Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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27 December 2008


SEX AND SOCIETY: AMERICAN LAW | Onlinepharmanews. Health News

The bond of mar­riage is defined by the law and allows the legal reproduction of people in the form of the fam­ily. David Schneider, in his study of American kinship as a cultural system, has identified sex­ual intercourse as the key symbol of American kinship. This is so, in that sexual intercourse combines the two aspects of kin­ship as it is understood by Americans: "blood" (or substance) and code-for-conduct or law. Through intercourse, the archtypic relation in law, marriage, is expressed and relations in "blood" (child/parent) are created. The duality of relations in blood (or substance) and in code-for-conduct or law is predicated upon more general notions of nature and culture, re­spectively. In this frame, relations in law in­clude not only those which are the explicit content of legislation but also relations based in lawlike, ordered sets of interactions. Schneider suggests that in American culture a sim­ilar structure of relations in "blood" or substance and relations in law underlies the cultural con­struction of nationality and religion as well as of kinship.