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Race, Ethnicity, and Nation

Race, Ethnicity, and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics

Edited by Peter Wade
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Race, Ethnicity, and Nation
    Book Description:

    Race, ethnicity and nation are all intimately linked to family and kinship, yet these links deserve closer attention than they usually get in social science, above all when family and kinship are changing rapidly in the context of genomic and biotechnological revolutions. Drawing on data from assisted reproduction, transnational adoption, mixed race families, Basque identity politics and post-Soviet nation-building, this volume provides new and challenging ways to understand race, ethnicity and nation.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-560-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Health Sciences, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    Peter Wade
  4. 1 Race, Ethnicity and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics
    (pp. 1-32)
    Peter Wade

    In this chapter, I want to approach the well-known imbrications of concepts of race, ethnicity and the nation from the point of view of what might be seen, in a European (and perhaps more widely ‘Western’) context, as the key discourse of human relatedness through corporeal substance and nature – that is, kinship. The researchers in this volume focus primarily on kinship as a privileged, but still rather little-explored, way of grasping dimensions of race, ethnicity and nationality and this chapter sets out the broad theoretical context for that focus. The empirical focus of the research in this volume is European...

  5. 2 Race, Genetics and Inheritance: Reflections upon the Birth of ‘Black’ Twins to a ‘White’ IVF Mother
    (pp. 33-52)
    Katharine Tyler

    On 8 July 2002, theSunnewspaper (the most widely read tabloid newspaper in the U.K.) reported their exclusive scoop: ‘White couple have black IVF twins’. The paper described how this ‘devastating’ and ‘tragic mix-up’ involved a ‘black couple who has also been desperately trying for a test-tube baby’ (Kay 2002a, 2002b). With the aid of computerized images of the black and white couples, arrows point the reader to the possible combination through which the ova and sperm were ‘mixed up’. Either the black couple’s fertilized egg was wrongly implanted into the white woman or the black man’s sperm was...

  6. 3 Race, Biology and Culture in Contemporary Norway: Identity and Belonging in Adoption, Donor Gametes and Immigration
    (pp. 53-72)
    Signe Howell and Marit Melhuus

    There is no predominant discourse on race as such in contemporary Norway, though there are racist articulations and concomitant accusations of racism. Thus to write about race in Norway may seem contrived. Yet there are good reasons for doing so. Historically, notions about race played a significant role in connection with the ideology of racial hygiene which was prominent in Norway from the turn of the last century until well after the end of the Second World War. The repercussions are still felt today (Roll-Hansen and Broberg 1996; and see below). An explicit awareness of the implications of eugenics informed...

  7. 4 ‘I want her to learn her language and maintain her culture’: Transnational Adoptive Families’ Views of ‘Cultural Origins’
    (pp. 73-94)
    Diana Marre

    The theme of the ‘cultural origins’ of adopted children is a recurrent one among adoptive families. The adoptive mother of an eleven-month-old baby, who was adopted in China and arrived in Barcelona when she was three months old, emphatically said in a prime-time television show that she did not want her baby to lose her cultural origins: ‘I want her to learn her language and maintain her culture’ (TV1, 8 October 2003). In this chapter, I explore the many different and ambiguous meanings attached to the notion of ‘cultural origins’ by adoptive parents and the uncertain boundary between nature and...

  8. 5 Racialization, Genes and the Reinventions of Nation in Europe
    (pp. 95-124)
    Ben Campbell

    In an apparently straightforward and noncontroversial way, when Europeans seek IVF treatment using donor sperm or eggs, a requirement is made that donated gametes should match the physical characteristics of the recipients. There are immunological factors that present a partial rationale for this matching, but the issue invites pause for thought about the extent to which DNA has been freed from eugenic typologies. Physical characteristics are specified to be transferable within, but not across, boundaries of ethnic difference. This imperative for physical resemblance in the offspring of technologically assisted reproduction requires anthropological reflection on shifting states of racial practice.


  9. 6 Kinship Language and the Dynamics of Race: The Basque Case
    (pp. 125-144)
    Enric Porqueres i Gené

    A key element in the phenomenology of anti-Semitism is the reference made to the crime of Golgotha as presented in the Gospels. In particular, it is the narration given by Matthew that furnishes an argument that is repeated time and again. When Jesus was brought before him, Pontius Pilate offered to set him free:

    Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

    And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.


  10. 7 The Transmission of Ethnicity: Family and State – A Lithuanian Perspective
    (pp. 145-168)
    Darius Daukšas

    In this chapter, I will look at how naturalizing idioms of ‘kinship’, ‘inheritance’, ‘blood’ and, indeed, culture operate in the understanding of ethnicity and nationalism. More specifically, I will address the role of ‘biological’ and ‘cultural’ connectedness in defining ethnic and national identities: I examine how ideas about blood, inheritance, biology and culture are deployed in thinking about ethnic and national belonging. The article concentrates on the issue of how people become involved in classificatory thinking, in the context of political change. I focus on a recent period of state building in Lithuania and on the state’s project of homogenization...

  11. 8 Media Storylines of Culturally Hybrid Persons and Nation
    (pp. 169-186)
    Ben Campbell

    This chapter takes a complementary approach to the discussion, in my other chapter in this book, about regulatory framings for ethnic matching of donated gametes. Here the focus is on how the British media has found genetics newsworthy within stories about changing notions of identity; and how DNA is seen as offering added narrative value in relation to stories of race, ethnicity and nation. Instead of seeing race through public policy and ethical deliberation (which perpetuate raciological categories in avoiding mixture), the spotlight is now turned on accounts of the experiences of people whose situations call attention to the lived...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 187-190)
  13. Glossary
    (pp. 191-196)
  14. Index
    (pp. 197-200)