Volume 3 - Article 13

Kinship, family and social network: The anthropological embedment of fertility change in Southern Europe

By Giuseppe A. Micheli

Print this page  Twitter


Date received:11 Apr 2000
Date published:19 Dec 2000
Word count:6723
Keywords:anthropological demography, family patterns, fertility change, Mediterranean Europe, social networks


There is considerable overlap between Le Play’s mid-eighteenth-century household model map and the regional TFR map of central-southern Europe in the 1980s. The author examines the overall structure of relationships involved in Le Play’s typology and observes that both the stem-family and the unstable family area in the Southern Europe are marked by a small, close-knit network of strong ties, with kinship predominance. Vice versa, the social support hinges upon a network of kin in the stem-family area, upon an alliance among different kindred units in the unstable Mediterranean area.
All this leads to formulating a hypothesis of a tri-partite model for Western European relationship models. How can we explain the relationship between family predominance as anthropological embedding and family collapse as demographic reaction? The author reconsiders this question in the light of Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory and Elder’s ‘principle of accentuation’: different, regionally rooted, family and kinship patterns "react" in contact with an appropriate reagent, such as the macro-process of modernisation, generating different patterns of today’s demographic behaviour.

Author's Affiliation

Giuseppe A. Micheli - Catholic University Milan, Italy [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Types of social networks and the transition to parenthood
Volume 34 - Article 23    | Keywords: social networks

» Counting Souls: Towards an historical demography of Africa
Volume 34 - Article 3    | Keywords: anthropological demography

» How integrated are immigrants?
Volume 33 - Article 46    | Keywords: social networks

» Reconstructing historical fertility change in Mongolia: Impressive fertility rise before continued fertility decline
Volume 33 - Article 29    | Keywords: fertility change

» Loneliness and all-cause mortality in community-dwelling elderly Singaporeans
Volume 32 - Article 49    | Keywords: social networks


»Volume 3




Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID