Dienstag, 06. November 2018

Gender and inheritance patterns in Rural Europe

Women as wives, widows, daughters, sisters

Lecture and Discussion with Martine Segalen


What are the reciprocal influences of prevailing kinship systems and gender roles?

A question which seems obvious to ask nowadays, but was not on the agenda when research about European systems of kinship and marriage developed.  Between 1970 and 1990, a host of publications, carried on a West-European level, later on with research regarding Eastern Europe, whether anthropological, historical, demographical –(sometimes all at once) developed in Europe dealing with inheritance patterns and domestic groups structures and functions. Some researchers focused on the way property affected kinship. Others set the focus on the relations between residential patterns, inheritance and marriage systems.

The connection between kinship and gender was operated through various research avenues. In this presentation, I will first try to delineate the reasons and forms of the encounter between the two topics. The second part will be devoted to the analysis of the variety of inheritance patterns in Rural Europe, inasmuch as they bear consequences to gender roles. The ethnographic presentation of various cases, third part, will help us show the complexity of the relation.  Gender in peasant society has to be thought of in relation to the family as a production unit and we have to investigate the scope of female agency in this context.

Short biography

Martine Segalen’s interests are threefold: kinship, social rituals, and museums of heritage. She tries to deal within those topics within the framework of Anthropology of Europe.

Professeur émérite Université de Paris Nanterre

Former editor-in- chief of  Ethnologie française