Situated kinmaking and the population "problem

Katharine Dow, Janelle Lamoreaux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Contemporary concern about climate change has been accompanied by a resurgence in questions about what part human numbers play in environmental degradation and species loss. What does population mean, and how is this concept being put to use at a moment when the urgency of climate change seems to elevate the appeal to/of numbers? What role has and should kinship play in understanding "population"? Through a discussion of three recent books-Adele Clarke and Donna Haraway's edited collection Making Kin Not Population, Michelle Murphy's The Economization of Life, and Jade Sasser's On Infertile Ground-this book review essay grapples with the place of human numbers in our understanding of the connections between human reproduction, kinship, and environmental issues. This essay engages most closely with the chapters by Clarke and Haraway in Making Kin, setting out concerns about their turn to (over)population through the analytical insights, historical perspectives, and empirical data of Murphy and Sasser. By putting these three books in dialogue with one another, this essay argues that responsibility for limitations on one's ability to make kin lies within a heteronormative, White supremacist, capitalist political-economy and its inherent structures of inequality rather than in individual (decision) making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-491
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Humanities
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Environmental reproductive justice
  • Heteronormativity
  • Kinship
  • Population
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology


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