Kin-Marriages in the 19th Century: Expanded Perspectives and Challenges

In: Viella Historical Research. 13
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In Anglo-Saxon and German-language research, kinship has repeatedly been declared insignificant as a factor of nineteenth-century progress and modernisation. Such a view has stemmed in part from the heritage left behind by nineteenth-century sociologists, philosophers, and intellectuals. Over the past ten-to-fifteen years the field of historical kinship research has grown more internationally diverse and has clearly shown that kinship can no longer be considered an “archaic” principle and attributed solely to ‘strange’, far-off cultures. Based on this assumption the contribution aims at, firstly, tracing possible contexts of this phenomenon of kinship’s being more or less newly “discovered” and, secondly it discusses open questions, differences and varieties in time and space as well as research perspectives regarding marriages among close kin. The analysis of administrative procedures and the institutions involved proved to be crucial for the understanding of prospective couple’s chances to obtain a dispensation.

Keywords: Kinship – Modernisation – Marriages – Dispensation – Administrative procedures