Publications 2023

Christof Lammer: Care Scales. Dibao Allowances, State and Family in China. The China Quarterly.

Examining the “world’s largest cash-based social policy” through the lens of care reveals widely shared scalar imaginaries and the productivity of care in constituting scale. In standardizing the minimum livelihood guarantee (dibao), officials, applicants and researchers in rural Sichuan cited both “too much” and “not enough” care at the scale of the family in recommending or rejecting state assistance. Different levels of organization (scale1) were not stable bases with specific sizes and qualities (scale2) that enabled or limited care. Dibao-related practices were evaluated as an appropriate (“filial piety”), insufficient (“individualism”) or excessive (“corruption”) amount of family care. Care became an indicator of kinship measurements and a marker of state boundaries. Thus, scale (in both meanings) was enacted in China, as elsewhere, through negotiations of needs and responsibilities, through evaluations of care practices and their outcomes. In this sense, care scales.

Christof Lammer

Erdmute Alber, David Warren Sabean, Simon Teuscher, and Tatjana Thelen (eds.): The Politics of Making Kinship. Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. New York / Oxford 2023: Berghahn Books.

The long tradition of Western political thought included kinship in models of public order, but the social sciences excised it from theories of the state, public sphere, and democratic order. Kinship has, however, neither completely disappeared from the political cultures of the West nor played the determining social and political role ascribed to it elsewhere. Exploring the issues that arise once the divide between kinship and politics is no longer taken for granted, The Politics of Making Kinship demonstrates how political processes have shaped concepts of kinship over time and, conversely, how political projects have been shaped by specific understandings, idioms and uses of kinship. Taking vantage points from the post-Roman era to early modernity, and from colonial imperialism to the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond this international set of scholars place kinship centerstage and reintegrate it with political theory.

Tatjana Thelen

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