Wounds: Broken Bodies and the Rupture of Kinship

  • Amanda Kearney


Whether determined through biological or socially affiliated links, kinship is central to the construction and maintenance of ethnic identities. The relational quality of kinship not only links people together and sets limits to the collective but, more broadly, sets rhythms to the structures of life that affect the relations between people and other entities such as the state, political and economic institutions, ancestors, and contemporaries. Kinship, as both socially and biologically determined, is treated here as “social relations predicated upon cultural conceptions that specify the processes by which an individual comes into being and develops into a complete social person” (Kelly 1993: 521–522). “Ethnicity consists of social and cultural processes that are associated with a constructed group identity,” and thus the intimacy between kinship and ethnicity is claimed (Scott 2008: 175). However defined by the group, kinship creates the structure of life and affects our social movement as humans from preexistence to infancy, child- and adulthood, midlife, aging, death, and postlife (Jenkins 1997: 68). Utilizing kinship, chosen or ascribed, as the framing device for a study of emerging ethnicities emphasizes the legacy of agreed-to and continually negotiated terms of belonging, which set expectations for the life course.


Ethnic Group Ethnic Identity Sexual Violence Torres Strait Islander Social Memory 
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© Amanda Kearney 2014

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  • Amanda Kearney

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