Passing on: Kinship and Inheritance in England

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Inheritance, once the preserve of the propertied upper classes, has become a much more common experience. Many more people now than in the past have something of material value to bequeath when they die, mainly because of the spread of home ownership during the second half of the twentieth century. Passing On examines what these changes can tell us about kinship in England, through a study of how contemporary families handle inheritance. Based on the findings of a major research project into inheritance and kinship, Passing On examines how it is transmitted, 'who gets what' and the meaning this has for individuals and families. The authors argue that we should understand English kinship as a set of relational practices which are flexible and variable, rather than as a rigid structure or system. Inheritance is characterised more by symbolic practices and moral reasoning than by materialism. Of interest to lecturers and students of sociology, anthropology, social policy, law and gender studies, Passing On is also of considerable interest to those seeking to understand changing forms of kinship and ownership, especially researchers, policy makers and legal practitioners.