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Fanti Kinship and the Analysis of Kinship Terminologies

An authoritative analysis of kinship terminologies

This book examines Fanti kinship terminology from a variety of analytic and formal perspectives. Based on work with a broad number of informants, David B. Kronenfeld details and analyzes internal variation in usage within the Fanti community, shows the relationship between terminology and social groups and communicative usage, and relates these findings to major theoretical work on kinship and on the intersections of language, thought, and culture.

The terminological analysis in this study employs a great variety of formal approaches, assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and covers a wide range of types of usage. This work also performs a systematic, formal analysis of behavior patterns among kin, joining this approach with the analysis of a kinship terminological system. Rather than treating kinship terminology as a special, isolated piece of culture, this study also ties its analysis to more general semantic and cultural theoretical issues. Including computational and comparative studies of kinship terminologies, this volume represents the fullest analysis of any kinship terminological system in the ethnographic record.

"The author applies evolved, forceful analytical methods to the Fanti and the book would seem set to become a standard text for anthropologists who seek a commanding introduction to what vigorous kinship analysis looks like at the beginning of the 21st century."--Anthropos

“Kronenfeld’s mastery of Fanti kinship, including social, linguistic, and semantic aspects, is of the very highest quality. He has a wide and masterful knowledge of the details of the research he discusses. He exhibits total integrity in presenting data as well as objective criteria for its interpretation. The outcome is one of the richest descriptions and theoretical interpretations of how kinship terminology and behavior actually operate in society.”--A. Kimball Romney, research professor, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine

"David Kronenfeld's Fanti Kinship and the Analysis of Kinship Terminologies is a ground-breaking and important addition to the anthropological literature on kinship systems, a formal analysis both of kinship terminologies and of social structures more generally, as well as an in-depth treatment of a particular ethnographic case. This book raises all the necessary questions about the nature and the goals of different versions of kinship theory and formal analysis, and at every turn it brings to bear Kronenfeld's splendid field ethnography. It should be an excellent textbook for new students; Kronenfeld makes it clear that formal analysis is relevant to the real issues of social and even political life."--F. K. Lehman (F. K. L. Chit Hlaing), professor of anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

David B. Kronenfeld is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers: Semantic Extension from the Ethnoscience Tradition and the editor of Sydney H. Gould’s A New System for the Formal Analysis of Kinship.

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