Brazil Family and Kinship
Family and Kinship
The Portuguese crown and ecclesiastical authorities in Brazil were
not entirely successful in implanting their ideals with regard to
and the patriarchal family. Brazilians have limited enthusiasm for
official norms and often resort to consensual unions, marital dissolution,
serial unions, and what the Roman
Catholic Church generally considers to be lax standards of behavior.
At the same time that many of them bend the rules, Brazilians place
high value on family and kinship relations. These are especially
valued in an environment in which authorities, on the one hand,
and one's subordinates, on the other, are thought to be untrustworthy.
Most Brazilians are genuinely fond of children and are attached
to their parents, and they cultivate a wide circle of aunts, uncles,
and cousins. In the past, relationships with godchildren, godparents,
and ritual co-parents extended these networks, but they are losing
their importance in modern urban society.
Marital separation and divorce as well as formal and informal remarriage
are now commonplace. Women commonly head their own households, and
families often include children from different marriages or unions.
The new arrangements are socially accepted but have not become culturally
institutionalized in the sense of devising new terminology for the
Data as of April 1997