By David Murray Schneider
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Additional info for American Kinship: A Cultural Account
The Family 41 elements in terms of which the family is defined. Sexual attributes , on the other hand, constitute facts of nature of great importance to the family but on a quite different cultural level than that of the distinctive fea tures. In American culture, the definition of what makes a person male or female is the kind of sexual organs he has. Although a child is not a man or a woman until it is sexually mature, its identity as a male or female is established at birth by its genitals.
The modifier functions symbolize the difference between these subclasses: the first subclass is marked by the restrictive modifiers, the second by the unre strictive modifiers. That is, the "father . . , while the �'uncle . . granddaughter, and "cousin" sets are infinitely expandable, but each expansion adds a degree of distance. Table I represents this summary. I have put this summary in terms of the different classes or categories of relatives in American kinship. Yet these categories are built out of two elements, 1·elationship as natural substance and relationship as code for conduct.
Is in fact away at school most of the time. People may say that the child·":-m really has no family at all, for the two half-time arrangements are thought-\\] to be much less than one full-time arrangement. Whether he lives with · ·· his mother and step-father half of the time, or whether he lives at a :[g boarding school most of the time, it is really the question of custody and'j\� responsibility that is important. But perhaps, in a technical sense, the child of divorced parents has two families and not just one, if each par< ent has established a new family which is living together, and custody : r � ilia�.
American Kinship: A Cultural Account by David Murray Schneider