Institutional Regulations and the Kinship Solidarity of Women—Results from 13 Areas in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America

Nauck, Bernhard; Arránz Becker, Oliver
June 2013
European Sociological Review;Jun2013, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p580
Academic Journal
The article extends the model of intergenerational solidarity developed by Bengtson and Silverstein to the analysis of kinship relationships (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and the respective in-laws) and culturally diverse society types. A common typology of solidarity patterns is used to compare societies, and each pattern is traced back to relational, individual, and societal conditions within a multi-level framework. The empirical analysis was based on standardized interviews with N = 7,869 mothers from different areas in China, India, Ghana, South Africa, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, France, and the United States, comprising a total of N = 40,316 kinship relationships. The societies under study differed systematically in regard to the institutional structure of their kinship systems (i.e. matri- versus patrilinearity) and in measures of general welfare. A latent class analysis based on associational, affective, and functional solidarity yielded four patterns that were consistently replicated across different kin relations and regions. These solidarity patterns were labelled ‘tight-knit,’ ‘intimate but distant,’ ‘obligatory,’ and ‘detached.’ A cross-national multi-level multi-nomial logistic regression analysis suggested strong independent effects of both the kinship system and national wealth on kinship solidarity. Compared to relational and societal determinants, individual-level characteristics generally had a small impact.


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