1st Edition

Kinship as Fiction Exploring the Dynamism of Intimate Relationships in India

Edited By Anindita Majumdar, Yoko Taguchi Copyright 2025
    120 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Bringing together emerging ethnographies on kinship in South Asia, this book explores the idea of kinship as ‘fiction’ in intimate relationships.

    Fictions and fictive kinship within anthropology are contested ideas. Increasingly, research suggests the idea of intimate relationships has to extend beyond the biological assumption of kinship relations. The idea of fiction is also not free from the biological imagination or the persistent dichotomy of nature-culture/nurture-nature. This edited volume resurrects the idea of fiction and fictive-ness to understand how intimate relationships may use these particular labels, translate into practices, or create an experiential understanding around relationships. The chapters in this book reengage the idea of fiction by exploring the ambiguity within household relationships, the process of making and engaging with a craft and skill, and the intricacies of making children through IVF and third-party involvement. They challenge societal norms of marriage and being married by reframing shared substances and the relationality they carry and by remembering deceased ties through acts of resurrection. Through vivid illustrations of life and living in South Asia, each chapter contributes to an understanding of how fiction and reality are mutually creating each other.

    This book will be beneficial to students, academics and scholars of anthropology, particularly those interested in kinship and the sociology of the family. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Contemporary South Asia.

    Introduction - Kinship as fiction: Exploring the dynamism of intimate relationships in South Asia

    Yoko Taguchi and Anindita Majumdar


    1. Imagined and unimagined relatedness: A child of ‘one’s own’ in third-party reproduction in India

    Mizuho Matsuo


    2. Remembering deceased kin through assisted conception in India

    Anindita Majumdar


    3. Fiction in the making of intimacy in old age: A case from Sri Lanka

    Sae Nakamura


    4. The fiction of ‘fluid nuclear units’: Rearticulating relations through domestic work in Mumbai

    Yoko Taguchi


    5. Reimagining familial relationships: Intimate networks and kinship practices in Odisha, India

    Yumiko Tokita-Tanabe

    6. Kinship as a ‘public fiction’. Substance and emptiness in South Indian inter-caste and inter-religious families

    Ester Gallo


    7. Identifying ‘authorized users’, identifying kin: Negotiating relational worlds through Geographical Indications registration

    Chandan Bose


    Anindita Majumdar is Associate Professor of Anthropology-Sociology at the Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. Her research interests include reproduction, infertility, clinical medicine, and reproductive technologies. Anindita is the author of Transnational Commercial Surrogacy and the (Un)making of Kin in India, and Surrogacy: Oxford India Short Introductions.

    Yoko Taguchi is a Cultural Anthropologist and Associate Professor at Eikei University of Hiroshima, Japan. Her current research focuses on domestic work in urban India, exploring the dynamics of care work and family/kinship/social relations.