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4 Comments

  • Part of urban modern society has lost sight of the kind of society where the basic premise is that everyone in that society is related, and connected to a group. To me living in The Orkney Islands Kith and Kin makes sense. Many people are related here by blood and marriage.
    Kin are your known blood relatives; Kith are your friends, neighbours, school friends, the people who know you ,who turn up at your wedding, at your funeral; they may even be distantly related, they are your tribal group, When people lived in a defined territory, eg on an island, or a glen, they had lines of connection with each other; direct blood line, indirect, or distant relation. People lived in essentially tribal groups. Scottish clans used to be like this. Local people here often spend some time, on encountering strangers, in trying to place people within either of the two groups, feeding them into the collective local computer of who is who. Immigrants suffer greatly when they find themselves without their supporting cloaks of Kith and Kin

  • Thanks for that lovely and interesting comment, Alastair. I remember reading many years ago a book called Family and Kinship in East London which traced the kinds of relationships you describe, but in an urban setting. The communities analysed in the study were already being dispersed when it was written.

  • “I, Claudius”, the tv series from some decades back, would show Claudius
    &c formally announced upon entering as “the Emperor Claudius, his family and friends”, which sounded like a translation of kith and kin, except kin and kith in Claudius’s case.