'The article considers Judith Butler's proposition that state and patriarchal family relations cannot be separated. It further considers J.M. Coetzee's proposition that the assertion of kinship is a first step in more sympathetic and ultimately more ethical relations between beings (between men and women, between humans of different races, and between humans and animals). The article argues that the assertion of kinship (and of sympathy for one's kin) is not ethical in itself if kinship relations are still figured in a patriarchal model. Coetzee's depiction of sexual and racial violence in contemporary South Africa provides a useful model for the interrogation of the violence concomitant to patriarchal state and family relations. It further provides the basis for an interrogation of the ethics of extending sympathy for other beings without first considering the respective positions of power held by the person who is sympathising and the person to whom the sympathy is extended.' -- from the Postcolonial Text website.