1st Edition

In-Laws and Outlaws Kinship and Marriage in England

By Sybil Wolfram Copyright 1987

    Originally published in 1987, this book presented for the first time a unified treatment of English kinship of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This system, far from being a patchwork of historical accidents, has a remarkably logical overall structure, permeating both law and custom. To understand it one must study a wide variety of sources ranging from Parliamentary debates through accounts of contemporary events, cases and incidents to fiction of the day.

    The work is pertinent to current studies in a number of fields: in history it represents a systematic overview, highlighting new sources of material, while for lawyers it gives a historical context and explanation of ‘family law’, particularly topical for impending English legislation in this area at the time. It collects two centuries of sociological data, and presents social anthropologists with the English system for comparison with systems conventionally studied in the field and with kinship theory. Finally, it provides philosophers with a new arena in which to discuss the nature of explanations of human activities, besides raising fresh questions.

    Acknowledgements.  Introduction.  Part 1  1. Basic Ideas  2. The Prohibited Degrees of Marriage and Incest  3. Degree Reckoning in Mourning  4. Kinship Terminology and Marriage Preferences  5. Divorce  6. The Marriage Bond  Part 2  7. Popular Explanations  8. Experts Past and Present  9. Fact and Theory  10. Indigenous Structuring  11. The Future.  Bibliography.  Appendix: Chronological Table.  Index.


    Sybil Wolfram