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Subject: [DNA] PubMed abstract: relatives as spouses (Netherlands study)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2010 11:45:55 EST


Am J Hum Biol. 2009 Nov-Dec;21(6):793-804.

Relatives as spouses: preferences and opportunities for kin marriage in a
Western society.

Bras H, Van Poppel F, Mandemakers K.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Social Research Methodology,
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

This article investigates the determinants of kin marriage on the basis of
a large-scale database covering a major rural part of The Netherlands during
the period 1840-1922. We studied three types of kin marriage: first cousin
marriage, deceased spouse's sibling marriage, and sibling set exchange
marriage. Almost 2% of all marriages were between first cousins, 0.85% concerned
the sibling of a former spouse, while 4.14% were sibling set exchange
marriages. While the first two types generally declined across the study period,
sibling set exchange marriage reached a high point of almost 5% between 1890
and 1900. We found evidence for three mechanisms explaining the choice for
relatives as spouses, centering both on preferences and on opportunities for
kin marriage. Among the higher and middle strata and among farmers, kin
marriages were commonly practiced and played an important role in the process of
social class formation in the late nineteenth century. An increased choice
for cousin marriage as a means of enculturation was observed among orthodox
Protestants in the Bible Belt area of The Netherlands. Finally, all studied
types of kin marriage took place more often in the relatively isolated,
inland provinces of The Netherlands. Sibling set exchange marriages were a
consequence of the enlarged supply of same-generation kin as a result of the
demographic transition.

PMID: 19263414 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


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