Schneider, David (1918-1995)
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American symbolic anthropologist, famous for his ground-breaking work on kinship. Schneider completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1949, based on fieldwork on Yap (Micronesia). In the late 1950's and early 60's, he collaborated with Raymond Firth on an ambitious comparative study of British (London) and American (Chicago) kinship. Though the planned comparison was ultimately aborted, Schneider's contribution, American Kinship: A Cultural Account was published as a monograph in 1968. In this work, Schneider broadened the anthropological concept of kinship in several significant ways, e.g. by extending the field of "kin" dramatically, and by embedding the kinship system as such in a broader account of the cultural symbols (ideas of the natural and cultural, of sex, love and money) on which American kinship rests. On the other hand, by viewing kinship as (exclusively) a cultural system, Schneider divorced kinship studies from the practical and functional concerns of social organization that played such an essential role in British social anthropology.

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