Kinship, Blood and Alliances

  • Ana Porroche-EscuderoEmail author


In classical anthropology, biological motherhood is given, and the genetic tie between parents and child is unbreakable. Heterosexual intercourse is thought to develop close bonds based on love. Feminist scholars have long debunked descent and alliance theory, traceable to the nineteenth-century Victorian period. But these continue to influence practices, social norms, law, policy and healthcare. How “old” kinship ideologies emerge are explored through: (1) the enforcement of heteronormative marriage, (2) the violence implicit in “amorous thought” and (3) how the quest for biological motherhood underlies an obsession to use new reproductive technologies. Those who do not fit confined models of kinship are excluded from social and legal benefits granted by marriage and motherhood. Their sexualities and alternative kin arrangements are marginalised and criminalised.


  1. Aniston, J. (2016). For the record. I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. The Huffington Post, May 12. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from
  2. Armour, S. (2009). More families move in together during housing crisis. USA Today. Retrieved July 2, 2016, from
  3. Asensio-Lozano, M. (2012). Entrevista a Mari Luz Esteban: Se Pueden Hacer Sacrificios Por Amor, Pero Siempre Deben Ser Temporales. Pikara Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2016, from
  4. Beck, J. (2016). Romantic comedies: When stalking has a happy ending. The Atlantic, February 5. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from
  5. Bedford, K. (2009). Holding it together in a crisis: Family strengthening and embedding neoliberalism. IDS Bulletin, 39(6), 60–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bedford, K., & Jakobsen, J. (Eds.). (2009). Introduction to towards a vision of sexual and economic justice. The Scholar and Feminist Online, 4(7.3), 1–49.Google Scholar
  7. Berrington, E., & Honkatukia, P. (2002). An evil monster and a poor thing: Female violence in the media. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 3(1), 50–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blázquez Rodríguez, M. B., & Muñoz, M. J. M. (2010). Emociones ante la maternidad: de los modelos impuestos a las contestaciones de las mujeres. Ankulegi. Revista de Antropología Social, 14, 81–92.Google Scholar
  9. Borneman, J. (1997). Caring and being cared for: Displacing marriage, kinship, gender and sexuality. International Social Science Journal, 49(154), 573–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Briffault, R., & Malinowski, B. (1956). Marriage, past and present: A debate between Robert Briffault and Bronislaw Malinowski. Boston: Porter Sargent Publisher. Retrieved
  11. Brown, P. (1995). Race, class, and environmental health: A review and systematization of the literature. Environmental Research, 69(1), 15–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brownmiller, S. (1979). Against our will: Men, women and rape. New York: Bantam Books. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from
  13. Butler, J. (2002). Is kinship always already heterosexual? Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 13(1), 14–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Castro-Martín, T., Martín-García, T., Abellán, A., Pujol, R., & Puga, D. (2015). Tras Las Huellas de La Crisis Económica En La Demografía Española. Panorama Social, 22, 43–60.Google Scholar
  15. Chatel, A. (2016). 11 movie scenes that taught us stalking is romantic. Bustle. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from
  16. Cohen, P. N. (2014). Recession and divorce in the United States, 2008–2011. Population Research and Policy Review, 33(5), 615–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Collier, J. F., & Yanagisako, S. J. (1987). Gender and kinship: Essays toward a unified analysis. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cornwall, A., & Jolly, S. (2006). Introduction: Sexuality matters. IDS Bulletin, 37(5), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cornwall, A., Harrison, E., & Whitehead, A. (2007). Feminisms in development: Contradictions, contestations and challenges. London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  20. Davis, D. L. (2004). When smoke ran like water: Tales of environmental deception and the battle against pollution. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  21. Drakulic, S. (2001). Como Si Yo No Estuviera. Barcelona: Anagrama.Google Scholar
  22. Duggan, L. (2013). What is homonormativity? Dismantling Homonormativity. Retrieved March 7, 2016, from
  23. Easteal, P., et al. (2015). How are women who kill portrayed in newspaper media? Connections with social values and the legal system. In Women’s studies international forum (Vol. 51). New York: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  24. Enguix, B., & Roca (Eds.). (2015). Rethinking romantic love. Discussions, imaginaries and practices. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Esteban, M. L. (2008). El Amor Romántico Dentro Y Fuera de Occidente: Determinismos, Paradojas Y Visiones Alternativas. In L. Suárez, E. Martín, & R. Hernández (Eds.), Feminismos en la Antropología: nuevas propuestas críticas (pp. 154–172). Donostia: Ankulegi Antropologia Elkartea.Google Scholar
  26. Esteban, M. L. (2011). Crítica Del Pensamiento Amoroso: Temas Contemporáneos. Barcelona: Bellaterra.Google Scholar
  27. Ettorre, E. (2007). Revisioning women and drug use. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fox, N. (2011). Oh, did the women suffer, They suffered so much: Impacts of gendered based violence on kinship networks in Rwanda. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 37(2), 279–305.Google Scholar
  29. Franklin, S. (Ed.). (1996). The sociology of gender. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.Google Scholar
  30. Franklin, S., & McKinnon, S. (Eds.). (2001). Relative values: Reconfiguring kinship studies. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Frigolé, J. (1995). Un Etnólogo En El Teatro: Ensayo Antropológico Sobre Federico García Lorca. Barcelona: Muchnik. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from
  32. Giddens, A. (1992). The transformation of intimacy: Sexuality, love and eroticism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gimeno, B. (2014). Construyendo Un Discurso Antimaternal. Pikara Magazine. Retrieved July 6, 2016, from
  34. Hanmer, J. (1997). Women and reproduction. In V. Robinson & D. Richardson (Eds.), Introducing women’s studies (pp. 349–374). Hampshire/New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. He, X. (2013). Building a movement for sexual rights and pleasure. In S. Jolly, A. Cornwall, & K. Hawkins (Eds.), Women, sexuality and the political power of pleasure (pp. 93–110). London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  36. Herranz-Bellido, J. (2013). Violencia de Género En La Población Adolescente. Guía de Orientación Para La Familia. Alicante: Diputación de Alicante, Unidad de Igualdad.Google Scholar
  37. Herrera Gómez, C. (2012). La Violencia de Género Y El Amor Romántico | Pikara Magazine. Pikara Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2016, from
  38. Inhorn, M. C. (2003). The worms are weak male infertility and patriarchal paradoxes in Egypt. Men and Masculinities, 5(3), 236–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jackson, S., & Scott, S. (1996). Sexual skirmishes and feminist factions: Twenty-five years of debate on women and sexuality. In S. Jackson & S. Scott (Eds.), Feminism and sexuality. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Jackson, S., & Scott, S. (2004). Sexual antinomies in late modernity. Sexualities, 7(2), 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jacobs, M., & Dinham, B. (2003). Silent invaders: Pesticides, livelihoods, and Women’s health. London/New York: Zed books in association with pesticide action network UK; Distributed in the USA exclusively by Palgrave.Google Scholar
  42. Jankowiak, W. R., & Fischer, E. F. (1992). A cross-cultural perspective on romantic love. Ethnology, 31(2), 149–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jolly, S., Cornwall, A., & Hawkins, K. (2013). Women, sexuality and the political power of pleasure. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  44. Khanna, A. (2007). The right to health and sexuality. Mumbai: Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes Retrieved July 2, 2016, from
  45. Kim, J. (2012). Taking rape seriously: Rape as slavery. Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, 35, 263.Google Scholar
  46. Knerr, W., & Philpott, A. (2008). The global mapping of pleasure: A directory of organizations, media and people who eroticize safer sex. Oxford: The Pleasure Project.Google Scholar
  47. La Psico Woman. (2015). El Perdón Feat Psico Woman. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from
  48. Lindholm, C. (2006). Romantic love and anthropology. Etnofoor, 19(1), 5–21.Google Scholar
  49. Lippman, J. R. (2015). I did it because I never stopped loving you the effects of media portrayals of persistent pursuit on beliefs about stalking. Communication Research 93650215570653.Google Scholar
  50. Llopis-Navarro, M. (Ed.). (2015). Maternidades subversivas. Tafalla: Txalaparta.Google Scholar
  51. Lynn, H. (2007). Politics and prevention: Linking breast cancer and our environment. Utrecht: Women in Europe for a Common Future. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from
  52. Metzl, J. M. (2012). Structural competency. American Quarterly, 64(2), 213–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mingus, M., & Georgians for Choice. (2006). Disabled women and reproductive choice. In Sistersong (Ed.), Reproductive justice briefing book: A primer on reproductive justice and social change (pp. 23–24). Atlanta: Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective.Google Scholar
  54. Mohamad, M., & Saskia, W. (2014). The focus. Family ambiguity and domestic violence in Asia: Concept, law and process. IIAS Newsletter, 67, 21–23.Google Scholar
  55. Moncó, B. (2014). Madres Y Madrastras: Modelos de Género, Heterodesignación Y Familias Reconstituidas. Feminismo/s, 23, 113–133.Google Scholar
  56. Mouzo, Q. J. (2016). Salud Garantiza La Reproducción Asistida a Mujeres Lesbianas O Solteras. El País. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from
  57. Neira, M. (2016). Me Dejé Violar Por Amor. Pikara Magazine. Retrieved from
  58. Nicolson, P. (1997). Motherhood and women’s lives. In V. Robinson & D. Richarson (Eds.), Introducing women’s studies (pp. 375–399). Hampshire/New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Odent, M. (2009). The functions of the orgasms: The highways to transcendence. London: Pinter & Martin Publishers. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from
  60. Olivella, M. (2016). Explorando Las (Im)posibilidades de Una Ley Interseccional Sobre Violencias de Género En El Estado Español. Tarragona: Universitat Rovira i Virgili.Google Scholar
  61. Peletz, M. G. (1995). Kinship studies in late twentieth-century anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 343–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pichardo-Galán, J. I. (2008). Opciones Sexuales Y Nuevos Modelos de Familia. In A. Téllez-Infantes & Martínez-Guirao (Eds.), Sexualidad, Género, Cambio de Roles y Nuevos Modelos de Familia (pp. 35–64). España: Seminario Interdisciplinar de Estudios de Género del Vicerrectorado de Estudiantes y Extensión Universitaria de la Universidad Miguel Hernández.Google Scholar
  63. Pichardo-Galán, J. I. (2009). Entender la diversidad familiar: Relaciones homosexuales y nuevos modelos de familia. Barcelona: Bellaterra.Google Scholar
  64. Porroche-Escudero, A. (2007). (Re) Construyendo Mitos: Crítica Feminista Sobre La Construcción Social de La Sexualidad Femenina Y Sus Repercusiones En La Violencia Sexual. Clepsydra: Revista de Estudios de Género Y Teoría Feminista, 6, 139–158.Google Scholar
  65. Porroche-Escudero, A. (2012). Listening to women: Political narratives of breast cancer in Spain. Ph.D., University of Sussex. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from
  66. Porroche-Escudero, A. & Figueroa, B. (2016). Drets Econòmics de Les Persones Afectades de Càncer. In A. Porroche-Escudero, G. Coll-Planas, & C. Ribas (Eds.), Cicatrius (in)visibles Perspectives feministes sobre el càncer de mama (pp. 175–186). Vic: Eumo Editorial/UVic-UCC.Google Scholar
  67. Qadeer, I., & Visvanathan, N. (2004). How healthy are health and population policies? The Indian experience. In A. Castro & M. Singer (Eds.), Unhealthy health policy (pp. 145–162). Oxford: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  68. Roberts, D. E. (1993a). Motherhood and crime. Iowa Law Review, 79, 95.Google Scholar
  69. Roberts, D. E. (1993b). Racism and patriarchy in the meaning of motherhood. American University Journal of Gender and the Law, 1, 1.Google Scholar
  70. Roberts, D. E. (1995). The unrealized power of mother. Columbia Journal of Gender and the Law, 5(1), 141–151.Google Scholar
  71. Roberts, D. E. (1997). Killing the black body: Race, reproduction, and the meaning of liberty. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  72. Roberts, D. E. (1999). Is there justice in Children’s rights: The critique of Federal Family Preservation Policy. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, 2, 112.Google Scholar
  73. Roberts, D. E. (2012). The social context of oncofertility. DePaul Law Review, 61, 777–798.Google Scholar
  74. Rothman, B. K. (1994). Beyond mothers and fathers: Ideology in a patriarchal society. In E. Nakano-Glenn, G. Chang, & L. R. Forcey (Eds.), Mothering: Ideology, experience, and agency (pp. 139–157). Oxon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  75. Rousseva, V. (2004). Rape and sexual assault in Chechnya. Cultura, Society and Praxis, 3(1), 64–67.Google Scholar
  76. Rubin, G. (1984). Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality. In C. Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and danger. Exploring female sexuality (pp. 267–321). Boston/London: Routledge/Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  77. Scheper-Hughes, N. (1993). Death without weeping: The violence of everyday life in Brazil. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  78. Schneider, D. (2004). what is kinship all about? In R. Parkin & Stone (Eds.), Kinship and family: An anthropological reader (pp. 257–274). Boston: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  79. Seoane-Pascual, L. (2012). Violencia de Pareja Hacia Las Mujeres En Población Adolescente Y Juvenil Y Sus Implicaciones En La Salud. Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid.Google Scholar
  80. Social Science Space. (2016). Janet Carsten on the kinship of anthropology. Social Science Space. Retrieved from
  81. Stolcke, V. (1988). New reproductive technologies: The old quest for fatherhood. Reproductive and Genetic Engineering. Citeseer. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from
  82. Tabet, P. (1987). Imposed reproduction: Maimed sexuality. Gender Issues, 7(2), 3–31.Google Scholar
  83. Tarducci, M. (2011). La Adopción. In Una Aproximación Desde La Antropología Del Parentesco. Buenos Aires: Librería de Mujeres Editoras.Google Scholar
  84. Teo, Y. (2013). Support for deserving families: Inventing the anti-welfare Familialist state in Singapore. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 20(3), 387–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. The Association for Women’s Rights in Development. (2015). Submission for the human rights council report on the protection of the family. AWID. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from
  86. The Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research Programme Consortium. (2011). Empowerment: A journey not a destination. Brighton: Pathways of Women’s Empowerment. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from
  87. Tsing, A. L., & Yanagisako, S. J. (1983). Feminism and kinship theory. Current Anthropology, 24(4), 511–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Varela, N. (2002). Íbamos a Ser Reinas. Mentiras Y Complicidades Que Sustentan La Violencia Contra Las Mujeres. Barcelona: Ediciones B, Grupo Z.Google Scholar
  89. Walks, M. (2010). Anthropology of mothering. In A. O’Reilly (Ed.), Encyclopedia of motherhood. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  90. Welbourn, A. (2013). Desires denied: Sexual pleasure in the context of HIV. In S. Jolly, A. Cornwall, & K. Hawkins (Eds.), Women, sexuality and the political power of pleasure (pp. 142–160). London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  91. Wieringa, S. E. (2011). Portrait of a women’s marriage: Navigating between Lesbophobia and Islamophobia. Signs, 36(4), 785–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wieringa, S. (2014). The enforcement of heteronormativity in India and Indonesia. IIAS Newsletter, 67, 28–29.Google Scholar
  93. Williams, Z. (2016). Andrea Leadsom’s motherhood insult was contemptible but the motherhood myth is persistent. The Guardian, July 11. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from
  94. World Health Organization, Education. (1998). Promoción de La Salud: Glosario. Division of Health Promotion. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NIHR CLAHRC NWCLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

Personalised recommendations