Family and Kinship in Bulgaria. Historical and Anthropological Aspects Cover Image

Семейство и родство в България. Исторически и антропологически перспективи
Family and Kinship in Bulgaria. Historical and Anthropological Aspects

Author(s): Karl Kaser
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: Activation of the complex invisible network of relatives and friends in the conditions of crisis has been topical for Bulgarian society during the past few years, but has not been a solely Bulgarian specificity. It is common in all countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, wherever the red-tape social institutions arc in decline and have to be built anew. Very few of the tasks and structures of the kinship networks are specifically Bulgarian, either. That is why the phenomena studied have been placed within European and Balkan context. The kinship structures, inheritance and social community systems of Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Balkans have been compared historically. The kinship structures are closely associated with a certain manner of inheriting. Generally speaking, in the rural regions of Europe, three zones of different customs of inheriting had taken shape by the early 20th century: the Mediterranean region, Western Europe and Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Moreover, the transition zone between the right to inheritance, applied in Western and Central Europe, and that in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, approximately coincides with the Hajnal line, concerning the marital models. That zone of transition can be observed also regarding the different systems of land ownership and agrarian order. Certain conditions in the organisation of labour in Eastern and Southeastern Europe have resulted in the male right to inheritance, which is based on taking into account the parental line, and enhances the ideology and practice, oriented to the forefathers. Additional zones of inheritance can be distinguished, in which transfer of ownership is discussed as agnatic and is settled depending on the origin, and zones, in which it is considered to be conjugal and is organised with an orientation to the nuclear family. Eastern and Southeastern Europe get into the first, whereas Western and Mediterranean Europe get essentially into the second zone. This European geography of systems of inheritance and kinship may be correlated to the different systems of social groups. In Europe of the past we are dealing with three trends in the formation of social groups: one - associated with the medieval feudalism of the West; the other - resting on the principle of customers in the Mediterranean; and a third one - based on the kinship relations in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Kinship in Bulgaria fits that general European historical context, as well as other differentiations of the kinship organisation in the Balkans.

  • Issue Year: 1999
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 7-26
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Bulgarian