In recent years, interest in genealogy has become a globe-conquering phenomenon; now, with the rise of consumer genetics, we can expect them to become ever more detailed and far-reaching. In Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community, Eviatar Zerubavel, a sociologist at Rutgers, pulls back the curtain on the genealogical obsession.

Genealogies, he argues, aren't the straightforward, objective accounts of our ancestries we often presume them to be. Instead, they're heavily curated social constructions, and are as much about our values as they are about the facts of who gave birth to whom.

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