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Lifetimes Intertwined: African Grandparents and Grandchildren

  • Susan R. Whyte, Erdmute Alber and P. Wenzel Geissler

Extract

In this volume we return to one of the treasures of our contributors' anthropological heritage: the study of kinship in Africa. We have chosen to focus on the intertwined lives of grandparents and grandchildren because they raise so clearly fundamental issues of temporality and relationship. While grandparents and grandchildren live together in shared time, their lifetimes overlap only partly. They have different pasts and different futures, and they share a present that in many countries is being radically affected by historical transformations such as urbanisation, impoverishment and the scourge of AIDS.

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References

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Carsten, J. 2000. ‘Introduction: cultures of relatedness’, in Carsten, J. (ed.), Cultures of Relatedness: new approaches to the study of kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fortes, M. 1949. The Web of Kinship among the Tallensi: the second part of an analysis of the social structure of a Trans‐Volta tribe. London: Oxford University Press, for the International African Institute.
Goody, J. (ed.). 1966. (1958). The Developmental Cycle in Domestic Groups. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnson‐ Hanks, J. 2002. ‘On the limits of life stages in ethnography: toward a theory of vital conjunctures’, American Anthropologist 104 (3): 865–80.
Nyambedha, E. O., Wandibba, S., and Aagaard‐Hansen, J.. 2003. ‘Changing patterns of orphan care due to the HIV epidemic in western Kenya’, Social Science and Medicine 57 (2): 301–11.
Radcliffe‐Brown, A. R. 1950. ‘Introduction’, in Radcliffe‐Brown, A. R. and Forde, D. (eds), African Systems of Kinship and Marriage. London: Oxford University Press, for the International African Institute.

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