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Savage, Jan Cecelia (1991) 'Flesh and blood' : Notions of relatedness among some urban English women. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study, concerned with perceptions of relatedness, is partly based on tape-recorded, semi-structured discussions with ninety-seven English women. Except in the case of my principal informant, these discussions took place in a London family planning clinic over two six-month fieldwork periods during 1985 and 1987. Discussions with my principal informant, who was recruited through an ante-natal clinic, took place over a four and a half year period. The study also analyses eighty drawings of the body made by sixteen of the informants. The study suggests that the expressions 'blood' and 'flesh and blood' which are used by informants to describe 'kinship' relationships denote the recognition of a common identity, but do not consistently refer to a biological relationship. Instead, these expressions appear to indicate a complex model of procreation which incorporates both social and biomedical knowledge. This model appears to inform a view of relatedness which includes understandings of biomedical genetics and certain notions of 'openness', 'closeness' and 'sameness' which can be interpreted in either physical or metaphysical terms. These notions have implications for the way in which the body and individuality are perceived. It is suggested, for example, that in certain circumstances, the 'person' and the 'body' are not isometric for those of the same 'flesh and blood'. The study is thus particularly concerned with the cultural construction of the body and the way in which the relationships between such constructed bodies are understood. It aims to contribute towards an understanding of the little-examined ontological basis of western 'kinship', particularly in the context of new reproductive technologies which stress genetic relatedness.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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