Inheritance and Legal Status of an Adoptee and Adopter in the Example of Vranje Cover Image

Наследноправни положај усвојеника и усвојиоца - на примеру из Врања
Inheritance and Legal Status of an Adoptee and Adopter in the Example of Vranje

Author(s): Jadranka Đorđević-Crnobrnja
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: total adoption; partial adoption; civic relatedness; kin relatedness

Summary/Abstract: Inheritance and legal status of an adoptee and adopter is frequently identical to the relationship that exists between parents and their biological children. In this sense, it is especially interesting to inquire the inheritance rights of adoptee towards his/hers biological parents and kindred, and on the other hand, adopters and civic kin. From an ethnological standpoint, an adoption is interesting, among other things, because it addresses questions between blood/kin and civic relatedness, expressed fully in inheritance rights. The inheritance law, in practice since 2005, recognizes two types of adoption – total and partial. From an ethnological/anthropological standpoint, the following facts, found at the course of my fieldwork, are indicative- a married couple adopts a male child, usually from the closest husband’s blood relatives (an uncle adopts a niece). Female children are rarely adopted, that is, only in cases when the closest blood relatives (through male and female lines) have no male descendants. An adoptee inherits an entire family holding property of an adopter. An analysis of the inheritance rights of an adoptee and adopter allows an insight into the understanding of blood relatedness which exists in a consciousness of individuals. It turned out that being childless in a patriarchal social environment, such as Vranje, represents a crisis situation for couples, individuals but also for the whole patrilineal group of relatives. By adoption of a male relative belonging to an agnatic affiliation, the question of inheritance is solved, but also a problem of social and material reproduction of a patrilineal group and continuity of agnatic identity. This, of course, does not mean that an adoption of unrelated male child, especially in a case of total adoption, the same would not be possible. But it appears that the answer is in the fact that in the case of an adoption of unrelated child, there is a weakening of substantial sameness. In the case of an adoption of a related child, the opposite happens: enhancement of sameness, since it is believed that it brings good consequences. It turns out that the reason of an adoption of a male relative is to be found within a symbolic meaning of blood and its gender determination, found in patrilineal system of kinship.

  • Issue Year: LVI/2008
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 167-179
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Serbian