It is fitting that in a tribute to Katia Mattoso one should write of the family, not only because so much of her contribution has been on that subject, but also because in her dispassionate and meticulous archival research she has provided material which helps to dispel some common misapprehensions in an area clouded by ideology and dubious preconceptions. For me, as a sociologist of anthropological inclination, her work on Bahia has shown that one must not treat the family as a unit with clear-cut boundaries, let alone as an isolated unit: rather we have to think in terms of a range of relationships which vary in intensity over time and space even over short periods and distances, tying people to one another through kinship bonds.

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