Sardinians - Kinship, Marriage, and Family



Kin Groups and Descent. Kinship is an important factor in an individual's social network, but corporate kin groups do not exist. Descent is bilateral.

Marriage. Marriage is monogamous and indissoluble; Divorce, although legal today, is rare. Marriage has been village-endogamous, but this custom is now in decline. In pastoral communities young people typically married late, the female average age being 25 and the male 35. A shepherd proved his ability to support a family by supplying the house, and (Ideally) assuming independent control of a flock. Postmarital residence is neolocal with a preference for living near kin.

Domestic Unit. The household is the most fundamental unit in Sardinian society. The household is minimally composed of a husband and wife; no unmarried person leaves the natal household to live alone. Unmarried adults may form households with siblings or other close relatives; widows often live with their married daughters (but never with their married sons), while widowers with no unmarried close kin constitute the only category of individuals who typically live alone (but they will be cared for by a close female relative). All adult household members are expected to contribute to the household economy.

Inheritance. Property is divided equally between the surviving members of the nuclear family, including the spouse and all children. Inheritance may be divided before death, retaining only a portion for subsistence, which will be divided after death.

Socialization. The primary responsibility for socialization rests with the mother, although the father may be responsible for teaching his livelihood (e.g., shepherding) to his sons. The moral conduct of the children is considered to reflect on the mother most strongly. Socialization emphasizes one's community reputation and the fulfillment of one's social roles. For example, young boys are encouraged to spend their free time away from home with other young boys, and young girls are expected to spend their free time with other girls and women within the domestic/neighborhood sphere as much as possible. Both boys and girls risk ridicule if they fail to fulfill these gender-specific expectations.


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