With marriage in decline, divorce on the rise and the demise of the nuclear family, it is clear that the structures of kinship in the modern West are in a state of flux. In The Metamorphoses of Kinship, the world-renowned anthropologist Maurice Godelier contextualises these developments, surveying the accumulated experience of humanity with regard to such phenomena as the organisation of lines of descent, sexuality and sexual prohibitions. In parallel, Godelier studies the evolution of Western conjugal and familial traditions from their roots in the nineteenth century to the present.
The conclusion he draws is that it is never the case that a man and a woman are sufficient on their own to raise a child, and nowhere are relations of kinship or the family the keystone of society.
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