Catalans (Països Catalans) - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kin Groups and Descent. Traditional Catalan kinship is based on the stem family and a designated heir, generally an elder male. This pattern has been increasingly nuclearized in cities, although ties across generations remain strong. Descent is bilateral; kinship terminology is equivalent to the rest of Latin Europe with an emphasis on the nuclear family and designation of generational and affinal distance.

Marriage. Catalans are monogamous, following Catholic tradition. Civil marriage has been permitted in Spain since 1968, divorce since the 1980s. Both were available earlier in France. There are no marriage rules beyond minimal Catholic exogamy, although land and economic interests have shaped marriages in rural areas as well as among urban elites. In rural traditions, the inheriting couple resides with the heir's family. Neolocal residence is more common in the city, although economic limitations on space may preclude it.

Domestic Unit. Coresidence of the productive unit has been a cultural ideal, and the unit may include grandparents, siblings and families, children and spouses; this is more common in the countryside than in cities. The past three decades have seen a dramatic rupture in domestic relations throughout the Països Catalans.

Inheritance. In Catalan customary law, two-thirds of the property was given to the designated heir, and the rest was divided equally among all surviving children, including the heir, constituting the dowry or a professional stake for other siblings. After 1555, three-quarters was allotted to the heir. Customary law may still be invoked, but generally equipartite division seems to dominate, at least in cities.

Socialization. Children are raised primarily by mothers with help of other female kin or servants. Fathers have variable but limited involvement. Schooling was dominated by the Roman Catholic church until the establishment of post-Franco governments, which have greatly expanded all youth services.

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