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Keywords:

  • kinship;
  • deconstruction;
  • evolutionary psychology

The claims of the so-called ‘constructionist’ position in kinship studies are examined with reference to a recent article by Susan McKinnon. McKinnon's analysis is shown to be deeply flawed, primarily because she pays no attention to the phenomenon of focality, now widely established in cognitive science. Instead, she is trapped in unsupportable collectivist models of human kinship. It is argued that these models are part of a misguided critique of the Western European Enlightenment.