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The concept of the "matrifocal family" denotes neither female-based households nor female domination. Instead the essays in this collection focus attention on the contribution made by women in maintaining family relations in situations of both racial and gender domination, and point to the crucial role played by family ties in creating and maintaining class and status hierarchies.
Raymond T. Smith is Professor and Chairman in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He has studied kinship, class and race in Guyana, South America, Jamaica and Ghana, and has taught at universities in the West Indies, Canada and the United States, where he has been Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago since 1966. He is the author of Kinship and Class in the West Indies (1988), and co-author of Class Differences in American Kinship (1978).