‘It Runs in the Family’. Exploring Contagious Kinship Connections

Lotte Meinert*, Lone Grøn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this introduction we conceptualise phenomena that tend to 'run in the family' as contagious kinship connections arguing that experiences of such contagious connections often resemble experiences of haunting. We propose that enigmas about what family is, and what happens in the sociality and practice of kinship and descent, can be understood as forms of social contagion and affective transmission. The empirical contributions of this issue examine what appears if we explore kinship through the analytical lens of contagious connections and vice versa: if we explore contagion in kinship and family. In the introduction we suggest to explore contagious kinship connections through crosscutting questions about WHAT runs in families; HOW 'it' runs; what kinship IS, then; and what people DO about contagious kinship connections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-594
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Kinship
  • LIFE
  • affective transmission
  • contagion
  • haunting
  • inheritance


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