David Schneider

American kinship: A cultural account

Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1980 [1968].
Incest, which is the gravest wrong, consists in unifying what is one to begin with by the device for unifying opposites, and of failing to separate what was one into two, thereby directly inverting in one stroke both sides of the formula, that only different things can be united by sexual intercourse and only united things made different.

The symbol of love bridges these two different elements. It is love which preserves the unity of the differentiated and further differentiating parents and their children as well as the child from his siblings. The one is conjugal love, marked by an erotic component; the other is cognatic love, wholly without erotic aspects; but both are love which is unifying. And love is what American kinship is all about. (1968:40)
Wednesday, May 23, 2001