A History of the Family, Volume I: Distant Worlds, Ancient Worlds (History of the Family Vol. 1)

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9780674396753: A History of the Family, Volume I: Distant Worlds, Ancient Worlds (History of the Family Vol. 1)

As old as the prehistoric bones jumbled in caves, as new as the latest union consummated in a test tube, the family in one form or another is at the heart of every society. Our most common institution, it is also the source of some of the world's most compelling and persistent questions, touching the very quick of history, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. A History of the Family is the first work to address all these aspects of the family over time and across the earth--to search out what the family means in its most particular and universal senses.

This monumental work in two volumes brings together experts from every discipline to show what the study of each epoch has to tell us about the family. Why is the family universal and yet so different in its various cultural manifestations? What notions of kinship regulate it, and how do these develop and change?

Françoise Zonabend's anthropological perspective on these questions, leading off Volume I, surveys familial terms and arrangements from familiar patrilinear models to matrilinear societies in Sumatra and Ghana to polyandry among the Nayar and the Toda of India. The following essays, which move from prehistory to antiquity to the middle ages, trace the evolution of the family from primate behavior to codified practices--in Sumer and Babylon and ancient Rome, in feudal Europe and medieval Byzantium, in China and Japan and Arab Islam--and relate these developments to religious, economic, and governmental concerns from land ownership to dynastic control and the maintenance of public order.

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About the Author:

André Burguière is Directeur d'Etudes at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

Christiane Klapisch-Zuber is Directeur d'Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Martine Segalen is Directeur de Recherches at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Françoise Zonabend is Directeur d'Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Published by Belknap Press (1996)
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