Social customs and demographic change: The case of godparenthood in Catholic Europe
AbstractThis article analyzes social norms regulating selection of godparents in Italy and France and how they will be affected by demographic change. On the grounds of Vatican statistics and of the World Values Survey, it demonstrates that baptisms still occur for the vast majority of children in Catholic Europe and that birth rituals are considered important even by non-believers. Relying on historical data, it shows that the custom of selecting godparents from among kinsmen, currently dominant, is a recent development. A new survey about selection of godparents in Italy and France is used which shows that they are not chosen for religious, but for social-relational reasons. Selection of kinsmen is the norm, with uncles and aunts being the majority choice. For Italy, choice determinants are explored by means of multinomial regressions. The results are contrasted with demographic change to show that in lowest-low fertility countries current godparenthood models are bound to disappear.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 040.
Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2011-03-26 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-03-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-EUR-2011-03-26 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-EVO-2011-03-26 (Evolutionary Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Guido Alfani & Vincent Gourdon, 2010. "Entrepreneurs, formalisation of social ties and trustbuilding in Europe (14th-20th centuries)," Working Papers 025, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
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