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Title: Using Network Analysis on Parish Registers: How Spiritual Kinship Uncovers Social Structure
Authors: Ribeiro, Ana Isabel 
Carvalho, Joaquim Ramos de 
Keywords: spiritual kinship; social network analysis; Parentesco espiritual; análise de redes
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: PLUS-Pisa University Press
Project: Sixth Framework Network of Excellence under the contract CIT3-CT-2005-006164. 
Serial title, monograph or event: Bridging the gaps: sources, methodology and approaches to religion in History
Place of publication or event: Pisa
Abstract: Th ´is chapter attempts to demonstrate that the information available in parish registers can provide exceptional insights into the social structure of local communities. Our approach is not based on individual attributes such as occupational data but on the relational patterns detected among spiritual kin. We discuss the characteristics of this type of network and provide results from an ongoing study of a Portuguese town where parish registers from the 17th and 18th century were analysed for this purpose. We will try to show that spiritual kinship networks have special formal characteristics that indicate that they are both a re ection of social structure (in the sense of the collective perception of di erent social positions) and also part of the processes by which the social structure is created and modi ed. is chapter is structured in the following way: rst we describe what spiritual kinship is and the processes by which it was acquired in the past; secondly we introduce a basic methodological assumption underlining this research: that the most common origin of spiritual kin, the choice of godfathers and godmothers, operated as a social positioning event, a process by which people assert their social position in relation to one another; thirdly we will describe how, on this basis, we can reconstruct a global image of the so- cial structure as it emerges from the perceptions of social actors through the application of social network analysis methods. We will then present examples of such structures taken from the preliminary analysis of the parish records of a small town in Portugal in the Early Modern Period and make some theoretical and methodological remarks concerning the relevance of our ndings for current research into social networks, pro- viding an overview of some methodological aspects involved in the reconstruction of social networks from historical data.
ISBN: 8884925541
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FLUC Secção de História - Livros e Capítulos de Livros

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