Kinship as a product of state: the case of Latvia

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One of the conventions about the state is that it is a form of social organisation which is in
competition with kinship. In this presentation I will follow the ways public govenance institutions (including state) have been engaged in shaping Latvian kinship since the time when the first written records appear in 13th century. Ultimately I argue that Latvian kinship is hardly separable from the state. It even makes sense to ask if Latvian kinship exists without the state. Moreover, the process of restitution of the independent state in early 1990s also demonstrated that the political and economic backbone of the state was directly derived from existing kin ties. Thus the dependence goes both ways. Most of the historic state-related processes of “kinship-building” in Latvia were closely related to legal and religious assumptions that were similar or directly borrowed from elsewhere in Europe. The presented arguments suggest rethinking the concepts of European kinship and its links to the state perhaps discarding the kinship/state division in favour of a reconfigured concept of kin-state.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
EventFuture States: The European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) network on Anthropologies of the State (AnthroState) Conference - Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia
Duration: 30 Aug 202331 Aug 2023


ConferenceFuture States
Internet address


  • anthropology of state
  • Social Anthropology
  • Latvia
  • kinship
  • state
  • history

Field of Science*

  • 5.4 Sociology
  • 5.9 Other social sciences
  • 6.1 History and Archaeology

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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