Measuring Kinship: Gradual Belonging and Thresholds of Exclusion


Tatjana Thelen et Christof Lammer, Measuring Kinship: Gradual Belonging and Thresholds of Exclusion, in Social Analysis, volume 65, issue 4.


Widespread procedures to measure what is taken to be kinship condition negotiations of various forms of belonging (family, ethnicity, nation, race, and even humanity). Kinship measurements require indicators, evidence, and persuasive display to become institutionalized. This introduction shows these measurements’ generative force, which enables their translation into differentiated access to resources. Kinship measurements pull together different and sometimes contrasting ideas, practices, and materialities. Different measurements can add up, mutually reinforcing each other, and reach thresholds for inclusion or exclusion. Yet most often they remain contested, produce gradual results, and do not achieve closure. Grouping them together as assessments of closeness or similarity, we explore the productivity of kinship measurements in diverse settings, such as medicine, bureaucracy, and ritual, to demonstrate how they shape inequalities and marginalizations.

More information (see editor's website).

Tatjan Thelen