W067
Brother- and sisterhood in anthropological perspective

Convenors:
Erdmute Alber (University of Bayreuth)
Sjaak van der Geest (University of Amsterdam)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
535
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The panel wants to focus on the neglected theme of sibling relations. This includes the so-called biological siblings or different forms of 'made' or 'constructed' sibling ties, like blood-brotherhood or brother- and sisterhood in secret societies.

Long abstract:

Even though there has been a remarkable conjuncture of kinship issues in the anthropological debates, the complex relations between brothers and sisters are still underestimated, whether so-called biological siblings, "half"-brothers and sisters, classificatory brothers and sisters or different forms of "made" or "constructed" sibling ties, like for example blood-brotherhood between friends, or brother- and sisterhood in secret societies. The aim of our panel is to focus on a persistently neglected theme in anthropological research by encouraging scholars to present papers on topics like becoming (and losing) brothers and sisters, emotions between siblings, economic competition and/or collaboration, care and so on. How are relations between brother and sisters perceived, how do people speak about brothers and sisters, and how do concrete relations between them work in everyday practice? In which concrete situations do people mobilize sibling relations? What about the elder brother, the elder sister? Can brother- or sisterhood be an alternative to alliances between spouses? What does brother- and sisterhood mean in changing patterns of reproduction, for example in circumstances of reduced fertility or instable marriage patterns as in Euro-American societies? We encourage scholars to send empirical case-studies as well as theoretical reflections on the conceptualisation of brother- and sisterhood in a changing world. We welcome papers on Euro-American societies as well as papers from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Comparative studies are welcome as well as historical perspectives. This panel provides a forum for researchers to present and discuss work in progress. Panel participants are therefore advised to read the papers before the meeting (ask the panel conveners for a copy). Paper presentations will be brief and most of the panel meeting will be devoted to discussion and not to presentation of papers.