P124
The shape of living: genealogy and fieldwork one century after Rivers

Convenors:
Joao Pina-Cabral (University of Kent)
Marcio Silva (Universidade de São Paulo)
Antónia Pedroso de Lima (ISCTE-IUL / CRIA )
Location:
Block 1, Piso 0, Room 6
Start time:
18 April, 2011 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We celebrate one hundred years since W.H.R. Rivers published his famous essay on the genealogical method. In the light of the new interdisciplinary trends that have emerged in anthropology, papers will explore new paths for the relation between the genealogical method and participant observation.

Long abstract:

This year we celebrate one hundred years since W.H.R. Rivers published his famous essay on the genealogical method and the study of kinship. Three years later, he was to publish yet another essay that would influence decisively Malinowski's research in the Trobriand Islands. These, then, constitute the two central methodological suggestions that would launch anthropological research for the intervening century. It has often been ignored, however, that both methodological dispositions find their inspiration in interdisciplinary engagement with evolutionary biology. Participant observation has met with nearly total consensus during the past hundred years - often this consensus has been less real than imagined. The genealogical method, on the contrary, has had an explicitly polemical life - from 1971 to the early 1990s the study of kinship and genealogy suffered a profound critical reassessment. In the light of the new interdisciplinary trends that have been emerging in anthropology, we call for papers that will explore new paths for the relation between these two methodological dispositions.