The exploration of obesity as a phenomenon that runs in families can provide crucial insights into the lived experience of kinship. Based on a longitudinal fieldwork among Danish families, I argue that kinship terms like ‘mutuality of being’ and ‘the mysterious effectiveness of relationality’ characterise their lived experience of obesity and family life. Taking my point of departure in previous work on the lived experience of kinship, I draw on Bernhard Waldenfels’ responsive phenomenology, specifically his notion of ‘originary substitution’, which 1. Highlights complex dynamics of sameness and difference and 2. Avoids both individualism and fusion into third-person categories in the exploration of sameness and difference. I argue that dynamics of being ‘same-same, but different, but same’ and of ‘cutting/belonging’ become accentuated when something haunts the family. Here, the co-emergence of sameness and difference, and of the nourishing and the poisonous in kinship and relatedness comes to the fore.
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