test-Tube: the pol i t ics of ReproductiveScience and rechnology, in M. Stanworth \ed,.), Reproductive Technologies:Gender, Motherhood and Medicine, Cambridge: polity press.

    Rosser, colin and christopher Harris, 1965, The Family and social change. A study ofFamily and Kinship in a South Wales Town, London: Routledge and Kegan paul.

    Rothman, Barbara K., 1984, 'The Meaning of Choice in Reproductive Technology.'InR. Arditti et al. (eds.), Test-Tube Women. London: Pandora press.

    1986, The Tentative Pregnancv, New York: Vikine.

    References 225

    Rowland, Robyn, 1987, 'Of Women Born, but for how long? The Relationship ofWomen to the New Reproductive Technologies and the Issue of Choice.' In P.Spallone and D. C. Steinberg (eds.), Matle to Order, London: Pergamon Press.

    Ruskin, John, 1906 (1858 9), The Two Paths. Being Lectures oil Art and its Applicationto Decoration and Manufacture, London: Geo Allen.

    Sahlins, Marshall, 1976, Culture and Practical Reason, Chicago: Chicago UniversityPress.

    1985, Islands oJ' History, Chicago: Chicago University Press.Schapera, lsaac,1977, Kinship Tenninology in Jane Austen's Novels, London: Royal

    Anthropological Institute, Occasional Paper 33.Schneider, David M., 1968, American Kinship: A Cultural Account, Englewood Cliffs:

    Prentice-Hall.1969, 'Kinship, Religion and National i ty. ' In V. Turner (ed.). Forms of Symbolic

    Action, Proc. American Ethnol. Society, 1969, Seattle: University of WashingtonPress.

    1984, A Critique of the Study of Kinship, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ," ,! ,Schneider, David M. and Raymond T. Smith, 1973, Class Difibrences and Sex Roles in -#i-

    Arnerican Knship and Family Stuctures, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. '\

    Scott. Peter. 1988. 'The Case for an Aristocratic State?' Article in series MatthewArnold and Modern Education, THES, 12 August 1988. \,1,/

    Segalen, Martrne, 1986, Historical Anthropology of the Famity (trans. J. C. Whitehousd-4',"and S. Matthews), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Sharrock W. W.. 1987, ' Individual and Society. ' In R. J. Anderson, J. A. Hughes andW. W. Sharrock (eds.), Classic Disputes in Sociology, London: Allen and Unwin.

    Simons, Peter, 1987, Parts: A Study in Ontology, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Smart, Carol, l987, 'There is of course the Distinction Created by Nature: Law and the

    Problem of Paternity.' In M. Stanworth (ed.), Reproductive Technologies,Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Smith, Gavin, 1987, 'The Crisis of Fatherhood', Free Associat ions,9:72-90.Smith, Raymond T., 1973, 'The Matr i local Family. ' In J.R. Goody (ed.) , The

    Character of Kinship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Spallone, Patricia, 1987, 'Reproductive Technology and the State: The Warnock

    Report and its Clones.'In P. Spallone and D. L. Steinberg (eds.), Made to Order,London: Pergamon Press.

    Spallone, Patricia and Deborah L. Steinberg (eds.), 1987, Made to Order: The Myth ofReproduclive and Genetic Progress, Oxford: Pergamon Press.

    Spallone, Patr icia and Deborah L. Steinberg, 1987, ' International Report. ' In P.Spallone and D. L. Steinberg (eds.), Made to Order, London: Pergamon Press.

    Sperling, Diana, 1981, Mrs. Hurst Dancing; And Other Scenes from Regency Li.fe,18l2 1823. with text by G. Mingay, London: Victor GollanczLtd.

    Stanworth, Michelle (ed.), 1987, Reproductive Technologies: Gender, Motherhood andMedicine, Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Stanworth, Michelle, 1987, 'Reproductive Technologies and the Deconstruction ofMotherhood.' In M. Stanworthed.), Reproductive Technologies: Gender,Motherhood and Medicine, Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Stocking, George W., 1968, Race, Culture and Evolution, New York: The Free Press.1987, Victorian Anthropology, New York: The Free Press.

    Stolcke, Verena, 1986, 'New Reproductive Technologies - Same Old Fatherhood',Critique of Anthropology, 6: 5-31. .-.\


    Strathern, Maittyn, tOiZ, Women in Betu,een; Female Roles in a Mole World,London: -j('Seminar (Academic) press.

    ,,' \


  • >s\ References

    /80, 'No Nature, No Culture: the Hagen Case.' In C. MacCormack and M.' strathern (eds.), Nature, culture and Gentler, cambridge: cambridge University

    press.1981, Kinship at the Core; An Anthropology of Elmdon, A village in North-west

    Essex, in tlte 1960s, Cambridge: Cambridge University press., ; 1982, 'The Place of Kinship: Kin, class and village Status in Elmdon, Essex'. In

    A. P. cohen (ed.), Belonging; Identitl' and social organisatiott fu British Rural:{ Cultures, Manchester: Manchester University press.

    ' ! 1984, 'Local ism Displaced: A "vanishing Vi l lage" in Rural England', Ethnos,49:4T 60.

    1988. The Gender o.f the Gift. Problems n,ith women and problems with sot'iety inMelanesia, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California press.

    1991 , Partial Connections. ASAO Special publication 3. Savage. Maryland:Rowman and Littlefield.

    Thomas, Keith, 1984, Man and the Naturol world. Changing Attitudes in EnglandI50U 1800, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

    Thompson, E.P., 1978 (1965), 'The pecul iari t ies of the Engtish. ' ln The poverty ofTheory and Other Essa1,s, London: Merlin press.

    Thorne, Barrie and Marilyn Yalom, 1982. Rethinking the Family: some FeministQuestions, London: Longman.

    Thorns, David, 1973. Suburbia, St. Albans: paladin.Thornton, Robert, 1988, 'The Rhetoric of Ethnographic Holism', Cultural Anthro-

    pology,3: 285 303.Trautmann, Thomas R., 1987, Lewis Henr.y Morgan and the Invention of Kinship,

    Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California press.ulmer, Gregory, 1985, 'The object of Post-cri t icism.' In H. Foster (ed.), postmodern

    Culture, London: Pluto Press.Ungerson, Clare, 1983, 'Women and Caring: Ski l ls, Tasks and Taboos. ' In E.

    Gamarnikov et ol. (eds.), The puhlic and the privare. London: Heinemann.1987, 'The Life Course and Infbrmal Caring: Towards a Typology. ' In G. Cohen(ed.), Soclal Change and the Life Course, London: Tavistock.

    Urry, John, 1987. 'Nature and Society: The organisation of Space. ' In R. Anderson,J. A. Hughes and W. W. Sharrock (eds.), C/assic Disputes in Socittlogl,, London:Allen and Unwin.

    varenne, Hervl, 1977, Americans Together: structuretl Diversit.v in a MidwesternZown, New York: Teachers College press.

    Verdon, Michel, 1980.'Descent: An Operational View', Man (n.s.), l5: 129 50.Wagner, Roy, 1975, The Inventiort o/ Culture, Englewood Cliffs: prentice-Hall.

    1977a,'Analogic Kinship: A Daribi Example', American Ethnologist,4: 62TA.1977b, 'Scienti f ic nnd Indigenous Papuan Conceptual izat ions of the Innate: A

    semiotic cr i t ique of the Ecological perspective. ' In T. Bayriss-Smith and R.Feachem (eds.), SrzDsislence and Survit,al, London: Academic press.

    1986, symbols that Stand /br Themselves, chicago: University of Chicago press.warnock, Mary. I 985, A Question of LiJe. The vlarnock Report on lruman Fertilisation

    and Embryologl, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Weiner, Annette 8., 1976, Women ol'Value, Men oJ Renov'n; New perspectives in

    Trohriand Exchange, Austin: University of Texas press.1983, " 'A World of Made is not a World of Born": Doingkulain Kir iwina. ' ln J. W.

    Leach and E. R. Leach (eds.), The Kula. New perspectives on Massirrr Exchange,Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

    Weiner. James F., 1988, The Heart of the Pearlshell; The Mvthological Dimension oJ'Foi Socialll', Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press.

    werbner, Richard P., 1989. Rituul Passage, Sacred Journey. The Process andOrganisation of Religious Movement, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

    1990, 'on Cultural Bias and the cosmos: Home Universes in Southern Africa.' InM. Jackson and I. Karp (eds.), Personhood and Agencv: the Experience of selJ'andorher in African Cultures, washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

    wil l iams, Raymond. l96l (1958), Culture and society, 1780-1950, London: PenguinBooks.

    1985 U9731, The Country and the Cil-v, London: The Hogarth Press' \-Willmoti, Peter and M. Young, 1960, Famity and Class in a London Suburb, London:;{

    Routledge and Kegan Paui. -

    . t 'Wilson, Patr icia and Ray Pahl, 1988, 'The Changing Sociological Construct of the '

    Family', Sociological Review, 36:23t 66.Woli Eric. 1988, 'Inventing Society', American Ethnologist' 15:752-61'wolfram, sybil. 1987, In-Laws and out-Laws. Knship and Marriage in England,

    London: Croom Helm.Yanagisako, Sylvia J., 1978. 'Variance in American Kinship: Implications for Cultural

    Analysis', American Ethnologist, 5: 15-29.1985, Transforning the Past. Tradition and Kinship among Japanese Americans,

    Stanford: Stanford University Press.Yeatman. Anne, 1983, 'The Procreative Model: The Social Ontological Bases of the

    Gender-Kinship System', Sociol Anull 's is. l4: 3-30'young, Edward O.k., 1SSO, 'Where the Daffodils Blow: Elements of Communal

    Iiragery in a Northern Suburb.' In A. P. Cohen (ed.). Synbolising Boundaries,Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    Young, Michael and Peter willmott, 1957, Famity and Kinship in East London,London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    1973. The S),mmetrical Famill', London: Routledge and Kegan luyl' -,

    Zipper, Julietie and Selma Sevenhuijsen, 1987, 'surrogacy: Ferninist Notions ofMotherhood Reconsidered.' In M. Stanworth (ed.)' Reproductive Technologies:Genrler, Motherhootl and Medicine, Cambridge: Polity Press'

    References 227

  • Index 229

    abortion, 49-50aesthetic practice

    canons of for sale, 162Engl ish, 87, 102. I t9, 125Melanesian, 57 8, 60,76modernist, 163Ruskin on, I 13 15

    -tee vlslonadolescent development, 67adoption, 4l

    and foster ing,28 9adul tery,40 1advertisement, 90. 94 plate 10. 126 plate 14,

    127-8, 130, t62 5,164 ptate 18, 187.211 n l0

    'af ter ' facts and events, 7 9,78,189, 190indiv iduals,53kinship. 15. 32nature, 89, 110, 150, l '77,190 l , l9 isty le, 150

    age. exper ience of , 67,203 n 16al l iance,79Americanisation, 16

    ofEngl ish culrure,4,6, 17, 36, lg6 goleducat ion. l8 l 2 plate 20

    American enterprise, 36, 45, l4l, 186, 2l In9

    Engl ish v iew of . 2 l l n 9see Anthropology

    American kinshipstudy of , 4, 43,82, 139, t47, tS2and cr i t ique of .234,28-9

    'amount ' of change, 2, 10, 13,27ofciv i l isat ion, 3, 27of Englishness, 3lof enterprise, 7


    of facts, 7, 22, 86of family, 146of life and personhood, 67, 72ofnature,37. 39 43, 150of relationships, 134, 135of tradition, 90of uniqueness, 1 3. 1 5, 1 7, 19, 27 , 73

    see quantificationanalogy, 13,14,52.55

    cancelled, 145, 152, 172, 183constitutive of reproductive model, 72Melanesian const i tut ion of , 210 n 3'partial', 72-81 pussim,84. 130 2, 142,


    and sociocentric kin systems, 76Engl ish, 62,65.72,80Merina, 68Trobriands, 59

    Andaman Is landers, l2 lAnthropology, Br i t ish, 8, 45 6,63,67 9,69,

    86, 120 1, t39, ts7American, 86, 120and expert ise, l13, l15, 120ffat home, xvi iobject of, 189

    anticipationof decomposition, 72of relationships, 49

    see futureArnold, Matthew, 106 8, 111 1-1, l15, l9 lartificial parenthood

    human enterpr ise as, 53, 169, 173ffinsemination, debate, 40 1relationships as, 53

    ree new reproductive technologies

    assist ing nature, 48 51, 55, 17G8, 179,196assumptions, making explicit of; .see

    explicitnessAusten. Jane, 66, 85 plate 9,92,93 8,99,

    100 1, 102, t27, 133, 140, 191

    Baruya (interior Papua New Guinea), 6G-2,63,68,69, 73,87

    'bed and breakfast', 128 31 passim,145Beeton, Mrs, l12Bel l , Cl ive. l l5 l6belonging, between parents and children,49,

    52bilateral kin reckoning, 78

    .see Cognaticbiological process, 41,76, l19

    and kinship, 53and personhood, 67and social parenthood, 60 ?,8G7,178as genetics, 178as drive, 47ffid iom of, 52 3, l5 l ,1734

    biological time, 62, 66, 81birth and descent theory, 67-8blood, mixed, 31. 34, 36, 80, 9l

    in Melanesian imagery, 56 63,65transmitted, 78-80, 178

    see hybridBlue-stocking women, I l lbody,

    as canoe, 56 8as composite of relations (Melanesia),

    7las digestive truct, 174, l7"las individual entity, 50 1as register of life, 66constructed, 173 4gender of, 48in Melanesian imagery, 55 72 passimmanagement of, 176organs, transplant and implant of, 180,

    183 4parts of , 41, 66, 80, 179rights in, 179

    Bradford Town Hal l , l14, l15British Social Anthropology \

    see Anthropologyburial significance of in Merina, 68

    cancel lat ion,136of analogy between nature and society,

    r50, 152of difference between convention and

    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, 169ffof idea of society, 144-5of merographic connections, 136ofrelat ional faci l i ry, 145, 150, 152, 182

    change, l0 l l , 44 5,51,137, l4 l , 17'7-8,l8 l -2 plate 20

    and cont inuiry, I 3, 5,7, l l ,14.21 2see social change

    character of English; see EnglishChavasse, Dr, 109 11, 126 plate 14, 133, 158Chicago. 25children

    and parents; ^re? parentsas new persons, 53 5as persons, 148as pets. 12neglected, 147

    choice, 9, 90and independence, 100and natural selection, 90 2and new reproductive technologies, 40,42and no choice, 42,43,142,166, 193and personhood. 124, 142and reason,96and right to choose, 147-52as definitive of personhood, 124, 1424,

    148 52, t61, t77concealed, 143evinced in style,147, 162 7Gawan ideas of.124-5in kin recognition, 81,97-8, l3,f-5in matchmaking. 93-8 passimin relat ionships, 12, 14, 20, 103, 140morality of, 153-42, 192-3

    .ree convention; desireChristian name; .re nameChurch bui ld ings, 106, 114, 138 plate l5citizen. active, 130, 144,152, 151-62, 160

    plate 17second class, l4l

    citizenship, 45class, l, 3. 23 30 passim, ll2, 187

    and democratisation, 91, 106-9and marriage choice, 89-90'dialogue' and construction of

    knowledge, 13945 passim, 165 6emergence of, 98middle and working, 8l ; in America'

    25,82-3, l4r) )R

  • 230

    prejudice, l0l . l4lsee middle class; plasti-class; rank

    classificatcry kin terminologies. 16ffcloning, fears of, 3940, 41 2Cognatic kin reckoning

    critique of concepr of, 68-72, 75, 84in English kinship, 63, i2. 134in Melanesia (Mol ima), 69 70in Merina, 68 9

    col lage, 144, 150, 159, 168, l7 lperson as, 180, l8- l

    collapse; .ree cancellationcollective

    concept of culture and society, 120, 154,159.167

    image of the, 107, 109, 1l l , l9 lpol i t ics, 147 8sent iment, l17, l18 19, 157tyranny of the. 45, 144

    commercial interestand architectural form, 106of lifestyles. 163 8 passimlaken for granted, 129-30. l4l 2

    .lze marketcommunity

    vanishing, 43,89.146,174, 188 9complexity

    and analysis, 29and quantification, 59, 75, 134 5perception of in social life, 7, 8, 2l-2,

    36, 81, 200 n 6connectlons

    between families, 97choice of, 92,9G.8in explanat ion, l5 lin kin relations, 88, 91 2miniaturisation ol 100 I

    see merographic connectionconscrousness, 122 3, l'11, 192, 194

    and intent ion. l l8of individual, 124-5, 159, l'74

    conservat ion, l l7, 138 plate 15. 177versus Conservative Party, 142-3, 16g

    Conservat ive Party pol ic ies. lJ9 45 passim.l99nl

    constructionof fatherhood, 52-3

    see social constructionist theoryconsumer

    act ive, 165 6as foetus, 175choice, 4l, 142, 166, t75


    indiv idual ised, 163, 165*6person as. 175, 180reproduction of, 180

    63,86 consumption

    revolution, 142

    cul ture. 4. 187common, l0G8diminution of, 43hypostasised, l l l , l l5institutionalised. l9lnational. of English; see national

    cultureopposi t ional ,99, 186promoted, 99, 141and regulat ion. 107 9technology as,42,169fftoo much of/too little of. 4O 5

    culture-nature dichotomy, 5, 43, 72-3, 86customer, ofservices, 161, 170 plate 19, 181

    plate 20, 180. 193indiv idual as,2l6 n 8

    Darwin, Char les, 16.90-2.98, 106, t l2,l l7 18, 133

    Darwin. Erasmus, I l8death

    and identity, in English rhought,64 5,66,72

    in Melanesia, Sabarl, 60; Trobriands,59, 63-4, 66; Molima, 69 70

    of the collective, 168of the new, 150of the subject, 144, 149 52

    decomposition of Melanesian kin relations,64_6,7l

    democrat isat ion, g l 2,98, 141 2of concept of society, I t5-16of culture. lOGgof fbrm, I t6ofnature,106, l12ofrank,98, 106, 107 plate 13of taste, 162


    to be rejected, I 14oescent, in English kinship

    democratised, 98, I l2of affection, 15of emotions, 49_51of family name, 9gof ident i ty. 52,63,68of life, 62. 3of obl igat ion, 15 n 16, 203


    of rime, 2O_1, 62,72. 138descent (group) in anthropological theory,

    56. 63tr, 68 72,76ff,

    .ree Matrilineal, patrilinealoescriptive kin terminologies, 16ff. 63, g6


    desireand technology, 177as constitutive of parenthood, t78-9as greed, l12 15for consciousness, 183for explicitness, 5lfor parenthood, 179for society, 122map of , 175, 177to be inculcated, I l6to have chi ldren, 47, 52, 78, 176 7. 179

    DI; see donor inseminat iondialogue

    as prejudice, 141between mistress and servant, l36-7between social classes, 139, 140-2,

    t65 6,174 5political, in Jane Austen,93 8 possinr

    diversity, 6 plare 1, 7, 20, 30, 34, 59, i4plate 7, l8 l 2 plate 20

    and time, 2l-2as second fact of modern kinship. 22,

    72, 169diminution of, 3G-9, 42, 150-lin analysis, 22 30,135in family forms, 24in genetic makeup, 53, 55; see hybridin Melanesian thought, 57-9ofcul ture, 37 8without individuality, 42, 192 3

    divorce, 26, 129. 146, 177and donor inseminat ion,40 1

    Dixon, Macnei le, 13, 30 1, 34domest ic,99-105, 106

    and public; see publicarchi tecture, 103, 187interior, 32, 33 plate 3, 99 106, 163ffstyle, 29, 145-6, 163, 165 7

    see homedonor inseminat ion (DI) , 40 n I l , 60 1,

    177-8, 179,200donat ion ofgametes. 175-8, 188oforgans, 180, 182 3

    downward flow; see descentduty, 105 6, 108, 109-10, 125,145

    in relationships, 122 3ofact ive c i t izen, 130, 152,154trofconsumer,166of English gentleman, 153

    ectogenesis,4leducat ion,6 plate l , 24,26,28,98tr , 105-6.

    I 10. I 19, 147, l8 l -2 plate 20. l9 l , 193


    as reproduct ion, l7 lof exotic food, 10, 38 plate 5of natural resources, 37of nature by culture, S, 37_g, l7lffprescr ibed, l6 l -2,193

    context . 7,-8, 12,22 3, 150, lB4

    ""inll",lit*^'isation of concepts' I 12'consumed, l7 le l ic i t ing indiv idual i ty, t7 lrn merographic connection, 73, l7l_2making expl ic i t . 132, 174, lg9value and. 174..5,196vanishing of . 195

    continuity and change; see changelas self-evident, 144,203 n l0in idea of individualism, ll l3in Melanesian thought, 60social and biological, 75

    conventlonand choice, 14, 15tr , 43, I2 i .133,152,

    161 2'doing' , 158, 174,190,216 n l0making visible, in Melanesia, 59-60moulding the individual, 119-26 passimnaturalised, 15G7negat ion ol 18 19, 20,90personified in person, 153ff

    cot tage,103in the mind, 207 n 7the white(washed), 99 100, rc3-5, ll7Tudor, 104 plate 12, Il7

    see Endpiececountryside

    denuded, 37, 38 plate 5, 90enclosed, 187percept ions of , 10, 12-13,38, l17

    Cowper, Wi l l iam, 99-100, l0 l , 105cultivation, I I I

    of domest ic i ty, l l lofgardens, 105 6of indiv idual , 95 8, 101-3of nature, 100, 105, 109of talents, l0l

    sae improvementcul tural , account, xvi i ,4, 189

    critique, 5; and oppositional culture' 99'186

    epoch; see epoch

  • 232

    and Matthew Arnold, 106 9 Passinrand nat ional ism, 3l ' 120- las socialisation, 123 4

    see literacyEl izabeth I , 31,34embryo, 4lembryologY, 40. 63

    see Foetusemotlon

    as flow between kin, 15, 134el ic i tat ion of , 48 5t , I 16, I t7 ' t l8-19

    121ff, 125, 192,202 nn 5, 6regulated, 156

    Jee sentlmentEngl ish, the,6 7,23

    Association, 120character, 6 plate I, 13, 30-4, 39'culture', 23tr, ll7dyspepsia, I t0genius, 30 1, 193society of pure, 39

    'Engl ishman' , the, 13, 23, 3G4, 153and diversity, 22-30 passim,39as gent leman, 101. 153, 159

    Englishnessdef ined,139quantified, 29

    enterpr ise, 6 plate l , 7, 10, 14, 22,36, 43,93, 128,213 n 21, 159. l7 l , 195

    as middle class value, 25 6, 106as natural, 55cul ture, 10, 199-200 n l , 213 n 21

    see tmprovementenvlronment

    as context for life, 169, 172-3, 194helping the, 172

    seP COntext: naturel pol lut ionepoch, modern and medieval cycles of. l.

    34,93, 190 l , 216 n l0as cr is is, 37,44,137.190 1, 195bourgeois, l8lmodern, plural ist , 7 , 1 l , 43, 45. 140,

    188,191-2postplural ,8. 184

    Essex, 88, 92,98-9, 103, 146ethnicity

    and racism, 39, 200 n 9and lifestyles. 162and the English, 30 1, 34_45 Plate 4'as v is ion of cul ture, 120, cf . 2 l I n l0

    eugenics, fears of , 4O. 42exemplification, 22, 2+ 5


    exper ience, l l l ,116expert ise,125

    ofnature, l l0see professionalisation

    explicitnessand keeping hidden in Melanesian

    practice, 55-6, 58in 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-9passim, 106

    in relationshiPs, 14.ree literalisation

    expressionof emot ion, I16, 156of society, l l5

    exterior interior relationscollapse of difference in, 161, 167-8,

    174-5in development of middle class, 88-109

    Pas.simin English family cycle, 97 8in improvement of person, 93-7 passimin making knowledge, 130-3, 158-9,

    194in Melanesian body imagerY, 60-2

    fact , l l ; and facl ic i ty, 151merographically connected, 73ff

    see natural fact, social fact of kinshio:reproductive model

    family, absent, 137al ternat ive,162and primordial ties, I Iand rank, 89and self-love, 78as both natural and social, 156as contested concept, 24' l4l, l4G7as distinct from relatives, 9G8as lifestYle, 144, 145tr, 162-3, 167-8as unique, 8ldiminishing of ,22,27farm, 128-31in Europe, 23-4internal differentiation of' 9'7, 102-tk inshiP, 136,177miniaturised, 103nuclear, 24,27, 146

    36 one-Parent,79pr ivacy,103-5's ize'of ,27, 103, 146under threat, 4{.r..l, 146-7

    ianr i ly a l lowance. 147 8

    i"rherhood.4G 1.49 52' 82' 8 las interference' 179biological versus social, 60-l' 177-8invisibilitY of, 51 2' 149on BaruYa, 62; Gawa' 57 9; Sabar l ,60l

    Trobriands, 59 60sae donor insemination

    ferninist theory and practice' 48, 50' I l0'143, 146

    foetusas detached' 49-50as intruder, 48developmental dimension ol 63ff, 132

    imagerY of , Engl ish,43 50' 73' 175;Melanesian, 55 9

    person as, 183protection of' 179

    see ultrasonograPhYformalitY;'ree informalitYfortune, fami lY, 89,97' 98' 106lorm

    as self-regulated, I l9in art . l1 l 15organic, I l4purity of, 39, 1 16structural, 120-2

    fostering: see adoptionl lnct ional re lat ionship, I l+-15. I l8- 19future

    and causation, 67cul ture,169fears for , 39,41 2ideas of, 20-2,39, 47 8, 124-5past and, 22potent ia l ,8 l

    gardensand cottage, 100, 104 5children as, 105in Melanesian inagery (Gawa), 58landscape, 38 9, 100, 104love of , l , 2. 12 i3.30

    garden ci t ies, l , 10, l l7garden sulurb, 34, 186Gawa (Massim, Papua New Guinea), 55 9,

    60, 61, 67, 69, " /0, ' l t ,73.76, 124 5gender

    as relat ive,6l , 87tn Melanesian imagery, 55 63in Merina, 68in new reproductive technologies, 48of the home, 207 n 8


    genealogy,92,96, 106as a record of facts, 63' 65' 86as natural arrangement, l6' 90-2' 133evidence of PluralitY, 84

    generalisationas cultural attribute, 28, 140in analysis, 22 30,59

    generatlonand kin terms, 18 20and time: see timein descent grouP theorY, 68in perception of, in Melanesia' 64-5irreversible, 138recursive; .see BaruYa. 87

    gene theraPY, 41 2,54 Plare 6genetlc

    and non-genetic theories of procreatton'60"2

    determination, 40, 202 n 8images,34.36, 38, 169maniPulation, 47parents, l '16,118randomness, 714 84 Pussimt ies. 52 3. 78 82' 83transmission, 176 7

    .see hybridgetting-on, Goddess of, I l4Ghanaian Parenthood' 28Glover, Committee and Report' 176' 178grandparents/children, I 8-20greenhouse effect, 168 9' 171, 173

    as metaPhor, 173,214 n 34grounds, cancelled' 144, 152, 177 8' 195'-6'

    198of knowledge, l9l-2. 194

    see context

    home,90, 103and domestic interiors, 32, 33 plate 3'

    99 106, 163ffand Pr ivacY' 13, 32, 128 36. 187as way of life, 28- 9, 145 7cows coming, 197for tourists, 128ffhomes within, 129ff. 1'74


    ownershiP, 142, 165-6person as. 129ff,167stately, 129

    householdand lami lY,97 8, 103 4' 137management of , 110' l12

    houses, J2 4. 99 105 Pa.r'tirtas bodies (BaruYa), 62


  • 234

    of gentry, 88 9Tudorbethan style; .ree Stockbrokers

    Tudor: 33 Plate 3.ree cottage

    Howard, Ebeneezer,34hybrid

    ancestry, 34as amalgam, 180, 183as conglomerate' 82 3Engl ish. 304, 36, 39, 169human/non-human, 42, 180of cultures, 37 8rose, 34transgenic,20i n l5

    illegitimacy, 40 1, 52, 178lmprovement

    as economising, 198, 217 n 15moral , 106of nature, 89,92,93 8 Passim, 103.

    13G7, l9 lof ta lents, l0 l 2, 103

    see perfectionindependence

    develoPment of, 100-lf rom relat ionships, 67, 103, 179from superiors, 100, 103within relationships, l2 14, 15ff, l9-20

    individualand self-regulation, I 53ffand society, 5, 13-14, 43, 65 6,75,76,

    84, l2l 7, 150 Passim, 154, 182as consumer, 169as real . 53, 86 '7,212 n 12as site of choice and convention, 93 8

    passim, 104as site of nature and culture, 95, 109ff,

    125 7. 150, 172,184as site of regulalion. ll0,122, 125bodi ly development oi 63, 67,203 n 16cases in analysis, 22 30construct ion of , 13, l l9, 127death of , 144,149 52delined by right to choose, 147 8experience, 145-7like a private comPanY, 141 2natural ised as agent, 124 5person as,49 50, 78, 83, I54postplural , 135 6, 137reproducing individuals, third fact of

    Engl ish k inshiP, 53, 72, '78, 79indiv idual ism

    and change, 2, 10 1 I

    and cont inui ty, l l - l3Arnold's critique of, 107 8as a critique ol 107 8as a Victorian value,44-5, 127as English character, 13, 30-'3, 180competitive. 108modernist PreciPitation of, 15,{ 8prescriptive, 149, 152, 168 9quantification effect oi 15ffrhetor ical ,187

    individualityas first fact of English kinship, 14, 72,

    83,169independent of life, 64in Melanesian imagerY, 57-9of forms, 39. 48 51, 74 Pl^te 7surfei t of , l7 l , 183without diversi ty, 42,192 3

    infert i l i ty , 176 7s?., new reproductive technologies

    informalityand use of personal names, l7-20

    inheritancein descent group theorY, 68in genet ic id iom, 53, 55, 8G-1, 178of social norms, 157 8

    initiation, Baruya, 62interior exterior; sce exterior; domestlc

    interiorin-vitro fertilisation (IVF), 41,46 7' 54 plate

    6, 188and 'test tube babies', 40, 55

    isolat ionism, 12'14. )1. 132cr i t ique of , 107 8of foetus, 50

    see independence; privacYIVF; see In-vitro ftrtilisation

    Japanese-American kinshiP, 23, 26

    merographic connections in, 75-6, 77,86 7,125,206 n 30

    quantified, 29terminologies, 16 22, 18 Plale 2,82

    Lancaster, Osbert, 32, 33 Plate 3law

    consumption of, 170 Plate l9the order of. 4, 187vanishing of , 152

    lifeartificial, 169concepts of ,62,63 72persons as part of ,72,75-6registered in individual bodY, 66registered in relationshiPs, 71, 72sty le, l0 l

    literacy, 92,98- 109 passim, 105 6, 139' 157.t73

    l iteralisation

    and personhood, 129tr, 1424, 183idiom of, 109 12 passim 159

    see regulationManchester, 10, 12 13,35 plate 4,36,102

    plate I Imarket menral i ty, l2 13, l8 l 2 plate 20

    and choice, 163, 165 6, 193rndividualised, 163in gametes and embryos, 41, 175-6

    marriageand class. 89 90.93 I pt tssimand fami ly, 137and property, gT 8and terminating relationships, 64as regulating needs, 156as union, 79Baruya,62


    undone at death, 64, 65,70 1Marx, Kar l , l l lMassim, archipelago (Papua New Guinea),



    see Gawa; Molima: Muyuw; SabarlIsland; Trobriands

    maternal bonding, 48*51, 125matrilineal kin reckoning, 63, 68

    sea Gawal Muyuw; Sabarl; TrobriandsMekeo, North (Papua New Guinea coast),

    64-s,68, 69Melanesia, comparative material on, 55-72,

    189mereology, 73,204 5 nn 21,22Merina (Madagascar), 68 9merographic connection, 72 81, 81, 125,

    137, 150, 172,175,204 5 n2lcol lapse of , 136, 137 8, 150, 167-8, 193over lap in,84, 130 1, 188. 196

    merographic person, 150, 172middle class

    Arnold on, 108cul ture. 100 1, 106devolution of. 98- 109 pa.ssrnr

    as epoch, 3, 7-8, 11,45, 53, 87. 146,184, 197

    as sty le, 165,212 n 15displaced, 149

    Mol ima (Massim),69-71money, 96

    and greed, t12 15as enabl ing technology, 130. 136, 142 3

    .ree commercial interestmontage. 127morality

    as choice, l5l-2, 153-62middle c lass, 99 105, 108, 19lsociety as source of, l2l

    Morgan. Lewis Henry. 3, lGl7, 20,27, 45,52. 66,9t . 108, l9 l

    mother, 83and baby,48-51as support system, 49, 73, 83biological vs. social, 6linvisibility of , 49-52, 7 3

    Index Index

    and literal mindedness, 6 7, 42, 145 kinship, 24-30 passimoi biology as genetics, 178 in America, 25' 82 3of choice. 163 reflection and analysis by' 26' 44 5'of ideas ofhuman nature, 174-5 105-6' 139, 140 2practice of, 5, 80, 103, 137 9,154, 173, see class prejudice; morality

    183 4, 190, 196 miniatur isat ion, 100, l0 l , 103Liverpool , 13 model,2, 183' 187London study, 12-13, 18, 20. 24, 81, 89, 90. in anthropology' 4

    134. 139 of knowledge, 7,72-3. 169love,78, 156 sel f - rePl icat ing, [69Maine, Henry, 16, 108 9 see reproductive modelmanasement modernrsm

    Kent,3l ,92, 102 plate l1King, Truby, 122kinship

    as fami ly, 133, 137as social construction of natural facts'

    52,87,93. I 19, 139, l5 l -2classifications of-, 63ffdiminished significance of,22 n 6' 42'

    69,132 6.182,200egocentric versus sociocentric, 75E"ngl ish system ol 15-16, 82,177fr ' l


  • -236

    Melanesian images of. 56 63professionalisation of, 105,6, 109 ll,

    t25see surrogate mother; maternal bonding

    mournrngfor relatives, 52, 66practices, Molima, 69-70

    multidimensional unityin family, 167 8in kitchen decor, 166 7in indiv idual , 167

    Muyuw (Massim. Papua New Guinea). 64,68,69.71


    and kin term, 17 21, 18 plare 2, 83Christ ian, l7 l8perpetual increase of, 65

    national cultureof Engl ish, 3 l -2,36, I 17, 120, 139tyranny of, 152

    natural , facts,2, 7, 30tr ,43,46, 5l 3, 55, 78,79, l19, 1934; of life. 7.-9, 63, 86,l5 l : revealed in art , l l3. l l5, l l6

    bond; see maternal bondingchild. 52; see illegitimacydevelopment,125diversity and individuality as, 35dr ive: see biological dr iveperson, I I6, 124

    natural isat ion, 9 l -2, I 12as regulation, 156of concept of society, lI2, ll8, 122,

    150. 155, 194; indiv idual , 124, 150,155; 'nature' , l l8, l5 l

    natureabsent from Melanesian models, 55-.6j

    passtmand diversi ty: see diversi tyand reality, 52, 6las ground, 105, l '17,194-5; see contextassisted; see assisting naturechanging attitudes towards, 2, I Iconsumed. 152. l7l 84 pa.s.simdifferent meanings of, t72diminut ion of ,3946, 172 3diverse meanings of, 39God a function of, 187hypostast ised, I I l , I 15

    nature{ulture dichotomy; seeculture nature

    and society, 87, 90tr, 93 8 passim, ll2,t7t . t77


    needsbiological , 156,203 n 16of society, 122"4 passim, 155..6

    j1 new reproduct ive technologies, 39 55l' po.rrim. 54 plate 6. 143, 175ff. 188| s(e donor inseminat ion; in-v i t ro

    fertilisation; surrogate motherNew York, 36nostalgia,43,93

    American. 186as sty le, 163,164for community. 146for diversi ty, 39, 188lor indiv idual , 187, 188, 195for relationships, 189, 195for the home, 130, 188

    novel ty, 10,93and birth. 53, 55, 59 60and diversity, 69and tradition; see traditioncancelled, 150produced. 36, 53, 55

    obligation, between parents and children,obstetrics, 48order

    of knowledge, l3 lpersonal, 109 l0social , 108-9. l l2-13, l l . f l5, 157taken for granted. 120

    ree regulationorgan, implants, transplants, 180, 183 4organic

    mathematics; .ree quantificationsociety, 105, l l4-15, l l8

    organisationabsent.167and regulat ion, 105, 109as pernicious, 146concept of , 109, l l l , i l2 15, l2 l ,

    t234, t89lnternal to person, 103; domain. 172;

    household, 103-6

    Papua New Guinea, 10, 55see Melanesia

    parenthood, genetic, 178- 9.ree new reproductive technologies

    parentsand chi ldren, 12 14, 15ff ,49 51,125,

    178as a parr, 55, 79as indiv iduals. 86


    as point of reference, 70constituted by desire, 178division between, T2in Melanesian thought, 60,62,7{ l -1

    part and whole relations; sce whole partrelat ions

    and persons as part of life, society, 72,109, 121, 125, l2 '1

    between spouses, 79mereological, 180roles as parts, 132, 158

    parthenogenesis, 4 Ipast

    and future; see futureepochal perceptions of, 190 I

    see tradition; nostalgiapast iche, 144, 150, 165, 168. l7 lpatrilineal kin reckoning, 63, 68

    see Baruya; North MekeoPenan (Borneo), 65perfection

    in culture, 10G8, I I Iin society, 108-9, I I I

    personand decomposition: .ice decompositionand deconception of, 62, 6+'6,70"1and depersonalisation, Merina, 69and imagery of 'home', 129ffand non-person, 142as an i r :d iv idual . 19-20, 27,48 51,63,

    t23,125 7as beginning, 63as consumer, 174--5as embodying relationships (Melanesia),

    6t , 65,70,7las'new',53, 55, 59 60distinguished from relative, 82 3; from

    role,133pluralist, 150postplural, 135'-6, 137

    personalas s ign of informal i ty. 17 20development, 127

    personhoodand l i fe,75, 84and reproduction, l'7G'7 v-

    de-conceived,70 1endur ing beyond death, 63, 75terminating at death (Melanesia), 64 5

    personificationof convent ion, 153, 158-9ofnature, cul ture, 1 l l , l17, l l8f f , 193,



    of persons, 124, 142of society, 1224, 154, 157

    perspective. 8, 14, 15, 22,43, 51,53, 55, 67,'n,92,98, 100, 101, 108, 190

    and the middle class, 139as representations of viewpoiDts. 140 5

    passimin Melanesian aesthetics, 58in merographic connection, 73ff, 76, 80,

    83,87, 131,5, 150, 168. 184, 193loss of, 142

    pets, 2, 12 14,36,37phil ist inism, l4lplast i-class, 142 3,143 plate 16, 16l, 163,

    t67. 196, 197plural ist epoch, 3 4, 81, 135, 191plural i ty,30,65

    as increase in time, 65concept ol 8, 2l-2. 36, 59, 73, 81, 83.

    87. 184,205 n26in analysis, 23ffin Melanesia, 57 9internal, 167not reproduced, 199 n 6of cultures, 120

    pollut ion. 37, 138 plate 15. 174see rain

    postmodernism,7 8, 144, 149-51, 195, 199n6.214 n30,217n 13

    postpluralepoch. 3 4, 184, 188. 192,215 n 43individual, 135-6nostalgia,39, 186ff

    pragmatism, 6 plate 1, 7,95-6, 97, 128, 132,187. 195

    prejudice; .rse classprivacy

    and home l i fe, 29, 103, 129 33, 186in choice making, 176

    professionalisationmedical, 110ofconstructs, l l l 12, l l8, 150, 189ofmotherhood, 105 6. 109-l l

    property, 78,97 Iand patr imony, 41, 103in West African succession, 204 n 17over body parts,4lprivate, 10, 186transmitted, 68, 157 8

    see belongingprostitution, 48public

    and domestic, l , 10, 103, 106,129 33


  • 238

    and pr ivate, 159, 160 plate 17, 166,174-5, 187ff ,213 n 25

    bui ld ings, 106, l14, I 16, l iO, 138 platel5

    quant i f icat ion, 2, 14.73,86, l3Sand indiv idual ism, l5and stat ist ical data, l5 las magnification and scale change. l3l,

    140, t4tas number (enumerative), 26 7,29; see

    pluralityas volume (organic) or degree, 26 7,29

    30, 80; see amountin analytical practice, 26.30,97in Melanesian thought, 56 9

    ,ree miniaturisation

    rain. 10, 37, 138 plate 15rank. 20 l . 88 9. I 12 15 passint

    between proprietor and servant, 136 7naturalisation of, 90 1, 93 g passim,

    106pul l ing-down, 106, 107 plate 13, l4 l 2

    ,rce democratisationreality

    and fictional relatives, 53, 6las a matrer of v is ion, 48 52, 130_lmerographic, 175searching for, 137 8

    see literalisalionreason, 95, 19l , 192

    and choice,96regulat ion, 14, 103, 105 6, 107 9, 109_16

    passim, 152and self-regulating systems, I l8 27

    passtmchallenged, 160 plate l7of behaviour, 156taken for granted, 120-l

    relationshipas analyt ical connect ion, 12, 14,72, l5 las artificial, 53as natural , 51, 122as productive, l5as support, in Melanesia, 7l-2between indiv idual and society, l2 l ,

    150 2, 155, 168, 189, 196,209 n24denied, l l , t2 14. t8-22displacement of , in Melanesia,62,70 1incomplete as a field, 83'made' , 25, 48 51, 53, 55nostalgia for , 189reproduction of, in Melanesia, 60,62


    terminated by death, 64-5; by people,64

    versus individual rights, t79.ree parents and children

    relativedistinguished from l-amily, 9Ggdistinguished from person, g2-3, l3l

    re l ig ion,99 l0 l , 105representativeness, of accounts; .see

    general isat ion, 139reproductive model, of English, 14_15,22,

    36, 46. 53, 55.72tr . l19, t25, l7t ,l9 l ,198

    antecedents ol, 93compared wit t r Melanesian, 62,71demise of, 193of the future, 39,46 i , 13l , 193of reality, 53

    reproductive technology.ree new reproductive technology

    Repton, Hurnphrey, 103, 104 plate l2respectability

    middle class, I0l 6 passim, 130, 139rose, 34, 39, 104ruralism

    and houses, 102 plate l lin imagery, 3 l -2,34, l l '7in William Cowper, 99

    urban dichotomy, 34, 140, 149Ruskin. John. 107 plate 13, l l3-15, l9 l , l9B

    Sabarl Island (Massim, papua New Guinea),60

    scrence, 46, 49. 5lf ic t ion,42,43-4, 180

    sentimentevlnced towards nature culture, IIl,

    207*8 n 12; sociery. l2 l 2,157. l9 lsent imental i ty, l2 l3scrvanl. 20, 136-7 ; see Frontispiecesexual intercourse, 43, 78,9, 156

    Baruya,87Shakespeare, William, 30Shelley, Mary, 44siblings, 97

    displace conjugal relations, 70 1, inMerina,68; in Mol ima, 70

    social change; .ree changesocial c lass: see class, ranksocial construction, 2 3, 4 5, ]--8,45, 5i, 55,

    n9, 1734, 1934of individuals, 124, 192

    social facts, 2,46, 150

    social system, concepl of, I 18 19, 122, 188sae organisation; regulation

    socialisation, 109tr, I 19tr, 122 3, 125, 127,157 8. 159, 193

    Socialist politics, 147 8societY, 4

    and const i tuent 'groups' , 69and nature; sce nature

    ^s agefi, 1224

    as aggregate, 2G7,29as col lect iv i ty, 26-7,29, 120as enabl ing technology, 136as nat ion, 120as total is ing perspect ive, 135detached from cul ture, l15 16, 119-20diminut ion of , 43divisions of, 140 5 passim, 158internal ised, 168, 192modernist ideas of, 154-8persons as part of, 72pol i te,89versus indiv idual t sce indiv idual

    Sperling, Diana, and family, Frontispiece.88 90,98. 102, 136. 104 plate I2

    spouseabsent. 137. 149division of labour between, 79

    see Dlarnagestatc, the, 45,145,193, 201 n 14

    view of . Arnold 's, 107 9, I l2 l Ruskin 's,I 14; Thatcher 's, 144 5, 152, 181-2plale 20

    welfare, 141,147 8.154Steploe. Patr ick,47Slockbrokers Tudor, 32 3 plate 3, 102 plate

    l l , l l7see cottage

    style. l0 l ,145as manifestation of culture, 6, 25,

    l l3_15as manifestation of individuality, 20,

    378consumption of , l7 ldead, 144, 149 50evrnced in choice, 147, lS8, 162 7, l7 lfamily as life-. 145ff

    substancef low of (Melanesia), 79; (Engl ish) 80

    .ree bloodsuburban archi tecture, 1.24,324 plate 3,

    102 plate I l , 103 4, I 17support system, 50

    mother as, 49,73, 175, 183


    relationship as, Melanesia, 7l 2scc technology as enabling

    surrogate mother, 39, 46, 53, 61, 175-6Swansea. 8 I

    Tal lensi , Ghana, 123taste, 100 t , l l5, 162

    see ChoiceTaylor family, 98 109 passim, 105 6, 108,


    and desire, 177as culture, 169tr, 173as enabl ing,46 n 2, 83. 128, 130, 136,

    r'ts, 177, t834, 20t 2domest ic, 137fear of, 42, 180f inance as. 136,142

    see New Reproductive Technologiestenants, ofcounci l houses, 142, 165,6Thatcher, Mrs,36, 145 6, 158 9, 168-9,

    173,213 n 23and Thatcher ism, 143, 150 2, 195, 198,


    and generat ion. 15, 55. 61, 62as multiplier, 66downward f low of , 2G-1.52,67, 80 1evoked in advertising, 163 7increasing diversity of. 60, 75in Melanesia, 60 3non-recursive, 7 l,-2, 8lrecursive, 62

    tradi t ion, l2 l ,198and novel ty, 10, 11, 14, 36-7,59 60and sty le,28 9'Br i t ish ' ,29, 187diminution of, 43in political rheroric,44-5, 139ffproduced, 36, 106revived,6 plate l , 7 8, 94 plate 10, 130,

    1434.see nostalgia

    transmissionas self-replication, 169Engl ish. Tlof features (Gawa), 57of genet ic mater ia l ,78 8lof property; .ree inheritanceofsociety, 120, 157 8of substance (Baruya), 60

    Trobriands (Massim, Papua New Guinea),59, 63. 64.70_ 7l