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Kinship in African and African American Contexts

Africans on the African continent and people of African descent in North America have experienced conditions in their social histories that have predisposed them to rely on kinship networks in their social existences. However, despite their shared emphasis on upholding kinship bonds, they have constructed contrasting forms of consciousness out of their disparate experiences.

On the African continent, Africans have carefully built up myriad forms of ethnic consciousness. Each of these nurtures loyalties that benefit well-defined categories of kinsfolk. Such kinship groups exclude the vast majority of other Africans. Consequently, antagonistic relationships exist among many neighboring ethnic groups in Africa.

On the North American continent, however, a history of enslavement and other forms of subordination created an unmatched set of common experiences for ...

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