The panel will focus on new forms of families and kinship (adoptions, fictive kinship, new forms of relatedness, new parenting styles) in Southern Europe, while also exploring cultural convergences and divergences with respect to both northern Europe and the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
The panel will investigate new forms of family and kinship (adoptions, fictive kinship, new forms of relatedness, new parenting styles) in Southern Europe. While focused on Mediterranean Europe, discussion will keep a comparative eye on neighbouring macro-regions: Northern Europe and the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Southern Europe lays in the middle not only from a geographical point of view, as it displays a number of cultural features which may alternately converge and diverge with respect to Northern Europe and Southern Mediterranean societies. In the realm of kinship, Southern Europe is now sharing with the countries to the North some significant socio-demographic trends (e.g. the loss of centrality of marriage and the increase of cohabitation). At the same time some persistent features of Mediterranean Europe (e.g. strong kinship ties) point to long-lasting commonalities with the societies on the southern shore, which are themselves undergoing socio-demographic changes that are exerting a major impact on kinship and family relations and deserve attention by anthropologists. One such change is population ageing, which is posing unprecedented problems to societies that are simultaneously experiencing a decline in fertility and the "nuclearization" of households. Another change is a tendency towards delayed marriages (hence the spreading of so-called "waithood"), and the increasing number of people who do not marry at all. We ask participants to reflect on both continuities and changes in kinship in Southern Europe as well as on the usefulness and/or the drawbacks of macro-regional comparisons.