The Creolization of London Kinship: Mixed Afro­-Caribbean and White British Extended Families, 1950-2003

Bauer, Elaine Eloise. 2006. The Creolization of London Kinship: Mixed Afro­-Caribbean and White British Extended Families, 1950-2003. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the relationships of mixed-heritage Afro-Caribbean and white British families in London. The ethnography focused on thirty-four extended families, using participant observation, oral history and life stories to trace the transformations and explore the complexities of ideas and practices of kinship since the 1950s.

In the last fifty years there has been a growing proportion of mixed Afro­Caribbean and white British families in London. This thesis examines how family relationships have evolved through time and across generations, and in changing social and historical contexts. The central themes are: l) The innovations and strategies involved in the construction of relationships; 2) The different constraints and possibilities that inform these strategies, both in relation to existing family structures and ideologies and the wider social structure; 3) The significance of women and children in making and sustaining kinship relations; 4) The importance of non-biological as well as biological notions of relatedness in the formation, support, and maintenance of the kinship network. 5) the extent to which many of these changes may be interpreted in terms of creolization.

The thesis is divided into three parts. The first part provides the background to the research and the research context. The second part consists of the first three ethnographic chapters which focus on particular extended families, illustrating the main themes. In the third part, the ethnography explores more generally the social contexts in which these families have emerged, and the ongoing modifications and negotiations through which they have responded to changing circumstances, both within the families and in the wider society.

The thesis makes an important contribution to the discipline and to wider debates because: a) it makes a scholarly contribution to current debates on "mixed-race" families; b) it explores continuities and modifications in Caribbean and British family patterns, including creolized forms in the London context; c) it contributes to recent anthropological work on kinship, based on how people themselves think and practice relatedness.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


kinship, cross-generational transmission, mixed-heritage, racial prejudice

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



October 2006

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Date Deposited:

02 Jun 2020 13:48

Last Modified:

02 Jun 2020 13:49


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