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Robin Fox's study of systems of kinship and alliance has become an established classic of the social science literature. It has been praised above all for its liveliness of style and clarity of exposition in an area that students and general readers have found difficult to master. It was the first attempt to produce an overview of this central subject and has maintained its unique position over the years. Fox's reconciliation of 'descent' and 'alliance' theories, and his 'deductive' approach to the logic of kinship systems based on four universal premises, give the book its distinctive flavour and make it not only the best available introductory text but a contribution to theory in its own right. It has been used throughout the world as an introduction for both academic and lay readers and has been translated into numerous languages.
Preface to the Cambridge University Press Edition; Preface to the First Edition; Introduction; 1. Kinship, family and descent; 2. The incest problem; 3. Local groups and descent groups; 4. Unilineal descent groups; 5. Segmentation and double descent; 6. Cognatic descent and ego-centred groups; 7. Exogamy and direct exchange; 8. Asymmetrical and complex systems; 9. Kinship terminology; References and further reading; Index.