"An erudite treatise about how culture drives human cognition about near and remote relations, Ancestors and Relatives offers lay and academic audiences alike a great read."
-Marta Tienda, Science
"Making the world seem strange is the first step to understanding it anew. Eviatar Zerubavel is a genius at doing this. Here he takes on kinship and shows us the profound, politically fraught, sometimes frightening, and often funny ways in which we take the biological fact that life creates life and fashion genealogy from it. This is a brilliant, witty, effortlessly well-informed book that anyone with ancestors or anyone who worries about ethnicity, race, and nationalism will read with pleasure and surprise." -Thomas Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley
"While ancestors and relatives are genetically given, the genetics give us no clue how we should measure their relative importance to us. In this lively and well-written book, Eviatar Zerubavel avoids the aridity of technical kinship analysis and uses a personal perspective to show how humans fabricate, in the literal sense, their relatives, by a creative process of elimination and selection in the generation of rules. It is easily the most engaging introduction to kinship for the general reader that I have read, and a contribution in its own right to a wider understanding of our place in evolution."-Robin Fox, author of Kinship and Marriage and The Tribal Imagination
"Kinship is a perennial staple-necessary but ordinarily dry as dust-of anthropology, sociology, and demography. In Ancestors and Relatives, Eviatar Zerubavel makes the topic new, bringing to it an encyclopedic knowledge and a powerful sociological imagination that brings to life the deeply social and cultural ways in which we talk about, imagine, and understand our ancestors and relations. Never has kinship been more interesting and never has it been as much fun."-Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University
"Widely-researched and absorbing ... This book could not be more timely. As Zerubavel points out we need only to look at the popularity of television shows such as Who Do You Think You Are? and the shelves of newsagents and bookstores generously stocked with magazines and books on how to research your family tree to see that there is a tremendous interest in genealogy ... [this is] an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable book." --Turi King, London School of Economics (June 2012)
"Ancestors is a significant contribution to its author's ongoing project, highly original, wonderfully imaginative, overflowing with insight, to develop a distinctive cognitive sociology. And for that, we should be deeply grateful. I, for one, happily await his next book in a long line that grows more venerable with each addition." --ontemporary Sociology
About the Author
Eviatar Zerubavel is Board of Governors Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life, The Fine Line: Making Distinctions in Everyday Life, The Seven-Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, Social Mindscapes: An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology, and Time Maps: Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past.