In Introduction to the Science of Kinship, Murray J. Leaf and Dwight Read illustrate how humans organize systems of social ideas through structures of kinship and outline what this implies for the science of human social organization. Leaf and Read explain that every human society has a social organization that is associated with a distinct vocabulary, which correlates with a particular system of interrelated definitions of social roles and relations. These roles and relations have four specific logical properties: reciprocity, transitivity, boundedness, and imaginary spatial dimensionality. These properties allow individuals to use them in communication to create ongoing, agreed-upon, organizations. This book is recommended for scholars of anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and mathematics.
Murray J. Leaf is emeritus professor of anthropology and political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Dwight W. Read is distinguished research professor and professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
List of Figures
List of Tables
Acknowledgments and Who Did What
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Path to the Kinship Apocalypse
Chapter 3: Theory of Organizations
Chapter 4: Kinship and Biology
Chapter 5: Kinship Maps
Chapter 6: Ideas Attached to Kinship Maps
Chapter 7: Domestic Group Organizations
Chapter 8: The Hopi
Chapter 9: The Purum
Chapter 10: The Dravidian Problem Transformed
Chapter 11: Kinship, Logic, and Mathematics
Chapter 12: Conclusion
About the Authors
In this book Leaf and Read continue to explore the paradigm shift in the anthropology of kinship. Leaf’s and Read’s argument unfolds against the background of the fundamentals of human cognition - binary operations, reciprocity, and recursion that are also the basis of kinship terminologies themselves. Starting from the work of such illustrious ancestors as L. H. Morgan, who was the first to notice that kinship terminologies are among the fundamental capacities of human intelligence, Leaf and Read illuminate the trail with an experimental procedure using algebraic models to show that the structures of kinship terminologies is generated from their own logical constraints rather than external exigencies. They discuss objectivity vs. subjectivity and Western vs. indigenous models, showing how various idea systems, such as family life, property and land management, converge in kinship maps as observable objects. Kinship terminologies are outcomes of the dynamics between the shared social reality and computational reasoning, “itself built into our social life” and witnessed in the anthropological fieldwork among indigenous "actors”. Firmly placing the study of kinship terminology within the experimental sciences, this book stands among the indispensable readings not only for anthropologists, but also of great interest to archaeologists, linguists and cognitive scientist.