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Ancestors and Relatives

Genealogy, Identity, and Community

Zerubavel, Eviatar

(Book - 2012)
Ancestors and Relatives
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Genealogy has long been one of humanity's greatest obsessions. But with the rise of genetics, and increasing media attention through television programs like Who Do You Think You Are? and Faces of America, we are now told that genetic markers can definitively tell us where we came from.The problem, writes Eviatar Zerubavel, is that biology does not provide us with the full picture. After all, he asks, why do we consider Barack Obama black even though his mother was white? Why did the Nazis believe that unions of Germans and Jews would produce Jews rather than Germans? Are sixthcousins still family? In this provocative book, he offers a fresh understanding of relatedness, showing that its social logic sometimes overrides the biological reality it supposedly reflects. In fact, rather than just biological facts, social traditions of remembering and classifying shape the waywe trace our ancestors, identify our relatives, and delineate families, ethnic groups, nations, and species. Furthermore, genealogies are more than mere records of history. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, Zerubavel introduces such concepts as braiding, clipping, pasting, lumping, splitting,stretching, and pruning to shed light on how we manipulate genealogies to accommodate personal and collective agendas of inclusion and exclusion. Rather than simply find out who our ancestors were and identify our relatives, we actually construct the genealogical narratives that make them ourancestors and relatives. An eye-opening re-examination our very notion of relatedness, Ancestors and Relatives offers a new way of understanding family, ethnicity, nationhood, race, and humanity.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, c2012
ISBN: 0199773955
9780199773954
Branch Call Number: 929.1 Z588a 2012
Characteristics: xii, 226 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm

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