Revisiting Kinship Studies from the Perspective of Multiplicity of Parent-Child Relationships : With Reference to Italian Cases(<Special Theme>Parent-Child Relatedness: Rethinking Anthropological Approaches to Kinship and Family)


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  • 親子関係の複数性という視点からの親族研究再考 : イタリアの事例とともに(<特集>親子のつながり-人類学における親族/家族研究再考)
  • 親子関係の複数性という視点からの親族研究再考--イタリアの事例とともに
  • オヤコ カンケイ ノ フクスウセイ ト イウ シテン カラ ノ シンゾク ケンキュウ サイコウ イタリア ノ ジレイ ト トモニ

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<p>Against the backdrop of family diversification and the advancement of reproductive technology, considerable public interest and power have been focused on discussing the parent-child relationship, with the field of anthropology possibly perceived as having the most authority in the discussion. As is well known, research on kinship flourished for a time as a leading area of research in anthropology, and a substantial amount of qualitative and quantitative research has been accumulated in terms of the parent-child relationship. As exemplified by the use of terms such as "genitor" and "pater," anthropology distinguishes between biological and social parent-child relationships, with the latter being considered an appropriate subject of research. In such an approach, parent-child relationships are clearly shown to arise from sociocultural constructions. However, such research declined rapidly from around 1970. One of the reasons was the criticism that even in the anthropological approach, the underlying assumption deemed biological relationships to be more intrinsic, with such a biology-based view based on the Western concept of kinship. A 1984 study by Schneider, in particular, reinforced that trend by pointing out that kinship is an object of concern only in Western societies, and thus such kinship only exists in the West. This paper attempts to explore ideas that may lead to a breakthrough in the current state of kinship studies. Since the 1990s, anthropology has seen a revival of kinship studies. However, it can hardly be considered to have entered a new phase that breaks away from the Western framework. Instead, perhaps due to the haste in criticizing and deconstructing it, the debate has contrarily centered on the framework itself, and appears to have resulted in reproducing it. This paper addresses the current situation by developing an argument that introduces the perspective of "multiplicity of parent-child relationships," with reference to Italian cases. Ordinarily we expect there to be a single parent-child relationship, in which there is one father and one mother. Even in the case of adoptive parents and a child, although the relationship is two-fold, including that with the biological parents, only one of the relationships is recognized as the "official" parent-child relationship. The adoptive parent-child relationship is institutionalized as such in the first place. In Italy as well, parents of a child are usually regarded as the couple that gave birth to the child. The perception of parent and child in that country is exclusive, and the biology-based concept is also widespread. That concept is closely linked to such authorities as the state and the church, as exemplified by the Medically Assisted Reproductive Technology Act enacted in 2004, which is described in detail in Chapter 1. On the other hand, the number of adopted children is not so small, and many adoptive parents have biological children in addition to their adoptive ones. Close relatives such as uncles and aunts (or more recently, grandparents) often look after nieces and nephews (or grandchildren), and godparents, who are there to act as spiritual role models, may also provide practical assistance in daily life. Many adults in a range of non-parental roles (provision of assets, food, clothing, shelter, education, care, etc.) are involved in a child's daily life in various ways. These relationships seemly coexist with the parent-child relationship while relativizing its exclusivity. In Chapter 3, the reality of the parent-child relationship in Italy is described and discussed through case examples in towns on the outskirts of Rome, which is the region studied in this paper. Such multiple parent-child relationships (although it may not be appropriate to call them parent-child relationships anymore) can be observed in other cultural societies, and it is not</p><p>(View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)</p>



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